BLESSED LIKE A TREE
William Andrew Dillard
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” So penned are the precious words of Psalm One in the KJV. A few notes of observation are in order. Think with me!
Here, the word “Blessed” in the ancient Hebrew language is simply to go or walk straight; hence, in extension the happiness and peace resultant from a straight or righteous walk. “He shall be like a tree….” Not just any tree, but a tree deeply rooted by rivers of living water; a tree that is continuously fruitful. What comes out from him (his work, as limbs or leaves on a tree) will not come to naught or fade away. Moreover, whatsoever he does (in the straight walk) shall prosper. What requisites does such a man have who is of this state and demeanor? The Psalmist answers: He governs his steps. He does not walk in the advice of the wicked ones, and he is not numbered among those who miss the mark of God’s intentions. Neither does he sit or abide in the dwelling place of the bad-mouthers. Conversely, this blessed man has his moments of genuine happiness in the Word of God, and in it he meditates (is engrossed in it day and night to the point of muttering to himself expressions of joy).
Surely, it was with much meditation on this very Psalm that the songwriter penned and set to music “I Shall Not Be Moved.” Observation plainly shows that life on earth can be as a shipwreck, or the devastation of a hurricane or the misery of the humanly unloved, and self abusers. On the other hand, it may be blessed as a fruitful tree planted by rivers of living water. What is the point of difference? Read the Psalm again and know that it is repentance and dedication through faith in Christ Jesus: His person, His works, and His Word. People of the Word are people of great faith!
Author: W.A. Dillard
At various times and in sundry circumstances the measure of another person is taken.. Perhaps it is to recognize talents and abilities or to evaluate and praise the good deeds accomplished, or other reasons. We want to be as kind and liberal as possible in taking such measures. In quite serious situations such as facing surgery and needing a surgeon, we tend to become more critical in taking such measure, understandably so. Taking the measure of another may also be expressed as sizing one up. That has a positive ring to it, and if there are not too many “buts’ in the sizing, and the pure and simple truth is expressed, it is a good thing. Otherwise, such action might be better expressed as sizing one down. Generally speaking, how do men take the measure of the Son of God? Let’s think about this one!
The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the express (pushed out) image of the invisible God. However, His own people did a disastrous job of taking His measure. They were looking for a handsome, charismatic king. Should they have known better? Certainly so! The great prophet Isaiah plainly declared, “…and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” Isa., 53:2. And that He would be a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
The erroneous measure continues! Men attribute to God the thinking of a man. They think that surely God will bend the rules and make exceptions for them when he learns their circumstances (as if He does not know every detail). Such is a plain and simple “sizing down” of God which will not stand. They fail to consider Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” In taking the measure of the Creator God, one will do well to listen to Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Digest this if you possibly can. Science tells us that the nearest star to earth is four light-years away. Since light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second, that makes it a very long distance. There is no telling the distance of so many others. This is God’s explanation to us of how far above us He is in every regard, especially in thoughts and ways. And some would make a glorified man of Him?!?? Please, please rethink your sizing of Him and make it up instead of down. A reading of Isaiah 6:1-9 will be most helpful in the process. Then, as the apostle Peter said, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” I Peter 3:15. Doubtless, the world will continue to size God downward, but to its own hurt. Let those who know Him learn enough to always size Him UP!!!
By: William Andrew Dillard
A few decades ago, a man of great charismatic personality with the common name of Jim Jones successfully allured about one thousand of his followers to the tropical, isolated jungle where they built a compound, camp complete with airstrip. They were preparing themselves in isolation from the world for the next life. As time went on, some became discontent, but were unable to leave. On examination by a party that included a congressman, the examining party was murdered as they attempted to leave, and the population was given poison kool-aid to drink to usher them into the next life. A few days later, the camp was found with everyone dead.
From that dreadful event has come the expression, “don’t drink the kool-aid!” It reminds us of so many biblical warnings and admonitions regarding spiritual “kool-aid.” From the Garden of Eden, the battle for the spirit and mind of man has constantly waged. From the “Kool-aid” offered by the serpent to Adam and Eve, to the religious debate over what was right between Cain and Abel, to the ruination of the antediluvian world, to this very day there has been no relenting of it. The decision weighs heavily on every individual: what to believe; how to proceed; what to do? The crux of these weighty matters suffers no little number of Kool-aid vendors.
Ancient Israel knew mountainous onslaughts from the idol gods of the gentiles around them, bringing harsh and swift judgment from the Almighty upon them. From false religion, false doctrine, to “every man doing what was right in his own eyes” lessons of life were painfully, repeatedly learned. During His ministry on earth, Jesus warned His disciples to “beware the leaven of the Pharisees.” By this they understood that He referenced false doctrine (Kool-aid!).
To facilitate ingesting the Kool-aid, another form of it has been quite successfully sold. It is the idea that a layman, untrained theologically cannot understand or rightly apply the teachings of the Word to his life. He must have professional help! Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Holy Spirit of God accompanies the Word of God, and anyone who desires to know the doctrines of the Bible shall know them. It does require that one be exposed to them. So, what are you waiting for? Open the Book! Read for yourself! Prayerfully seek God’s help for your understanding, and then act on what He teaches you! There is no safety in numbers of people of any particular persuasion, and the flavors of Kool-aid are multiplied. DON’T DRING THE KOOL-AID!
BY – William Andrew Dillard
GE AND COSMOS
It is the purpose of this article to enhance the knowledge of several folks with a distinction, and contrast of the words “Ge” and “cosmos.” First of all, the term “Ge” is not to be confused as the opposite of “Haw” as a directional command to a farm animal. Additionally, it is not to be confused with a slang expression of the South as in “Geeminee or geewhiz.” But more to the point, it is not to be confused with “Cosmos.” Of course, here the phonetics are quite different, but the idea still gets muddled. Speaking of muddled, some minds may be muddled already, but bear with me.
In the Bible, the word “world” is most often used as the translation of “cosmos.” This is proper, but herein is also the problem. Too many students tend to think of “world” as the planet on which we live. That is an incorrect understanding. The ancient Greek word “cosmos” references a working system designed to produce predictable results. Hence the universe of planetary bodies is referred to as a cosmos as it in a definite, predictable working pattern. The order of the world of men is a cosmos because it is framed on the predictable order of sin and death. A clock is a cosmos since it is working system designed to produce predictable results. Oh, yes, they call that stuff women use to make themselves pretty “cosmetics.” That, too, is from cosmos because it transforms a female from an ordinary human being to a predictable system designed to attract the opposite sex. (now, I am going to get it). Summation: “world” is from “Cosmos.” It designates a system. It is not a designation of the planet earth in the context of creation.
Of course, there is a term designating the planet. It is “Ge.” Furthermore, that root word in its expansion gives us such words as “geology, geography, geometry, geophysics, Georgia,” etc., all having to do with physiology of the planet.
Being discriminatory with words goes a long way toward eliminating confusion of ideas. It helps the speaker to think more precisely, and it helps the audience to infer more properly what exactly has been implied, connoted, or denoted. Most all of us would profit from a review of etymology ( a study of root words, prefixes and suffixes). It would most likely stoke our love for our mother tongue as well as open pleasurable avenues of ideas contained therein which may have never been entertained previously. Well, I had hoped this article would be somewhat of a cosmos, but it seems that all I can say is “Gee.”
I, EYE, AYE: THE PROBLEM
Some sage once said, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a terribly small package.” While most would agree, they must also acknowledge that this very principle is the primary cause of all the woes of the race. Think with me about this!
Luke 12:16-21 records the sad saga of a rich fool. He abounded in the richness of his day. His barns could hold no more. Did he seek to be helpful to others? No! He said to himself, “I” have no more storage room so “I” will pull down my buildings and “I” will build bigger ones. “I” will say “I” have much to last for many years so “I” will take it easy, eat , drink, and be merry. Alas, he died that night, and not having lived for the Lord nor invested in the lives of others, left his goods to the wiles of the world; truly a fool! His kind has not perished, but increased in the world: folks with “I” trouble.
Additionally, the temptation that succeeded in plunging the entire human family into sin was one of “I” and “eye” trouble. Mother Eve in response to Satan’s self-serving appeal , saw that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was beautiful to look upon (lust of the eye); she saw it was good for food (lust of the flesh through the eye); and she saw it was desirable to make one wise (pride of life, “I” and “eye” trouble). There was no forethought here regarding the Word and Will of the Creator, just “I.” Although that was nearly six thousand years ago, little children still sing out the warning, “O, be careful little eyes what you see….”
Enter Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He was allowed to build one of the seven wonders of the ancient world: the magnificent Babylon with broad avenues, hanging gardens, and splendid structures. He said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (“I” and “Eye” trouble). He was judged immediately and learned firsthand that these things were from, and for God. Daniel 4.
Finally, there is another form of that phonetic problem that plagues the people of God, and should be corrected by all means. It is revealed in the story of two sons, Matthew 21:28-31. A man directed one of his sons to go work in his vineyard. The son said “nay” (no), but he later did. To the other he gave the same direction, and that son said “aye” (yes), but never did. There are multitudes today who give acquiescent “aye” to the work of God, but never do it. They cannot imagine the enormity of the loss being incurred by such disobedience to their Heavenly Creator.
So, anyway you spell it, I, Eye, Aye, it is the sinful source of the ills of mankind in general and of each individual in particular. May God help us to have a sweet spirit of truthful, and wholehearted surrender to the will of God Whom we all must soon meet face to face, and not be beset by the ages old, universal problems of “I, Eye, Aye.”
The plural “books” is purposefully used in the title of this article even though the references in the scriptures are singular. The reason for the plural term is simple. There is more than one book referred to as “The Book of Life.”
Linguistic difficulties often surround terms due to commonly assigned meanings rather than precise definitions. So, what does the term “life” mean? Surely it is not restricted to conscious existence as most would say, because everyone will exist in consciousness somewhere for all eternity. This truism then causes the Bible student to rethink meanings, and in this instance life obviously refers to quality of conscious existence: while a most undesirable quality of conscious existence is referred to as “death”.
think with me about this!
At one point, Moses interceded for the Hebrew people in their wilderness wanderings to the degree that if God would not spare them, then his request was to be left out of God’s book. Exodus 32:32. Certainly, he was not requesting the loss of salvation, or of an eternity in hell, but the reward of his place in the annals of God’s recorded word.
Paul entreated others for help on behalf of those who labored with him in the gospel ministry whose names were in the book of life, Phil. 4:3. This is doubtless the same as the book of life in which God’s people were written, and promised their names would not be blotted out of it if they persevered in the faith to be overcomers. Moreover, this same book of life may be altered regarding one’s final status and station according to Revelation 22:19. Additionally, men are sternly warned that the altering of Revelation would result in their part being taken from the book of life. Again, this is not an assignment to hell, but it is definite loss of reward and status for eternity.
Additionally, there is the Lamb’s Book of Life which is the recording of all who have trusted in the Lord from the casting down of the perfect order that initially reigned in the Garden of Eden. It is the roll of all who have been born from above throughout human history. Rev. 13:8.
Furthermore, Job said his record was on high, 16:19. So is the record of everyone. Furthermore, at the final judgment, Rev. 20:12, the books will be opened plus, another book called the book of life, and the dead at the great white throne judgment were judged by what was written there, according to their works. Then, in Revelation 20:15 the Lamb’s book of life comes into play with all whose names are not written there being cast into the lake of fire.
Jesus said to His disciples as they returned from the limited commission, rejoicing that even the devils were subject to them in His name, “. . .Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20. Now that is where you want your name written, in heaven, in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and in the book of life-works that qualifies those so written for rich reward.
“And because iniquity shall abound , the love of many shall wax cold.” Matt. 24:12
The past few decades of vaunted progress have given Adam’s race no few creature comforts, not the least of which is air conditioning. It is almost a necessity in southern parts of the country where high temperatures and equally high humidity send all who are able scurrying to the cool indoors. Of course, a very large crowd of Christians will endure extreme heat, humidity, rain, etc. for hours at a sporting event, but would never subject themselves to a short worship service if the air is not conditioned for comfort. This underscores the point I am attempting to make.
In the Hebrew Old Testament, the common word for “cold” as in lower temperatures is “Qal.” Its Greek equivalent in the New Testament is “psucho” which specifically refers to a lowering of temperature by the process of blowing or evaporation; the same thing as modern air conditioning. Metaphorically, it denotes a cooling of love, zeal, desire for a thing, and names the responsible, causative agent: the abounding of iniquity. To be more specific, it is the individual reaction to the abundance of iniquity. What does this mean?
Iniquity is sin, to be sure, but a specific type of sin. The term means “no law” or “without law” and specifically to proceed in religious affairs not knowing, nor wanting to know, what the rules of God (His Word) teaches. In the vernacular it may be stated, “I know what I want to do, or believe, so don’t confuse me with the facts.”
It is sometimes difficult for New Testament church members to follow the plain teaching of the Word when others all around them make a loud claim to be Christian, but have little to no regard for the Word. Such cooling for God, His Word, His church is not a sudden turn of events, but a slow, consistent process. Discouragement pervades the psyche of the nominal Christian who is by virtue of spiritual immaturity, totally unsuited for pressure, ridicule, or persecution in any form. He then finds himself aligning more closely with the unfaithful and practitioners of iniquity: thus is he air conditioned, air conditioned, cooling, colder, cold! One need not be highly intelligent to identify this as a current, widespread reality, but though it is happening as Jesus said it would, one does not have to be identified among the “many” in that process.
Consider that “God reacts to man as man reacts to God!” is indeed a true statement. Hear the apostle James, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” There is much joy and excitement in witnessing this age come to a close. Doubtlessly, but though troublesome and sometimes most stressful, this is the grandest time to be a knowledgeable Christian on the planet, but you can’t see it if you have waxed cold.