Archive for July, 2019
“He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber” (Psalm 121:3).
Four times in this Psalm, the vigilance of God is highlighted by some variation of the word “keep.” It captures the activity of God in protecting, guarding, watching over, and taking care of his creation. We are not left wondering, speculating, or debating God’s watch care, regardless of the world’s present state. What the Creator creates, he keeps. He has a vested interest in the outcome of what he started (Philippians 1:6).
“My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).
Like the author of Genesis 1:1, the psalmist is offering a theological affirmation, not a scientific explanation. When it comes to the origin of the universe, the questions of “how” and “when” become an impractical pursuit for the people of God. Our presupposition of faith, that God spoke the universe into existence, not only transcends the confines of scientific explanation, it encourages even more rigorous scientific pursuit. From this perspective, we are best able to appreciate the immeasurable magnitude of God’s creative wonderment; a scope extending beyond any system rooted in our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), and the limiting methodologies of western thought. “How” and “When” offer no comfort for the storms of life. It is the “Who” of creation that sustains.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10).
It’s interesting that a psalm of thanksgiving for the great work of God’s salvation now ends with a word about the beginning place of wisdom. If the fear of the Lord—a reverence, respect, and awe—is the starting place of wisdom, then a spirit of gratitude characterizes those mature in the faith. This attitude of thanksgiving is seen in how the commandments of God are embraced and lived out not begrudgingly, but joyfully.
“Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, ‘My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples’’” (Matthew 26:18).
While my own curiosity would desire to know the name of this certain man, his anonymity is a reminder that it could have been anyone. The greater question is whether our Lord could have the same confidence that any one of our homes would be a place where the celebration of God’s provision and deliverance is celebrated. Could you be counted as a certain one?
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways” (Romans 11:33)!
One of the more meaningful realities of the Christian life is that it is a continuing quest upon which one never arrives. You can only go deeper; it only grows richer; it only becomes fuller.
“I will tell of Your name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise you” (Psalm 22:22).
Whether or not one ever speaks of the faith they supposedly profess, your life is nonetheless telling the story of what you believe. I do not diminish the importance of spoken words, but our lives speak louder and more clearly. Both words and actions are of vital importance in telling the story of a transformational faith. Not only must we choose our words wisely, we must edit our lives accordingly.
“He has made known to His people the power of His works, in giving them the heritage of the nations” (Psalm 111:6).
If heritage is defined as practices handed down from the past by tradition, it then begs the question, “How well am I modeling the life of faith, and the disciplined, traditional, practices of God’s people as depicted in scripture?” If the overwhelming majority of confessing Christians in the U.S. are already flunking the Sunday worship gathering test (most polling agencies now defining average church attendance as once every 4-6 weeks), there is no reason to think faith is being played out at home in a way that will have any lasting formative impact. Faith continues as a heritage only as it’s passed down. Let us not fumble the ball. Something bigger than your Sunday morning is at stake.
“He has made His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate” (Psalm 111:4).
Our present conflicts can blind us to the larger purposes of God. For instance, when the Lord passes over the doorposts of the Israelites (Exodus 12), it was done not only for the good of his people there and then but, also, for all generations that would follow. In our tendency toward self-preoccupation, it is a needed reminder that God is working not just for me and my moments on this earth, but the redemption of all for eternity. Remember that!
“Great are the works of the Lord; they are studied by all who delight in them” (Psalm 111:2).
A biblical worldview is accomplished by the disciplined, repetitive exercise of filtering the events and circumstances of this life through the prism of scripture. It is achieved when we have studied intently the workings of God borne out in scripture; by continually seeking them out because they are the source of our delight. This mental reflection upon how God has acted faithfully in the past opens us up to the awareness of his working in the present.
“Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart, in the company of the upright and in the assembly” (Psalm 111:1).
To worship God with all one’s heart is an exercise in discipline. The greatest challenge is overcoming our tendency to worship as an audience of consumers; that the elements of worship must align with my personal preferences and accommodate my chosen lifestyle. Such evaluations reveal one’s self to be the true god and object of one’s affections. In the maelstrom of life, it is the thankful hearted, alone, that are able to identify the true God and make him the undistracted focus of their worship.