Storm’d at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well,[1]

Today’s (Su 08/10/2017) FDR is Psalm 83 .

This psalm sets out to call God’s attention to the assault made on Him through the attacks of His enemies on His people, Israel.  So in a similar way the poem describing the chaos and cacophony of the cannon against which the British Light Brigade rode in 1854 mimics, in an earthly way, the forces aligned against God and His people.

There are two perspectives here that I want to focus on briefly:

God is responsible.  Not for our troubles, but for our safekeeping.  Biblical historians tell us there is no time in earlier history when all these nations were arraigned, all at the same time, against God’s chosen people Israel.  Since the resurrection of our saviour Jesus we live in the ‘end times’, those times between Jesus’ resurrection and His second coming.  Various authors have suggested that now, in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries, there is an alignment of nations, descended from the listed nations in Psalm 83, arranged around the current physical home of the Israel nation. This cry of help calls for assistance from God prophetically for this occurrence.  This is a call for assistance against the physical threat of being overrun and wiped from the face of the earth.

God is attentive.  We have a much more important perspective to understand here.  Our living in the ‘end times’, before Christ returns to  judge the earth and its people, has a whole other level of understanding.  While, the spiritual struggle is won in Jesus Christ and death has lost its sting, we are to continue here on earth seeking to enable as many who don’t know Jesus as Lord to change their minds and accept Him.

None of our circumstances today deny the opposition Satan and his workers bring to our current environment whatever you or I think will crush us or destroy us.  Yet we too have the words of the Great Commission[2] and other repeated affirmations in Scripture, including the words of Jesus in many circumstances, to assure us that God is responsible for us and is attentive to us.

But more than that.  God has promised us that He alone provides us with an eternal life through faith in Jesus.  These promises are written in the Bible and on our hearts as we come to faith in Jesus and understanding of the great gift of eternal life in God.

Can I encourage you to take this psalm into your own personal armoury against the powers of evil to use when you feel overrun by those apparently arraigned against you or those whom you love.  To call on our Almighty God to hold back the perceived overwhelming forces opposed against Him and His children.  Yes, You and I too.

May you be blessed and strengthened through calling on Our God.

Glenn

  1. Title from verse 3 of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem The charge of the Light Brigade
  2. The Great Commission as recorded in Matthew 28: 18-20

 

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God who is supreme over all, the seen and unseen.

Today’s (Su 01/10/2017) FDR is Psalm 82 .

It will come as no surprise to you that this is one of the shortest psalms in this book of the Bible.  But my reading suggests it is one of the most debated and written about.

I’d like to draw out two particular points: (i) how its constructed poetically and (ii) how part of it was used by Jesus.

It has three strands of thought with two encapsulated in the prior one so that it is a clear indicator of the simple emphasis that is encouraged by this form of expression.

A  God stands and judges the assembly of the gods. (v1)

B  The gods are confronted over their injustice. (v2-4)

C  The chaos left by the gods is described. (v5)

B  The gods are confronted with their mortality. (v6-7)

A  God is asked to rise in the assembly and judge the earth. (v8)

God stands over all for what He desires.  A just world in which He exercises judgement of all for those things done and not done.  For the chaos created.  God’s authority is emphasised here by the use of the word ‘gods’ to include both the earthly and supernatural over which He has supreme authority.

Jesus, God’s son and part of the Trinity, is recorded in John 10: 30-49 as being charged as blasphemous when He says He and the Father are One (v30).  Jesus goes on to defend himself before those wishing to stone Him (v33-36) using Psalm 82:6 through the interpretation that some mortals are “gods’ or immortal.  Jesus goes on to argue that He was sanctified and sent by ‘the Father’ to do the Father’s works.

Here’s how John records this interchange between Jesus’ accusers, attempting to be His executioners, and Jesus.

John 10:30-39 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

30 I and the Father are one.’

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’

33 ‘We are not stoning you for any good work,’ they replied, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’

34 Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, “I have said you are ‘gods’”[a]? 35 If he called them “gods”, to whom the word of God came – and Scripture cannot be set aside – 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, “I am God’s Son”? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.’ 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

Footnotes:

  1. John 10:34 Psalm 82:6
(Sourced from Biblegateway.com on 29/09/2017.  With thanks.)

 

So we are able to sing in great joy and praise of our Almighty God and His son Jesus:

I know not why God’s wondrous grace

(Sourced from Youtube.com on 29/09/2017.  With thanks.)

May your Sunday be blessed as you praise the Almighty Triune God,

Glenn

Lessons from History, theirs and ours.

Today’s (Su 03/09/2017) FDR is Psalm 78

This 78th psalm is the second longest in the whole book of Psalms.  Do you know which is the longest?  Which is the shortest?

As you begin to read this psalm today you’ll realise its a lesson for us, the readers, about history and God’s punishment because of Israel’s inveterate return to sin.  This psalm is also a note for their and our future.  Each time God’s anger is aroused so too is His mercy.  His judgement is stayed by His great love for us all.  A new beginning is promised to those who remain faithful.  Often those saved are only a remnant.

However, there is also a long range promise of a new beginning from within this Psalm.  Verses 14 and 53 both contain the phrase “he led them” that is used of God rescuing His people.  This phrase is used again in verse 72 and at first, in the Israelite context, speaks of David’s role as King and shepherd of the nation.

Yet this psalm is written for learning from the past and to teach about the future.  Yes, even the New Testament future. The prior phrase (v71d) “His very own”  or “his inheritance” links the “he led them” (v72) phrase back to God.

How faithful is our Almighty God.  Not only does He  rescue Israel, but at the same time He is preparing to rescue us.

Asking Peter’s question from yesterday in a different way;
Are we firmly resolved to stay faithful to the only God who was and is preparing for us before we have being?

Jesus did.   We can by faith in Jesus.

Glenn M

Matthew 15:

Ezra 4, Matthew 15:29-39


Matthew 15: (New International Version)

Who shall dwell on your holy hill?


Psalm 15 asks – and answers – the question: “Who can reside with the LORD?”  The answer converges on actions in four areas: rectitude, relationships, reputation and revenue.

• Rectitude – conduct oneself blamelessly, do what is right, speak the truth;
• Relationships – do not speak evil, do not do evil, do not hold grudges;
• Reputation – shame the shameful, honour the honorable;
• Revenue – earn every cent earned honestly, spend every cent generously.

Who can tick off all the items on this list? No one.

Except Jesus, and those in him.

With stringed instruments

Being a musician, the introductory comments prefacing Psalm 67 immediately catch my attention.

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

What I am looking here are song lyrics, with a long lost melody and instrumentation.

Music is referenced many times throughout the Scriptures. Over 1150 verses in the Bible reference music. The bible is replete with songs which were always accompanied by musical instruments. To see and hear what some of these instruments look and sound like click here.

Having been blessed with enough musical ability to be able play a number of stringed instruments – I wonder how this song would have sounded?

How would Psalm 67 musically have stacked up against some of the classic guitar (stringed instrument) songs that I have grown up listening to – the likes of the Beattles, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana or Led Zepplin to name a few that influenced a generation?

There can be no doubt that even without their original music the Psalms stand unique in their ability to touch generation after generation.

Maybe the structure and repetition of the lyrical themes give us some clue to the musical arrangement!

These are my humble thoughts based on the way our modern worship songs are arranged.

The song begins quietly on a harp or lyre with a request for God to be “gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us” (show us favour or benevolence). But it is not about us – the focus is elsewhere – these requests a meanly signposts to someone, somewhere else as punctuated by the words “Selah” and “So that” (NIV) – verse 2 and again in verse 7.

At which point the song builds as other instruments join in, leading into the chorus (v3) – May all peoples and nations praise you.

It is hard to imagine that the feel of the song is anything but uplifting and joyous in verses 3 and 4 as it speaks of gladness and joy.

The chorus is repeated in verse 5. Before returning again to the theme of God’s blessing that opened the song – perhaps musically more reflective at this point – again the reason for God’s benevolence is clearly spelt out – so that the peoples of the ends of the earth “will fear him!”

Here is a link to the Sons of Korah’s interpretation of Psalm 67 to further reflect upon.

 

I Will Keep My Eyes Always on The Lord

Good morning FDReaders. This post is for Monday 8 May. I’m posting from London so apologies if it arrives on the wrong day.

As we travel around the United Kingdom, we are feeling very blessed, in so many ways. To have the health, and the means, to be able to explore this beautiful part of God’s creation are just two enormous blessings.

As we visit many beautiful Christian monuments – towering ceilings engraved so intricately on enormous stone blocks, brightly coloured windows soaring above the walkway, painted or covered in mosaic and depicting biblical scenes – our gaze continually is drawn upwards, as was the intention of the builder. Upwards towards God, the centre of their belief and all their community, creating awe, humbling the on-looker, reminding of God’s might and supremacy.

David uses words to create this same focus on God, the centre of his devotion. His confidence in his relationship with his Lord is a great blessing to him. His expressions of devotion to this same God of ours are lovely to read.
Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”

He is confident God will provide his every need. He doesn’t need a beautiful building to be reminded of this.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.

I like verse 7 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
That sounds like a great promise. How confident are we that we have a delightful inheritance to look forward to while living inside these boundary lines, in pleasant places!

Verses 8-11 are quoted by Peter in Acts 2:25-31. We’ll leave you to read Peter’s interpretation of these last verses from today’s psalm.

Acts 2:29-36 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

May we all continue to look forward to Jesus’ face, keeping our eyes fixed on Him and our minds and words thankful and rejoicing in all that He has done for us.

Psalm 15

Psalm 15


Psalm 15:1 (New International Version)

Who shall dwell on your holy hill?


Psalm 15 asks – and answers – the question: “Who can reside with the LORD?”  The answer converges on actions in four areas: rectitude, relationships, reputation and revenue.

• Rectitude – conduct oneself blamelessly, do what is right, speak the truth;
• Relationships – do not speak evil, do not do evil, do not hold grudges;
• Reputation – shame the shameful, honour the honorable;
• Revenue – earn every cent earned honestly, spend every cent generously.

Who can tick off all the items on this list? No one.

Except Jesus, and those in him.