Youthful Days

Christian Fundamentals

Help from the Psalms

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters” (Psalm 23:1-2)

An Introduction

This further short series of articles bears upon the fundamental principles that govern every Christian’s pathway, drawing from the experiences of the writers of the Psalms.  Because the truths of the Gospel are particularly opened up to us in the New Testament, we may tend to overlook their presentation in the Old, but the scriptures are one.  This new series will seek to link references in the Old Testament, particularly the Psalms, to the practical working-out presented to us in the New.

Why read the Psalms?

The psalms are a collection of 150 hymns and poems by several Old Testament authors, Moses and King David among them. Many are quoted in the New Testament. Many also look forward to the coming, and even to the second coming, of the Lord Jesus. They all tell us something about the writers, their knowledge of God, and its effect upon them. This series of articles looks at some of these effects which are just as important for us today.

What do the Psalms tell us about the Scriptures?

Of course the psalmists did not have the New Testament. But they often spoke of what they did have:
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly… but his delight is in the law of God” (Psalm 1-2).
“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalm12.6).
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119.105).
What did Jesus say about the Psalms?
“David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand , till I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Luke 20.42).
“All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me” (Luke 24.44).

What does all this mean for us?

1.    If we read our Bible prayerfully God will use it to show us His way for us through this world (“a light unto my path”).
2.    We can rely completely on what God says (“pure words”) and we can enjoy them (“his delight is in the law of God”).
3.    Jesus Himself relied on the Psalms, and so can we.
4.    The whole of the Old Testament, including the Psalms, has something to tell us about Jesus. It is well worth our reading it to find out for ourselves! 

Don’t be discouraged if you find there are things that you don’t understand! The Ethiopian eunuch did not understand what he was reading in the Old Testament (Acts 8.30-31). But God sent Philip to explain that he was reading about Jesus, and he soon went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:35,39). God will find a way to explain His word to us if we ask Him.

“Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word” (Psalm 119:169)

extracted from the July 2017 issue of Youthful Days

The Jordan

The Jordan is a river that is mentioned frequently in the Bible, mainly in the Old Testament but also in the Gospels, and evidently it is very significant to the believer.  The river Jordan itself rises on the slopes of Mount Hermon between Lebanon and Syria, and flows southwards through Israel into the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) before continuing south into the Dead Sea.  

The Israelites had been led by Moses in the wilderness for forty years, and after all their wanderings they were to cross over into the promised land of Canaan via the river Jordan. We read of it in the book of Joshua chapters 3-4.

What does the Jordan mean to us?

For the believer, the Jordan represents another important aspect of the death of the Lord Jesus.  Whilst the crossing of the Red Sea marks our complete deliverance from Satan and the world (reported in the September 2015 issue of Youthful Days), the crossing of the Jordan takes us by way of His own death to claim and maintain our rightful place before God.  For that we must be delivered from our own will and pleasures and subject our lives to the will of God.  Only then can we come into the full enjoyment of the blessings that God has in mind for every one who trusts in Him.

In the crossing of the Jordan, the Ark was carried to the edge of the river, and the waters parted before it to let the people through.  The Ark reminds us of Christ going into death, and the Jordan of our death with Him, whereas the crossing of the Red Sea tells us more of His death for us.  Paul summed it up when he wrote, “have your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth; for ye have died, and your life is hid with the Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3).

Once all the people had crossed over, the ark was brought up out of the Jordan.  So it reminds us of our resurrection too – a new life here for the pleasure of God, so that “even as Christ has been raised up from among the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

How do we cross the Jordan?

We cross the Jordan by recognising that what the Bible calls “our old man” (Romans 6:6) has no place before God – “for I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, good does not dwell” (Romans 7:18).  That is a hard lesson to learn, but God takes pleasure in only one Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, and in those who take character from Him.  Thankfully, we have the service of the Holy Spirit available to help us put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:14), and to realise that “if any man be in Christ, there is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Why do we need to cross the Jordan?

Canaan does not represent heaven itself, because we still have enemies! (Ephesians 6:10-18).  Rather it is the enjoyment of our spiritual blessings now, and that is just what God wants for us.  But because they are spiritual blessings, the natural man with his earthly and material interests cannot lay hold of them.  We must put into practice the lessons of the Jordan in order to be here for the pleasure of God.

extracted from the July 2016 issue of Youthful Days

Note: Earlier extracts of Christian Fundamentals have been compiled into booklets which are available free of charge or can be downloaded from here