It pays to know what we sing as well as it pays to obey the command to sing.
(SINCE) “THE LOVE OF GOD” (HAS SHED)
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude v. 21)
INTRO.: A song which encourages us to keep ourselves in God’s love while looking to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life is “The Love of God” beginning “Since the love of God has shed” (#636 in Hymns for Worship Revised, #266 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Laurene Highfield, who, though her name is known, is next to anonymous, at least terrestrially as a songwriter. One source says that she was born at Quincy, IL, in 1870. What we do know about her is that she was a playwright, who lived in Adams County, IL, in 1900 and 1910. Some of the scripts attributed to her include The Usurper…
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Lesson 4: A LINEN EPHOD
“And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod” (2 Sam. 6:14).
Some believe David sinned by wearing the linen ephod in his worship. Although the linen ephod is primarily associated with the high priests‟ garments, it was by no means limited to the high priest.
The elaborately embroidered ephod was a garment which the Jewish high priest was required to wear when officially engaged in religious duties. (Exod. 28:4) Suspended from the shoulders, it covered both back and front like a tunic. On the shoulders were two onyx stones on which the names of the 12 tribes of Israel were engraved (Exod. 28:9-10, 39:6-7). Worn as an outer vestment, the ephod was held in at the waist by a twined linen girdle of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet. The breastplate with the Urim and Thummim was on top, held by golden chains and rings (Exod. 28:25-28, 39:19-21). The high priest was adorned in this fashion to symbolize the presence of God with his people.
Samuel wore an ephod (1 Sam. 2:18), and all of the priests with Ahimilech (the high priest at the time) wore ephods (1 Sam. 22:18) but not the elaborate garments of the high priests. There is no question but that the plain linen ephod was at least closely associated with the priesthood, but apparently the embroidered ephod was limited to the high priest. Samuel was a judge, a seer (1 Sam. 8:19) and a prophet, probably a priest, although the scriptures do not specify. Samuel was a descendent of Levi through Kohath (1 Chro. 6:38), the same tribe through which Aaron was descended (1 Chr. 6:1-3). His father was an Ephrathite, because he lived in Mt. Ephraim, but not because he was descended from the tribe of Ephraim. Hannah may have been of the tribe of Levi, but there is no record of it. Concerning Samuel’s ancestry, see 1 Samuel 7:9. “And Samuel took a sucking lamb and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him.” We know that King Saul was condemned for offering a sacrifice which only the priests and Levites could offer. Samuel was at least a Levite (if not a priest) or he would have been condemned along with King Saul. In any case, Samuel wore an ephod showing it was not limited to the high priest or even to the priests. David was a prophet (Acts 2:29-30) just as Samuel was a prophet, and thus authorized as much as Samuel to wear the ephod.
In 2 Samuel 6 we see David wearing a linen ephod as he is bringing the ark back to Jerusalem. It appears that Psalm 132 may be associated with the events of this chapter. The point we need to take from his wearing the ephod is that he was doing it “to the Lord” and not to men. He had removed his royal garments and was traveling among the priests who were bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. He commanded that animals be sacrificed every few feet as they went—obviously seeking the favor of the Almighty. His intent was to repair the breach that had been left between Israel and God ever since the Philistines had captured the ark during Eli’s time. Deeply dedicated to pleasing his Creator, King David worshiped and praised Him as he went that day. His dancing was to the Lord and not to men and his wearing the ephod was for that purpose as well.
After Uzzah’s death, David must have searched God’s laws diligently to understand why the Lord was not pleased the last time they tried to bring back the ark, and now he is making sure everything is according to law. Can we also be equally concerned about our worship to the Lord that we do what is pleasing in His sight? Are we concerned with our actions and even our clothing that we not bring shame but glory to the God who created us?
- Using an ordinary dictionary, find out how linen is made.
- Using 28:6-14; Exod. 28:31-35and Exod. 25:7 as your sources, describe the ephod in detail. Be sure to give the purpose of the ephod.
- For what did Abiathar use the ephod (1 Sam. 30:7-9)?
- How many people wore the ephod all at one time (1 Sam. 22:18)?
- For what did Micah use the ephod (Judges 17:5)?
- What is said about Samuel wearing an ephod?
- How did Gideon’s ephod cause the people to sin? Tell what happened to it (Judges 8:24-27).
- Using a Strong’s Concordance search the scriptures to find out more about the ark and the reasons it was taken by the Philistines.
- Read Psalm 132 comparing it to events in 2 Samuel 6.
- What happened the first time David tried to bring the ark back to Jerusalem?
- What was the prophecy concerning the absence of the Ephod from Israel ( 3:4)?
- Many people say it really does not matter what we wear when we worship God. How should we answer that statement
CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR TOWARDS OTHER CHRISTIANS AND NEIGHBORS
What is included in good basic morality and Christian living? We must put off the old man with his deeds (Col. 3:5-9). We must put off the old man with his deeds and ‘mortify’ (kill) these ‘members, which are upon the earth.’ These things bring about Gods wrath. Of course we once walked and lived in these things.
We must put on the new man (Col. 3:10-14). The new man is after the image of the Lord. These are all parts of the love of God, the divine nature.
If we are truly living the Christian life, how will we treat others? The “Golden Rule” tells us to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us (Matt. 7:12). In James 1:19-20, we are told to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” In all relationships, we are told to put on the mind of Christ (Php. 2:1-8).
Do we have humility of mind and do we esteem others better than ourselves? Do we look out for our own things, or do we look out for things of others? “Look not on your own things, but on the things of others” (Php. 2:4). Christ humbled himself, served others, and was obedient to God to the point of dying on the cross.
What if someone attacks us verbally when a disagreement arises? We know “A soft answer turns away anger” (Pro. 15:1). We should bridle our tongues, and speak only good things (James 3:2-12; Eph. 4:29).
CHRISTIANS BEHAVIOR AT THE WORK PLACE
Without a doubt, we must obey our earthly masters in all things (Col. 3:22-24). This should not be done with eyeservice; God sees us all the time. We should work heartily to serve the Lord, not men, and the Lord will give an eternal reward for this. Not obeying our bosses can cause the name of God and his doctrine to be blasphemed (1 Tim 6:1). Christians must even obey “froward masters,” because our obedience is following the steps of Christ (1 Pet. 2:18-21). If the Christian is the shop owner, he has a particular responsibility. “Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD (Pro. 20:10). Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good (Pro. 20:10, 23).
CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR WITHIN THE CITY, STATE AND NATION
We have a responsibility to pay taxes at the city, state and national level (Mark 12:13-17; Rom. 13:6-7; 1 Pet. 2:17). We also are obligated to obey the laws—remembering that God is the one who ordains the powers (Rom. 13:1-7). Titus 1:6 tells us that an elder’s children should not be accused of riot or unruly behavior, and adults have a responsibility to teach and live by that same rule. Would any true Christian participate in strikes, riots or resistance against law?
- Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 9. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. 10. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 11. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13. Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. 14. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15. To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage (Jude 1:8-16).
- Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king (1 Pet. 2:17).
There are two powerful figures of speech (similes) in the first stanza, which capture the Christian’s understanding. If our hearts are humble, we can say we accept whatever the LORD has for us. Our Creator knows best.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say (orig. know),
It is well, it is well with my soul.
IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL
“But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me” (Ps. 49:15)
INTRO.: A song which gives us hope by reminding us that God will redeem our souls from the power of the grave and receive us is “It Is Well With My Soul” (#626 in Hymns for Worship Revised, #561 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Horatio Gates Spafford, who was born on Oct. 20, 1828, in North Troy, NY, the son of Gazetteer author Horatio Gates Spafford Sr. and Elizabeth Clark Hewitt Spafford. After an early life in New York, he moved while still a young man to Chicago, IL, where he married Anna Larsen of Stavanger, Norway, on September 5, 1861. The Spaffords were well known in 1860s Chicago. Establishing a most successful legal practice, he was…
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