The Old Preacher

Viewing the World through God's Word

Month: August 2014

The Creed

P.AllanCharles Spurgeon (the 19th century London “Prince of Preachers”) once said to his students:  “You are not such wiseacres as to think or say that you can expound the Scripture without the assistance from the works of divine and learned men who have labored before you in the field of exposition . . . It seems odd that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves should think so little of what he has revealed to others.”  In other words, we can learn much from the men John Piper calls “Dead Saints.”

This is certainly true when it comes to the creeds of the church.  A creed is a statement of beliefs that summarizes core doctrines of the Scriptures.  Creeds were formulated by church councils to respond to particular heresies and situations that troubled the church over early centuries.  They are not Scripture. But by them we can publicly confess what we believe as a church over against false ideas that seep in and mislead us.  This is particularly important these days when “beliefs” are often little more than groundless personal opinions and when our ties to the historic Christian church are lost by our ignorance.

Here, then, are two popular creeds. Other creeds and confessions can be found at . . .
http://carm.org/creeds-and-confessions.

The Apostles’ Creed.  It was not written by the apostles, but its doctrines are consistent with teaching from the apostolic period.  Its earliest written form is dated somewhere around 215 A.D.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick (living) and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic (universal) Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.  Amen.

The Nicene Creed.  In 325 A.D. Roman Emperor Constantine (who had made  Christianity the empire’s official religion) convened a council to settle a dispute about the deity of Jesus Christ.  This creed proclaims the council’s decision.   The creed was revised and expanded into its present form in 381 B.C.

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. 

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.  For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human.  For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.  On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. 

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.  We believe in one holy catholic (universal) and apostolic Church.  We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.  We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.  Amen.

This I Believe (The Creed)–Hillsong.  For those more into music, Hillsong has obliged with this contemporary creed-song.  Sing along and confess!  www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=Onj5fHdX4wku=/watch%3Fv%3DuuDIsk2nJU%26list%3DPLtHOZdL35EaE24yFfC3VGrTUip6Ys7B0v%26feature%3Dem-share_video_in_list_user

Confessing.  “Confessing” doesn’t mean “admitting what you did wrong”.  It means “professing what you believe”.    But when we “say” a creed in the gathered church, that’s what we usually do–“say” it, trying to keep pace with all the other “sayers.”   We recite, but it’s hard to think deeply.  We read, but it’s hard to consider it a robust profession of what we really believe.  The same is too often true of singing our worship songs.

Do we really believe what we confess in the creeds?  Do we really believe what we sing in our worship songs?  Then let’s sing our worship as if our Lord were sitting up front listening!  Let’s confess our creeds as if a radical extremist was holding a knife to our throat demanding,  “What do you believe?”!

Even if we never face that test, let’s confess and sing from our hearts with affection and conviction . . .

  • so that others around us are encouraged in the faith
  • so that “rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10) know where we stand
  • and so that in a world that believes everything (and consequently nothing), the one true livingGod (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is glorified by the steadfast words of our mouth and the uncompromising meditations of our hearts!

(Special thanks to Meridith Clark for sending me this song!)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m Going to Die, But . . .

P.AllanI’ve known it a long time.  But now, 70 years old with a wearing-out body,  I’ve never been hit in the face with it like this.  ” . . .it is appointed for man to die . . . ” (Hebrews 9:27).  No avoiding it.  God made the appointment for me–and you.

Why?  Sin.  (Yes, sin’s that bad.) Death entered God’s death-free world through Adam’s sin.  ” . . . just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).  Sin is the culprit.  And death is the holy Creator’s necessary curse of our sinning against him.  Kind of makes you mad at Adam, doesn’t it!  Except, if we’re honest, had we been there, we would have gobbled down that fruit against God’s command, too, wouldn’t we!  No?  Come on, look at our lives.  We’ve all “gobbled down” at lot of what God said “No!” to.  We’ve all disbelieved him and disobeyed him and disgraced his holy name.

So one day soon, I’m going to die.  I dread it.  Not so much death, more the process.  My wonderful father-in law had a heart attack at a red light and died a few days later.  Never woke up.  If God gave me a choice, that’s the box I’d check.  I dread death, too, because it means leaving my loved ones.  How can I begin to say goodbye to my beautiful wife and best friend of 50+ years?  To my three flesh-of-my-own-flesh children?  To my eight precious grandchildren?  My heart will break.  Even so, death will come.

Sound like the Grim Reaper, don’t I!  Note, though, there’s a “but” there.  “I’m going to die, but . . . ”  The “but” is due to the Gospel.  ” . . . Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures . . . he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Connected by nature to Adam, you and I die.  Connected by faith to Christ, we will live.  “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Dying is often quiet, funerals often somber.  Being made alive with Christ will be anything but.  ” . . . we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of any eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  ‘Death is swallowed up in victory'”  (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).  What a triumphant praise-celebration that will be!  Above and beyond anything we could ask or imagine (Ephesian 3:20)!

The key is Christ.  Before his crucifixion, he promised his disciples, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19b).  After his burial, the women found his tomb  empty.  He had risen, just as he said (Matthew 28:6).  And, if we trust ourselves to him, our grave will be empty too, just as he said.

One of my precious daughters sent me the song at the link below.  Contemporary Christian music usually isn’t my music of choice.  But this is celebration.  This is worship.  This is why a 70-year-old who knows he’s going to die joins the young and celebrates as if he were.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv4LRl2KI2M

 

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Where Is God When We Need Him? (Epilogue)

P.AllanIn this “after-word”,  reminders of what we should know for today . . .

When we need God, he’s with us.  Let this promise imprint your soul:  “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).  While God is present everywhere (Jeremiah 23:23,24), he promises to be with his chosen people in a personal, purposeful way.  So when Joshua succeeded Moses as Israel’s leader, he heard this from the Lord:  “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.  I will not leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:6).  When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he noted some of his sufferings for Christ: “We are . . . persecuted but not forsaken” (2 Corinthians 4:9).  And who can forget shepherd David’s beautiful confidence:  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me . . . ” (Psalm 23:4a)?  The God of Joshua, Paul and David is with us! 

He cannot not be.  He promised, “And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes . . . ” (Ezekiel 36:27).  The Spirit is a distinguishing mark of the believer in Messiah:  “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Romans 8:9b).  The Spirit is also a familial presence:  “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba!  Father!'” (Romans 8:15).  Our God cannot not be with us who believe,  because he is Father to us– his adopted children–and he lives in us.  “With us” is that close.

I’ve had three surgeries the last five years.  Each time my wife was with me–at least up to the final prep point.  I was a big boy in my late 60’s then.   But having my wife with me comforted me.  Of course, it’s different with our Father.  We can’t see him sitting next to us or hold his hand or hear him speak.  Sometimes our anxiety is so overbearing or the pain so intense, it smothers any sense of his presence.  Yet, our feelings are not the measure of his promise.  Our Father is with us.  He promised.  And he cannot not be. “So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear . . . ‘” (Hebrews 13:6).

When we need God, he’s at work. ” . . . we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).  What a weird worldview!  Rejoice in sufferings?  I don’t mean to be discouraging, but I’ve been a believer for about 60 years and my default reaction to suffering still isn’t whoopee!  Is yours?  But we do have this knowledge:  God is at work in our suffering to produce endurance, character and hope.  Suffering isn’t “down time.”  Our Father uses it to form us further into the likeness of our Savior.  Nor is suffering “weak time.”  Our Father uses it to build us up with qualities more valuable than bulging biceps.

And his work isn’t coolly-professional, like a surgeon who’s performed this operation hundreds of times; it’s personally-loving.  ” . . . God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5b).  That’s why the work God produces will never disappoint; the final outcome will be glorious!  “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus”, we sang years ago.  It will be worth it all also when we see ourselves then. 

James echoes Paul.  “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).  To be honest, when God’s work hurts, I’d be okay with being a bit imperfect and missing a few virtues!  How can our default reaction be joy?  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).  A worldview that sees God at work in our worst days demands wisdom.  How to have it?  ” . . . ask God who gives
generously . . . ” 

When we need God, he’s with us and at work because Christ was forsaken.  Similar to Elie Weisel in the concentration camp, there are times we feel God is gone and only evil is working.  I wonder if Jesus’ disciples felt like that when he cried from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  

Suffering is in the world because death is.  Death is in the world because sin is (Romans 5:12).  And Christ’s God-forsaken suffering was the means by which “the grace of God . . . abounded for many” bringing justification, the free gift of righteousness and “eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:15-21).

So, believers in the crucified, risen and coming Christ, we can say with Paul:  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).  And we will sing on that day when suffering and death are swallowed up in victory . . .

” . . . to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ!  Amen” (Romans 16:27).

 

 

 
 
 

 

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Where Is God When We Need Him? (Part 4)

P.AllanGod rescues the suffering psalmist so suddenly you think you missed a line or two.  “Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog!  Save me from the mouth of the lion!  You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!” (Psalm 22:20,21).  So abruptly.

Joyful Praise from Sudden Rescue.  David’s joy erupts.  He invites friends to a feast to hear his praise to the LORD.  “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:  You who fear the LORD, praise him!  All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!  For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.  From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him.  The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD!  May your hearts live forever!” (Psalm 22:22-26).

Profuse Praise Turns to Prophetic Praise. Even Gentile nations will repent and worship the Lord.  “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you” (22:27).

Why?  “For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations” (22:28).  The LORD to whom David has prayed is King of the World.  Even some of the arrogant self-sufficient will turn and join the humble at the worship feast:  “All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive” (22:29).  Even unborn generations will be there!  “Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it” (22:30,31). 

Has David turned tipsy from too much worship feast wine?  Can he really mean the whole earth, even future generations,  will praise the Lord for rescuing him from his anguish?  What David understood we can’t be sure.  But from our vantage point 3000 years later, we see that David’s psalm looked forward to far more agonizing suffering and a far more joyful worship feast . . .

Prophecy Fulfilled.  A thousand years after David, outside Jerusalem, three Jews hang from three Roman crosses.  “Now about the sixth hour there was darkness over the land until the ninth hour.  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (Aramaic and Hebrew) that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'”  (Matthew 27:45,46).  Jesus was wailing David’s words.  As David complained of mockers at his suffering (Psalm 22:6-8), so when Jesus was crucified ” . . . those who passed by derided him . . .  and the “chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him . . . “ and ” . . . the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him” (Matthew 27:39-43).  David had cried out, ” . . . they have pierced my hands and feet” (Psalm 22:16)–crucifixion language from a man who wasn’t crucified (Matthew 27:35).  As David had watched his clothing divided up by his persecutors (Psalm 22:18), so ” . . . they divided [Jesus’] garments among them by casting lots” (Matthew 27:35).

You see, David’s suffering foreshadowed Jesus’ crucifixion.  David’s rescue foreshadowed Jesus’ resurrection.  David’s seemingly exaggerated worldwide, generational praise foreshadowed the day when we who have trusted Jesus will be ” . . . invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9).

Our Hope.  So we identify with the psalmist’s suffering in Psalm 22:1-21a.  And we can–we must–grab onto the psalmist’s joy in Psalm 22:21b-31.  For this is our ultimate hope.  Though the Lord rescues us who believe in him from the guilt and power of sin; yet in this fallen, sin-cursed world we still suffer.  And our ultimate hope for rescue lies in the suffering of Christ by which our sins are forgiven, and in the mighty resurrection of Christ by which we are born again into the new-creation kingdom of God where he will wipe every tear from our eyes forever.

Where Is God When We Need Him?  In a Nazi concentration camp Jewish prisoners were forced to watch three hang, one just a boy.  A voice among them muttered, “Where is merciful God?  Where is he?”  The hanging over, the prisoners were made to pass before the victims, where the boy still swung not yet dead.   That’s when Elie Wiesel, author of the book Night,  silently answered,  “Where is [God]?  This is where–hanging here on this gallows.”

Overcome by human cruelty, Weisel meant God is dead like those victims.  He was wrong.  God wasn’t on those gallows.  But God was once on a cross–where we needed him most.   Suffering for us–to save us from the cause of all our suffering, sin.  Not only dying, but rising–to invite us to a joyful worship feast where we’ll be free from suffering forever.

When We’ll Never Ask That Question Again.  The day is coming when  we will hear a voice make the proclamation: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with men.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Revelation 21:3).  In the new creation, God won’t live in heaven but with us, his people who have trusted his Son.  God himself will be among us as our God to dry every tear and remove every pain forever.  And never again will we ask, “Where is God when we need him?”

 

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Where Is God When We Need Him? (Part 3)

P.Allan“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?  O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest” (Psalm 22:1,2).

The Feelings.  Who of us hasn’t felt like David?  Maybe even prayed his words.  What occasioned them we don’t know; but we know it was no abbreviated anguish or shallow sorrow.  Day and night. Abandoned by his God.  Far from David’s groaning, far from saving him.  Silent while his war raged.  Why?  Like David, we too haven’t understood why our God is gone when we need him most.  But even “forsaken”, we’ve remembered who he is and what he’s done before.

The Fight.“Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.  In you our fathers trusted, and you delivered them.  To you they cried and were rescued, in you they trusted and were not put to shame” (Psalm 22:3-5).  That memory, though, only sharpens the contrast between them and us and deepens our darkness.

“But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people.  All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;  ‘He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him, for he delights in him!’ (Psalm 22:7,8).  Whatever the cause of David’s suffering, mockers deepened it.  “What’s wrong with your faith, David?  I thought the Lord loved you.  Why doesn’t he save you now?”  Mockery like that is hard to bear when it comes from enemies, worse from friends, worse still when it erupts in our own mind.

“Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.  On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.  Be not far from me, for trouble is near and there is none to help” (Psalm 22:9-11).  David knew God, not just from Torah lessons, but from personal care.  And that moved him to pray, “God, come close to me again in my lonely time of trouble.”

See what’s happening here, this back and forth?  David feels God-forsaken when he most needs God.  But he’s still fighting.  In verses 1 and 2 he voices his why-complaints.  But in verses 3-5 he fights back by remembering who God is and what he’s done for his people in the past.  In verses 6-8 he’s drowning in mockery.  But in verses 9-11 he’s recalling God’s personal care and again pleading for his help.  The battle continues as weak David describes how his strong enemies are closing in on him.

“Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongues sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.  For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet–I can count all my bones–they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:12-18).  In his book, King and Messiah, A. Bentzen says this psalm “is not a description of an illness (as if David were dying from an agonizing disease), but of an execution.”  It’s as if “the cosmic powers of this present darkness” (Ephesians 6:12) are crucifying this faithful man.  Still, David claws back with a final, desperate plea.

“But you, O LORD, do not be far off!  O you my help, come quickly to my aid!  Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog!  Save me from the mouth of the lion!” (Psalm 22:19-21a.)

The Fallout. What will the Lord do?  Will he now come quickly to help his servant?  Will he charge out and rout David’s enemies? Or will he remain far off and leave David in the dust of death?  What will he do for us?  Will the fallout from our pleading be a miracle?  Or will our tomorrows find us still “forsaken”?

The Finale.  Not yet, for two reasons.  One, length.  Longer will be too long for this post.  (I could have omitted quoting the psalm.  I chose not to because God’s words are more important than mine about them.) Two, life.  Though David answers our questions in the rest of the psalm (and the New Testament answers them in unexpected and almost too-wonderful-to-be-true ways), we forget (or want to ignore the fact) that the Lord sometimes lays his beloved people alone in “the dust of death.”  In the first half of this psalm we’re reminded that the life of faith is a fight.  And sometimes we’re found losing the battle.  Not because our faith is weak or we’re not sending money to some false-Messiah-TV-evangelist.  But because we live in a God-rebelling, God-cursed world in bodies that are dying with a nature still infected by sin.  More of us than we like to admit are asking, “Where is God when we need him?”

Next time we’ll find out where.  And stand amazed at his mercy.

 

 

 

 

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Where Is God When We Need Him? (Part 2)

P.AllanThe Bible is suffering-filled history.  From Cain’s murder of Abel to the slavery of the Hebrews in Egypt to Paul’s painful apostolic life to the tribulations of the church and the outpouring of God’s wrath in Revelation, Scripture shows us life with all its afflictions.

Hanging Jews. The concentration camp crowd was forced to watch a triple hanging.  From somewhere among them a prisoner muttered,  “Where is God?”  Fellow prisoner  Elie Weisel answered to himself, “This is where–hanging here from this gallows.”  He meant God was as dead as the three about to be hanged.  As helpless before his own creation as the victims he was forced to watch.  As weak in the face of depraved human power as the one little sad-eyed, pale  boy around whose neck the noose was now being fastened.

Suffering in Psalm 6.  Is God “dead”?  Helpless?  Weak?  A silent spectator to human suffering?  Or does he see, hear and answer our cries?  I cited Psalm 6 in part 1 of this series.  Let’s use it to answer our questions.

In the first five verses, David cries out.  “O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.  Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.  My soul also is greatly troubled.  But you, O LORD–how long?  Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love.  For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?” (6:1-5).

The poignant, “O LORD–how long?”, echoes against a silent heaven.  Any Jewish concentration camp prisoner could have voiced that prayer.  But here we find it on King David’s lips.  In verses 6 and 7  he continues to weep over his weakness and grief.

“I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.  My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.”

Defiant Faith.  But suddenly, in verses 8-10 David prays with defiant faith:  “Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.  The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.  All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.” 

David’s enemies remain.  But, in the midst of his suffering David has a sudden “attack” of defiant faith.  He orders his enemies to leave.  Why?  ” . . . for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.  The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.”  Then David declares with almost brash assurance:  “All my enemies shall be ashamed . . . they shall turn back . . . ”

The future tense shows that David’s enemies have not yet turned back.  His outward circumstances haven’t  changed; his tormenters remain.  But inwardly David is different.

The Sources.  From where did his defiant faith suddenly come?  I suggest three sources.  First, David has prayed to the LORD (6:1,2,3,4).  The Sovereign over all situations.  The God who has introduced himself to Israel by his personal name–Yahweh.  We can repeat his exalted name again and again–and what initially might sound like mocking in our painful circumstances becomes an assurance that the One who is “LORD of lords” is our Lord.

Second, the Lord steadfastly loves his people and will act for the sake of his steadfast love (6:4).  Yahweh’s love “is great, higher than the heavens” (Psalm 108:4).  That’s how big his love is for his people.  And for the sake of that love–that is, for the reputation of his name as “The Steadfast Lover”, he will save his people who trust his love.

Third, David has been infused with faith.  God has acted inside him.  The transformation in David between verse 7 and verse 8 is stunning.    Verse 7–“My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.”  Verse 8–“Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping” (6:8). 

How can we account for such a stunning transformation when David’s circumstances remain so harsh?  A skeptical psychologist may say, “David, like a cornered snake, simply lashed out in self-defensive anger.”  Perhaps.  Or maybe the LORD, who acts for the sake of his steadfast love,  gave David a sudden gift of defiant faith.  Faith is a gift of God the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:9).  So perhaps praying to the LORD who loves steadfastly, David was given by the LORD a gift of defiant faith.

Not the response we want.  We know this, don’t we!  Sometimes God’s answer isn’t the one we want.  We want the circumstance changed.  When we pray and it isn’t we presume God hasn’t heard or doesn’t care.  Or we get angry at him and think about resigning from him.  But often God is doing what we don’t want for the greater good of what he wants.  And instead of defiantly trusting the LORD, the Steadfast Lover, we act like unbelievers and ask, “God, where are you when I need you?”

Instead of questioning God’s loving sovereign presence, perhaps we should pray Psalm 6.  As he gave David, he may give us defiant faith–and show us where he is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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