Monthly Archives: July 2013

Morning Reflections – 7/31

Morning Reflections is a series of brief reflections on my daily morning readings; one chapter of Pslams and one of Proverbs.

Psalm 61 and Proverbs 31

Psalm 61 is full of prayers and petitions, both for merciful guidance for himself (lead me to the rock that is higher than I) and for blessing for the king (May he be enthroned forever before God). After all his prayers, he ends with v8, “So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.” This is a fitting end for all our prayers as well as really the only right response. Our ultimate hope in seeking God’s guidance ought to be to secure his blessing for ourselves and those we love, however even beyond that it should be that we might praise him more fully, praise him more faithfully. Indeed, when he answers, what else can we do? There is no repayment for the favors of God, only to give ourselves entirely, as we are, to him and his purposes.

Proverbs 31:4 says “Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.” Seeing as these are the words of King Lemuel to his son, who will one day be king, the words are highly applicable. One who will be king should indeed not give his ways to those who will destroy him. Undoubtedly women have been a snare to many a king in Israel. Solomon and David are among Israels greatest kings, and both of them suffered greatly for their lack of discretion in this department. A king strength is not for indulgence, but to “defend the rights of the poor and needy (v9).” Interestingly, this is done not through warfare, but through “opening your mouth”, as twice the phrase is mentioned. A kings role is to rule by statue and to promote equity and righteousness through legislation. By decree a king works on behalf of his people. A mute king is no king at all. In contrast, what a king Christians have! King Jesus never spoke a sideways word, nor one that fell to the wayside. When he opens his mouth it is pure justice, righteous judgment, healing wisdom, and words of life. We gladly own you as king, oh Jesus, because none other rules so powerfully as you do by your decrees. In them we are safe and protected, cared for and sustained. May your kingdom come and your will be done, Lord!


Morning Reflections – 7/30

Morning Reflections is a series of brief reflections on my daily morning readings; one chapter of Pslams and one of Proverbs.

Psalm 60 and Proverbs 30

Psalm 60:11 says “Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!” This is an emphatic statement, and for anyone who names the name of the LORD, it should be ever on our lips. This is especially true in our day, where temptations to pragmatism and human wisdom are ever so sophisticated and prevalent. We must be all the more certain that we need the help of the personal powerful sovereign of the universe and be all the more eager to secure this help. The psalmist had no illusions; it would be God’s help or no help. Man simply cannot produce the power that is needed, nor work the salvation that is desired.

Verses 1-3 are the psalmists recollection of God’s hard dealings with his people; Perhaps God on occasion needs to show his awesome power against his people whereby they learn that the salvation of man, (ie, their own!) is in vain. Being taken to task by the God of the universe is by no means pleasant; it is then indeed when we begin to yearn for God’s favor the most… I do believe God desires to give it to us all along, we just need to be prepared for it, lest we trample it underfoot in gross unthankfulness. Affliction is a great buffer against the heinous sin of ungratefulness.

Agur, the author of Proverbs 30, is aware that the Lord is ready to afflict, which is why he wisely requests honesty of heart and sufficiency in God. His great fear is that he deny the Lord in the pride of his wealth or profane the name of the Lord by thieving out of poverty. He fears the Lord, and in that his wisdom is manifest. Proverbs 30:7-9 would be a great one to memorize, especially for youth who seek to live right before the Lord.


Morning Reflections – 7/29

Morning Reflections is a series of brief reflections on my daily morning readings; one chapter of Pslams and one of Proverbs.

Psalm 59 and Proverbs 29

Twice in this Psalm the author recalls of the gentile heathens: “Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city.” Whether the psalmist hears of their scoffing and indulgence from outside the city, inside the city, or is merely speaking in generalities of his enemies; one thing is clear: he will have no part in it. He would rather retreat to his own fortress, the God who shows steadfast love, the God who is his strength. Notice how he owns God. you are MY fortress, you are MY strength, you show ME steadfast love, you have been to ME a refuge. His people ought to take refuge in him, separating themselves from the indulgences of worldly scoffers.

v8 in the proverbs says “Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.”¬†Abraham was wise in his hopes of turning away wrath from Sodom, a heathen city that meets and even exceeds the description in the psalm. Yet the author of this psalm seems more interested in their prolonged destruction, until they are consumed completely. How shall we reconcile the two? I guess these attitudes are simply two facets of the same diamond, two friends that need not be reconciled. The heart of the psalmist is found in v13, that his enemies “may know that God rules over Jacob to the ends of the earth”. Scoffers may repent or be silenced, but their ignorance will not continue unabated. The wise may turn away wrath from a city for a time, or from a person for an eternity by the gospel; but the psalmists desire shall in the end be realized.

 


Morning Reflections – 7/28

Morning Reflections is a series of brief reflections on my daily morning readings; one chapter of Pslams and one of Proverbs.

Psalm 58 and Proverbs 28

Psalm 58 begins with a hypothetical question about the gods of the earth. Do they decree what is right? Do they judge the children of man uprightly? The response is immediate; No. The Psalm then continues with¬†indictments against the wicked and prayers to capital “G” God, the true God, to frustrate, destroy, and ultimately bring the enemy to nothing. In the final two verses the Psalmist anticipates the coming victory and judgment of the wicked when the true God who actually does decree what is right and actually does judge the children of man uprightly comes to do, well, just that.

Verse 10 is what grabbed my attention. “The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.”

Seems a bit gratuitous, don’t you think? Bathing in someone else’s blood? We don’t often think in these categories, but not only does the Psalmist seem quite comfortable with this idea, we have to own the fact that those words were inspired!

How can we bring ourselves into agreement with the seeming violence of the psalm? How can we join the psalmist rather than judge him in his bloody foot bathing? How can this be right?

The key is to recognize that if God indeed is the judge, then the judgment is indeed just, and the execution is righteous. Whatever his judgment, it cannot be other than a righteous, pure, and perfect judgment. If it were not so, he would no longer be capital “G” God, but just another little “g” god among the rest whom the psalmist dismisses two verses in.

The temptation of Psalm 58:10 is to appraise the judgments of God. In contrast, it calls us to bathe our feet with the psalmist. In reality, what else can we do? Though there be blood in the streets, if it is of the Lord, we say Amen. His judgments cannot be anything but wisdom in action, holiness on display, justice executed to perfection. Whoever acts otherwise simply cannot be God.

Perhaps this is exactly why Proverbs 28:5 says “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it completely.” God simply will not play nicely with any notion of justice erected outside of himself; the very notion of justice is bound up in the person-hood of God.