God has a path of life for believers in Jesus. Are you on that path of following Jesus or heading down a different one?
8-28-2023 – By Patti Greene
Do you feel you are on the right path of life, following your Lord as closely as you know how? Or are you slipping slowly down the wrong path?
God has a path for believers in Jesus Christ. The Bible calls it the path of life.
As a child, I used to grab 10 to 15 Little Golden Books at a time and read one after another. One that always attracted me is Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton.
Scuffy was an adventurous little tugboat who believed he was meant for bigger things. He leaves his home, the man with the polka-dot tie, and the little boy who cared for him and sets off to explore the world. After his daring and treacherous adventure down a brook and then a raging river, Scuffy realizes home is where he’d rather be.
Twice during his adventure, Scuffy said, “This is the life for me.” The first time, he was leaving the reasonable, sensible path of his prior life to seek adventure. The second time was when he realized he already had been right where he needed to be all along—at home, safe in the arms of the man and boy who loved him.
Our goal should be to reach the point where we say right where we are, “This is the life for me.”
God wants us to understand we can know our path. Hopefully, it is the one he has set apart for us, but we must choose it.
In Psalms 16, King David declares he wants refuge in the Lord. In his communion with the Lord, he writes:
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy: at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11 ESV).
What path does God want us to be on for him?
In his Tyndale Old Testament Commentary on Psalms 1–72, Derek Kidner defines a person on the right path of life asone whose affections are centered on God. This person finds satisfaction in God’s ways and does not pursue other gods. God’s protection and instruction bless him.
We have two choices we can make in life: (1) accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and (2) follow God’s path for us leading to total joy in his presence.
We know we have eternal life, but sometimes we experience spiritual struggles. David trusted the Lord would show him the righteous path of life.
Righteousness and unrighteousness
As believers, we continually must choose between righteousness and unrighteousness. We want to walk in victory, but sometimes we find ourselves desiring things God has proclaimed unsuitable for us. We have that struggle between our flesh and the spirit, so we must ponder the path our feet are on.
We cannot experience God’s true purpose for life when we travel the destructive path. We may find ourselves in a continuous cycle of repeatedly sinning and confessing. To break that cycle, we must deny ourselves, take up Jesus’ cross and follow him.
“And he was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me’” (Luke 9:23 NASB95).
“In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway, there is no death …” (Proverbs 10:28 Amplified Bible).
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, so that he will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NASB).
Reroute and redirect
A navigation system is an instrument that determines the position of a vehicle and the route to a particular place. The car’s navigation system tells the driver to turn left or right at a specific junction. The navigation system uses GPS signals to determine the vehicle’s location and direction.
It is a valuable tool with many benefits, such as helping people reach their destination, guiding drivers through congested areas, tracking packages, locating vehicles and more.
It is similar to the way God directs us in our lives. He shows us which way to turn, signals us on which way to proceed, helps us reach the destination and call of our lives, and guides us continually through the rough times in our lives.
Our navigation system must take its orders from the Lord. He will reroute and redirect our thoughts or actions if we genuinely want to follow his path.
‘This is the life for me’
Scuffy’s path of life allowed him to travel in a way that was not good for him. In the process, he enjoyed some of life’s simple pleasures, but as he kept traveling along the river, he was jammed with logs and became scared of the river moving faster and faster. Then the flood waters came, and the little tugboat desired the warmth and safety of home.
God can do the same for us as we travel our path of life.
Just like the man with the polka-dot tie who scooped Scuffy out of the water after his journey away and brought him home, God will do the same for us when we choose to live for him, decide against following unrighteous living, and allow him to reroute us when we stumble.
Let’s live victoriously in his presence along the path he has prepared for us.
Patti Greene is a graduate of Baylor University and Dallas Baptist University, a member of Second Baptist Church in Houston, and the author of seven books. The views are those of the author.
Do you feel that you are on the right path of life, following the Lord as closely as you know how? Or are you slowly slipping down the wrong path?
God has a path for believers in Jesus Christ. The Bible calls it the Path of Life.
As a child, I used to grab 10 to 15 Little Golden Books at a time and read one after another. But one which always attracted me, and still draws me to this day, is Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton.
Amazon’s book description mentions that Scuffy was an adventurous little tugboat who believed he was meant for bigger things. He leaves his home, the man with the polka-dot tie, and the little boy who cared for him and sets off to explore the world. After his daring and treacherous adventure down a brook and then a raging river, Scuffy realizes that home is where he’d rather be.
After traveling through dangerous situations, his life became more complicated. Eventually, Scuffy arrives home to the man with the polka-dot tie and his little boy, and he proclaims, “This is the life for me.”
Our goal should be to reach the point where we say, “This is the life for me,” right where we are on the path God has provided us. Scuffy used the quoted phrase twice: once in leaving the reasonable, sensible path of his prior life to seek adventure, and again when he realized he had already been right where he needed to be all along—at home, safe in the arms of the man and boy who love him.
God wants us to understand that we can know our path. And hopefully, it is the one He has set apart for us, but we must choose it.
In Psalm 16, King David declares that he wants refuge in the Lord. In his communion with the Lord, he writes:
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Ps. 16:11 ESV).
What path does God want us to be on for Him?
The late British Old Testament scholar Derek Kidner defined a person on the right path of life as “someone who takes refuge in God and knows life and joy.” This person finds satisfaction in God’s ways and does not pursue other gods. God’s protection and instruction bless him.
As believers, we have two major choices to make in life:
We must decide whether to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and then
2. We must follow God’s path, which leads us to joy in His presence.
We know we have eternal life, but sometimes we experience struggles. Jesus is the light of the world, but He always uses our struggles and sufferings for His good. There is a purpose for all He does. Suffering causes us to depend on Him in ways we never have done before. David trusted that the Lord would show him the righteous path of life.
Some call the path of life a journey or route. David knew that he would find total joy by following God’s directions. His suffering led him to heed God’s instruction.
God’s Instructions for Us
Stay in communication with our heavenly Father,
Read His word daily and let His principles and examples saturate our minds,
Be obedient to what you read in the Bible,
Confess sins and ask the Lord to help you in both your thoughts and actions so that those sins will not have a stronghold in your life,
Decide not to visit places that lead you into temptation,
Believe the Lord will guide us to Biblical principles and Scripture so we can know the right things to do, and
Seek His kingdom above all others.
Following the instructions above is easier said than done. I have been there, working through each and every instruction listed above. I also know it takes longer to heed God’s instructions than He or I would like sometimes. However, God has always been available to hear my concerns, thoughts, struggles, and desires. I have also learned it is best to converse with God about our plans before depending on or requesting guidance from others. It is in Him we must confide our deepest longings.
He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who ignores reproof goes astray (Prov. 10:17 NASB95).
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (2 Tim. 3:16).
Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41).
If you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach (Deut. 30:10-11 NIV).
Righteousness and Unrighteousness
We will encounter testing and temptation on our path, but when we saturate our lives with God’s word and principles, we can be satisfied that we are following the right track. Even as believers, though, we must continually choose between righteousness and unrighteousness.
We want to walk in victory, but sometimes, we desire things God has proclaimed unsuitable for us. We have that struggle between our flesh and the spirit, so we must ponder the path our feet are on.
We cannot experience God’s true purpose for life when we travel the destructive path. We may find ourselves in a continuous cycle of sinning and confessing. To break that cycle, we must deny ourselves, take up Jesus’ cross, and follow Him.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me (Luke 9:23).
The hope of the righteous is gladness, But the expectation of the wicked perishes (Prov.10:28).
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Results of Living Right—Joy and Heaven
Psalm 16:11 concludes by saying if we follow God’s path, we will have complete joy and pleasures forever.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps.16:11 ESV).
When the temple restoration began in Jerusalem during the time of the prophet Ezra, we can understand the joy and what kind of joy God has in store for us. The builders had laid the foundation of the temple.
They sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid! Ezra 3:11 AMP).
When we lay a Godly foundation in our lives, we can experience joy in the presence of the LORD. God cares about the path of life we choose. And when we strive to be on his team, we can live joyfully in his presence. We can also experience everlasting pleasures in this life and the next as we lift our eyes to Jesus.
It is a beautiful gift from the Lord that we can experience pleasures forever when our lives are over here. Living with our Lord and Savior in heaven is a deep gratification and satisfaction we can look forward to.
In this earthly life, we fail often, but God is always willing to pick us up and reroute and redirect our path.
Reroute and Redirect
What is the purpose of a navigation system? A navigation system is an instrument that determines the position of a vehicle and the route to a particular place. The car’s navigation system tells the driver to turn left or right at a specific junction. The navigation system uses GPS signals to determine the vehicle’s location and direction.
It is a valuable tool with many benefits, such as helping people reach their destination, tracking packages, locating vehicles, and more. It guides the cars by directing the drivers through congested areas.
It is similar to the way God directs us in our lives.
He shows us which way to turn—to the right or the left.
He signals us on which way to proceed or not proceed.
He helps us to reach the destination and call of our lives, and
God guides us continually through the rough times in our lives.
However, our navigation system must take its orders from the Lord. He will reroute and redirect our thoughts or actions if we genuinely want to follow His path.
I love the story about how God rerouted one young boy. In sharing with another, one older man said:
It’s true. I have had some terrible disappointments in my day, but none stands out like the one that came to me as a boy.
And what was that?
That was the night I crawled under a tent to see a circus—and found myself at a revival meeting!
God continually tries to woo us back to him. Relief may be found in a Bible verse that comes alive to us. It may be a friend directing us back to a godly life. It may come about after agonizing prayers to remove wishes or desires that are not beneficial to our spiritual health. But, no matter how God chooses to get our attention, it is up to us to choose His path.
We need to listen and obey Him. Live in His righteousness. Get on the path he has prepared for us. And if surrendering areas of our lives to His will seems complicated, remember to talk to the Lord about everything. We can ask for His help and protection to rid ourselves of untimely thoughts or actions.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6 NASB95).
A person’s mind plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps (Prov. 16:9).
This is the Life for Me!
After Scuffy’s journey away from his home, he says, “I wish I could find the man with the polka dot tie and little boy.” And soon, the man with the polka-dot tie reached out, picked him up, and brought him safely home. Scuffy learned that the grass wasn’t greener on the other side of the fence.
Scuffy’s path in life allowed him to experience adventures he initially enjoyed but became dangerous. He enjoyed some of life’s simple pleasures, but as he kept traveling along the river, he was jammed with logs and became scared of the river moving faster and faster. Then, the flood waters came until the little tugboat desired the warmth and safety of home.
And just like the man with the polka-dot tie who scooped Scuffy out of the water after his journey away and brought him home, God does the same for us when we choose to live for Him, decide against following unrighteous living, and allow him to reroute us when we stumble or get ahead of His will.
Let us live victoriously in his presence, along the paths He has prepared for us, because “this is the life for us!”
God bless you.
Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that I can be confident that You have a plan for my life. Thank you that I can trust that You will show me that plan in Your timing and in a way that honors You. Please give me the wisdom to acknowledge and follow Your plan quickly, without hesitation, so You can use me for Your glory before I meet You face-to-face. Why? Because Your way is the only life for me. Amen.
Bible Verses are located within this article.
Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible 95, The English Standard Version, The New International Version, and The Amplified Bible.
Barry, John D., et al., Faithful Study Bible, Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016.
Chinemerem, Barabas Iwuala. “How to Stop Navigation Using Google Assistant, Feb. 3, 2023. https://techqlik.com/how-stop-navigation-using-google-assistant.
Crampton, Gertrude. Scuffy the Tugboat and His Adventures Down the River. New York: A Golden Book, 1946, 1983.
The Speaker’s Desk Book, ed. Lawrence Hembree and the staff of Quote. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1967.
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As we drove to the mall, my 4-year-old son John Jr. intently waved his little American flag.
Then he stopped to ask, “Why is the United States flag important?” Impressed that he would ask such a patriotic question, I responded proudly by saying, “The flag is important because we live in the United States, and because we live in the United States, we have freedom.
Then he asked, “Mom, what’s freedom?” I said, “Freedom is like if I wanted chicken for dinner, I could buy chicken at the grocery store. Nobody tells me what we have to eat for dinner. I can decide for myself.”
After a short pause, John Jr. said, “Oh, I get it, Mom. Freedom is like if you give me chicken for dinner and I don’t want to eat it, I don’t have to.”
From the “mouth of babes,” is all this mom can say! 1988.
“Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all men; love the brotherhood; fear God, and honor the king (1 Peter 2:16-17 NASB).
God bless, and Happy Fourth of July. Let’s be grateful for our freedom.
Patti Greene is a Baylor University and Dallas Baptist University graduate, a Second Baptist Church -1463 member of Houston/Katy, TX, and the author of seven books.
Books by Patti
3 PRAYER JOURNALS – 3 BIBLE WORD SEARCH PUZZLES, AND A BOOK ON CHRISTIAN CAREGIVING.
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As a result of the February 2021 winter freeze, while my husband and I were out of town, our home was drastically damaged by an unattended pipe, which froze and burst. Movers had to come quickly to salvage what they could, resulting in things being thrown in any old box and brought to storage in whatever condition it was found.
Now that school is over for me, and it is two years later, I am finally trying to locate, unpack, and organize what wild and reckless packing looks like.
I thought I had lost everything in the picture above but I found disarrayed boxes in our new home’s garage. [Yes, we moved after seeing all our home’s destruction.]
In unpacking boxes, I found essential certificates, house deeds, my childhood stamp collection album, MANY articles I have written and published, blogs started but not finished, multiple rejection letters, and more that I have yet to discover. But I rejoice because I thought I had lost all these things, but this week I found them.
Honestly, I have been distraught thinking I lost all my writing and compilations over forty years!!!
However, now that my most precious items (except for my wedding dress) have been found, the time has come to sort through, throw away, salvage, and/or reorganize what I have valued and sunk my heart into for years.
Going through these piles is NOT my cup of tea, but I am excited to see what I thought was lost is now found – maybe mildewed and torn but found.
Just like I found boxes of my stuff, Jesus Christ finds us—possibly finding us mildewed, torn, and disarrayed, and He wants us to become aware of His love for us and make us part of His kingdom. He will not disregard us or throw us away. He wants to salvage us and reorganize our lives.
God allows us to choose between Him and the world.
He truly loves us and wants us to call upon His son Jesus Christ by asking Him to forgive our sins and place our faith and trust in Him. That, my friend, is called salvation with the promise of the Holy Spirit’s presence coming to abide in us forever.
A parable in Luke 15:24 says, “This son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found. And they began to celebrate.”
Patti Greene is a Baylor University and Dallas Baptist University graduate, a Second Baptist Church -1463 member of Houston/Katy, TX, and the author of seven books. The views expressed are those of the author.
Books by Patti
3 PRAYER JOURNALS – 3 BIBLE WORD SEARCH PUZZLES, AND A BOOK ON CHRISTIAN CAREGIVING.
To make a fabulous fudge cake, one needs shortening, unsweetened chocolate, water, sugar, vanilla, cake flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, eggs, and buttermilk in the prescribed measurements. If one ingredient is missing or mismeasured, the cake loses some scrumptiousness. When one blends the nature of God with an understanding of the gifts of the Spirit, one can experience supernatural unity and love in serving Christ through the opportunities He provides.
About the Apostle Paul
To understand spiritual gifts, one must look to the person primarily responsible for laying out the various gifts to humanity through his letters and preaching. Paul, formerly called Saul, was born into a Jewish family raised in Tarsus. He was a Roman citizen trained under rabbis. His education took place in Jerusalem. The Mishnah’s structure held that one was ready to learn the Scripture at five years old. (The Mishnah is a collection embodying the oral tradition of Jewish law.) They were ready for the Mishnah at ten years old, and one could study the Talmud at thirteen. (The Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law and theology.) Acts 22 mentions that Rabbi Gamaliel I, a high-ranking Sanhedrin, trained Paul. Paul was steeped in the Jewish culture. However, Saul mentions in Galatians 1:14 that he advanced beyond his contemporaries in Judaism and became zealous for the traditions held by his ancestors. This zealousness led him to persecute Christians until, in 35 A.D., on the Damascus Road, Christ appeared to him, resulting in a salvation experience. He was baptized into the Christian faith and followed God’s call to preach the gospel and travel from area to area, which became known as his three missionary journeys. During these journeys, Paul traveled from city to city, prison to prison. It was during this period that Paul wrote multiple letters to the churches. It is through these letters or visits that he shared about spiritual gifts. Paul’s single status is debated in many scholarly writings due to 1 Corinthians 7:7, where Paul states, “Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.”
Paul wrote to the Christian congregation in Corinth during the first century after receiving some unwelcome news of division and sin in their congregation. The best source to answer the following questions comes directly from some of the most famous Bible verses on Spiritual Gifts.
What are Spiritual Gifts?
Ministry Tools Resource Center defines a spiritual gift as “a special divine empowerment bestowed on each believer by the Holy Spirit to accomplish a given ministry God’s way according to His grace and discernment to be used within the context of the Body of Christ,” i.e., teaching,
Moreover, we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us. Let each exercise them according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith, if service, in his service, or he who teaches in his teaching: or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness (Rom. 12:6-8).
There are various gifts but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of ministries and the same Lord. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and other gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and another the distinguishing of spirits, to other various kinds of tongues, and another the interpretation of tongues (1 Cor. 12:4-10).
And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, and third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues (1 Cor. 12:28).
Who Gives Spiritual Gifts?
But none and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills (1 Cor. 12:11).
And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons (1 Cor. 12:6).
For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ (Eph. 4:12-13).
How are Spiritual Gifts to be Used?
If I speak with the tongues of men and angels but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I have nothing . . .
But now abide faith, hope, and love but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13: 1-13).
1 Corinthians 13 is commonly known as the love chapter; it makes a claim to fame in many wedding ceremonies. Separating it from 1 Corinthians 12:31 would be unfortunate since it sets the context that love is a pivotal point and the “greatest” attribute connecting with one’s spiritual gifts.
This love chapter contains three major sections. First, Vv. 1-3 declares that if one speaks but does not have love, it sounds like a “clanging symbol,” which refers to the famous bronze products made in Corinth. Second, Vv. 4-7 describes an agape love, the self-sacrificing love God desires from His children. Third, Vv. 8-13, Paul stresses love in relationship to spiritual gifts and concludes by stating in the last verse in the chapter—”But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
American theologian and author Richard L. Pratt said, “If there is any similarity between the modern church and the ancient church, it lies in our failure to love. In fact, by most accounts, we are often worse than the Corinthians. At least the Corinthians had managed to remain united as a single church. They had not split their fellowship, even though they had abused it. Most Christians today tend to be self-centered. They do not place others first, and they certainly do not commit themselves to living the love of which Paul spoke.”
To be continued. . .
Spiritual Gifts, Part 2 – Coming Next: Categories of Spiritual Gifts and Definitions
Prayer: Heavenly Father, as I learn more about spiritual gifts, please open my eyes to see what you have given me to be used for your glory. I want to honor and serve you. Thank you. Me
This article may not be reproduced except for written permission from the author. For the full annotated paper and bibliography, please get in touch with me through the comment section of this article.
3 PRAYER JOURNALS – 3 BIBLE WORD SEARCH PUZZLES AND A BOOK ON CHRISTIAN CAREGIVING.
Today I have been pondering all the special churches, ministries, and church staff members who have grown our family in one way or another, so I want to thank them publicly! Each one has been special in its own kind of way.
University Baptist Church, Ft. Worth, Texas
Houston’s First Baptist Church, Houston, Texas
Autumn Creek Baptist Church, Houston, Texas
Calvary Community Church, Houston, Texas
First Baptist Church, Humble, Texas
First Baptist Church, O’Fallon, Missouri
Bear Creek Church, Katy, Texas
Lively Christian Fellowship, Lagos, Nigeria
*Second Baptist-1463, Katy, Texas
Then, there are those special churches our three children have attended and grown in their faith–after they left home! I am so grateful for them as well!
Second Baptist-West, Katy, Texas; *Houston’s First Baptist Church; Second Baptist, Levelland, Texas; First Baptist Church, Lubbock; Hyde Park Baptist Church, Austin, Texas; Redeemer Church, Babson Park, Massachusetts; Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas; Oak Hills Church, San Antonio Texas; Experience Life Church, Lubbock, Texas; *Kingsland Baptist Church, Katy, Texas; and *City Church, Lubbock, Texas!
If you are one of those churches, THANK YOU! Church members come and go from congregation to congregation, but they all leave a mark on our lives. I am so grateful for solid Bible-believing churches that have been a part of my husband, John, and our lives.
If you don’t have a church, take this as an ENCOURAGEMENT POST to seek one out next Sunday. Yoking together with others IS all it is made up to be.
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Following Christ involves denying ourselves to follow Him. Jesus said, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23 NASB1995). This verse is crucial for Christian leaders to heed. Barnabas’ years in ministry possessed a heart intent on following Jesus. This goal was accomplished using Jesus’ style of leadership—servant leadership.
Barnabas was born and raised on the island of Cyprus. His training and upbringing stemmed from him being a Levite of Jewish descent. His name occurs twenty-three times in the Book of Acts and five times in the letters that the Apostle Paul wrote. Before Jesus’ disciples called him Barnabas, Acts 4:36 says he was called Joseph (Joses) which means “Son of Encouragement.” Luke interprets Barnabas into the Greek words huios paraclete’s, which may well be translated as “son of encouragement,” “son of comfort,” or “Son of Exhortation.” Some say it could mean “son of a prophet,” but then doubts are cast why Luke calls him the “Son of Encouragement.” Some scholars question why Paul calls him the “son of encouragement in Acts.
Barnabas’ central timeline includes selling property and giving the profits to the Jerusalem church, meeting and introducing Paul to the church in Jerusalem, being commissioned to travel to Syrian Antioch to evaluate what was happening with the preaching and Christianity there, leading the first missionary journey with Paul, set out on a missionary journey with his cousin John Mark, and an instrumental leader in Cyprus, Antioch, and Jerusalem.
Barnabas’ Qualities, Strengths, and Weaknesses
Throughout the Book of Acts, one sees qualities of generosity, encouragement, leadership, loyalty, friendship, consistency in being a team player, and a love for God. His focus on the mission God had prepared for him is evident through his words and actions.
Godly character and behavior remained pivotal throughout Barnabas’ life. His strong personality was built by his love and dedication to his salvation and call upon his life. Due to this, Barnabas naturally had multiple strengths.
Big-hearted: When Barnabas sold his land to give to the early Christian community, that behavior was rare then. Could it be that this was one of the first relief work missions that one sees from the New Testament?
Persuasive: In Jerusalem, Barnabas received a cool reception because the disciples could not believe that Paul had changed from a persecutor to a follower of Jesus. Barnabas persuaded them, and they eventually thought he was a disciple of Christ.
Loyal: Barnabas was faithful to John Mark when he abandoned his work on the first missionary journey. He did not allow the disagreement when Paul refused to have John Mark participate in the second missionary journey to affect their relationship. Due to the encouragement of Barnabas, vital contributions from both Paul and Mark have been made to the Christian faith and the New Testament.
Exceptional evangelist: Many souls were saved as he traveled from city to city, church to church
Discerning: Barnabas discerned that Paul’s character had been transformed from a sinner to a believer in Jesus Christ.
Humble: Barnabas followed wherever he was needed. He did not show one-upmanship or comparison to other people as he lived his life.
Filled with the Holy Spirit: Barnabas would not have been able to minister as he did without the Holy Spirit leading and guiding him.
Encourager: As an encourager, he could keep the peace with Paul through a lasting friendship and encourage those he met along his life journey.
Few weaknesses are evident in the Bible. However, one weakness found was hypocrisy. One can only assume that if one backslides and is not living for the Lord, the Holy Spirit’s evidence in their life would wane. It is unknown if Barnabas experienced a dip in his spiritual life, but there is no evidence in the Bible of any other faults. Regarding hypocrisy, Paul accused Peter and others (including Barnabas) of being hypocrites because they separated themselves and feared the circumcision party. Paul mentions that “even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy” (Gal. 2:13). Not knowing the heart of Barnabas on this matter, this weakness may or may not be accurate since we should never judge others primarily based on the word of only one person and this one incident.
Principles and Issues on Leadership
Many secular scholars over the years have tried to conceptualize and define leadership. Peter G. Northouse defines leadership: “Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.” While that is a helpful definition, Jesus’ life and lifestyle would be more appropriate if one were to look for the Biblical description and qualities a leader should possess. C. Gene Wilkes discusses seven servant leadership principles. These principles are seen in one degree or another in Barnabas.
Jesus humbled himself and allowed God to exalt him.
Jesus followed his Father’s will rather than seek a position
Jesus defined greatness as being a servant and being first as becoming a slave.
Jesus risked serving others because he trusted that he was God’s Son
Jesus left his place at the head table to serve the needs of others
Jesus shared responsibility and authority with those he called to lead
Jesus built a team to carry out a worldwide vision.
Barnabas’ leadership qualities are detected in various locations in the Bible that closely mimic the same leadership model Jesus portrayed.
Barnabas’ humility and generosity are recognized in Acts 4:37 where he sold a tract of his land, brought the money, and laid it at the apostle’s feet to be appropriated as needed in the Jerusalem church.
Barnabas’ belief that people can change for the good is noted in Acts 9:26-27 when the disciples were afraid of Paul. Barnabas described to the apostles that he had talked to Paul and that he had spoken out boldly for Jesus.
In Acts 15:35, Barnabas is regarded as a leader proclaiming the word of the Lord. His leadership is also seen in his involvement with the Council of Jerusalem. It was there that Paul and Barnabas were given “the right hand of fellowship, that we might go to the Gentiles” to proclaim God’s message of salvation (Gal. 2:9).
Barnabas continued in Jesus’ footsteps by being a risk taker. When Paul would not allow John Mark to accompany him on his second missionary journey, he took John Mark under his wing, and they proceeded to proclaim the Lord to the world, even though John Mark deserted them on the first missionary journey.
Serving others through his preaching, teaching, and mentoring was everyday behavior for Barnabas. In Acts 13:42-43, the people in the synagogue begged Paul and Barnabas to continue to speak to them. Both these men served the Lord by encouraging them to continue in the grace of God.
Barnabas loved God and recognized God’s authority over his life. In Jesus on Leadership, Wilkes says, “Barnabas’s relationship to God helped him see past the fear of others and come alongside Paul who would ultimately take the message of Jesus to all people groups.” Last, Barnabas did build a close-knit team by mentoring Paul and John Mark. However, he also left the mark of Jesus upon all the churches and cities he traveled sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Synthesis: How Barnabas’ Leadership is Applied to Ministry Settings
Studying the life of Barnabas brings many principles that one can bring to a servant leadership style. Values arising from these principles may be valuable to any believer—those working in a secular or Christian environment.
Like Barnabas did, striving, desiring, and working toward a life of holiness is essential to one’s spiritual growth and ability to lead. His lifestyle was built on character, integrity, and submission to the Lord. His determination steered him to possess and retain God’s heart. He lived and served as Jesus did, and Jesus’ influence led him to behave and interact lovingly with others. Standing up for what is right and acknowledging God as our strength in our ministries creates a life that others will want to emulate. Honesty and honest work are vital, as well. Leading like Christ and behaving like Christ is how ministry workers should behave and lead. Just as Barnabas served people, so must those in ministry. However, how is that done? Author and Pastor C. G. Wilkes says, “Servant and leader stand together as a model for those entrusted with the well-being of a group. Leaders who follow the example and teachings of Jesus will lead first as servants.” My personal goal for ministry leadership lines up with Wilkes’s beliefs, and that is to pray for humility, patience, a desire to put others before me, take risks, and equip others well.
Believers are all sinners—even Barnabas. The Apostle Paul writes a summation verse that encompasses how we can live in our fallen nature.
Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14).
Pressing on toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus is a worthy goal. When that goal is in the forefront of a believer’s mind, as it was with Barnabas, servant leadership will follow.
Legend says this Barnabas died a martyr’s death at Salamis in AD 61. He is remembered as being possibly one of the seventy mentioned in Luke 10:1 and the traditional founder of the Cypriot Church. Most would agree with Norman Blackaby and Wilkes that, Barnabas’ leadership, and character “made a lasting difference in the lives of millions because he demonstrated the heart of God.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we see Barnabas relating to others, let me have the same qualities as he had. I want to be more generous. I want to encourage others and be loyal to my friends and family. Help me, Jesus to continue to have a love for all things of God and to put others before myself. You are a good God and I love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
This article may not be reproduced except for written permission from the author. For the full annotated paper and bibliography, please get in touch with me through the comment section of this article. [This paper was written for a college academic research class by Patti Greene.]
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble online!
Note: All linked Bible verses come from the NASB1995 version.
“Barnabas.” in Lexham Bible Dictionary. Logos Bible Software, accessed June 2, 2022. www.logos.com.
Brooks, James. “Barnabas.” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. revised ed. edited by Chad Brand, Eric Mitchell, and Holman Reference Editorial Staff.
Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2015.
Barnabas. (2002). In R. Brownrigg, Who’s who in the New Testament, Routledge (2nd ed.). Routledge. Credo Reference:
[Email followers: Click the title to see this article in its web version.]
The Pilot and Passengers
The airplane pilot calmly addressed the passengers.
“We are experiencing trouble with the left engine. We are currently talking to Chicago about the problem. Maintenance will be arriving soon. We will try to start the plane again, wait for a period of time, and try to start the engine again. Please sit tight while we address this problem.”
I sat in seat 14F on the tarmac for two and a half hours when the pilot addressed the issue. I wondered why they did not get all the passengers off this plane and onto another plane. Why stress us all out wondering if it were our last day on earth or whether angels intervened to make us safe? At this juncture, all the passengers and I could do was trust the pilot.
The Left Engine
But why all the concern with the left engine? I get it now that I am off the plane and can indulge in mindless research. The left engine is the engine that, if it fails, will have the most adverse effect on the control and performance of the aircraft. To understand why the left engine is critical, one must also understand the right engine. The right engine’s slipstream does not strike the rudder and does not affect the aircraft’s control. Still, if the right engine were to fail, the left engine’s slipstream would counteract the airplane’s instability and deviation toward the dead engine, assisting in aircraft control.  However, this same positive counteraction does not occur if the left engine encounters trouble.
Trusting God in our Spiritual Life
I compare the left engine to our spiritual life. In life, we sometimes have trust issues—some rational, some not! Regardless of our problems and issues, we have a heavenly Father to support us in our time of need. When Jesus’ disciples thought they would perish in the storm, Jesus came to the rescue calming the storm. He can do the same for us today because sometimes we veer off in the wrong direction (Mark 4:35-41).
On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side.”After dismissing the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him.And a fierce gale of wind developed, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling with water. And yet Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who, then, is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
So, how is your “left engine?” Just like how the pilot kept reassuring us that all would be okay, God, the creator of heaven and earth, reassures us continually that He has everything under control.
Let us all be diligent in maintaining our spiritual life—our left engine. We must keep our leverage firmly planted in Jesus Christ, His Word, and in prayer because it will be critical if our left engine fails!
They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: Put your trust in the Lord your God and you will endure. Put your trust in His prophets, and succeed” (2 Chronicles 20:20).
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the Lord (Psalm 4:5).
I will raise my eyes to the mountains; From where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who watches over you will not slumber (Psalm 121:1-3).
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Trust in the Lord forever, For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock (Isaiah 26:4).
Lord, give me your guidance at all times. Let Your Holy Spirit lead me through conviction, other people, the Bible, and prayer. Allow me to see where I am veering away from You, so that I may fix it before my left engine—my spiritual compass— gets off track. Gently allow me to recognize Your plan for my life and give me the trust I need in You to believe wholeheartedly that You are where my trust needs to be—always. Amen.
 “The Critical Engine.” Accessed May 26, 2022. www.thebackseatpilot/critical engine
All verses are taken from the NASB.
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A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller is a beautifully written book with enriching insights into this Old Testament chapter. Using the New International Version, the author takes the six verses in the chapter and describes his “shepherd insights” so his audience can revel in the spiritual truths of seeing the Lord as mankind’s shepherd, restorer of soul, comforter, and more.
Phillip Keller (1920-1997), author of this one-hundred thirty-one-page compact book, gained widespread accolades for his authorship of this book. Being born in East Africa, the son of missionaries, Keller became familiar with the open air, nature, and shepherding. Subsequently, Keller traveled the world as a nature photographer and an expert in the science of soil management and crop production. These life experiences prepared Keller to author this book and his other thirty-five Christian books.
A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23is written by someone who valued his early life being raised in the outdoors, while David wrote Psalm 23 when he was fleeing and wandering from place to place to avoid King Saul. David was exposed and defenseless., “Today, this is not the case. Many who either read or study the Scriptures in this twenty-first century come from an urban, manufactured environment. They miss the truth because they are not familiar with such things as sheep, wheat, soil, or grapes.” Keller compares how shepherding sheep calls for attention and care to how he desires man to come under the shepherding of our tender and gentle Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Keller achieves his goal by taking each of the six verses in Psalm 23 and explaining that “One of the outstanding marks of a Christian should be a serene sense of gentle contentment.”
Keller’s purpose is to lead people to transformation and behavior change by yearning for Jesus’ presence in their lives. Like the sheep have their shepherd’s presence, one’s behavior will change to follow Jesus’ will for their life. Transformation is an important goal that Keller wants his audience to understand. He wants the Lord to be our shepherd and live by the Holy Spirit’s direction in our life. Keller shows how this purpose is obtainable by explaining the necessary requirements to lie down and trust the shepherd, Jesus. For example, the book states, “Instead of loving myself most, I am willing to love Christ best and others more than myself” and “Instead of exercising and asserting my will, I am willing to learn to cooperate with His wishes and comply with His will.”
Some will find Keller’s thesis clearly stated at the end of the book, although its presence is noted throughout its twelve chapters. Keller sums up his thesis when he states, “For when all is said and done on the subject of a successful Christian walk, it can be summed up on one general sentence, “Live ever aware of God’s presence” through Keller’s analogies, similes, and metaphors throughout the book—comparing sheep and shepherds to man and Jesus Christ, an accomplished book was birthed.
We see this thesis in many illustrations throughout the book. In Chapter Eight, titled “Your Rod and Your Staff, They Comfort Me,” the shepherd’s staff primarily guides sheep, whereas, in our walk with God, God’s Holy Spirit will guide us to lead us into all truth (John 16:13). Another comparison between the sheep and man can be seen when young David leads his flock of sheep by keeping them safe whereas one’s “Good Shepherd” goes ahead of us, anticipating danger and praying that one might not depart from the Lord or perish.
Keller’s main points that accomplish his thesis and purpose are displayed in each Bible verse he mentions throughout the book. He wonderfully blends the culture of the day within this psalm. The psalm communicates the sheep’s transformation and humanity’s purpose to transform and lie in God’s holy presence.
A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23did not explicitly state its purpose and thesis until later in the book. However, it was apparent that the author’s underlying approach was to show a parallel between the shepherds and sheep and man to God while calling for a transformation and life in His presence.
Keller’s claims and arguments are well-supported. One illustration the author used came from Chapter 10 when he talked about how sheep are troubled by nose flies and fly around a sheep’s head, then hatch to form larvae. Eventually, irritation and severe inflammation occur. He proceeds to compare how applying an antidote to their heads changed their behavior upon many applications. In the same way, Keller tells us that we must continually come to Him for our daily anointing of God’s presence. Illustrations like this are a powerful testimony to what is needed to get back on the right and productive track.
The strengths in Keller’s book abound. He was raised in a rural area, a Christian home, contributing to this book’s strength. From the gorgeous cover on the gift edition to the beautiful well-placed photographs in the book to the elegant, simple language used. Keller had a comprehensive view of shepherding as he shepherded a flock for many years. His perspective allowed him to have a unique view on the topic. Another positive in Keller’s book includes insightful Biblical principles from each chapter, which coexists with Keller’s shepherding approach, as shown below.
Chapter 1: God is our shepherd. One needs to deny themselves and belong to Him.
Chapter 2: When depending on Christ, contentment comes.
Chapter 3: By having God in one’s life, behavior changes.
Chapter 4: Being in Christ’s presence guides life’s directions.
Chapter 5: God is our shepherd. He knows what He is doing.
Chapter 6: Willingness to do what God wants is beneficial.
Chapter 7: Thank God for difficulties in life.
Chapter 8: Reading the Bible gives spiritual understanding.
Chapter 9: God knows all our circumstances—good and evil.
Chapter 10: People should have Christ and the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Chapter 11: Trust in God’s goodness and mercy.
Chapter 12: Live in God’s presence.
The disadvantage some see in this book revolves around Keller’s lack of formal education. However, when one reads Acts 4:13, we see how uneducated and untrained men can be used in ministry equally. When the rulers, elders, and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem, “they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13 NIV). A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 is read by people from various backgrounds and social statuses. Many proficient authors educate themselves through their life experiences and personal Bible study. Another disadvantage is that Keller does not connect the chapter title with its corresponding Bible verse in the Contents or for each chapter. Additionally, the book could have included both an index and a glossary, which would help the reader.
All people could benefit from this book—those who rejoice in the Lord and those with affliction, Bible teachers, and more. Being so awed by this book, I immediately bought a copy for my friend, who is reading it one chapter at a time, and following up her reading with intentional meditation and contemplation. This is the type of book I would love to read or reread wrapped up in a blanket, on a cold, snowy day, with the fireplace aglow.
I do value this book tremendously. One reason is that I have a blog titled “Greene Pastures” located at GreenePastures.org. There is an “e” at the end of Greene because that is how I spell my last name, plus GreenPastures was already taken as a domain name. Second, I love reading innovative ideas and commentaries. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 falls under that category.
Keller’s writings contain a plethora of common sense and easy-to-understand Biblical principles. I have not read his other books, but I will choose a few to read in the future—The High Cost of Holiness and Elijah: Prophet of Power. Keller is a man who has been used mightily by God to encourage transformation and living in God’s presence. His influence spans the globe, and I wholeheartedly recommend A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.
Keller, W. Phillip. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.
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Are you looking for a Bible study to teach or to work on yourself?
Below you will find a Bible study on Psalm 51 that can be worked on at any time. By studying straight from the Bible, my prayer is that you will discover spiritual truth and direction in your life or in the lives of others.
Read 2 Samuel 11:1-27 and 2 Samuel 12:1-25 for background information about King David’s sin and Nathan’s rebuke of him. This will enhance your understanding of the Bible study lesson.
A few years ago, a man wrote to Dear Abby needing help. The article titled, “Dear Abby, Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide.” This man had been married for 19 years and had two children. He fooled around, convincing himself that the women knew what they were doing and that he never promised them anything. His affairs became public, and his reputation was in ruins. He asked “Dear Abby” to provide a solution. He signed off calling himself Shattered in Louisiana. ¹
We find a similar real-life story in the fourth and most well-known penitential psalm, Psalm 51. Penitential psalms are psalms that express deep sorrow leading to a person’s true repentance of sin. Most scholars claim that King David wrote this psalm, or if not, by someone who knew the extent of the deep suffering he experienced. This prayer psalm was written after Nathan, the prophet, confronted David about his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. King David was on his palace rooftop when many say he should have been with his men in battle. He looks out and sees Bathsheba bathing. He asks his men to fetch her and bring her back to the palace, where he has sex with her. She becomes pregnant. David arranges for her husband to come home from battle, anticipating that he will sleep with her and then he would take the responsibility of fatherhood. However, being an honorable man, Uriah does not go into Bathsheba and camps in tents away from her presence. David arranges for Uriah to be killed in battle. 
As a married woman, what do these two stories speak to you about being faithful in marriage?
KING DAVID’S CALL FOR MERCY, FORGIVENESS, REPENTANCE, AND CLEANSING. Read Psalm 51:1-2.
The King James Version uses the word mercy to describe what David wants from God. He is crying out to God for help. David’s goal is for God to blot out his sin, so he can be cleansed and resume fellowship with Him. To grasp how the Bible looks at blotting, cleansing, and washing away sins, refer to Isaiah 43:25, Leviticus 11:32, and Isaiah 1:18, respectively. He is aware that he willfully rebelled against God and is grieved. David is ready to confess his sin and have fellowship with God again. Today, our sins are covered by Jesus’ death on the cross.
Describe a time you reached a breaking point, and you called out to God for forgiveness?
RECOGNITION OF SIN. Read Psalm 51:3-6.
David begins to openly concede he has sinned. In verse 3, David acknowledges that his sin is “ever before me.” Although he knows his sin was towards Bathsheba, Uriah, and the entire nation of Israel, he is addressing his grave sin toward God. His sin against the LORD was the most offensive. David shows his seriousness when talking of his sin by calling it EVIL.
What does David’s example teach us about the seriousness of sin?
In verse 5, David is now ready to accept whatever judgment God may choose for him. David recognizes that he was born in sin in verse 5. He is not using that as an excuse for his sin, but he acknowledges that he is human. All humankind has a sinful nature within them. Here it is important that one mustn’t think David is criticizing conception or birth, but that he is just conversing with God regarding what he understands about human nature. Moving to verse 6, we find David wanting God’s truth to be within his innermost being.
In the Compact Bible Commentary, the inward parts are described as “a rare word in the Hebrew Bible, indicating something clouded over, difficult for anyone to see but God.” ² David trusted God so much that he does not mind God searching for his innermost being. These verses conclude with David desiring wisdom—God’s wisdom. 
In James 1:5, what does James say we should do if we lack wisdom?
PURIFICATION, HYSSOP, SNOW, AND BONES. Read Psalm 51:7-9.
These verses contain the phrases, “purify me, wash me, make me hear joy and gladness, let my broken bones rejoice, and hide thy face from my sins.” David is pleading for cleansing from his sin. Verse 7 mentions hyssop. Hyssop was a bush whose stems were dipped in blood or water and then sprinkled on people who needed cleansing. See Leviticus 14:4 and Numbers 19:6. Ceremonial hyssop was used on lepers and others during this period. Today, we receive our cleansing from the mighty blood of Jesus Christ. David desires true repentance and pleads for a clean heart—one that will wash him, make him joyful, and heal him. He wants his life to be as white as snow. When a person accepts Christ, there are testimonies of how they feel so clean and pure inside. That is David’s desire to have his life like that again. He also wants his sins hidden from the LORD. Verse 8 is intriguing. David declares how his sin has affected his eyes and bones. It is easy to deduce that more had been affected as well. Keep in mind that when we sin, our sin does affect us. We can become depressed, ill, and even suicidal. We should take a special interest in caring for our friends and loved ones if we see their destructive behavior. Verse 9 circles back around to David desiring God to blot out his sin. (See Psalm 51:1) This repetition shows that David really is serious about repenting of all his sin.
What matters most in David’s life at this point is God’s forgiveness. What matters most in your life, and how is God intertwined in the matter?
CENTRAL VERSE EXPRESSING THE HEART OF DAVID. Read Psalm 51:10-12.
The central verse (theological principle) in this Bible study comes in Psalm 51:10 when David says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David desires to be renewed, restored, and transformed. In verse 10, the word create is the same word used in Genesis 1:1, which states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God in His power called the world into being, and God in his power can cleanse David from his agonizing sin. David wants a new heart and a new spirit. He recognizes that he cannot do this by himself. It is up to God. We see God cleansing Israel and giving Israel a new heart and spirit in Ezekiel 36:25-27. This concept is very similar to Psalm 51 where it speaks of sprinkling water on the Israelites for cleansing, giving them a new heart and a new spirit, and allowing them to walk in His ways again. David wants to be in God’s presence again when he says he does not want to be cast from God’s presence in verse 11. He wants God’s Spirit, and he is ready to do the Lord’s will. In our life, we do not want to quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Striving to keep ourselves clean from sin is necessary for God’s Holy Spirit to move in our lives and keep us from temptation. Compare to Acts 15:8-9.
While the LORD did forgive David, there were still consequences to his sin, one being the death of his son when he was 7-days old. (2 Samuel 12:18) What outcomes have you seen in your or other peoples’ lives due to sin?
Verse 12 speaks of regaining the joy of one’s salvation. David wants that “feeling” of purity and love for God back into his life. He wants it to be a sustainable feeling as well. He does not want to lose fellowship with his LORD again.
Describe a time you or someone you know lost fellowship with God but then had it restored.
SINNERS CONVERTED, RIGHTEOUSNESS DELIVERED, RIGHTEOUS SACRIFICE, AND A BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART. Read Psalm 51: 13-17.
In verses 13-15, David expresses his desire to be of service to God. He wants to teach others (sinners) and take what he has experienced and learned to help others. He wants to see people restored as he had been. It is a glorious event when we see others offering themselves up to serve God. Romans 5:20b eloquently states, “but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” David recognized his sin, and now that he has experienced restoration, he wanted to share God’s righteousness with others. Verse 14 speaks, delivering David from bloodguiltiness. Scholars believe this refers to Uriah’s blood. David experienced forgiveness for all his sins. He got right with God.
What does God call David in Psalm 51:14?
Have you ever experienced God’s gift of salvation? Would you like to share your salvation testimony with the class?
DELIGHT IN GOD. Read Psalm 51: 18-19.
When we look at verses 18 and 19, David is longing for God’s security. This is what he is referring to when he says, “Build the walls of Jerusalem” The walls were to be a security to God’s holy city, and that is how he wants his heart to be—secure in His LORD and to delight in Him. David gave God the sacrifice He desired, his heart. He is ready to be “the man after God’s own heart” that many call him today.
Where can we find our security in God?
APPLYING THE TEXT.
· God is gracious and compassionate; therefore, when we repent, He forgives and cleanses us.
· Sin is serious and destructive.
· We must cry out to God to create a clean heart in us.
· God desires a broken and contrite heart from us.
· Once true repentance occurs, we are restored and able to delight in the Lord, our God.
CONCLUSION: REMEMBER THE MAN IN ADULTERY. Read Psalm 51:17.
At the beginning of this study, a man asked Dear Abby for advice on dealing with his guilt over affairs, leaving him thinking of suicide. Dear Abby’s answer was purposely not shared. There is only one solution for this man. It is to follow King David’s path calling on the LORD to wash him, cleanse him, and seek repentance in Jesus Christ. Then, in God’s grace, he will become pure. His broken spirit can be healed, and he can face life with a renewed heart and spirit. If not, he will remain Shattered in Louisiana.
Dear Heavenly Father.
Thank you for washing me clean when I transgress against You. Lead me away from sin. Give me wisdom so that I can live with a pure heart. Keep my spirit steadfast in You. Lord, I want to be in Your presence always. Let me sing Your praises. Give me a broken and contrite heart so that I can praise You always.
In Christ Alone, Amen.
Carson, D.A., R.T. France, J.A. Motyer, and G.J. Wenham, eds. New Bible Commentary. Downsers
Grove: Intervarsity, 1994.
Hays, J. Daniel and J. Scott Duvall, eds. The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook. Grand Rapids: Baker
Hill, Andrew E. and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.
Pfeiffer, Charles F. and Everett F. Harrison, eds. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Chicago: Moody
Radmacher, Earl, Ron Allen, H. Wayne House. Compact Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson,
Van Buren, Abagail, "Dear Abby: Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide," Accessed 4
Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Bible: Old Testament, Job—Song of Solomon. Colorado Springs,
David C. Cook, 2004.
Radmacher, Earl, Ron Allen, H. Wayne House, Compact Bible Commentary, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004. 378.
Permission: I, Patti Greene, am the copyright owner of the above material titled Psalm 51: Bible Study. I consent to use this material with the expressed purpose of individual or group Bible Study only. Please give credit to the author by including: “Written by Patti Greene @ GreenePastures.org for use in Bible studies only.”
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