BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – BONUS LESSON: Lesson # 14 – OUR FINAL CHANGE FROM PHYSICAL TO SPIRITUAL BODIES

BONUS LESSON: Lesson # 14 – OUR FINAL CHANGE FROM PHYSICAL TO SPIRITUAL BODIES

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (Phil. 3:20-21).

Some questions to consider as we study:

  • What glory is to be revealed in us?
  • How would it help to look forward to our new body, and the glory that will be revealed in us eternally?
  • What would give us cause to laugh and be comforted in our trials (Rom. 8:17-25)?

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.  24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Rom. 8:17-25).

Notice what our new spiritual body will be like (Phil. 3:20-21; Matt. 22:30)? We see in Philippians 3:20-21that our conversation is in heaven; from where we also look for a Savior who will change our vile body so that it may be made like His glorious body… Then in Matthew 22:30we read that in the resurrection people neither marry nor or given in marriage but are like the angles.

Notice in Exodus 33:19-23that man is flesh and blood, and he cannot see God and live, yet the angels “behold the face of the Father.”

Angels’ bodies must not be flesh and blood (Matt. 18:10). Gabriel stands in the presence of God, so he is not flesh and blood (Luke 1:19). In the account of the woman with seven husbands, we are told that we shall be “as the angels” when we are resurrected with a new body (Matt. 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 2:15). Many people have no understanding of the resurrection, our new spiritual bodies or the life we will lead in eternity.

Some might think being like the angels is no big deal, because they are just “people with wings and are dressed in white.” A deeper study of these mighty beings gives us a marvelous picture of God’s messengers (Heb. 1:7; Heb. 1:13-14). An angel’s body is able to “fly” (Rev. 14:6), appear and disappear (Judges 13:16-21), become a flame of fire (Heb. 1:7; Judges 13:20), take on the form of a man (Judges 13:16-21).

Just one spiritual being was all it took to kill every firstborn in Egypt in one night (Exod. 12:23, 29), or destroy 185,000 valiant soldiers in one night (2 Kings 19:35). Prophet after prophet fell on his face or fainted at the sight of one of these mighty spiritual beings (Dan. 9:27).

God’s angels appeared with horses or chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:17; Zech. 6), raiment white as snow (Dan. 7:9-10; Matt. 28:1-4; Mark 9:2-3; Rev. 1:13-15), body like beryl, eyes as lightening (Daniel 10:5-6; Exod. 24:16-17; Rev. 19:11-12), and the list goes on and on. Angels are called God’s messengers (Heb. 1:7; Heb. 1:13-14). Let’s visit each of these accounts one by one.

The list goes on and on. Just how glorious will that new body be? Consider the following scriptures which describe it in some detail: (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:35-58; Rom. 8:18-25; 2 Cor. 3:7-18; Dan. 10:5-9; Eze. 1:4-28; Psalms 113:4-6).

-Beth Johnson

BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – Lesson 13 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL WARDROBE – Part 2

Lesson 13 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL WARDROBE – Part 2

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isa. 61:10).

So far, we have learned much about the wardrobes (physical clothing) of men and women in the Scriptures.  We have seen where prophets wore rough clothing; kings’ children wore dainty clothing; harlots wore deceitful clothing and the poor were content just to have cloth to cover their bodies.  All those examples were to get our minds ready to think about our clothing as Christian women—both our day-to-day physical dress and our spiritual clothing as the bride of Christ.

First, let us notice some bad examples in the scriptures of how women dressed—things we should avoid.  Isaiah is the prophet who paints the picture of the women of his day. Consider the “daughters of Zion” and what their clothing tells about their character (Isa. 3:13-26).  Isaiah shows them as they really are when he describes their utterly ridiculous attire.  These self-centered people (men and women) have taken the spoil from the poor of their own nation.  Instead of working to have in order to give to the poor (Eph. 4:28), they have made themselves rich at the expense of the poor.  Not only that, but they have eaten up the vineyard and beaten the people to pieces—grinding the faces of the poor.  How are these power-hungry women dressed and how do they behave? “Moreover, the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore, the LORD will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts” (Isa. 3:16-17).

Notice what kinds of things these proud women wore: tinkling ornaments on their feet, cauls, round tires (like the moon), chains, bracelets, mufflers, bonnets, ornaments on the legs, headbands, tablets and earrings.  They also wore rings, nose jewels, changeable suits of apparel and mantles, wimples and crisping pins, glasses and fine linen.  What more could be added?  There were also hoods and vails (Isa. 3:18-23).  We can assume they also added perfume to all this gaudy display because Isaiah says, “And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well-set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty” (Isa. 3:24).  He goes on to tell them that their men shall fall by the sword and their mighty men in war.  He warns that “…her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.”

Another account of such women describes the pillows of all armholes (Eze. 13:18-20).  These women were focused on their appearance and not on the heart as they dressed from day to day.  2 Peter 2:18-19 says, “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.”

The Christian woman will be clothed modestly as we read in 1Timothy 2:8-10, “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”

THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S BEAUTY IS INWARD (1 Pet. 3:1-4). Notice that God is concerned about the hearts of both men and women (1 Sam. 16:7). “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN WILL BE CLOTHED WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS.  We put on our clothes a certain way.  God has shown us how to ‘put on’ righteousness. We put on righteousness BY the process of faith causing us to work and thus becoming, (not just SEEMing, appearing, or simply being thought of as righteous).  God says righteousness is BY faith (Rom. 3:22).  “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ…”) so we have to use faith to become righteous; in a similar way we get to the store BY a car or by bus.

LOOK AT THE way RIGHTEOUSNESS IS BY FAITH.  “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Heb. 11:7).

Actually, ALL of Hebrews chapter 11 shows the WAY faith causes us to become righteous.  We are given example after example of righteous men and women who acted on their faith to please God. Faith caused the people to FEAR God, HOPE for the reward, and thus to OBEYWHICH IS righteousness, plain and simple. For clarity, read what the apostle James says about Abraham.  Abraham’s righteousness came about BY what he did BECAUSE of his faith in God’s promises (James 2:19-24).

When I want to become a doctor, (which is a state of being one) I have to DO something to become that; I’m not automatically a doctor because I enter medical school.  I am not automatically a champion because I enter a race; I have to obtain the championship BY striving lawfully and winning the crown.  I am not automatically righteous because I simply profess that I have faith. True faith is obtained by hearing the words of God, and then doing them.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works (James 2:14-18).

The righteousness, which is by faith, is not all in our heads (or God’s imagination) like the emperor’s new clothes.  It’s REAL! OUR HEARTS AND ACTIONS are really CHANGED, through the process of becoming like Christ (2 Pet 1:3-11.)

The faith that comes through hearing is INTENDED to cause us to change.  That transformation, when it is completed, produces Christ likeness, righteousness, completeness in our hearts. If we are the servants of sin (by sinning) then our spiritual garments are moth eaten and defiled. If we overcome sin, then our spiritual garments are white & undefiled, and we are righteous.

This “clothing” with righteousness must be our hearts, minds, and actions, not just an imaginary righteousness that supposedly exists in the mind of God.  There are lots of ways to prove it, but notice that:

  • Scripture cannot conflict with itself or make itself meaningless (Mark 3:25John 17:17) and the scripture is not pointless or vain (Isa. 55:11).
  • Too many other scriptures become false, meaningless or pointless if this “clothing” is an imaginary righteousness. A handful, out of many of these, is: Titus 1:21 John 4:171 John 3:7Matt. 25:31-46, etc.  Therefore, this “clothing” cannot be something imaginary like the fairy tale about “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

At this point some sister may feel she has been silent long enough and she will say, “But all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” referencing Romans 3:23 or Romans 5:12.  It seems some people who want that crutch cannot abide the thought that Christians must, or even can, stop sinning.  This is not about whether we have ever sinned or even about how bad our lives were before we became a Christian.  This is about what we do after we repent, put off the old man and get the new mind (Rom. 6:6Eph. 4:22-23Col. 3:9-10).

The Lord said,“…HE THAT DOETH RIGHTEOUSNESS IS RIGHTEOUS, EVEN AS HE IS RIGHTEOUS”(1 John 3:7).  That is how we put on righteousness and wear it.  Some do not want to do what is necessary to wear the name of Christ and thus inherit as a true child.  It’s much easier to continue in their comfortable sins and believe that God will just see them as righteous when they are not.  Like the foolish emperor in the fairy tale, they believe that an imaginary “garment” of righteousness “covers” up the ugly sin underneath.  It can’t be that way if 1 John 3:7 is true.  “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.”

We see David, Job, Isaiah, Malachi and the apostle Paul looking in that glass talked about in James and beholding themselves, not being satisfied until they behold the image of Christ.  How is it possible to have any more beautiful and encouraging examples?

  • Psalms 17:15—As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
  • Job 29:14—I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.
  • Isaiah 61:10—I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
  • Malachi 3:3—And he shall sit as a refiner and purifer of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
  • Ephesians 4:24—And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

This robe of righteousness and Christ likeness is possible for each of us to attain, not through our own power, but through the power of God, who is able to change us.

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Eph. 3:14-21).

WOMEN OF THE WORLD, AND SOME WHO PROFESS CHRISTIANITY, HAVE GARMENTS THAT ARE MOTH EATEN.  “Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten” (James 5:2). We should connect 2 Pet 1: 3, Rom 10:17 and 2 Tim 3:15-17 to show that the faith that comes through hearing is INTENDED TO CHANGE US—that’s its purpose. That change, when it is completed, is Christ likeness, righteousness, completeness. If we are the servants of sin (by sinning) then our garments are moth eaten and defiled. If we overcome sin, then our garments are white, undefiled, and we are righteous. If we are the servants of sin (by sinning according to our own lusts and pleasures) then we have NOT put on righteousness, and our garments are moth eaten, defiled, and filthy.

THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S GARMENTS ARE SCENTED WITH MYRRH, ALOES AND CASSIA. “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad” (Psa. 45:7-8).

THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN WILL WEAR THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD. We see the language of battle applied to fighting against sin in this passage.  Notice that the word stand is used for those who prevail or overcome.  There will be a battle and conflict, but the Christian woman has genuine hope to win the fight if she puts on the armour called for in Ephesians 6.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO STAND AGAINST THE WILES OF THE DEVIL.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND IN THE EVIL DAY, AND HAVING DONE ALL, TO STAND.  STAND THEREFORE, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph. 6:10-18).

WHAT GREATER HOPE AND JOY CAN WE HAVE THAN THE FULFILLMENT OF THE PROMISES IN Revelation 3:18? “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

-Beth Johnson

BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – LESSON 12 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING

Lesson 12 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING

All Christians (men and women) should adorned themselves inwardly and outwardly with only what is fitting for one of God’s children.  Our outward appearance should never shame the name of Jesus or our Heavenly father, nor should we have moth-eaten clothes or nakedness instead of the spiritual clothing God has intended.  We know that man looks on the outward appearance while God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

So where should our focus be?  Should we think only about our outward appearance?

Why do we spend so much time thinking about “take thought for” raiment (Matt. 6:24-34)?  What should we do?  Why?

Christian women know we brought nothing into this world and we will take nothing out. (1 Tim.6:7-9).  “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”

Most women want durable clothing, but what is it, and how do we get it?  We know that only eternal things will endure.  “And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing” (Isa. 23:18).  When men or women are subject to the authorities that God sets over them it is a beautiful thing before Him.  Being subject to authority is being subject to God and not men.  That is durable clothing.

Christian women should choose between outward adorning and the hidden heart (1 Pet. 3:1-4).  When seeking the favor of God, the Christian woman will rend her heart and not her garments (Joel 2:12-13).  Our Heavenly Father sees particular beauty in meekness. Fasting, afflicting our physical bodies or tearing our clothing is not what God wants; He wants us to turn to him and tear away every worldly thing from our hearts.

The Christian woman will adorned herself like the holy women of Old (1 Pet. 3:1-6).  She also will adorn the doctrine of God (Titus 2:9-10). We notice that good fidelity (faithfulness) adorns, and in that way, we can be an attraction to God’s doctrine.  Notice other things which may be bound on our heart (Pro. 6:20‑23; Pro. 7:2‑3)? We must believe the promises and have faith that His laws are good.  That is beautiful in God’s sight.  Fulfilling the covenant, which we make as Christians, is beautiful.  Knowing and keeping His laws is also beautiful in God’s sight.

The Christian woman binds God’s words like frontlets between her eyes (Deut. 6:6-9; 11:18). Knowing and following the commandments our Heavenly Father makes us beautiful in His sight.  Knowing the word and keeping it ever before us is also beautiful in God’s sight.

The Christian woman will clothe herself with humility (1 Pet. 5:5). God particularly favors those who humble themselves to submit.  The humble will find more of His favor.

The Christian woman will clothe herself in strength and honor (Prov. 31:25). Spiritual strength is standing strongly for what is right and good.  God praises (honors) those who are good in His sight.

The Christian woman avoids spiritual nakedness; she keeps (guards) her garments (Rev. 16:15). This was something the Laodiceans had not done.  Will we guard our spiritual clothing so that we are not naked and shamed?  “Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” (Pro. 6:27-28).  Women may understand this in both a physical sense and a spiritual sense too.  We must guard our spiritual wardrobe.

How must we buy white raiment from Jesus (Rev. 3:18)? The Laodiceans were not clean and white.  They were lukewarm and unconcerned for true holiness.  They trusted in their own riches and had not clothed the inner man of the heart.

How does a bride adorn herself (Isa. 61:10)?

What is the wardrobe of the bride of Christ (Psa. 45:10-15)?  The picture of walking in white is typical of a wedding ceremony.  We know that faithful, worthy children of God will marry Christ. How can the Christian woman expect to walk with Jesus in white (Rev. 3:4)?  White clothing indicates purity of heart and mind.  White clothing is also symbolic of what is clean and pure. What else must we do or be to walk with Jesus in white (Rev. 3:5)?

As the bride of Christ, will we make ourselves ready (Rev. 19:7)? Christ’s bride must be fully clothed in righteousness.  Will we be prepared and adorned to be the bride of Christ?  The bride of Christ also is arrayed in fine linen.  Let us note what the “fine linen” of the saints really is (Rev.19:8).  “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”  Notice that the righteousness is the right acts or deedsof the saints.  Will we be dressed in a fine linen wedding garment?

May God help us all to accomplish that goal.

-Beth Johnson

BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – Lesson 11 – A WOLF’S WARDROBE

Lesson 11 – A WOLF’S WARDROBE

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15).

Not long ago, the treasurer for our congregation brought a 20-rupee note (Indian currency) to ask what he should do with it.  He said somebody had put it into the collection plate and he could not deposit it in the bank for fear of going to jail.  Of course, what he had in his hand was a counterfeit note and not a real one at all.  Neither my husband nor I could look at the note and tell the difference between the fake and a real one.  Comparing two 20-rupee notes side by side would scarcely show any differences at all.  It is the same way with false teachers (wolves in sheep’s clothing).

False teachers wore the same clothing as did the true prophets of God.  They walked the same way; they did the same things, yet their intent was to deceive the hearts of the people (Rom. 16:18).  Take, for example, what happened in Acts 13:5-12. The deputy, Sergius Paulus, worked closely with Elymas the sorcerer the whole time and could not tell he was deliberately, and actively undermining the teaching of the gospel until God through Paul struck him blind.  Elymas had determined to turn the deputy away from faith in God and Jesus, but from all appearances he seemed to be a true seeker.

In such a way, wolves (false teachers) are still in the flock of God deceiving the sheep.  As one such ‘brother’ confessed privately when asked what the rest of the brethren thought of his new teaching, “I know what not to tell the brethren.”  Change Agents (wolves) know when to ‘swerve’ and when to be ‘godlier and more dedicated’ than everyone else.  They know how to ‘show the brethren‘ how much they love God.  Unless we are willing to note the signs of a wolf and beware (Matt. 7:15), we will never recognize their fruit (Matt. 7:16).  When someone seems ‘too good to be true,’ watch him closely; he probably is.  If we are not sick sheep, we should know to follow the one true Shepherd (John 10:3-4; John 10:16John 10:27).

QUESTIONS:

  1. Consider this article carefully to see if you can tell why a “wolf” would want to wear “sheep’s clothing?”

2. In this lesson, what is a wolf? Why are “wolves” in the church so dangerous?

3. What two words describe Elymas (also called Barjesus) in Acts 13:6?

4. What did Paul say Elymas was in Acts 13:10?

5. Who was Sergis Paulus? Was he a simple, uneducated man?

6. How could Sergis Paulus not understand what the sorcerer was doing while he was right there with him?

7. How can we know if a man is a false teacher (Matt 7:16-17)?

8. What could happen if a sheep is sick (John 10:3-4John 10:27)?

9. Find at least two scriptures that tell who is the true Shepherd that we should follow. How (what way) is He our shepherd?

10. Find as many passages of scripture as you can that describe sheep. You may use Old Testament scriptures as well as New. From what you read in those scriptures, write a short article about the good qualities of the sheep and why God has a special place in His heart for them.  Notice this question has two parts.

-Beth Johnson

BIBLE WARDROBES and THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – Lesson 8 – THE SACKCLOTH WARDROBE

Lesson 8 THE SACKCLOTH WARDROBE

But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom (Psa. 35:13).

Often in scripture we read of those who were clothed in sackcloth, humbling themselves before God so that their prayers would be heard.  The city of Nineveh not only clothed the people in sackcloth, but also the animals to show their contrite hearts (Jonah 3:8).

If David’s prayer in Psalm 35:1-28 were for Absalom and the traitors that conspired with him to remove David from the throne, then it has heavy implications.  If it were for King Saul or some other enemy, we can only imagine its depth of meaning.

David contrasts the enemy’s conduct with his own. He talks of his past life, and about the acts of kindness which he had shown in times of trouble, as more deeply marking the evils of their own conduct now.  David begs the Lord to plead his cause and to fight against them that fight him.  He says, “Stand for me! Confuse the enemy! Blow them away like chaff!”  He even begs the Lord to make their way dark and slippery and to dig a pit for their feet.  David has given up on saving their souls though he apparently has tried many times in the past.  These are men (or women) who are bound to David by the bands and ties of physical life—people he knows well.

David is brought low because of the false witnesses who have laid things to his charge that he never dreamed of.  Yet those same people had been the object of his fasting and prayers in other days.  When they had been in distress, he had put on sackcloth and afflicted his soul for their sakes.  He had humbled himself before God to beg for their health or their position before the Almighty.  Surely in times past he had prayed for Absalom as he watched the turn of his character or as he had witnessed his misconduct.  More than anything, he would have wanted his own son to be righteous before God, but now with the insurrection, he sees there is no hope for his soul or the ones with him.  David knows that Absalom and his companions hate him without a cause.

David’s final thoughts regarding the actions of his enemies as they compare to his own are that he wishes the Lord would clothe them with shame and dishonor because they have returned evil for his good.  Our own hearts need to be humble to the point we would be willing to clothe ourselves in sackcloth to pray for our enemies even if they do not respond well.  They will be clothed in shame if they spurn our efforts at peace.

Will our clothing be sackcloth or shame (Job 8:22Psa. 109:29Psa. 132:18)?  Will we humble ourselves before the Almighty or will we proudly go our thankless way and return evil for the good others do for us?

QUESTIONS:

  1. Using the Bible Encyclopedia found here: (http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/home.html), give a definition of sackcloth and tell why was it worn?
  2. Sackcloth has always carried with it the idea one of the Christian virtues. With what virtue should we be clothed (1 Pet. 5:5)?
  3. How serious is the sin of ingratitude ( 1:21,241 Tim. 3:2-5)?
  4. Under the Law of Moses, men were commanded to give an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Is it right today to take vengeance or to pray for the destruction of our enemies ( 5:38-42Rom 12:19)?
  5. How many good deeds had David done for King Saul?
  6. How did Saul react?
  7. What good had David done for his son Absalom?
  8. How did Absalom respond?
  9. What is the higher law for Christians today (Luke 6:35)?
  10. King Ahab was one of the worst kings in the history of Israel. Why did God postpone His judgment against Ahab and give him another chance to live after he had determined to destroy him and his descendants (1 Kings 21:21-29)?

-Beth Johnson