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Part 1 – The God Habit

                                                                                                      

 

 

Illustration:

Years ago when the western U.S. was being settled, roads were often just wagon tracks. (The wagon wheels would just carve out a rut in the road.) These rough trails (ruts) posed serious problems for those who journeyed on them. On one of these winding paths was posted a sign which read: “Avoid this rut or you’ll be in it for the next 25 miles!” 

 

You can go to sleep in the wagon and not worry about getting off course because the only place you are going is wherever the ‘rut’ is.

 

This picture is what a habit is like.

A habit is something you can do without thinking.

 

But habits always takes you someplace.

 

Jeremiah 13:23

23     Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.

 

·        Can the Ethiopian change his skin?

·        DEFINITION: ‘accustomed’ – the Hebrew word translated ‘accustomed’ here means ‘train’, ‘taught’, or learned.

o   Evil can be trained

o   Evil can be learned

o   Evil can be taught

·        So this is what a habit is

o   A habit is a rut like the wagon wheel illustration above.

o   A habit is something that is trained, learned, or taught.

o   Have you ever heard the expression ‘you need to get out of the rut you are in?

§  It’s talking about the habit you’re in.

·        Are all ruts bad ruts?

o   Not necessarily.

§  Some ruts are good ruts and you need to stay in them.

§  Other ruts or ‘bad habits’ you need to get rid of.

§  In some cases we could say it this way “if you rut, you rot.

 

Our desire in the things of God is to end up in the right place, to end up in the right rut or have the right kind of rut.

 

Living without God is an acquired habit

·        The habit of living without God is one that anyone can learn.

o   It is one of the easiest habits to acquire.

o   Unlike some other habits, no exertion and no self-denial;

§  It takes no exertion to forget God.

o   We have only to live for pleasure and do not exert yourself in anything spiritual, and the habit is formed.

§  Many times the habit is formed forever.

o   The end result of this type of habit, is rot or spiritual death.[1]

§  But we have no desire to be of this caliber of person.

o   How can we avoid it?

§  By understanding….

 

·        Living for God is also an acquired habit

o   It is a habit to read your Bible

o   It is a habit to pray

o   It is a habit to seek God

§  It is all a learned, trained and taught thing.

§  You learn to do it

§  You teach yourself to do it

§  You train yourself to do it.

o   The end result of this habit is life.

 

·        The Word of God points out some of Jesus habits.

 

Luke 22:39–42 (AMP)

39  And He came out and went, as was His habit, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples also followed Him.

40  And when He came to the place, He said to them, Pray that you may not [at all] enter into temptation.

41  And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw and knelt down and prayed,

42  Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.

 

·        So, you can so see what Jesus response was when He came to the most severe hour of testing in His life.

·        You can see that He prayed.

o   He prayed because it was His habit to pray. He had already developed that.

o   He had already learned and trained Himself to respond this way.

·        One writer said this, “The key to your success is in your daily routine.”

o   We could rephrase that and say ‘the key to your success is in your daily habits.’

o   It is not what you do on Sunday.

o   It is what you do on all those days leading up to Sunday.

·        So, what we are talking about today is developing “The God Habit.”

 

The “God Habit”

 

Genesis 5:24 (AMP)

24 And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him].

 

·        I am telling you that any success you have had in your life, your marriage, your ministry, the raising of your children, or any other arena has come because of the Word of God and prayer.

·        It has come because of the God Habit.

o   Please read your Bible!

o   Please pray!

o   Please have your heart toward God.

·        You know this is a pretty common theme for Pastors everywhere.

o   You have heard messages from pastors before along this line.

o   But, I am telling you as a former pastor that you do not know what that it is to pastor a church and look across the pulpit and see some of your people struggling and YOU KNOW all along that they are not reading their Bible and praying.

o   They can’t be and be in the shape they are in!

§  The blessing if the Lord will make you rich.

§  You want to help them, but you can’t help them, because their help is in the very thing that they are in the habit of neglecting.

 

·        ”If you develop the habit of putting God first and inviting Him into everything that you do, a lot of your bad habits will be taken care of by the forming of that one good habit.” – Joyce Meyer

o   Form the habit of spending more time with God

o   Develop the habit of acknowledging God in all your ways

 

Proverbs 3:6 (AMP)

6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

 

A Fresh Look at an Old Psalm: Psalm 119th

 

·        If there is anything that might impress you of the importance of the Word of God is a fresh look at the 119th Psalm.

·        God really helped us to understand its importance because the longest Psalm, is also the longest chapter in the Bible and sits almost at the center point or midway through your Bible and it is on the subject of the Word of God.

·        So God gives us 176 verses on this one subject.

o   Don’t you think it is a habit worth acquiring?

·        Before we start, look at this verse in Revelation.

 

Revelation 1:8

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 

·        This is the New Testament written in Greek and Jesus is saying I am the whole Greek alphabet from the beginning to the end.

·        What’s the significance of that?

o   Letters make words.

o   So, the very thing that is takes to make a word The WORD, Jesus said, I am the beginning of that and the end of that!

·        But did you know…

o   That Jesus is also the whole Hebrew alphabet from beginning to end?

o   That the 119th Psalm is 22 sections of 8 verses and because there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet?

·        Now some of your Bibles will have the associated Hebrew letter at the head of each 8 verse section.

·        For example…

 

Psalm 119:1–16

Aleph

1  Blessed are those whose way is blameless,

who walk in the law of the Lord!

2   Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,

who seek him with their whole heart,

3   who also do no wrong,

but walk in his ways!

4   You have commanded your precepts

to be kept diligently.

5   Oh that my ways may be steadfast

in keeping your statutes!

6   Then I shall not be put to shame,

having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.

7   I will praise you with an upright heart,

when I learn your righteous rules.

8   I will keep your statutes;

do not utterly forsake me!

 

The 119th Psalm: Aleph

·        The first Hebrew letter Aleph: means sacrificial animal

o   Like Alpha means ‘beginning’ – Omega means ‘the end’

·        The last Hebrew letter Tav: means the cross.

o   Isn’t that outstanding?

·        Early writing was in pictures, symbols and hieroglyphics.  You’ve seen these on ancient cave walls. 

·        We could say that early writing was PICTURE WORDS. 

·        I.e. pictures used to communicate words.

o   Hebrew writing is opposite this

o   Hebrew writing is WORD PICTURES

o   i.e. words that communicate pictures. 

o   In fact, the Hebrew letters themselves have pictures attached to them.

o   Out of 6043 regular Hebrew words, 3491 of them are 3 letter words (60 percent) – Hebrew is a triad language – a picture of the Trinity.

·        Background on the letter ALEPH

o   Aleph means oxen.

 

Psalm 144:14 (KJV)

14        That our OXEN may be strong to labour; that there                            
       be
no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no
       complaining in our streets.

15        Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea,
       happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

 

o   The word “oxen” in Ps. 144:14 is alpeh.

o   Oxen were used by the people for many reasons.

·        Oxen were used for service in the agricultural society of the Israelites.

·        Oxen were used for sacrifice unto the Lord in the Israelite system of blood covenanting and sacrifice. See Lev. 4:1-21 (oxen or bullocks were acceptable sin offerings).

·        Oxen are noted for strength.  We have often heard the phrase “Strong as an ox”.

o   SERVICE, STRENGTH & SACRIFICE is the word picture attached to Aleph.

§  Remember the story in 2 Samuel 6 where the Ark of the Covenant was sent back to the Israelites on a new cart pulled by oxen?

 

2 Samuel 6:3–6

3 And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart,

6 And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled.

 

§  When the ark finally came to Jerusalem, an oxen was sacrificed.

 

 

 2 Samuel 6:13

13 And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal.

 

§  First, the oxen were used for their service and strength to pull and deliver the ark.

§  Second, oxen were then sacrificed unto the Lord.

§  This entire Hebrew letter ALEPH about the Word of God in Ps 119 is pointing to Jesus.

§  So even in the Hebrew letters of the Bible – the letters, not just the words! There are pictures of Jesus.

o   I am telling you, you want to get the habit of being in the Word of God – it is the most fun thing you’ll ever do in your life because you will find things like this.

 

·        Jesus and ALEPH

o   Does Jesus match this picture of the oxen?

o   Let us ask the question, Was Jesus a picture of service for us?

 

 

 John 4:30-34

30Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

31In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.

32But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.

33Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?

34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of   
     him that sent me, and to finish his work.
(this is service)

 

o   What about strength? Was Jesus a picture of strength for us?

§  Did Jesus exhibit physical strength when He was on the cross?

·        While He was on the cross, He had strength enough to cry out – shout out loud on the cross after having been beaten and scourged and without food or sleep during the time of His trial before the Romans.

 

o   Was Jesus a picture of sacrifice for us?

§  The very first letter of the Hebrew alphabet draws attention to this principle:

 

Hebrews 9:22 (KJV)

22And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

 

o   Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us.

 

1 Corinthians 5:7

7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

 

·        ALPEH and Psalm 119:1-8

o   Let’s look a little closer at Alpeh in Ps. 119:1

 

Psalm 119:1 (KJV)

1          Blessed are the undefiled (blameless) in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.

 

o   Aleph is in the word ‘Blessed’ – vs. 1-2

o   In Hebrew the word ‘Blessed’ is אַשְׁרֵי

 

o   Notice the word is a triad word (3 letters).

§  Notice the first letter is ALEPH ! (Hebrew reads right to left).

§  So the first letter in the first section of this Psalm that speaks about the Word of God translates to the word ‘blessed’.

§  The Hebrew word ‘blessed’ has in it a letter that shows a picture of STRENGTH, SERVICE, & SACRIFICE.

§  So the next time someone asks you, ‘How are you doing?’ and you respond to them ‘I am blessed.’

·        Remember WHY you are blessed?

·        You are blessed because Jesus paid the sacrifice so that you could be blessed.

·        And that reminder to you is in the first letter of the Hebrew ‘Word’ ‘blessed’.

·        Now read the whole first verse.

 

Psalm 119:1

1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless,

who walk in the law of the LORD!

 

§  Why is our way blameless?

·        Because He was our sacrifice

§  What is the result of walking in the law of the Lord?

·        The Word produces strength in us.

·        And we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.

·        The Word makes us strong so that we can serve others.

·        Strength, service, and sacrifice.

o   Mark this down, there is no ‘blessing’ or ‘happiness’ in life apart from accepting and walking in God’s sacrifice of His Son.

o   You are wasting your time trying to find happiness outside of the blood covenant.  It simply doesn’t exist.

 

CONCLUSION:

o   “What are you saying to me?”

§  Here is what I am saying to you, develop the God habit and use it to…

·        Walk perpetually in God’s strength

·        Use that strength to serve other people

·        And always always remember that without sacrifice, without the shedding of His blood, there is no remission and none of these things would even be worth talking about.

 

 

 


[1] The great texts of the Bible: Jeremiah-Malachi. 1915 (J. Hastings, Ed.) (66). New York; Edinburgh: Charles Scribner’s Sons; T&T Clark.

 

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