Archive for the 'Bible' Category

God Afflicts Those He Loves

Just a few:

It was good that I had to suffer
in order to learn your laws.
The teachings that come from your mouth
are worth more to me than thousands in gold or silver.
Psalm 119:71-72 GW

The LORD tests righteous people,
but he hates wicked people
and the ones who love violence.
Psalm 11:5

The Lord disciplines everyone he loves. He severely disciplines everyone he accepts as his child. Endure your discipline. God corrects you as a father corrects his children. All children are disciplined by their fathers. On earth we have fathers who disciplined us, and we respect them. Shouldn’t we place ourselves under the authority of God, the father of spirits, so that we will live? For a short time our fathers disciplined us as they thought best. Yet, God disciplines us for our own good so that we can become holy like him. We don’t enjoy being disciplined. It always seems to cause more pain than joy. But later on, those who learn from that discipline have peace that comes from doing what is right.
Hebrews 12:6-11

Even if he makes us suffer, he will have compassion in keeping with the richness of his mercy. He does not willingly bring suffering or grief to anyone,
Lamentations 3:32-33 GWN

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith — more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:3-7 HCSB

‘Must Read’ Blog Post

I don’t know if I’ve ever written ‘must read’ other than I feel that the book Knowing God is a must read for every Christian, especially those somewhat new (advanced beginner?), as far as I’m concerned.

I found a blog post titled Bible Ignorance at Reformation21 Blog to be one of the best posts I’ve ever read. It’s aimed largely at ministers and students of theology. I’m not pointing it out for ministers; I think this applies to any student of theology, which is all of us.

You can just stop reading here and go there if you’d like.

A few years ago I made a commitment to make sure I read the Bible every single day.* What’s being said in this article makes that seem like nothing, not that I’m minimizing the importance of it. It’s nothing new; nothing we probably haven’t read before, but it really hit me this time. Matthew Henry says to pray using the language of the Bible. D.A. Carson urges us to imitate Paul in our praying. Comparing my worldly prayers to Paul’s really changed how and what I pray for. This can’t happen without knowing the Bible.

Scripture is so deep and multi-faceted, not just because of what’s written, but because the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to more and more of it the more we read and understand it (Ephesians 1:17, Hebrews 4:12). If we’re born again and the Holy Spirit resides in us, we should be glad to spend time in Scripture. If we don’t feel that way, we can pray for God to enable us, and he will do that for us–this being his will for us (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 119:9-11), as we strive to spend more time (Matthew 21:22, Psalm 37:4, 1 John 5:14, Philippians 2:12b).

I often think about how much time I spend reading the Bible versus how much time I spend reading books and articles. It’s difficult to know how to balance it because the books all help to know God better through better understanding of Scripture.

*If I should forget a day for some strange reason, which I’ve done a few times in the past, God is in no way displeased with me and I don’t feel guilty–just a little silly to forget something so important. I don’t read twice as much the next day to make up for it, unless I’m on a reading plan. This doesn’t happen anymore. Just thought I’d point that out so that it doesn’t sound like a legalistic or works oriented thing.

Knowledge and God’s Glory

The better we know God, the more we can glorify him. In another part of the book Edwards writes that this will make us happy, which glorifies God. Or happier, or less unhappy–whatever your circumstance may be. As far as I can see, God expresses this chiefly through Scripture, then the Holy Spirit in various ways, His mighty acts–including the marvelous work on the cross and what he does in our lives, and creation. I’ve included Scripture below that I think applies.

Again, the word glory, as applied to God in Scripture, implies the view or knowledge of God’s excellency. The exhibition of glory is to the view of beholders. The manifestation of glory, the emanation or effulgence of brightness, has relation to the eye. Light or brightness is a quality that has relation to the sense of seeing; we see the luminary by its light. And knowledge is often expressed in Scripture by light. The word glory very often in Scripture signifies, or implies, honor, as any one may soon see by casting his eye on a concordance. But honor implies the knowledge of the dignity and excellency of him who hath the honor; and this is often more especially signified by the word glory, when applied to God. Numbers 14:21: “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD,” i.e. all the inhabitants of the earth shall see the manifestations I will make of my perfect holiness and hatred of sin, and so of my infinite excellence.

Jonathan Edwards, The End for Which God Created the World

My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
listening closely to wisdom
and directing your heart to understanding;
furthermore, if you call out to insight
and lift your voice to understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it like hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Proverbs 2:1-6 HCSB

The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks it.
Proverbs 18:15

For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God.
Romans 14:11

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength. He demonstrated this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens — far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.
Ephesians 1:17-23

Counter-cultural Quote/Scripture of the Day

Counter-cultural would refer to Christian culture as well as anything else. This isn’t talked about much. This is a strange one for many of us. I think it’s encouraging to know that God has control over the evil in the world and that it will be ended for our happiness and for God’s glory. I don’t know what that happiness will be like, but we can take comfort now in the fact that it will end up this way, and that God has a purpose and is sovereign over all of it at this time, as horrible as it is in this world.

God’s judgments on the wicked in this world and also their eternal damnation in the world to come are spoken of as being for the happiness of God’s people. So are his judgments on them in this world. Isaiah 43:3, 4. “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour. I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou hast been precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee; therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” So the works of God’s vindictive justice and wrath are spoken of as works of mercy to his people, Psalm 136:10, 15, 17-20 [“To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever. . . . But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever. . . . To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever: And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever”].

And so is their eternal damnation in another world. Romans 9:22, 23: “What if God, willing to show his wrath and make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.” Here it is evident the last verse comes in, in connection with the foregoing, as giving another reason of the destruction of the wicked, viz. showing the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy: higher degrees of their glory and happiness, in a relish of their own enjoyments, and a greater sense of their value and of God’s free grace in bestowing them.

Jonathan Edwards, The End for Which God Created the World

The LORD has made everything for his own purpose,
even wicked people for the day of trouble.
Proverbs 16:4

God Hates?

And God commends people for hating the evil that others are doing. What about “do not judge”? (Sarcasm) More on that later.

It seems that much of the church may need to be more aware that we are living with/before God and that he isn’t always happy about everything, and he isn’t always satisfied with believers, and especially not with those who are faking it. He doesn’t always “meet us where we’re at”, whatever that means. But praise God that he covers the sins of believers and doesn’t hold them against us. In addition, that we are in his favor (Luke 2:14). It may sound strange, but God doesn’t just love us because of what his Son did for us on the cross, but he also likes us. That he is always for us (Romans 8:31-32). And that he is holy x3 (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8).

You have endured, suffered trouble because of my name, and have not grown weary. 4 However, I have this against you: The love you had at first is gone. 5 Remember how far you have fallen. Return to me and change the way you think and act [repent], and do what you did at first. I will come to you and take your lamp stand from its place if you don’t change. 6 But you have this in your favor-you hate what the Nicolaitans are doing. I also hate what they’re doing.
Revelation 2:3-6

Do not judge people who hate the evil that people do, based on their right assessment (judgement) of it, or those who point attention to it in a way that benefits others.

Anybody have another reference for being in God’s favor? There’s one I’m not finding.

Also see:
God's Love In The Bible and Evangelicals View of It | Scripture Zealot blog

Moderation Schmoderation

I believe in optimalation (or optimisation if you prefer) rather than moderation, which I’ve never really believed in. Scripture calls for ‘all’, ‘everything’, ‘more and more’ too often for me to believe in moderation in everything. Maybe I’m too much into the radical and crazy.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 6:5

He said to all of them, “Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses every day, and follow me.
Luke 9:23

Always be joyful.
Never stop praying.
Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We always have to thank God for you, brothers and sisters. It’s right to do this because your faith is showing remarkable growth and your love for each other is increasing.
2 Thessalonians 1:3

I found that most of the ‘extreme’ references have to do with love.

Before any of you wish to correct me, this should be tempered with the many things that really do need moderation.

When you find honey, eat only as much as you need.
Otherwise, you will have too much and vomit.
Proverbs 25:16

This is actually the verse that spurred on this post. (I got my days mixed up and read chapter 25 on the 26th and vice versa.)

Some commentators even widen this to the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. I don’t think at this time in this world it’s a problem for most people though.

Keil and Delitzsch on the above verse:

That it is not to be understood in a purely dietetic sense (although thus interpreted it is a rule not to be despised), is self-evident. As one can suffer injury from the noblest of food if he overload his stomach therewith, so in the sphere of science, instruction, edification, there is an injurious overloading of the mind; we ought to measure what we receive by our spiritual want, the right distribution of enjoyment and labour, and the degree of our ability to change it in succum et sanguinem, – else it at last awakens in us dislike, and becomes an evil to us.

Can one gain too much true spiritual knowledge at once? Study too much even if it isn’t to the detriment of other things in life?

The beginning of wisdom is to acquire wisdom.
Acquire understanding with all that you have.
Proverbs 4:7

If you think you’re wise, you’re probably not

God wants us to compare ourselves to him and know that wisdom comes from him. If you have other verses/passages on that, let me know. There isn’t much difference between a fool and a wise person when we compare ourselves to God, which should keep us humble. The more we know, the more we know how much we don’t know–if we’re doing it right–along with wisdom.

These are all NLT because I like how it renders 1 Corinthians 3:18, and I usually try not to use a bunch of translations in one post. [Edited for clarity.]

There is more hope for fools
than for people who think they are wise.
Proverbs 26:12 NLT

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise.
1 Corinthians 3:18

For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?
1 Corinthians 4:7

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
James 3:13-17

God Is Spirit and So Are We

There are two messages to this post:

  1. Isn’t it amazing that being made in God’s image, we are also spiritual beings? The fact that we are able to be reborn spiritually, and with God’s Spirit in us is amazing beyond explanation or comprehension.
  2. This can only come from God. We can’t intellectualize ourselves into the Kingdom or just make a statement and then do nothing or have nothing to show for it.

This came about from reading the book that the quote below is from. I added some emphasis in the first two Scripture quotes so that hopefully you’ll see what I’m getting at. (Good luck.)

God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind.
Genesis 1:25 NLT

Then God said, “Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness.
Genesis 1:26 GW

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stubborn hearts and give you obedient hearts. I will put my Spirit in you. I will enable you to live by my laws, and you will obey my rules.
Ezekiel 36:26-27

However, he gave the right to become God’s children to everyone who believed in him. These people didn’t become God’s children in a physical way-from a human impulse or from a husband’s desire to have a child. They were born from God.
John 1:12-13

Flesh and blood give birth to flesh and blood, but the Spirit gives birth to things that are spiritual. Don’t be surprised when I tell you that all of you must be born from above. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it’s going. That’s the way it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
John 3:6-8

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will go to them and make our home with them.”
John 14:23

Those who obey Christ’s commandments live in God, and God lives in them. We know that he lives in us because he has given us the Spirit.
1 John 3:24

We know that we live in him and he lives in us because he has given us his Spirit. We have seen and testify to the fact that the Father sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God lives in those who declare that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God.
1 John 4:13-15

Being born again is not only a confession. D.A. Carson says, “Where there is new birth, you will always see the results.” [Emphasis is his.] New birth has not necessarily taken place because “somebody’s made a commitment to Jesus.” Where there is new birth–where it has genuinely come from God–you will see transformation. You will see change in the life. That does not mean that people have suddenly reached perfection: we shall have more Christian growth and Christian failures in due course. But where new birth takes place, there is a change of direction, or origin. There is a cleaning up in the life. There is a transformation. There is a beginning of life from God himself that shapes our existence in a new direction.

–D.A. Carson, The God Who Is There

You give glory to my Father when you produce a lot of fruit and therefore show that you are my disciples.
John 15:8

As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

The New Covenant is still an agreement.

But now Christ has brought you back to God by dying in his physical body. He did this so that you could come into God’s presence without sin, fault, or blame. This is on the condition that you continue in faith without being moved from the solid foundation of the hope that the Good News contains.
Colossians 1:22-23

But the fruit comes from God.

You didn’t choose me, but I chose you. I have appointed you to go, to produce fruit that will last, and to ask the Father in my name to give you whatever you ask for.
John 15:16

I don’t mean to make a portrayal that seems to remove any responsibility on our part.

He gave the right to become God’s children to everyone who believed in him. These people didn’t become God’s children in a physical way-from a human impulse or from a husband’s desire to have a child. They were born from God.
John 1:12-13

How these two sides of God’s truth—His sovereignty in choosing us (Romans 9) and our responsibility to confess and believe (Romans 10)—reconcile is impossible for us to understand fully. But Scripture declares both perspectives of salvation to be true (John 1:12-13). It’s our duty to acknowledge both and joyfully accept them by faith.

–John MacArthur

Sproul Quote

Would God Take His Holy Spirit From David or Us?

I was thinking that naturally, the Holy Spirit, Spirit of holiness, or Spirit of God was thought of differently in Old Testament times than when after God’s Kingdom broke into this world (Luke 17:21). If we have been born again, we don’t need to worry about God taking His Holy Spirit from us.

Here is a great concise answer by a Facebook friend of mine:
“David’s anxious plea is not meant to cast a shadow on the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints but an indicator of the human anxiety that naturally befalls man on account of sin.”
–Warren Cruz via Facebook

Treasury of David – Spurgeon’s commentary and collections of writings on them:

Take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Withdraw not his comforts, counsels, assistances, quickenings, else I am indeed as a dead man. Do not leave me as thou didst Saul, when neither by Urim, nor by prophet, nor by dream, thou wouldst answer him. Thy Spirit is my wisdom, leave me not to my folly; he is my strength, O desert me not to my own weakness. Drive me not away from thee, neither do thou go away from me. Keep up the union between us, which is my only hope of salvation. It will be a great wonder if so pure a spirit deigns to stay in so base a heart as mine; but then, Lord, it is all wonder together, therefore do this, for thy mercy’s sake, I earnestly entreat thee.
–Charles Spurgeon

Verse 11. Cast me not away. Lord, though I, alas! have cast thee from me, yet cast me not away: hide not thy face from me, although I so often have refused to look at thee; leave me not without help, to perish in my sins, though I have aforetime left thee.
–Fra Thomé de Jesu.

John Calvin:
Verse 11. Take not thy Holy Spirit from me. The words of this verse imply that the Spirit had not altogether been taken away from him, however much his gifts had been temporarily obscured…Upon one point he had fallen into a deadly lethargy, but he was not “given over to a reprobate mind; “and it is scarcely conceivable that the rebuke of Nathan the prophet should have operated so easily and suddenly in arousing him had there been no latent spark of godliness still remaining…The truth on which we are now insisting is an important one, as many learned men have been inconsiderately drawn into the opinion that the elect, by falling into mortal sin, may lose the Spirit altogether, and be alienated from God. The contrary is clearly declared by Peter, who tells us that the word by which we are born again is an incorruptible seed 1Pe 1:23; and John is equally explicit in informing us that the elect are preserved from falling away altogether. 1Jo 3:9. However much they may appear for a time to have been cast off by God, it is afterwards seen that grace must have been alive in their breasts even during that interval when it seemed to be extinct. Nor is there any force in the objection that David speaks as if he feared that he might be deprived of the Spirit. It is natural that the saints, when they have fallen into sin, and have thus done what they could to expel the grace of God, should feel an anxiety upon this point; but it is their duty to hold fast the truth, that grace is the incorruptible seed of God, which never can perish in any heart where it has been deposited. This is the spirit displayed by David. Reflecting upon his offence, he is agitated with fears, and yet rests in the persuasion that, being a child of God, he would not be deprived of what, indeed, he had justly forfeited.

ESV Study Bible Note:
Ps. 51:11 take not your Holy Spirit from me. Some have taken this to imply that the Holy Spirit can be taken from someone, at least in the OT; others have suggested that the Holy Spirit is viewed here in his role of empowering David for his kingly duties, and that this is a prayer that God not take the kingship and the divine anointing for kingship from David as he did from Saul (see note on 1 Sam. 16:14; cf. 1 Sam. 16:13). To evaluate these views, one should observe that the OT rarely discusses the Holy Spirit’s role in cleansing the inner life (besides here, Ezek. 36:27 is the main OT text on the subject), and certainly does not enter into technical questions of the Spirit’s permanent indwelling. Further, the fact that this is a psalm for the whole congregation argues against the idea that this is David’s personal prayer about his kingship. The whole tenor of this psalm is that, if strict justice were God’s only consideration, he would have the right to bring dire judgment on those who sin (which includes all of his own people), and that the only possible appeal is to his mercy. The function of the psalm, as a song sung by the entire congregation, is to shape their hearts so that they feel this at the deepest level, lest they ever presume upon God’s grace.

NLT Study Bible:
your Holy Spirit: Or your spirit of holiness. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can change the human will to make it “loyal” (51:10) and “willing to obey”

‎”You haven’t really understood Psalm 51 until you have realized that every word of this penitential psalm cries for Jesus. Every promise embedded in this psalm looks for fulfillment in Jesus. Every need of Psalm 51 reaches out for help in Jesus. Every commitment of Psalm 51 honors Jesus. The sin that’s at the heart of this psalm will only ever find its cure in the grace of Jesus.

Yes, Psalm 51 is a prayer of confession. And it’s true that Psalm 51 is all about what true repentance produces in the heart and life of a man. Psalm 51 defines how true repentance always produces heartfelt worship. But more than anything else, Psalm 51 is Immanuel’s hymn. The forgiveness of Psalm 51 rests on the shoulders of the One whose name would be Immanuel. The Jesus who would provide everything that David (and we) need took a glorious name. It is a name whose implications are almost too wonderful to grasp and too lofty to imagine. It’s a name that summarizes everything the biblical narrative is about.”

–Paul David Tripp, Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy

John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, went through a period of two years where he felt very far from God. In his autobiography wrote that the words of Psalm 77 kept invading his mind: “Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again show me favor?”
–Found in The One Year Book of Psalms

The Scriptures are sufficient by Thomas Brooks

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Scriptures are sufficient . . .
to inform the ignorant,
to confute the erroneous,
to reform the wicked, and
to guide and direct, support and comfort, the godly.

Here a lamb may wade, and here an elephant may swim!

Here is milk for babes, and meat for strong men!

Here is . . .
comfort for the afflicted, and
support for the tempted, and
ease for the troubled, and
light for the clouded, and
enlargement for the straitened, etc.

Oh,
how full of light,
how full of life,
how full of love,
how full of sweetness,
how full of goodness,
how full of righteousness,
how full of holiness, etc.,
is every chapter, and every verse in every
chapter, yes, and every line in every verse!

No human writings are comparable to Scripture:

  1. for antiquity;
  2. for rarity;
  3. for variety;
  4. for brevity;
  5. for plainness;
  6. for harmony;
  7. for verity.

All which should greatly encourage Christians to a
serious perusal of them. “Oh, how I love Your law!
I meditate on it all day long.” Psalm 119:97

Comfort for the Suffering

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart;
you will incline your ear
Psalm 10:17 ESV

My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
Psalm 119:28

The next three go together. “Share in the inheritance of the saints” is eternal life.

This is my comfort in my distress, that your promise gives me life.
Psalm 119:50 NRSV

may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.
Colossians 1:11b-12 NRSV

I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18 GNB

This one is key for me. The glory that will be revealed will be so immeasurably better than the worst suffering, that it will have been worth it for what we will have then. It doesn’t lessen the suffering now, but it gives us some hope by faith.

The next two go together. The trinitarian God knows.

As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
For he knows how we were made;
he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:13-14

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16

Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? 8 If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. 9 Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live?10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness.
Hebrews 12:7-10

Trusting God

Don’t trust people to make the world right.

Stop trusting people. Their life is in their nostrils. How can they be worth anything?
Isaiah 2:22

Politicians can’t do what God can.

Do not trust influential people,
mortals who cannot help you.
4 When they breathe their last breath,
they return to the ground.
On that day their plans come to an end.
5 Blessed are those who receive help from the God of Jacob.
Their hope rests on the LORD their God,
6 who made heaven, earth, the sea, and everything in them.
The LORD remains faithful forever.
Psalm 146:3-6

Don’t be preoccupied with evil people and envy what they get away with. Keep looking up. Could this mean not being overly preoccupied with certain causes?

By David. Do not be preoccupied with evildoers.
Do not envy those who do wicked things.
2 They will quickly dry up like grass
and wither away like green plants.
3 Trust the LORD, and do good things.
Live in the land, and practice being faithful.
4 Be happy with the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Entrust your ways to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will act on your behalf.
6 He will make your righteousness shine like a light,
your just cause like the noonday sun.
7 Surrender yourself to the LORD, and wait patiently for him.
Do not be preoccupied with an evildoer
who succeeds in his way when he carries out his schemes.
8 Let go of anger, and leave rage behind.
Do not be preoccupied. It only leads to evil.
Psalm 37:1-8

Since you were brought back to life with Christ, focus on the things that are above-where Christ holds the highest position. 2 Keep your mind on things above, not on worldly things. 3 You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 Christ is your life. When he appears, then you, too, will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4

When believers question their faith because they envy the prosperity and power of unbelievers, they can regain a proper perspective on life and confirm their faith by seeking God in the sanctuary where they will be reminded of their glorious and eternal relationship with the LORD in contrast to the sudden destruction of the wicked.

Allan Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms, Volume 2, on Psalm 73

We can’t even trust ourselves; for some strange reason we often prefer to.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

This is what the Almighty LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: You can be saved by returning to me. You can have rest. You can be strong by being quiet and by trusting me. But you don’t want that.
Isaiah 30:15

Trust the LORD with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths smooth.
Proverbs 3:5-6

We suffered so that we would stop trusting ourselves and learn to trust God, who brings the dead back to life.
2 Corinthians 1:9

Book Review: A Commentary On The Psalms Vol. 2 by Allen P. Ross

commentary-psalms-rossA Commentary On The Psalms Volume 2 (42-89) by Allen P. Ross

Stay tuned for an exclusive quote from the commentary on this blog.

You can read my review of Volume 1 here on Scripture Zealot blog. I will re-iterate some of what was written there in the beginning portion. I read the exposition of Genesis by Ross entitled Creation and Blessing and became a fan of him and his style. That exposition was perfect for me and my level of knowledge as is this commentary/exposition of the Psalms. According to Ross it’s “for pastors, teachers and all serious students of the Bible.” This commentary isn’t quite as academic as Goldingay’s, but it’s also not for new Christians. It’s very thorough, and didn’t leave me wanting. In fact, he answers questions I didn’t know I had.

Volume 2 isn’t as long as the first one, being about 100 pages shorter at 841. This is because it doesn’t have the excellent introduction that’s in Volume 1. It starts right off with Psalm 42. There is no index of any kind at the end of this volume or Volume 1, so I would assume that Volume 3 will. Volume 2 is exactly the same color and height as Volume 1, so they will look good next to each other on your bookshelf. The cover art is on the cover itself, so it doesn’t have a dust jacket, which I like.

The first section for each Psalm is the Introduction that includes Text and Textual Variants, which is the author’s own translation and plenty of footnotes on words, phrases and comparisons to the Greek version, which is very educational and is but one of the strengths of the commentary. I always like reading the author’s translation. To me it’s like a bonus, since I love comparing translations. One example would be in Psalm 73:4, which has literally-“their body is fat”, which the trusty NASB has (ESV has “fat and sleek”–huh?). I’ve seen the mention of fat being written in a positive light elsewhere in the Old Testament and that has always puzzled me, especially since I’ve always been into fitness. Ross says that this is figurative for flourishing and healthy. (So this can’t be used as an excuse.) He translates it as ‘healthy’. So does the literal translation convey the meaning? That’s getting off track, but he gives you this type of information just in the translation and footnotes alone. Also interesting (to me) is right off in Psalm 42:5 and 11 use the word ‘murmur’, which none of the popular translations that I looked at use. Murmuring is something that I’ve written about in the past.

Next comes Composition and Context which is basically a short introduction with any information that will be helpful in understanding the Psalm as a whole. Then there is Exegetical Analysis which might have a short comment on the genre and structure, and then a short Summary with an outline. The commentary itself is titled Commentary In Expositional Form. Sometimes he will go verse by verse and sometimes groups verses. The exposition is more like what you would hear in a sermon as opposed to a word by word exegesis of the original language, although he does delve into it fairly often, giving a short definition for each word or phrase, so you don’t have to know any Hebrew, or Greek when commenting on the Septuagint. Although it’s expositional, he sticks strictly to the text. There are no stories, anecdotes or personal opinions that don’t belong. Everything is very focused and orderly without being dry, partly because of the last section being a short Message and Application. He seems to follow C.S. Lewis’ philosophy in not using big words when he doesn’t have to. A good commentator doesn’t need to show off their vocabulary just for the sake of it. Something else a good commentator like Ross does is help you to learn to read Scripture better in general.

Although he interacts with other commentators, this isn’t a commentary on commentaries, or leave you wishing you would have just read the people he’s quoting instead of the book you bought.

I’m not one to be able to comment on any theological bent regarding the Old Testament and Psalms in particular, other than he is evangelical. (Here is a good one on Amazon.) He seems very objective and doesn’t insert any obvious biases and slants. I think this makes it a great commentary for a wide audience.

If I could write anything at all negative it would be that the font size is actually a little larger than what I like, which is a plus for many people, and the lack of indices. We won’t know how good those will be until we see the final Volume 3. Otherwise, like his commentary on Genesis, it’s nearly perfect for me and if you buy it, I hope you feel the same. It’s not cheap and doesn’t come in Kindle format.

If the publisher wouldn’t have provided a free copy for an unbiased review, I would have bought it.

Publisher: Kregel Academic (October 23, 2013)
Hardcover: 848 pages
ISBN-10: 0825425638

Buy it from Amazon.com

When We Lose, We Gain

What you have lost one way, you have gained another.

–Thomas Watson

This little quote by the Puritan says a whole lot–to me anyway.

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.
Philippians 3:7-9 NRSV

Seek

But if you look for the LORD your God when you are among those nations, you will find him whenever you search for him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deuteronomy 4:29

Those who know your name trust you, O LORD,
because you have never deserted those who seek your help.
Psalm 9:10

Young lions go hungry and may starve,
but those who seek the LORD’s help
have all the good things they need.
11 Come, children, listen to me.
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Which of you wants a full life?
Who would like to live long enough to enjoy good things?
13 Keep your tongue from saying evil things
and your lips from speaking deceitful things.
14 Turn away from evil, and do good. Seek peace, and pursue it!
15 The LORD’s eyes are on righteous people. His ears hear their cry for help.
16 The LORD confronts those who do evil
in order to wipe out all memory of them from the earth.
17 Righteous people cry out.
The LORD hears and rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to those whose hearts are humble.
He saves those whose spirits are crushed.
19 The righteous person has many troubles,
but the LORD rescues him from all of them.
20 The LORD guards all of his bones. Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil will kill wicked people,
and those who hate righteous people will be condemned.
22 The LORD protects the souls of his servants.
All who take refuge in him will never be condemned.
Psalm 34:10-22

My son, if you take my words to heart
and treasure my commands within you,
2 if you pay close attention to wisdom,
and let your mind reach for understanding,
3 if indeed you call out for insight,
if you ask aloud for understanding,
4 if you search for wisdom as if it were money
and hunt for it as if it were hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and you will find the knowledge of God.
6 The LORD gives wisdom.
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Proverbs 2:1-6

I love those who love me.
Those eagerly looking for me [wisdom] will find me.
Proverbs 8:17

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
Lamentations 3:25

“Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 Everyone who asks will receive. The one who searches will find, and for the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “If your child asks you for bread, would any of you give him a stone? 10 Or if your child asks for a fish, would you give him a snake? 11 Even though you’re evil, you know how to give good gifts to your children. So how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him?
Matthew 7:7-11

Obviously, so many more could be included.

I was going to only use OT passages, but I couldn’t leave out the last one. I have to remember that if we ask for spiritual things that we know are God’s will according to Scripture, he will give them to us in his time. If we ask for a new car, maybe, probably not.