WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 9, 2012
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FAITH IS ASSURANCE
(Faith reveals GOD)
(Hebrews 11:1-6 & Psalms 46)
In the New Testament Greek, the word used for “faith” is “pistis”, and it means “to rely upon with an inward certainty”. Faith is being certain of the things that we hope for, and being convinced of things that we cannot yet see. It is by faith, that we understand that the world was fashioned by the word of GOD, and that, what is seen came from what is not seen.
The Christian attitude is that, in terms of eternity, it is better to stake everything on GOD, than it is to trust the temporal rewards of this world. It is belief in GOD against the world, the spirit against the senses, and the future against the present (Hebrews 11:1-3). It is impossible to please GOD without faith. Anyone who desires to come to GOD must first believe in HIS existence, and, that HE rewards those who sincerely seek HIM out (Hebrews 11:6).
In the Old Testament Hebrew, the word used for “faith” is “emunah” (em-oo-naw) and it describes “a feeling of being secure, stable, or steady through one’s trusting in something or someone”. It means “believing to a point of knowing”. In Psalm 46, a psalm of the descendants of Korah, the psalmist praises GOD for HIS current help and presence, and, for HIS future peace, which is yet to be established. He presents GOD as the only sure defense and safe haven, that, believers have to protect us in times of trouble, which surely awaits us, just around the next bend of our Christian Journey.
As human beings, we often look for relief from our troubles through such things as drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, overeating, and various other spiritually and physically unhealthy means. Here the psalmist reminds us that GOD is our continuing refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. When we trust in GOD, and believe GOD, we need not fear anything in man or nature.
In the Hebrew, the word used for “refuge” here in verse 1, is “machceh” (makh-seh), and it is “shelter from danger, or, “a place of hope and trust”. We can find safety and courage, by trusting in GOD, WHO is ever present to help us. And GOD is big enough to deliver us from any perils, real or imagined. There is no trouble or problem that we can have, that is larger than our CREATOR GOD, WHO is the great problem solver.
Surrounding one’s self with GOD, and relying on HIS strength, is a wise thing to do. When GOD is our shield of protection, “safeness” becomes a given. The most dangerous of places in the world are safe for the person who has petitioned GOD to walk the beat. GOD is able to constantly keep watch for us twenty four hours a day, and HIS army of angels are stronger than any army here on earth.
Against the backdrop of national and natural chaos, Psalm 46 expresses deep confidence in the provision and protection of GOD. It may have well been written as a result of the gloomy situation that King Hezekiah and Jerusalem found themselves in, while under siege from King Sennacherib and the Assyrian Army (2 Kings 19). There we see GOD ultimately miraculously delivering Jerusalem from the hands of the Assyrians by slaying a huge portion of the Assyrian army (185,000), and causing the rest to retreat back into their own land. It has been rightly said that if we have a healthy, holy, biblical fear and reverence for GOD, we don’t need to waste our energies fearing anything else.
In verse 1 the psalmist uses three words to depict the protection that GOD provides for those who believe on HIM, they are “refuge”, “strength”, and “help”. The Hebrew word for “refuge” depicts the basic ideology of shelter, say, for example, using the “anthropomorphism”, “finding shelter under the wings of GOD, both physically and spiritually, as a baby eaglet would find shelter under the wings of its mother”.
The physical dangers that we face daily are certainly serious undertakings, however, the spiritual dangers that we face can be much more devastating for us, particularly in the long run. In order for us to overcome the world as JESUS did, we are going to need GOD’s help and strength, as well as HIS refuge. The storms of life are many, but the word of GOD gives this promise to those who believe on HIM and endure the sufferings of the world to the end. It is this Old Testament promise that is given to us by GOD, through HIS prophet Isaiah, and it states, “GOD will keep in perfect peace, the mind that stays on HIM, because it trusts HIM” (Isaiah 26:3). Amen.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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