Monthly Archives: June 2013

Psalm 119

 

By Don Carson

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/

 

IN ITS UNFOLDING REFLECTIONS on God and his revelation, Psalm 119 is unsurpassed. Here I shall focus on three themes that surface in Psalm 119:89-96.

(1) God’s revelatory word, that word that has been inscripturated (i.e., written down to become Scripture) is not something that God made up as he went along, as if he did not understand or could not predict exactly how things were going to pan out. Far from it: “Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Ps. 119:89). It was always there, eternal, in his mind. That is one of the reasons why he can be trusted absolutely: he is never caught out, never surprised. Because God’s word stands firm in the heaven, the psalmist can add, “Your faithfulness continues through all generations” (Ps. 119:90).

(2) There is a connection between the word of revelation and the word of creation and of providence. Thus the first line of verse 90, “Your faithfulness continues through all generations,” is tied to what precedes (end of v. 89) and to what succeeds (end of v. 90). God’s faithfulness through all generations is grounded, as we have seen, in the fact that God’s word stands firm in the heavens, but it is also grounded in God’s creative and providential work: “you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you” (Ps. 119:90-91). The same omniscient, ordering, reflective mind stands behind both creation and revelation.

(3) Far from being oppressive and limiting, the instruction of God is freeing and illuminating. “To all perfection I see a limit,” the psalmist writes; “but your commands are boundless” (Ps. 119:96). All human, earthly enterprises face limits. There are limitations on resources, on time, on the expanse of life that we may devote to such enterprises. Only so much time can be devoted to even the most sublime exercise. The limits themselves become frustrating barriers. More than one commentator has noted that this verse is almost a two-line summary of Ecclesiastes. There, every enterprise “under the sun” runs its race and expires, or proves unsatisfying and transient. In our experience there is but one exception: “your commands are boundless” (Ps. 119:96).

This includes more than the well-known paradox: slavery to God is perfect freedom. For a start, freedom must be defined. If our steps are directed to God’s word, there is freedom from sin (cf. Ps. 119:133); observance of God’s “precepts” is tied to walking about in “freedom” (Ps. 119:45). Moreover, reflection on and conformity with God’s words generates not narrow-minded bigotry, but a largeness of spirit that potentially stretches outward to the farthest dimensions of the mind of God; for “your commands are boundless.”

 

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This Is The Day Which The Lord Has Made

 

When I was a boy, a plaque in our home was inscribed with the words “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Apart from the change from “hath” to “has,” similar words are preserved in the NIV of Psalm 118:24.

My father gently applied this text to his children when we whined or complained about little nothings. Was the weather too hot and sticky? “This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Were the skies pelting rain, so we could not go out to play? “This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” What a boring day (or place, or holiday, or visit to relatives)! “This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Sometimes the words were repeated with significant emphasis: “This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

It is not that Dad would not listen to serious complaints; it is not that Scripture does not have other things to say. But every generation of Christians has to learn that whining is an affront against God’s sovereignty and goodness.

But the text must first be read in its context. Earlier the psalmist expresses his commitment to trust in God and not in any merely human help (Ps. 118:8-9), even though he is surrounded by foes (Ps. 118:10). Now he also discloses that his foes include “the builders” (Ps. 118:22) — people with power within Israel. These builders were quite capable of rejecting certain “stones” while they built their walls — and in this case the very stone the builders rejected has become the capstone. In the first instance this stone, this capstone, is almost certainly a reference to a Davidic king, perhaps to David himself. The men of power rejected him, but he became the capstone.

Moreover, this result was not achieved by brilliant machination or clever manipulation. Far from it: “the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:23). In his own day Isaiah portrays people who make a lie their refuge while rejecting God’s cornerstone (Isa. 28:15-16). The ultimate instance of this pattern is found in Jesus Christ, rejected by his own creatures, yet chosen of God, the ultimate building-stone, and precious (Matt. 21:42; Rom. 9:32-33; Eph. 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6-8) — a “stone” disclosed in all his true worth by his resurrection from the dead (Acts 4:10-11). Whether in David’s day or in the ultimate fulfillment, this marvelous triumph by God calls forth our praise: This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Ps. 118:24).

 

From For The Love of God by Don Carson


Creed

 

I believe in God the Father,
Almighty Maker of heaven and Maker of earth,
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten son our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirt,
born of the virgin Mary.
Suffered under Pontius Pilot
where he was crucified dead and buried.
And I believe what I believe in
is what makes me what I am.
And I did not make it,
no it is making me
It is the very truth of God
and not the invention of any man.
I believe that He who suffered
was crucified, buried and dead.
He descended into hell
and on the third day He rose again.
He ascended into heaven
where He sits at God’s mighty right hand.
I believe that He’s returning to judge
the quick and the dead of the sons of men.
I believe it, I believe it. I believe it.
I believe it, I believe it. I believe it.
I believe in God the Father,
Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of earth
And in Jesus Christ His
only begotten Son our Lord.
I believe int the Holy Spirit,
one Holy Church
The communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sin
I believe in the resurrection
I believe in a life that never ends.

Psalm 103

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name!

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,

3 who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

5 who satisfies you with good

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The Lord works righteousness

and justice for all who are oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,

his iacts to the people of Israel.

8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9 He will not always chide,

nor will he keep his anger forever.

10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

13 As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

14 For he knows our frame;

he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,

and his righteousness to children’s children,

18 to those who keep his covenant

and remember to do his commandments.

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,

and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,

you mighty ones who do his word,

obeying the voice of his word!

21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,

his ministers, who do his will!

22 Bless the Lord, all his works,

in all places of his dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

 

 

IT IS DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE a lovelier psalm than Psalm 103. Across the centuries, countless believers have turned to these lines to find their spirits lifted, a renewed commitment to praise and gratitude, and incentive to prayer, a restoration of a God-centered worldview. This psalm could easily claim our meditations for the rest of the month, for the rest of the year. Instead, we focus on three of its features.

(1) The psalm is bracketed by exhortations to praise. At the front end, David exhorts himself, and, by his example, his readers: “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name” (Ps. 103:1). Implicitly David recognizes that it is distressingly easy to preserve the externals of praise, with nothing erupting from within the heart of God’s image-bearers. This will not do: “all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” By the end of the psalm, however honest and profound this individual’s worship, the framework for praising such a God is too small, for after all, God’s kingdom rules over all (Ps. 103:19): “Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the LORD, all his works, everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul” (Ps. 103:20-22). Now the psalmist’s praise is one with the praise of heaven, with the praise of the entire created order.

(2) When David starts to enumerate “all his benefits” (Ps. 103:2), he begins with the forgiveness of sins (Ps. 103:3). Here is a man who understands what is of greatest importance. If we have everything but God’s forgiveness, we have nothing of worth; if we have God’s forgiveness, everything else of value is also promised (cf. Rom. 8:32).

(3) David soon moves from the blessings he enjoys as an individual believer to the Lord’s public justice (Ps. 103:6), to his gracious self-disclosure to Moses and the Israelites (Ps. 103:7-18). Here he stays the longest time, turning over and over in his mind the greatest blessings the Lord has granted to his people. Above all, he focuses once again on the sheer privilege of having sins forgiven, removed, forgotten. All of this, David perceives, stems from the character of God. “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Ps. 103:8). He deals with our sin — but compassionately, fully bearing in mind our weak frames. We may be creatures of time, but “from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him” (Ps. 103:17).

 

Taken from http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/

 

 


Lord Almighty

 

 

I look to the hills, where does my help come from?
From You, You alone, you’re reaching out for me
You are my Savior

You are the Lord Almighty, none can stand against Your name
Lord, Your name has the power to save, power to save
You are the Lord Almighty, there is nothing like Your love
Lord, Your love, You have given it all, given it all

I come to the cross, there I find all I need
Surrender my heart, Jesus, draw near to me
You are my Savior

You are the Lord Almighty, none can stand against Your name
Lord, Your name has the power to save, power to save
You are the Lord Almighty, there is nothing like Your love
Lord, Your love, You have given it all, given it all

You are the one I live for, You are the one that saves
You are the light that shines in us
You are the one I live for, You are the one that saves
You are the light that shines

You are the Lord Almighty, none can stand against Your name
Lord, Your name has the power to save, power to save
You are the Lord Almighty, there is nothing like Your love
Lord, Your love, You have given it all, given it all

You’ve given it all


Age To Age

 


Blessed Are The Peacemakers

 

by Mark Altrogge

 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. MT 5:9

Was John Lennon blessed? After all, he was a peacemaker wasn’t he? He and Yoko and friends sat in a circle singing, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” (Too bad you can’t hear me doing my imitation).

Actually the peace Jesus is talking about isn’t world peace, inner peace or even peace between people (though this peace leads to peace between people). He’s talking about the peace with God he bought on the cross.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:19-20

When we’re unreconciled with someone, there’s no peace in our relationship, only animosity, walls and barbed wire fences between us. Our sins shattered our relationship with God. Our massive offences barricaded his face from us. But Jesus reconciled us to God, making peace on the bloody tree.

So a peacemaker is one who has been reconciled to God, and now, as God’s ambassador appeals to others be reconciled and at peace with God:

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

An ambassador promotes peace between his own country and another. We’re sojourners in this dark world. Our true home is heaven. While here we act as heaven’s ambassadors who try to get as many people as we can to be reconciled to God.

 

The BLESSING of being a peacemaker: They shall be called sons of God

In 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (above) we see that God is the great peacemaker. He was reconciling the world to himself through Christ. He gives the message and ministry of reconciliation. And it is God himself who appeals to the lost through us.

So when we seek to reconcile others to God he calls us “sons of God” because we’re doing what he does – we’re acting like him. Like Father, like son. And in the end God will unveil our sonship to the creation:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8:19.

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Matthew 13:43