Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and thanked him for keeping the country’s diplomats safe after a minor blast outside the country’s embassy in the national capital last week.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke today by telephone with Indian PM Modi and thanked him for his government’s efforts to safeguard Israeli representatives in the aftermath of the terrorist event near the Israeli Embassy in India,” read a tweet from the Israeli PM’s handle.
The two leaders also spoke about the extensive coronavirus vaccination drives launched in their countries to combat the viral disease. The two leaders discussed possible cooperation in the production and supply of vaccines to Israel and the mutual recognition of certificates of vaccination.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu congratulated Indian PM Modi on the production of vaccines in his country and the start of the vaccines operation there. The latter congratulated Prime Minister Netanyahu on the successful vaccines operation in Israel,” another tweet said.
Explosion in New Delhi
A low-intensity blast was reported near the Israel embassy in New Delhi on the anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Israel. The blast took place at Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road, about 1.4 kilometres (1 mile) from the embassy.
The explosion was caused by a “very low-intensity improvised device” police said, adding that there were no injuries.
The explosion damaged the window panes of three nearby parked cars, Delhi Police Additional PRO Anil Mittal said in a statement. “Initial impressions suggest a mischievous attempt to create a sensation,” the statement added.
Officials investigating the IED blast outside the Israeli embassy have said their probe is still not conclusive but the needle of suspicion is pointing towards Iran with local involvement.
After the blast, Netanyahu had expressed “full confidence” in the Indian authorities in ensuring the safety of Israelis and Jews in India.
Netanyahu asked to convey to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Israel has “full confidence that the Indian authorities will do a thorough investigation of the incident and ensure the safety of Israelis and Jews who are there”, Israeli national security advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat had said.
God is always at work for us and for our good
Psalm 18 is a psalm of David, a song celebrating “the day when the Lord rescued him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.” This psalm, the longest of Book One, praises God for His deliverance. It is also recorded, with slight differences, in 2 Samuel 22. At the center of this psalm is a strong confession of faith: “With the merciful you show yourself merciful” (Ps. 18:25).
This psalm begins (vv. 1–6) and ends (vv. 46–50) with praise offered to God. It is praise filled with love and thanksgiving for God’s protection from enemies and from death. The praise rejoices in the victories God has given His king and His people — victories displayed before the world.
The central section of the psalm (vv. 20–29) celebrates the faithfulness of David and of God. David served the Lord with integrity (we will look at the difficulties that seem to surround this kind of claim below). The Lord on His part had always been reliable and blessed His king. On each side of this central meditation on faithfulness we have the record of God’s powerful help for David (vv. 7–19; 30–45). Each of these two sections has its own character. Verses 7–19 emphasize the work of God to save David. Verses 30–45 highlight David’s success as God worked through him.
In light of this overview of the psalm’s structure, we want to look more closely at several points. First, how can David claim to be blameless (vv. 20–24)? The claim of blamelessness is a recurring theme in the Psalms. It is stated with special force in Psalm 26:
Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites” (Ps. 26:1–4).
But David is a murderer and an adulterer, to name only some of his sins. How can he claim to be blameless?
We need to recognize that David was a devoted and persevering follower of the Lord even though he did fall into very serious sin. When Nathan confronted him with his sins, he repented and grieved deeply for them. He expressed his repentance in beautiful psalms of penitence such as Psalms 32 and 51. His life as a whole was characterized by his faithful keeping of God’s covenant in obedience and repentance.
What David pleads, then, is not absolute moral perfection. He recognized that by such a standard he would never stand: “Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you” (Ps. 143:2). Rather, he pleads his faithfulness in comparison to the wickedness of those who hate God and His king. He makes this comparison not to claim that he deserves or has earned God’s favor, but to show that God’s saving grace has really made him different from the wicked in the ways in which he thinks, believes, and lives. David loves the Lord and His law, so his sin is grievous to him and he willingly repents and seeks to lead a godly life. In contrast, the wicked despise God and His holy law. They ignore God and seek in every way to harm their neighbor.
Again, David is not claiming that his perfect righteousness earns him God’s favor. Rather, he says God has brought him into His covenant and given him the integrity that he has. It is “God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless” (Ps. 18:32). He belongs to God and follows God and therefore knows that God will be kind to him. It is not the self-righteous whom the Lord saves, but the humble: “For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down” (Ps. 18:27). All his strength comes from the Lord (v. 1) and the faith or trust of the psalmist always turns to the Lord for help (Ps. 18:2; cf. Ps. 26:1: “I have trusted in the LORD without wavering”). The foundation of God’s care for David is not David’s deserving, but the Lord’s election: “He rescued me, because he delighted in me” (Ps. 18:19).
While David wrote this psalm and had every right to sing it in his faithfulness, once again we see the psalm drawing our minds beyond David to one greater and purer than David. This psalm belongs more to the Christ, who was fully blameless in every way, than to David. Paul demonstrates this in his use of this psalm in Romans 15:8–9. He writes:
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name” (Rom. 15:8–9).
In citing Psalm 18:49, Paul shows that it speaks of Jesus at least as much as it does of David. Indeed, even David can claim covenantal integrity only as he is in Christ.
Another feature of this psalm is the vivid picture of God’s coming to David’s rescue (vv. 7–15). David cried out for help (v. 6) and the Lord answered. “He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind” (Ps. 18:9–10). The fury of the Lord shook the earth (vv. 7, 15) and thunder and lightning preceded him (vv. 12–14). Hot smoke poured forth from his nostrils and fire from his mouth (vv. 8, 15).
Here is a marvelous picture of the power and determination of God to save. But when in David’s life did this happen? As we scan Old Testament history, we can find no such episode. Something like this happened when the Lord met with Israel at Mount Sinai, but nothing close to it happened in David’s experience.
The explanation is, of course, that David is speaking poetically here. He records not what he saw with his physical eyes, but what his eyes of faith saw happen. Although this awesome power of God usually remains hidden from view, it is absolutely real, and it is exercised for the well-being of His people. God is always working powerfully and passionately for His people even when we do not see it. David’s poetic imagery shows us more than eyes can see.
This truth is taught over and over again in the Bible. We need to have it taught repeatedly because we are so inclined to think that only the visible is real. Think of the experience of Elisha. He sat in Dothan apparently defenseless against the strength of the king of Aram. When his servant panicked, Elisha replied, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16). And then to comfort his servant further, Elisha prayed and God did an amazing thing. “Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17).
Elisha had never been in any danger, for the Lord was on his side.
We see something similar when the authorities came to arrest Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus appeared weak and defenseless. Peter, in a panic, tried to protect Him with a sword.
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:52–53)
Jesus submitted to arrest not because He was helpless, but because He accepted the Father’s will for His death and our redemption.
This psalm reminds all of us that God is always at work for us and for our good. In the New Testament, the Apostle John makes the same point: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
We do not need to fear, for God will save us in His good time. We should praise God for His mercy and help as this psalm does.
നമ്മുടെ പ്രവർത്തികൾക്ക് അനുസൃതമായി നമ്മളെ നീതിയോടെ വിധിക്കുന്നവനാണ് ദൈവം
ജീവിതത്തിൽ നമ്മുടെ പ്രവർത്തികളെ വ്യക്തമായി അറിയുന്നവനാണ് നമ്മുടെ കർത്താവ്. നാമെടുക്കുന്ന തീരുമാനങ്ങളുടെ ഒരു ആകെത്തുകയാണ് നമ്മുടെ ജീവിതം. ജനങ്ങളെ എത്രവേണമെങ്കിലും കബളിപ്പിക്കാനും, നല്ലവനെന്ന് ചമഞ്ഞ് അവരുടെ പ്രശംസ നേടിയെടുക്കാനും മനുഷ്യരായ നമുക്കാവും. പുറമെ കാണുന്നവ മാത്രമല്ല ദൈവം അറിയുന്നത്. എന്നാൽ, നമ്മുടെ പ്രവൃത്തികളെ വിധിക്കുന്ന ദൈവം നമ്മുടെ ഹൃദയവിചാരങ്ങളും അറിയുന്നു എന്ന് നമ്മൾ മനസ്സിലാക്കിയിരിക്കണം. നീതിയോടെ ന്യായം വിധിക്കുന്നതാണ് ദൈവത്തിന്റെ വിധി.
ദൈവത്തെ സംബന്ധിച്ചിടത്തോളം വിധിക്കുക എന്നത് നിഷേധാർത്ഥത്തിലുള്ള ഒരു പ്രവർത്തി അല്ല. ദൈവം നമ്മെ വിധിക്കുന്നത്, നമ്മുടെ പാപങ്ങൾ കൂട്ടിനോക്കി നമ്മെ നരകാഗ്നിയിലേക്ക് എറിയാനാണെന്നു നമ്മൾ പലപ്പോഴും കരുതാറുണ്ട്. പക്ഷേ, നമ്മെ ദൈവത്തിൽനിന്നും അകറ്റി നിർത്തുന്നതിനല്ല ദൈവം നമ്മെ വിധിക്കുന്നത്. പാപം നിറഞ്ഞ നമ്മുടെ ഹൃദയത്തിൽ ദൈവത്തെ തേടുന്ന നന്മയുടെ ഒരു കിരണമെങ്കിലും അവശേഷിക്കുന്നുണ്ടോ എന്നു പരിശോധിച്ചറിയുവാനും, ഉണ്ടെങ്കിൽ നമ്മുടെ ആത്മാവിനെ വിശുദ്ധീകരിച്ച് സ്വർഗ്ഗരാജ്യത്തിലേക്ക് സ്വീകരിക്കുന്നതുമാണ ദൈവത്തിന്റെ വിധി.
ദൈവവചനം നോക്കിയാൽ ദൈവത്തിൽ നിന്ന് പിൻമാറി പാപത്തിന്റെ വഴിയെ സഞ്ചരിച്ചവർക്കു അവരുടെ പ്രവർത്തിച്ച് അനുസരിച്ച് അവരെ വിധിച്ച ദൈവത്തെ നമ്മൾക്ക് കാണുവാൻ കഴിയും. ഇസ്രായേൽ ജനതയെ അവരുടെ പ്രവർത്തിയ്ക്ക് അനുസരിച്ച് വിധിച്ച ദൈവത്തെ നമ്മൾക്ക് വചനത്തിൽ കാണുവാൻ കഴിയും. നാം ഒരോ കാര്യങ്ങളും ചെയ്യുമ്പോളും മനുഷ്യർ എന്ത് വിചാരിക്കും എന്ന് ചിന്തിക്കാതെ, നമ്മുടെ ഒരോ പ്രവർത്തിയും ദൈവം കാണുന്നുണ്ട് എന്ന ഭയത്തോടെ ചെയ്യുവിൻ. ദൈവത്തിന് എതിരെ ചെയ്യുന്ന ഒരോ അകൃത്യത്തിനും നാം ശിക്ഷ അനുഭവിക്കേണ്ടി വരും. നമ്മുടെ പ്രവർത്തികൾക്ക് അനുസൃതമായി നമ്മളെ നീതിയോടെ വിധിക്കുന്നവനാണ് ദൈവം.
God wants us to pursue a friendship with Him
If you’re like me, your best friend is someone with whom you share important details and your most intimate secrets. You’re in regular communication with them and you share things you wouldn’t share with anyone else. God wants an intimate relationship with you. Psalm 25:14 says, “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant” (emphasis added). The Hebrew word for “secret” is sôd and is defined as “counsel.” God’s secret counsel — the sharing of His secrets — is with His close, intimate friends.
But God is not everyone’s friend, only those who fear Him. It’s easy for people to talk about God as if He’s a buddy to hang out with. There are people I know who can fill me in on the facts and details of a celebrity’s life, but that doesn’t mean they’re friends with them. It’s the same with God. We can attend church services and lead youth group and read our Bibles daily, but that doesn’t guarantee friendship with God.
God isn’t looking for likes on His social media account or for buddies. He’s looking for an intimate relationship with those who fear Him. As we’ve shared in this book, two men in the Old Testament are identified as God’s friends: Abraham and Moses. Their lives exemplify the path that leads to friendship with the Lord. They demonstrate the parameters placed on a friendship with Jesus, who didn’t say, “You are all My friends if you believe I am the Christ.” Rather, Jesus said, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). Both Abraham and Moses, out of holy fear, obeyed what God commanded them to do and they experienced an intimate friendship with God. God deeply desires to be close with each of us, but true intimacy requires both parties knowing each other well, not just one. Just as God searches our innermost thoughts, we should also strive for true familiarity with our Heavenly Father.
Look at what Moses said about this level of relationship: “You have told me, ‘I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.’ If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor” (Exodus 33:12–13 NLT). Moses longed for a deep and intimate relationship with God. Pursue God’s friendship but do so in a way that keeps awe and reverence for Him at the forefront. Don’t become so casual with the Holy God or bring Him down to our level by calling Him your Savior and your buddy all in the same breath.
Throughout all of human existence, the quest for a meaningful connection with the divine has been a constant thread woven into the fabric of cultures and civilizations throughout history — all the while, The Creator of all things, is inviting you and me to have a personal friendship with Him.
God is not a distant and aloof deity, but rather a loving and relational being who actively seeks a profound connection with everyone. He created us to be in community with one another and with Him. God desires us to experience an intimate relationship with Him as He constantly pursues us and draws us to Him.
Salvation itself is intricately linked to the idea of a personal friendship with God. The belief that Jesus came to reconcile humanity with God and restore a broken relationship underscores the significance of this divine connection. Through faith in Christ, individuals are not only forgiven of their sins but also invited into a restored friendship with the Creator — and prayer is a powerful way to stay in constant communication with our heavenly friend.
Pursue a relationship with your Creator and experience a friendship so sweet, unlike any other relationship you have had.
God is always at work for us and for our good
Psalm 18 is a psalm of David, a song celebrating “the day when the Lord rescued him from the hand...
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