Baptism, Spiritual Rock, and Wilderness Wanderings

Psalm 107 speaks of the many ways in which Israel suffered. Those sufferings had a greater purpose. As Israel meditated on their journey they would remember the many ways God has protected and provided. They were to give thanks to Yahweh (Ps. 107:2) for rescuing them from their hunger and thirst, but also–as Paul says in I Corinthians 10–for providing them a new baptism. God was preparing them to be a royal nation. Ultimately, as Augustine observes, God was preparing them to be baptized so that they might make an end to their enemies. Psalm 107 is a sacramental psalm. It is suffering for the sake of glory; thirst for the sake of living waters.

Let the ga’al of Yahweh say so

Psalm 107 draws our attention to the kinsman redeemer (Let the redeemed of Yahweh say so). The gä·al’ takes us back to the ransoming of Ruth. Ruth (bridal) rejoices in her deliverance, and so Israel (bridal) gives thanks to God.

God’s Mercy Endures Forever (Psalm 107)

St. Augustine observes that the psalmist can only speak of mercy/love enduring forever and it cannot be time bound “since for this purpose His present mercy is over men, that they may live with the Angels for ever.”

Lenten Sermon: Psalm 19: Creation, Law, and Forgiveness

People of God, as we consider the world around us as Christians, one of the central distinctions we must keep in mind is the Creator/Creature distinction.[1] If we confuse this distinction we will enter into a very dangerous world. Though we are image bearers and though we reflect the God who created us, we are not God. Those who have attempted to bring together godhood and creature have departed from Christian orthodoxy into something darker and unnatural. The Apostle Paul saw several implications for this when he wrote in Romans that when the creature fails to worship God, they become foolish in their hearts[2] and they give themselves over to sinful desires. More

Saturday Psalter, Psalm 19 (Genevan)

Psalm 19, Brief Observations

This psalm contains a three-fold theme. Creation, the law, and forgiveness serve as testimonies to the glory of God. Creation does not serve as an equal manifestation to the Law-Word, but rather in submission to the Word of the Lord, which is perfect and all together righteous. Creation is personified in the passage. This is a poetic way of explaining the world as a harmonious choir praising the excellence of God.

One way to begin to consider this passage is by acknowledging the Creator/creature distinction. Creation is not God. Creation speaks of God. Insofar as creation speaks of God, man is called to respond to that message. However, creation is not the end of that message. Creation points us to the words of God, which are sweeter than honey.

Second Sunday in Lent: Psalm 22:23-31

People of God, we will be journeying this Lenten Season through the Psalter. And this morning we come to Psalm 22. This is a psalm generally associated with the crucifixion of our Lord. The words of David in verse one are echoed by Jesus at the cross when he cried: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is something we must not overlook: that in the time of most turmoil, our Lord could think of nothing else, but to utter the expression of the psalmist. Of the thirteen Old Testament references made by our Lord in the Passion Week, nine of them came from the psalms. And of these nine, five of them come from our passage in Psalm 22.[1] Psalm 22 is a Lenten Psalm. It points us to the death of our Lord. We have made this point before, and it is well worth saying it again: when the New Testament points us to an Old Covenant verse, they are not isolating that verse, rather they are pointing to the entire passage. So, by uttering “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” Jesus is saying that all of Psalm 22 speaks of his suffering; all of it manifests his agony and his triumph. The Psalm and the Passion story come together. Psalm 22 “invites us also to undertake to understand Jesus in terms of the psalm, that is, to view him through the form and language of this prayer.”[2] More

Saturday Psalter, Genevan: Psalm 14

First Sunday in Lent: Psalm 25, David’s Distress and Deliverance

People of God, this is the first Sunday in Lent. And as we enter into this season we will take a look at Psalm 25. In fact, if you plan on meditating on a biblical book this Lenten Season, I encourage you to make your way through the Psalms several times. If you have been here at Providence for at least a couple of years you may be able to sing through about 25 of those psalms.

If we were to ask ourselves what is unique about the psalms, a good way to begin answering this question is by saying that “in the law and the prophetic writings, it is God who speaks to his people; in the Psalter, we listen to the saints speaking to God.[1] It is the language of God’s people. The reason the Psalms are so inviting is because it is the language of life, of worship, and of the deathbed. Geerhardus Vos wrote the following words: “Our Lord himself found his inner life portrayed in the Psalter and in some of the highest moments of his ministry borrowed from it the language in which his soul spoke to God, thus recognizing that a more perfect language for communion with God cannot be framed.”[2]  This morning we are called to place the psalms in front of you, and see the psalms as images of a Christ-centered people.

In the 25th psalm we see a man after God’s own heart. David’s trust, his many conflicts, his great transgression, his bitter repentance, and his deep distresses are all here.”[3]  The psalmist makes painful references to the skills and cruelty of his enemies. This is the lament of David under distress, and this is his response to the unfathomable pain he is enduring. But though we are looking at only the first ten verses, it is wise to keep this psalm together. David individualizes his pain in this section, but ultimately David is speaking on behalf of the bride. David sees his distress as the distress of God’s people, Israel. We get to that in the last verse of this song: “Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.” David’s supplications are communal. As we consider this passage, do not forget that David is acting as Bride. David is us. He is the picture of redemption accomplished and applied in the midst of suffering; in the midst of grief; in divine guidance. More

Saturday Psalter: Genevan, Psalm 7