“Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

“Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

My dad grew up in Northeast Texas picking cotton in Honey Grove. There’s nothing there now, but it must have been a colorful place since most of the colloquialisms I know came from him. One of these was the expression “between a rock and a hard place.” It means that you have gotten yourself into a situation that is difficult or impossible to escape. I once had the nerve-wracking experience of being literally caught between a rock and a hard place.rock and hard place

A friend of mine and I were coming down off the top of Enchanted Rock in two different directions; he went around the obstacles and I went through them. I don’t remember exactly how I got there, but I ended up with my back against one rock, my legs stretched out in front of me against another rock, and nothing below me but 30 feet of air into what looked like a pit of no escape. (Maybe there were a few rattlesnakes down there!) The way out was another rock to my right about six feet down—too far for me to jump. I was able to turn over onto my stomach and extend my legs to that rock and “step” down. I remember experiencing great relief when I made it.

Sinful man is stuck between a rock and hard place: sin and humanly devised efforts. Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), but humanly devised efforts cannot extricate us. Isaiah 64:6 says “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” Only God can save us. Paul best expressed the way out: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25), and that’s a relief!

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The Last Enemy Destroyed is Death

The Last Enemy Destroyed is Death

Consider these words of Paul describing the one enemy we all face and who seemingly is winning the battle in which we are engaged. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:56). It is a common enemy for every person who has been born on this earth for “it is appointed unto man to die” (Heb. 9:27). Knowing more about death helps us deal with it. Think of some deaths in the Bible.

· Who died because his brother killed him?
· Who died and was eaten by worms?
· Who died the same day he planned to build a new barn?
· Who died by suicide after losing his “paycheck?”
· Who died because he touched the ark?
· Who died but was not buried for 400 years?
· Who died just after seeing Jesus in heaven?
· Who died in perfect health at the age of 120?
· Who died when she was 12 years old?
· Who died when the roof fell on him?
· Who died with a tent peg in his head?
· Who died immediately after telling a lie (2)?
· Who died by being hanged on his own gallows?
· Who never died (2)?

So how did you do? The answers are: Abel, Herod, Foolish farmer, Judas, Uzzah, Joseph, Stephen, Moses, Jairus’ daughter, Samson, Sisera, Ananias and Sapphira, Haman, Enoch and Elijah.

Very few of the individuals listed above knew the circumstances under which they would die. Very few knew the time of their death. This is the nature of death. We all know that we are appointed to die and after that comes the judgment. Because we do not know when or how we will die, all that matters is that we prepare for it.

Thanks be to God that He, in His wisdom, has given us an understanding that no one in the Old Testament had. It is in the New Testament where immortality is revealed and brought openly into the light (2 Tim. 1:10). Those saints of old were bound by the fear of death, but the resurrection of Jesus has removed this fear from us (Heb. 2:14-15). The open tomb of Jesus assures us of our own resurrection, and we can pray with greater understanding the prayer Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).

When you think about death and the grave remember that God who raised Jesus from the dead raises us!

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He Hears Our Prayers and Our Groaning

He Hears Our Prayers and Our Groaning

Hear these words of David from the depths of despair: “My soul also is greatly troubled…return O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears” (Psa. 6:3-5). Have you ever been at this same place? If not, some day you may be. The trials of life come upon us, and we groan and seek for God. At times like this, rest assured that He hears more than our prayers. He hears our groaning.

When Hagar had been sent away from Abraham’s household, she took her son, Ishmael, and fled into the wilderness. It was not long before they ran out of water and were dying of thirst. She was watching her own son as he was dying. Read the text carefully as it describes her prayer for death and deliverance from watching her child die. “Let me not see the death of the boy…And God heard the voice of the lad…and said to her, ‘What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is’” (Gen. 21:16-17). God heard the voice of Hagar and even the voice of Ishmael as death approached.

God heard the groanings of the Jews in Egyptian bondage as their taskmasters oppressed them. “Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage…So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Ex. 2:23-24). They cried out and God heard both their groanings and their prayers! Stephen reminded the Jews of the events at the burning bush. God said to Moses, “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt” (Acts 7:34).

The trials in Egypt began with the oppression of evil men and this brought about the agony and groaning of the slaves in bondage. It was so severe that they first groaned. Then they cried out, and God responded. But note that even before they prayed, God heard the groaning. Before He heard them pray, He heard them groaning.

What does this have to do with us? God is eternal, and He never changes. These verses do not describe how God was. It describes how He is—the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). Remember His name given at this burning bush: He is I AM.

A small child wakes in the middle of the night with pain. He is hurting and begins to sob. He hurts and feels so alone in the darkness. Unknown to him, his mom hears him crying and is rushing to his side, even before he calls out to her. Remember He hears both our groanings and prayers.

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Hyphens and Jehovah’s Name

Hyphens and God’s Name

At the burning bush, Moses asked God what His name was. God gave His name. He was Jehovah (Ex. 3:14). God explains the meaning of that name. It means, “I AM” or “I AM WHO I AM” and emphasizes the eternal, unchanging nature of God. In the rest of the Bible, this name is tied to various qualities of God. The translators often use the words “the LORD” and then translate that quality. In the English, this is sometimes made obvious by using hyphens.

He is Jehovah-Jireh (Genesis 22:14)

After the Lord had spared Isaac and provided the ram in the thicket, Moses writes, “And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide.” He is Jehovah-Jireh—He is our Provider.

He is Jehovah-Rapha (Exodus 15:26)

The Jews had just crossed over the Red Sea, and God miraculously gave them water and promised them that He would not bring on Israel the afflictions He brought on the Egyptians. He then told Israel that He was The-LORD-Who-Heals. He is Jehovah-Rapha—He is our Healer.

He is Jehovah-Nissi (Exodus 17:15)

The nation of Israel was not equipped to fight against the Amalekites who attacked them before they got to Mt. Sinai. The battle was won because Moses’ hands were lifted high as he appealed to God. Moses built an altar and called its name, The-LORD-Is-My-Banner. In our struggle against evil, He is our Jehovah-Nissi—He is our Banner.

He is Jehovah-M’Kaddesh (Leviticus 20:8)

Before the Jews left Mt. Sinai, Moses warned them of the sinfulness of idols and seeking God’s messages from mediums and familiar spirits. He told them that God had said, “I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” He is The-LORD-Who-Sanctifies. He is our Jehovah-M’Kaddesh. He is our Sanctifier.

Space does not permit us to look at other times a quality of God is tied to the name of Jehovah. Take time to study the context and meaning of times when the name of God is hyphenated with His character. He is Jehovah-Shalom—the LORD-Is-Peace (Judg. 6:24). He is Jehovah-Sabbaoth—the LORD-Of-Hosts (1 Sam. 1:3). He is Jehovah-Rohi—the-LORD-Our-Shepherd (Psa. 23:1). He is Jehovah-Shamah—the LORD-Is-There (Ezek. 48:35). He is present.  Finally, the sacred name of Jehovah is applied to Jesus. He is Jehovah-Tsidkenu—The-LORD-Our-Righteousness (Jer. 23:6).

God gave to Moses a name which signifies so much about God. This name is tied to His character in other places in the Bible. Make sure that the LORD-Is-Your-God.

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Thou Shall Call His Name _____

Thou Shall Call His Name _____

There is no doubt that His given name was Jesus. The angel told Joseph, “You shall call His name Jesus…” (Matt. 1:21). Gabriel said to Mary, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus” (Luke 1:31). His given name is Jesus. However, this was not the only “name” He was given by God. Look at some of these other “names” and see the significance of each of them.


Over 700 years before His birth the Holy Spirit gave these words, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). Why was His name Immanuel? The New Testament quotes these words and then defines this “name”: “Which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matt. 1:23). This name of Jesus defines His deity. He was not only with God in the beginning, but He was God (John 1:1). He truly was God (deity) in the flesh!

Wonderful Counselor

Read these other words from Isaiah about His name. “For unto us a Child is born…and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). Four “names” are given here with each of them being preceded by descriptive words—wonderful, mighty, everlasting and prince.

Is there any doubt that He manifests His wonderful name, His awesomeness, His deity seen in His miracles? Is there any doubt He is the supreme counselor? From Him comes all truth and every aspect of life and godliness (John 16:13; 2 Pet. 1:3).

Mighty God

The Godhead in the Old Testament is called the Almighty God. Jesus showed His power in overcoming death and the powers of Satan and manifesting Himself as King of all kings. He was God in the flesh—to see Him was to see God (John 14:9).

Everlasting Father

When one first sees these words, he might think the emphasis is that Jesus is the Father. No, He is the Son of God. Check the marginal reading. He is the “father of the ages.” He is the supreme focus of every period of man’s existence. He is supreme and has existed from eternity to eternity.

Prince of Peace

He is the source of all true peace. He said, “My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). He gives a peace no mortal can understand. Think on this “name” and all of them. Jesus is God and has every attribute of God and His “names” show this.

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