Thursday, November 15, 2018

Earth Is Satisfied

By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches.
From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.
 
Ps 104:12-15

How can I read these words and believe in a stingy God, a God who would require abstinence of me, who would ask that I refuse the bounty of the earth in order to satisfy a small-minded divinity. God created a world that has enough to provide for all, and then some. Yet the resources I waste would provide a seeming palace's supply of food and water and warmth to a person

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

They May Not Pass

You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they flee; at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.
You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills,
giving drink to every wild animal; the wild asses quench their thirst.
 
Ps 104:5-11

An ancient view of the cosmos is evident here. The earth is stationary and unshakable, while not only the moon, but also the sun and stars revolve around it. Just as the earth was fixed in space, so (ideally) was everything on it. God divided sea from dry land, and appointed the proper place for the waters with "a boundary that they may not pass." This form of

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Angels Spirits

You make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers.  
Ps 104:4 

I love reading Psalm 104:4 on Pentecost, because Acts 2 mentions both wind and flame as evidence of the Holy Spirit. But this verse is far less straightforward than it appears. For example, here's the way the Authorized (King James) Version renders it:
Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.
First the easy part: The old version of the second half is much more accurate, as is the use of the relative pronoun who at the beginning. There's no and in the second half, so it's clear that flaming modifies fire; and the first word of the overall verse appears to make it a continuation of what comes before it, not a brand new sentence.

But what about the first part about—the one making the winds God's messengers? Why is the modern translation so different from the older one, which makes God's angels spirits? Though older version makes the whole verse

Monday, November 12, 2018

Conspicuous Enough

Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great. You are clothed with honor and majesty, wrapped in light as with a garment. You stretch out the heavens like a tent, you set the beams of your chambers on the waters, you make the clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind.
Ps 104:1-3 

The scriptures tell us to make no graven image of God, which means we're not to create statues of God or try to paint God's portrait. But the word pictures the psalms paint are sometimes overwhelmingly beautiful. Psalm 104 opens with the same words as the one before it. But whereas Psalm 103 goes on to talk about God's steadfast love and tenderness when dealing with people, Psalm 104 goes in a very different direction: first describing not God, but God's garments, God's dwelling, and God's transport.

Calvin said that, "although God is invisible, yet his glory is conspicuous enough." And I guess, in its own dry way, this sums up what I want to say. I cannot see God, but I can see the glory of God. I am therefore never without

Sunday, November 11, 2018

November 11

November 11 is called Veteran's Day in the United States. In the UK it's called Remembrance Day, and a song associated with it is I Vow to Thee, My Country. The words are a poem by Cecil Spring Rice, written sometime around 1910, which were later set to a tune which Gustav Holst adapted from his own composition, Jupiter (from The Planets).

I Vow to Thee, My Country is a song which calls for loyalty to one's homeland, but ultimately to the Realm of God. It reminds me of two quotes, one from a Puritan divine named Thomas Manton: This is the first part and office of justice, to perform the debt we owe to our country, for public interests must