First Baptist Church of Gurley
Pastor Shane Rodriguez
Posted on October 23rd, 2016

Psalm 29 is significant because David penned it as he observed a particularly violent and frightening thunderstorm. The psalm can easily be divided into three sections: the duty of giving praise and glory to God (vv. 1, 2), the description of the storm (vv. 3-9), and the deep impression this made on David (vv. 10, 11).  It is that middle section that captures our attention, for in it David uses the word voice seven times, likening the sounds of the storm to the very voice of God. The Hebrew here is qôl, which appears more than 500 times in the OT and refers primarily to a sound made with vocal cords, as in speech (Gen. 27:22), singing (Exod. 32:18), and even laughter (Jer. 30:19), but also to other sounds (e.g., Jer. 47:3; Exod. 19:16; 1 Kings 14:6; Nah. 3:2).  In Genesis 3:8, the now fallen Adam and Eve "heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." One of the ancient Targums—these were oral Aramaic "interpretive renderings" (not translations) of the OT made from the second century to about the seven century A.D. —paraphrases: "the voice of the Word of the Lord God." While there has been some debate concerning what Adam and Eve heard in the garden, it seems quite obvious—they heard the Word of the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Himself as He walked in the Garden. In His incarnation, He was "the Word [who] was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14), and it appears He communed with our first parents in that perfect world.  Oh, how crucial it is that we listen to God's voice! At times that voice will be as a roar of thunder (Exod. 19:16-19; Ps. 18:13), for God needs to get our attention. More often it will be "a still small voice" (or, "a sound of soft stillness," 1 Kings 19:12), requiring us to be absolutely silent and listen. God's voice also comes through the men of God who preach and proclaim His Word (Exod. 3:18; Deut. 18:16-19; Jonah 3:2; Rom. 10:14, 15; 2 Tim. 4:1-4; see also March 15-17).  Scriptures for Study: What are the tragedy and challenge of Psalm 81:10-12?  What, then, is the command of Psalms 95:7-9 and 103:20? (A Hebrew Word for the Day: Key Words from the Old Testament by Dr. J. D. Watson)

In the Shadow of the King,

Pastor Shane


Posted on October 9th, 2016

​What a glorious "Jehovah-compound" we consider today! Jeremiah 23:5, 6 declares, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness." This verse is a messianic prophecy. The background of it appears in 2 Kings 24:8-17. Upon his father Jehoiakim's death, Jehoiachin took the throne of Judah at a mere eighteen years of age, but sadly, like his father, "did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord" (v. 9). After Jehoiachin had been on the throne for only three months, however, the Babylonians invaded, destroying Jerusalem and taking the people into captivity, just as Jeremiah had foretold (Jer. 1:14, 15; 5:15; 6:22-26).  The most devastating result of the deportation of Jehoiachin (also called "Coniah" and "Jeconiah") was the ending of the Davidic dynasty (22:24-26, 30). It is in 23:5-6, however, that Jeremiah declares that God promises to raise up David again in the form of "a righteous Branch" and "a King," and this is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.  Further, and most significant of all, the name of this coming King would be THE Lord OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Appearing some 117 times (most often in Psalms and Isaiah), the Hebrew noun ṣedeq, which forms the basis of ṣidqēnû, primarily speaks of that which conforms to a moral, ethical standard, or norm, and is often connected to the term justice (Ps. 119:106; Isa. 58:2). Because of their fallen nature, men do not want a moral or ethical standard, as illustrated by Israel's own repeated rebellion, which caused their captivity. Why are many people today fighting to remove the Ten Commandments from the courtroom? It is simply because with God's moral and ethical standard plastered on the wall, men are condemned before court is even in session.  God is not only righteous in Himself—He lives up to His own perfect moral and ethical standard—but He also produces righteousness in those He saves through Christ. While many in pulpits today go out of their way to avoid mentioning sin, salvation is about sin and righteousness, that is, our sin and Christ's righteousness, which saves us from our sin.  Scriptures for Study: Read that great description of the coming Messiah in Isaiah 11:1-11, which speaks not only of His first coming but His second as well. (A Hebrew Word for the Day: Key Words from the Old Testament by Dr. J. D. Watson) 

In the Shadow of the King,

​Pastor Shane

Posted on October 2nd, 2016

David uses pālāʾ and peleʾ three times in that great psalm of praise to God's Word. He refers first to the "wondrous things" of God's law (Ps. 119:18), then to God's "wondrous works" that he can understand only through God's precepts (v. 27), and finally to God's wonderful testimonies (v. 129). There is, indeed, no better word that sums up the Word of God than wonderful. Ponder briefly ten wonders of the Bible:  First, its unique authorship, as it was written over a 1,600-year time span, by some forty authors from every walk of life, in different locations, and in different languages. Second is its complete unity of thought and teaching, presenting only one view of God, one view of sin, one method of salvation, and one program for the ages. Third is its central theme, the Lord Jesus Christ. The OT points to Him, the Gospels present Him, and the Epistles propagate Him. Fourth, it was written in superior languages. Hebrew is a pictorial, personal language that graphically recorded God's mighty acts. Aramaic was the local language of Palestine and served to link the OT and NT through the Lord Jesus and His apostles. The exactness of the Greek then precisely expressed the theological truths of the NT. Fifth; it is unmatched in sale and circulation, passing the two-billion-copies-in-print mark long ago and is still selling twenty-five million copies a year.  Sixth, its prophetic accuracy is astounding, with many ancient prophecies fulfilled to the letter, such as: the returning of the Jews to their own land (Ezek. 36), the utter destruction of Tyre and that it would never again be inhabited or rebuilt (Ezek. 26), and, of course, the many Messianic prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. Seventh, its archeological authentication is equally astonishing; in response to the denial of the biblical record by critics, the existence of many biblical cities has been proved by the archeologist's spade, such as: Ur of the Chaldees, Megiddo, and Jericho. Eighth, its scientific accuracy is also without flaw, providing us with absolutely accurate facts about Creation, astronomy, and even diet. Ninth, its agelessness—it is as up-to-date now as when it was penned. Tenth, its indestructibility is established by the thousands of manuscripts that have survived the ravages of time and that its truth has survived the violence of both direct attack (physical destruction) and critical attack (historical and textual challenge).  Oh, the wonders of God's Word!  Scriptures for Study: In Psalm 119:129, what should our response be to knowing the wonderful testimonies of God's Word? (A Hebrew Word for the Day: Key Words from the Old Testament by Dr. J. D. Watson) 

In the Shadow of the King,

Pastor Shane

Posted on September 5th, 2016

What a picture Psalm 119:105 paints for us! "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." We can picture a lone traveler walking in a forbidding wilderness engulfed in darkness. In his hand, however, he holds up a lamp. While its actual candlepower is quite modest, in contrast to the surrounding blackness it blazes like a tiny sun and can be seen by an observer who stands far in the distance. Our traveler does indeed have ample light to illuminate his way down the unfamiliar path.  So while light refers to light itself, not the source of the light, David still illustrates with a lamp because light does have a source. The light of which he speaks is not something mystical, ethereal, or theoretical. It is real and practical and has a literal source. David declares, then, that God's Word is the lamp that lights his path through this forbidding world. What kind of lamp does he picture? The Hebrew niyr refers to the small, bowl-shaped lamp that operated with a wick fed by oil. Such lamps took on various shapes as the centuries passed. What is the application for us, however, thousands of years later? Let us ponder a few types of "lamps" in our day.  The Bible is a reading lamp, with which we can read the very thoughts of God in the quiet hours. It is a miner's lamp, which illuminates the darkest places in the pit but also reveals the gems buried there. It is a safety lamp, which, like the one used by miners many years ago that prevented the lamp flame from igniting dangerous gases, protects us from the unseen dangers lurking around us. It is the lighthouse lamp, which lights the shore and reveals the rocks of ruin that await. It is a hurricane lamp, which like its namesake can never be blown out no matter how strong the wind. It is a street lamp, which illuminates the shadows of the night and reveals enemies that hide there. And it is the hand lamp, the simple flashlight that we can easily carry and point in any needed direction.  Are you ever without your lamp?  

Scriptures for Study: What is David's encouragement in Psalm 18:28?  What is called a lamp in Proverbs 6:23? (A Hebrew Word for the Day: Key Words from the Old Testament by Dr. J. D. Watson)  

In the Shadow of the King, Pastor Shane


























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