Psalm 146 and Jesus

Notes from my morning worship in the Word

The Bible calls us to sing praises to “the LORD,” Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and nothing else. The Bible calls us to worship and trust him, and him alone. To trust in princes (v. 3) is wrong. “Princes” here literally means “nobles.” That is, do not trust in those with a lot of money, status, fame, etc. Do not trust them because they cannot give you salvation. Do not trust a noble because his breath (Hb. ruach: “spirit”) will leave his body, just like yours, and everything he planned up to that day dies with him.

Therefore, Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God (v. 5). Not help for material gain, but help in daily living–for every circumstance imaginable. It is better to trust in Yahweh than a noble man because God made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever (i.e. “stays faithful forever”).

Verses 8-9 catalogue the great things God does, giving him the glory and honor due his name, not a noble man or anyone else for that matter. With God there is complete justice, righteousness, love, compassion, and redemption. He cares for those who are weak and would not normally be cared for by a noble–the blind, bowed down, sojourners, widow, and orphan. Yet at the same time, he equally loves the righteous (his own people). And he brings the wicked to ruin.

Because of who God is and what he does, he will reign forever and therefore all generations should Praise the LORD (v. 10).

The ESVSB comments that the Lord’s reign makes him a sure hope for God’s suffering people. We know that God is with his suffering people because Jesus is not only Immanuel, he is also the Suffering Servant who not only suffered for us on the cross, but also suffered with us. He did this so that he might be able to say that he has gone before us and knows what we go through, because what he endured was infinitely worse than our trial or tribulation (Heb. 4:15-16; 12:3-4). When we find ourselves in the thick of a trial, we will be able to say Hallelu-yah! Praise the LORD! because we know that God is present with us, and that he has not left us. When this happens our perspective changes. Because the Father sent his curse on his Son on the cross, and turned his back on him, we are assured that God will never turn his back on us.

Thankfully, Christ did not stay separated from the Father. He rose from the dead, and was thus vindicated by God and is not seated at the right hand of the Father (Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 12:2). All those who believe in Christ are perfectly accepted by God on the basis of who Christ is and what he has done, and they will reign with Christ forever. That is a better position to have and a better promise to hold on to than to trust in a so-called “noble” for help in time of trouble.


Rapture Charts, Repentance, Revelation, and Jesus

When you read Revelation, what do you see?

A lot of you see a wonderful opportunity to chart out the rapture and tribulation.  A lot of you see ways to make countries and dictators into locusts and horses.  A lot of you see fires and earthquakes and floods and global government.

Remember what C.S. Lewis wrote, “There is always more to see than what you see.”

In Revelation 5, John, the author, starts freaking out because an angel asks a rhetorical question.  “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” (v. 2).  All the angels and their hosts are like, “Duh!  There’s only one!”  But John, still seeing with foggy lenses, starts worrying and crying.  Then, one of the elders who sits around the throne looked at John and said, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (v. 5).

As you read on in Revelation, you will see disaster and terror and death.  There are Christians who read Revelation 5-9 and say, “Oh!  This seal does this and this seal represents this country and army and period in history and blah blah blah blah.”  They speculate and argue and draw out tribulation charts and focus too much on what the seals mean instead of who opens them.

The word “repent” occurs in Revelation ten times.  It occurs eight times in the first nine chapters.  What does that have to do with everything I just said?  If Jesus is worthy of everything, and if we are worthy of nothing, then we must repent and turn to Jesus.  Simply, it means that repentance is a key theme of Revelation.  We need to come to him and declare, “Worthy are you — not me! — to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood — not mine — you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you — not me — have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (5:9-10).

The point of Revelation is not to stir up debate and (awful) speculation about end times.  The main point isn’t the calamities and small details.  The point is the person and work who is behind them, orchestrating them, and ordaining them.  The point is the person who does all things for his glory and renown.  The point of Revelation is to point us to Jesus Christ and his redeeming work in the lives of his people.  He is worthy; we are not.  Weep no more, Christian, there is a King who has come to the rescue.

Life Theology

Weekly Spurgeon

“There were also with Him other little ships.”
– Mark 4:36

Jesus was the Lord High Admiral of the sea that night, and His presence preserved the whole convoy. It is well to sail with Jesus, even though it be in a little ship. When we sail in Christ’s company, we may not make sure of fair weather, for great storms may toss the vessel which carries the Lord Himself, and we must not expect to find the sea less boisterous around our little boat. If we go with Jesus we must be content to fare as He fares; and when the waves are rough to Him, they will be rough to us. It is by tempest and tossing that we shall come to land, as He did before us. When the storm swept over Galilee’s dark lake all faces gathered blackness, and all hearts dreaded shipwreck.

When all creature help was useless, the slumbering Saviour arose, and with a word, transformed the riot of the tempest into the deep quiet of a calm; then were the little vessels at rest as well as that which carried the Lord. Jesus is the star of the sea; and though there be sorrow upon the sea, when Jesus is on it there is joy too. May our hearts make Jesus their anchor, their rudder, their lighthouse, their life-boat, and their harbour. His Church is the Admiral’s flagship, let us attend her movements, and cheer her officers with our presence. He Himself is the great attraction; let us follow ever in His wake, mark His signals, steer by His chart, and never fear while He is within hail. Not one ship in the convoy shall suffer wreck; the great Commodore will steer every barque in safety to the desired haven. By faith we will slip our cable for another day’s cruise, and sail forth with Jesus into a sea of tribulation. Winds and waves will not spare us, but they all obey Him; and, therefore, whatever squalls may occur without, faith shall feel a blessed calm within. He is ever in the centre of the weather-beaten company: let us rejoice in Him. His vessel has reached the haven, and so shall ours.

Life Theology

Weekly Spurgeon

This is a day early, but due to the situation that we are dealing with here in Lincoln, I thought I’d post this today.  This is Spurgeon’s meditation on May 3 from Morning and Evening.  How appropriate is this mediation in light of what happened yesterday.  God is still good.  “Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling (Ps. 46:2-3).”

“In the world ye shall have tribulation.”
– John 16:33

Art thou asking the reason of this, believer? Look upward to thy heavenly Father, and behold Him pure and holy. Dost thou know that thou art one day to be like Him? Wilt thou easily be conformed to His image? Wilt thou not require much refining in the furnace of affliction to purify thee? Will it be an easy thing to get rid of thy corruptions, and make thee perfect even as thy Father which is in heaven is perfect? Next, Christian, turn thine eye downward. Dost thou know what foes thou hast beneath thy feet? Thou wast once a servant of Satan, and no king will willingly lose his subjects. Dost thou think that Satan will let thee alone? No, he will be always at thee, for he “goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Expect trouble, therefore, Christian, when thou lookest beneath thee. Then look around thee. Where art thou? Thou art in an enemy’s country, a stranger and a sojourner. The world is not thy friend. If it be, then thou art not God’s friend, for he who is the friend of the world is the enemy of God. Be assured that thou shalt find foe-men everywhere. When thou sleepest, think that thou art resting on the battlefield; when thou walkest, suspect an ambush in every hedge. As mosquitoes are said to bite strangers more than natives, so will the trials of earth be sharpest to you. Lastly, look within thee, into thine own heart and observe what is there. Sin and self are still within. Ah! if thou hadst no devil to tempt thee, no enemies to fight thee, and no world to ensnare thee, thou wouldst still find in thyself evil enough to be a sore trouble to thee, for “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Expect trouble then, but despond not on account of it, for God is with thee to help and to strengthen thee. He hath said, “I will be with thee in trouble; I will deliver thee and honour thee.”