February 21, 2019

Unsearchable

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
Ps. 145:3-4 

Last week I meditated on the 139th Psalm which begins, O Lord, you have searched me and know me. It should surprise no one, then, that we are a searchable lot—especially where God is concerned. By contrast, I read this morning that a single divine attribute—that is God's greatness—alone is unsearchable. Add to this one an infinite number of others, and God's unsearchability becomes unfathomable. No matter how greatly I try to praise, no matter how greatly my congregation praises, no matter how greatly the most magnificent cathedral choir tries, or all the choirs in earth and heaven join in, the greatness of the church's praise is no match for the unsearchability of God.

Contained within God, God searched and knew us before we were conceived. And our lives belong to God, body and soul, inside and out, from beginning to end. The greater our praise, the more become lost in the Divine—which is a good thing. Using peculiarly Methodist theology, Charles Wesley put it this way in a 1745 hymn:
Made perfect first in love,
and sanctified by grace,
we shall from earth remove,
And see God's glorious face:
His love shall then be fully showed,
and we shall all be lost in God.
If God is unsearchable, then there is no safer place to be than lost in God.

Holy One, hide me in your infinite love. And may my praise but bury me ever deeper in you, for you are all in all. This I pray in the Name of the One who taught me to pray...

February 20, 2019

Sons and Daughters

Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;
my rock and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues the peoples under me.
O Lord, what are human beings that you regard them, or mortals that you think of them?
They are like a breath; their days are like a passing shadow.

Ps. 144:1-4 

Psalm 144 opens in a warlike fashion, but but by the third verse it

February 19, 2019

At the Gates of Scripture



Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust. 

Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. 
Save me, O Lord, from my enemies; I have fled to you for refuge.  
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me on a level path. 
Ps. 143:8-10

To practice morning devotions is like hearing the gospel anew each day. But I have to listen:

February 18, 2019

Like a Parched Land

I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
Ps. 143:5-6 

I know I quote Calvin too much, but I just can't get over how brilliant he is sometimes. For example, when he comments on Psalm 143:6, he says that the psalmist "dismisses all other hopes from his mind, and makes a chariot to himself of the extreme necessity of his case, in which he ascends upwards to God."

What an incredible way to look at troubles: they are the vehicle God has sent me to transport me to the place I need to be. And like cracked

February 17, 2019

'The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength'



God your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
—Nehemiah 8:10

It’s an odd thing living for years in a place where your language and your customs and your religion are different from the majority. There’s always the temptation to be like everybody else. It often means learning a new language in order to live your everyday life. There’s even the chance your children will consider that new language their mother tongue, and their parents’ language to be foreign.

This was Israel in the sixth century before the birth of Christ. They’d lost a war and got carted off to exile in Babylon… that is, until about seventy years later when Babylon in turn lost a war to Persia. It was then that the Persians allowed Israel to return to their homeland with Nehemiah as their governor and Ezra as their religious leader.

A Virtuous Cycle

Bring me out of prison, so that I may give thanks to your Name. The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.
Ps. 142:7 

This psalm is supposedly one of David's. And here we find David hiding from Saul and his minions—probably in a cave. David's prayer is clearly heartfelt, and the faith it demonstrates is to be emulated. Had David prayed half as much in his palace as he did in the cave, his later life might not have been plagued by the sin he had to so earnestly repent of.

Though dejected and in a pitiful state, David has faith in Psalm 142 that God's power has not been diminished, nor has God's promise failed. But I

February 16, 2019

The Doorkeeper

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not turn my heart to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with those who work iniquity; do not let me eat of their delicacies.
Let the righteous strike me; let the faithful correct me. Never let the oil of the wicked anoint my head, for my prayer is continually against their wicked deeds.
When they are given over to those who shall condemn them, then they shall learn that my words were pleasant.
Like a rock that one breaks apart and shatters on the land, so shall