PRC Archives – More on Doon CS Society & the PR Action Society!

Last week for our PRC archives feature we posted some items relating to the formation of the NW Iowa PR Christian School Society (June 1960) and the opening of the NWPR Christian School in Doon, Iowa in August 1967. But did you know that Doon already had its own Christian School Society already in 1955? This was at the end of the ministry of Rev.Homer C. Hoeksema in Doon PRC, and I am sure his influence was felt in the start-up of this Society.

We found the Constitution for this organization yesterday while continuing to work our way through Rev.Gise Van Baren’s material. His folder on “Christian Education” contained this item. I scanned the cover and the first page to show you the origin of this Society (see below). I suspect that this Society was simply absorbed into the NWPRCS Society (which involved Doon and Hull), but others may correct me if this is wrong.

In any case, here is the material I have for you on this (click on the images to enlarge):

Doon CS Society Const-1_Page_1
Doon CS Society Const-2_Page_1But now I have another interesting item for you. In a folder marked “Constitutions”, Rev.G.Van Baren also had a copy of the constitution of the Protestant Reformed Action Society!

What was that, you ask?! Some political action committee to fight liberalism and communism? Some organization for the moral improvement of society? No – I think you would know that would not be so.

What then? How about a society formed to organize and promote sound PR, spiritual activities! Like what? Well, read the constitution below to find out (There are also a few articles on the back side, but I skipped those)!

But I do have a question for you. There NO DATE on this item, and I would like to know when this Society was formed. I have a general idea, but if anyone has the exact date, that would be most helpful. And, while we are at it, who was involved in this, do you suppose? Read, learn and enjoy!

PR Action Society_Page_1

The Fifty Best Books of the 20th Century | Intercollegiate Review

The Fifty Best Books of the 20th Century | Intercollegiate Review.

By now you know I like lists such as these. They help me (and, I trust, you too) to see the bigger bigger of significant literature in our time and in times past. This post was recently made on the Intercollegiate Review website (July 14, 2014), a conservative publication for students. I found this list to be worth noting here. This is how “IR” introduced the post:

On the eve of the new millennium, the Intercollegiate Review published a list of the fifty worst and fifty best books of the 20th century.  Although now approaching fifteen years since publication, this list tells us much about our recent historical inheritance, and provides a valuable reminder of the vitality of conservatism and the errors of liberalism.

Abolition of man-CS lewisSo which are these books? Here is “IR’s” introduction to the top non-fiction titles of the previous century, and the first five on that list. For the rest, visit the link above.

I might add, that this list would make a good place to start if you are interested in reading broadly – and the Reformed Christian ought to do this. You will also notice several titles of significance to the Christian faith on this list.

Prominent on the “Best” list, on the other hand, are many volumes of extraordinary reflection and creativity in a traditional form, which heartens us with the knowledge that fine writing and clear-mindedness are perennially possible.

 

1. Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1907)

Pessimism and nostalgia at the bright dawn of the twentieth century must have seemed bizarre to contemporaries. After a century of war, mass murder, and fanaticism, we know that Adams’s insight was keen indeed.

2. C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (1947)

Preferable to Lewis’s other remarkable books simply because of the title, which reveals the true intent of liberalism.

3. Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952)

The haunting, lyrical testament to truth and humanity in a century of lies (and worse). Chambers achieves immortality recounting his spiritual journey from the dark side (Soviet Communism) to the—in his eyes—doomed West. One of the great autobiographies of the millennium.

4. T. S. Eliot, Selected Essays, 1917–1932 (1932, 1950)

Here, one of the century’s foremost literary innovators insists that innovation is only possible through an intense engagement of tradition. Every line of Eliot’s prose bristles with intelligence and extreme deliberation.

5. Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History (1934–61)

Made the possibility of a divine role in history respectable among serious historians. Though ignored by academic careerists, Toynbee is still read by those whose intellectual horizons extend beyond present fashions.

Care for a “snack”? Beware the dog!

I truly mean that. Would you care for a snack?

When you read our Word Wednesday feature this week, you will understand why I ask that question. But, as they say; be careful what you ask for :)

UnfortunateEnglishNext time you head to the kitchen to get a snack, beware the dog.

It might make a snack out of you – by taking a snack at you.

A snap of the jaws is the snack, or the bite that results from a snap of the jaws, usually applied to dogs. The word was in use as a verb by the 1300s and as a noun by the early 1400s. By the late 1600s, snack came to mean a portion, a bit – or a small amount of liquor (a mouthful, perhaps?). By the mid-1700s, it was a small amount of food, or a meal composed of a small amount of food – what you’re seeking from the fridge or the cupboard.

But watch the dog, and your backside. If the dog snacks at you, you can snack back in kind. Not by biting the dog and riling up the newspaper reporters, but by scolding the attacking mutt. Because a snack could also be a rebuke or a sharp remark. ‘Don’t snack me!’ he snacked. ‘I must have snack!’

The word snap has an almost identical history – snack is likely from Middle Dutch or Low German, and snap is almost assuredly so. And snap also has the meanings of ‘bite at’ or ‘speak sharply.’ But not the ‘bit of consumables’ part, right?

Depends on what your getting out of the refrigerator. Snappen (‘to seize’) eventually led to English snap, but it also led to snaps (‘mouthful’), which led to German schnapps, which we borrowed into English by the early 1800s.

‘Don’t snap at me!’ he snapped. ‘I must have schnapps!’

Taken from Unfortunate English: The Gloomy Truth Behind the Words You Use (Writer’s Digest Books, 2006), pp.135-36.

Published in: on July 30, 2014 at 2:28 PM  Leave a Comment  
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I Love Books – John D. Snider

I Love Books - SniderAs a matter of fact, I did go to the Georgetown Public Library used book sale last week. I was able to swing by last Thursday on my way home from work, and I did find a few good books, including a little book on books with the above title. And I must say, I Love Books: A Guide Through Bookland by John D. Snider (Review and Herald, c.1942 – this copy is the 6th printing, 1946 – part of the “Christian Home Library”) is my kind of book. It is a treasure chest of all things “bookish”, loaded with information, quotes and poetry on the value of books and the profit of reading.

The book has four main parts with these headings:

Part 1 – Why We Should Read

Part 2 – What We Should Read

Part 3 – How We Should Read

Part 4 – When We Should Read

I spent a little time over the weekend browsing through the book, and it is packed with encouragement on reading and helpful tips on the world of books. Today I will share a few of those lines with you. Each chapter begins with a significant quote or lines relating to books, and I give you three of them as they appear in the early part of this book. I hope they inspire you too to love books.

O for a Booke and a shadie nooke
Eyther in-a-doore or out;
With the greene leaves whispering overhede,
Or the streete cryes all about;
When I maie Reade all at my ease,
Both of the New and Olde,
For a jollie goode Booke whereon to looke
Is better to me than golde.
-John Wilson

Pictures are windows to any lands,
But a book is a door that ready stands
To him that will open and go outside
Where the rivers and plains are free and wide.
Pictures are windows through which we look,
But the door of the world is just a book.
-Annette Wynne

Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind, which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn. -Joseph Addison

New & Notable Books Late July | Challies Dot Com

New & Notable Books Late July | Challies Dot Com.

I am a regular reader of pastor Tim Challies blog, for many reasons, not the least of which is the attention he pays to good books. As this month comes to an end, Challies reports on a few of the books he has recently received and read. I highlight one that caught my eye and urge you to look at the rest.

And if you look further down, you will see that I highlight two review books I just received in the mail today – from Reformation Heritage Books. These two titles are available for review – free of charge! Read on, friends!

whygodcreated-jedwardsWhy God Created the World: A Jonathan Edwards Adaptation by Ben Stevens. I really like the look of this one. Stevens has taken one of Edwards’ least-known and hardest-to-read books and adapted it to modern readers. Stevens writes, “For most of my life, I never thought to ask myself why God created the world. I had asked myself the question, ‘why did God create me specifically,’ which seemed like a more practical thing to wonder. But the answers I found to that question always struck me as shallow. I think that’s because it’s impossible to understand what part we play in a story if we have never grasped what the story is about in the first place. As far as I know, there has only ever been one book written on this subject by a Christian. It was a monumental treatise by the former president of Princeton University, the 18th century theologian Jonathan Edwards, called A Dissertation Concerning the End for Which the World Was Created (1765). Edwards gives a great answer to the question, but his tone and grammatical acrobatics make the original text nearly impossible to read.” So he modernizes it. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

The two books I received from Reformation Heritage are these:

The Beauty and Glory of Christian Living, Edited by Joel R. Beeke (171 pgs., 2014). These are the speeches given at the 2013 Puritan Reformed Conference held here in Grand Rapids. Concerning this new title RHB has this to say:

When the seed of life is sown in their hearts, God’s people grow up beautifully and gloriously. Taking up this botanical analogy,The Beauty and Glory of Christian Living opens by discussing the divine roots of the Christian life in being united to Christ in faith, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, becoming spiritually minded, and living by the means of grace. It then explores how our Christian lives branch out to influence our families, our workplaces, and the world. Finally, a series of chapters deal with weathering the storms of life, when we are pelted with affliction, sexual temptation, negative thought patterns, hard times, sickness, and death. In all of this, we see a faithful God who causes His people to flourish for His glory.

Contributors include Michael Barrett, Ian Hamilton, John Tweeddale, Joel Beeke, William VanDoodewaard, Brian Najapfour, Josh Dear, Gerald Bilkes, Brian Croft, and David Murray.

At the link provided here you will also find the table of contents with the specific subjects addressed.

Vine-Ripened Life-sGaleA Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ, by Stanley D.Gale (169 pp., 2014). By way of summary RHB posts this blurb:

The grace that stimulates the fruit and maturity of a sanctified life comes to us through Jesus Christ. We bear much fruit only as we abide in Him. In A Vine-Ripened Life, author Stanley Gale points us to Jesus, the Vine of life of John 15, in whom we, as branches, must live and grow to bear the fruit of a grace-grown life. He explains, “Having begun in Christ we remain in Christ, continuing to draw our life from Him and maturing in grace.” With pastoral sensitivity and an engaging style, Gale teaches readers both about the fruit of Christian character and how to cultivate it. Questions at the end of each chapter make this an ideal study for individuals or groups.

Again, these last two books are open to any of our readers who wishes to write a brief review for the Standard Bearer. Let me know if you are interested, either here or by email. Thanks!

 

Being a Better Online Reader – The New Yorker

Being a Better Online Reader – The New Yorker.

Online readingI do a lot of online reading in a given day, whether it be on my home PC, my laptop, or my tablet – as I suspect many of you do too by now. And there is no question that digital reading is a different type of reading. Shorter “bytes” of information; less careful thought and comprehension; easier distracti0ns. Is it my preferred method of reading? NO! Give me a print book any day! And yet my position(s) and work demand it.

Are there things we can do to become better online readers? According to this New Yorker article (posted July 16, 2014), yes. It has some technical information in it, but also some very helpful material. I post it here today in hope that it will give you direction in reading more and better, whether digitally or traditi0nally.

Below is an excerpt; you will find the rest at the link above.

Certainly, as we turn to online reading, the physiology of the reading process itself shifts; we don’t read the same way online as we do on paper. Anne Mangen, a professor at the National Centre for Reading Education and Research at the University of Stavanger, in Norway, points out that reading is always an interaction between a person and a technology, be it a computer or an e-reader or even a bound book. Reading “involves factors not usually acknowledged,” she told me. “The ergonomics, the haptics of the device itself. The tangibility of paper versus the intangibility of something digital.” The contrast of pixels, the layout of the words, the concept of scrolling versus turning a page, the physicality of a book versus the ephemerality of a screen, the ability to hyperlink and move from source to source within seconds online—all these variables translate into a different reading experience.

The screen, for one, seems to encourage more skimming behavior: when we scroll, we tend to read more quickly (and less deeply) than when we move sequentially from page to page. Online, the tendency is compounded as a way of coping with an overload of information. There are so many possible sources, so many pages, so many alternatives to any article or book or document that we read more quickly to compensate. When Ziming Liu, a professor at San Jose State University whose research centers on digital reading and the use of e-books, conducted a review of studies that compared print and digital reading experiences, supplementing their conclusions with his own research, he found that several things had changed. On screen, people tended to browse and scan, to look for keywords, and to read in a less linear, more selective fashion. On the page, they tended to concentrate more on following the text. Skimming, Liu concluded, had become the new reading: the more we read online, the more likely we were to move quickly, without stopping to ponder any one thought.

 

No Greater Gospel: An Interview with Dave Furman

No Greater Gospel: An Interview with Dave Furman by Dave Furman | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

DFurman sketchPart of my Sunday reading also included this fascinating “TT” interview with Pastor David Furman, who pastors Redeemer Church in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

While there are many interesting insights in this interview about planting and maintaining a Reformed church in the heart of the Middle East, I truly appreciated the way Furman answered two questions in particular. I post them here, encouraging you to follow the link above to learn more about this church in Dubai.

TT: What aspects of the reformed tradition have most equipped you for ministry in Dubai?

DF: The first and biggest thing that came to mind when I read this question was the crystal-clear call of Christ. Jesus says: “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd” (John 10:16). It is hard to describe how encouraged I am by the Reformed doctrines of grace that describe how Christ assuredly calls His elect, that the elect respond, and that He keeps them forever. This strengthens my heart to endure hardship, to labor over expositional preaching, and to glorify Jesus when I see fruit or face rejection. Reformed doctrine has fueled our sharing of the gospel and emboldened us to be faithful to Christ in difficult times.

TT: What advice can you give Christians for sharing the gospel?

DF: Romans 1:16 says that the gospel is the power of God. There is no need to change it, distort it, add to it, or subtract from it. Indeed, we must not alter the gospel. If you add one drop of works to the gospel, you destroy it, change it, reverse it, and oppose it. Gospel revision always equals gospel reversal. I would tell all Christians to hold on to and herald the one true gospel. We’ve seen it change lives time and time again. I read in a biography of Charles Spurgeon a story about his grandfather preaching one night. The story goes that one night Charles Spurgeon, the great British preacher, was running late getting to the church, and by the time he got there, his grandfather had already started preaching. Young Spurgeon was already widely known at that time, and when he walked in, his grandfather paused his sermon and said something to this effect: “My grandson is here now; he may be a greater preacher than I, but he can’t preach a greater gospel.” All Christians are equipped with the same message. We need to hold out the gospel. There is no better message and no greater news.

Into the Mystic – Peter Lillback

Into the Mystic by Peter Lillback | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT-July 2014Yesterday I finished the main articles on this month’s Tabletalk theme, dealing with the 14th century of the church. The fourth and final article is written by Dr.Peter Lillback, president and professor of historical theology at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.

His article carries the above title – “Into the Mystic” – and treats the significant movement of mysticism during this century of the church’s history. This too is “must” reading, for mysticism is always found in the church, – today too –  and always presents unique challenges to the church’s doctrine and life, as Lillback properly points out.

I give you a part of the end of his article and encourage you to read all of it at the Ligonier link above.

The Scriptures teach us to test the spirits because false teaching emerges from the fallen hearts of mankind, including our own. Salvation is not man-centered, whether in terms of feelings, choices, ideas, or visions. All truth and wisdom are gifts of divine grace and are found in Christ. Our pursuit of God must be Christ-centered and based upon the revealed Word of God.

Thus, biblical Christianity, especially with its restoration in the Reformation, rejects unfettered mystical experiences in favor of the scriptural revelation of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the fallen nature of man means that we must reject our inner impulses as our primary spiritual guides and instead practice humble reliance on the Word and Holy Spirit. When we meditate, we should meditate upon Scripture. When we seek extraordinary experiences, we should consider the extraordinary miracles that God has performed in history and recorded in His Word. When we seek to know God, we should know the Scriptures that speak of Him (John 5:46), pray to our loving Father, and participate in the church and sacraments.

We should thereby embrace the Great Commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27), remembering that neither our minds nor our feelings will lead us to God without the true “inner” experience of the Holy Spirit’s grace in Christ grounded in His inspired Word.

 

J.Calvin on Psalm 143: “…We must pray for the pardon of our sins.”

JCalvin1Also for our meditation on and profit from Psalm 143 this day we consider these comments of God’s Reformer, John Calvin. Here he reflects on v.2, where we learn again the importance of confessing our sins and casting ourselves upon God’s mercy in Christ. May these words too point us to the only gospel of comfort and hope in Jesus Christ.

2. And enter not into judgment, etc.

I have hinted already why he proceeds to pray for pardon. When overtaken by adversity, we are ever to conclude that it is a rod of correction sent by God to stir us up to pray. Although he is far from taking pleasure in our trials, it is certain that our sins are the cause of his dealing towards us with this severity. While those to whom David was opposed were wicked men, and he was perfectly conscious of the rectitude of his cause as regarded them, he freely acknowledged his sin before God as a condemned suppliant.

We are to hold this as a general rule in seeking to conciliate God, that we must pray for the pardon of our sins. If David found refuge nowhere else than in prayer for pardon, who is there amongst us who would presume to come before God trusting in his own righteousness and integrity? Nor does David here merely set an example before God’s people how they ought to pray, but declares that there is none amongst men who could be just before God were he called to plead his cause.

The passage is one fraught with much instruction, teaching us, as I have just hinted, that God can only show favor to us in our approaches by throwing aside the character of a judge, and reconciling us to himself in a gratuitous remission of our sins. All human righteousnesses, accordingly, go for nothing, when we come to his tribunal. This is a truth which is universally acknowledged in words, but which very few are seriously impressed with. As there is an indulgence which is mutually extended to one another amongst men, they all come confidently before God for judgment, as if it were as easy to satisfy him as to gain man’s approval.

In order to obtain a proper view of the whole matter, we are first to note what is meant by being justified. The passage before us clearly proves that the man who is justified, is he who is judged and reckoned just before God, or whom the heavenly Judge himself acquits as innocent. Now, in denying that any amongst men can claim this innocence, David intimates that any righteousness which the saints have is not perfect enough to abide God’s scrutiny, and thus he declares that all are guilty before God, and can only be absolved in the way of acknowledging they might justly be condemned.

Had perfection been a thing to be found in the world, he certainly of all others was the man who might justly have boasted of it; and the righteousness of Abraham and the holy fathers was not unknown to him; but he spares neither them nor himself, but lays it down as the one universal rule of conciliating God, that we must cast ourselves upon his mercy.

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 143

Psalm 143Our psalm for consideration this Lord’s Day as we prepare for worship of our heavenly Father is Psalm 143. According to the heading, this prayer-song too was penned by David, the “sweet psalmist of Israel”. This psalm is considered to be the last of the seven “penitential” psalms, expressing confession of sin (see especially vs.2 below, as well as Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, and 130).

A quick reading of this psalm will reveal that it is a powerful prayer consisting of a series of urgent petitions. But because it is a penitential-prayer psalm, we want to take our time reading it, meditating on David’s needs and petitions while considering our own, and taking this song with us as we prepare for worship. For if our Father’s house is the “house of prayer” (Is.56:7; Matt.11:17), then we surely want to take these petitions with us today as we come into the presence of our God.

Reflect then carefully on these inspired words:

Psalm 143

Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me,and in thy righteousness.

And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.

Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.

I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.

Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.

10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

11 Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

12 And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

Let’s take a brief look at each of David’s petitions in this psalm. First, David begins by asking the Lord to hear him and answer him. This is not raised in fear and doubt about the Lord’s ability or desire to hear him, but in the keen awareness of his own urgent need. His situation is desperate, as the rest of the psalm indicates. His enemies have been on the attack and his life is hanging in the balance (v.3). David’s spirit is overwhelmed and he feels all alone (v.4). And so, as he goes to his God, he immediately asks to be heard.

In fact, if we go down to v.7, we see that he also asks to be heard “speedily”. If God does not respond to his plea for help right away, he feels he will perish. His spirit is failing (v.7), and so he needs the Lord not merely at some point in the day but immediately! “Give ear to my supplications” right now, Lord! I need Thee every hour, and I need Thee this very moment!” That is why He also says in v.6 that he stretches forth his hands to the Lord. His hands are out in urgent need because his soul is thirsty for God. God is his all and all that he needs!

Do we understand such need, fellow worshipers? Do we too feel the urgency of our petitions when we make them? Are we thirsty for God, such that when we pray out of real need our hands are held out to Him? Or are our prayers just routine and our supplications too casual? No matter what our circumstance is, we always need the Lord. And we always need Him at that moment. So let us learn to pray with David, “Hear my prayer, O LORD.”

You will note that David appeals to God’s faithfulness and righteousness in asking to be heard and answered.  That too is important to keep in mind. That too shows that David prayed in true faith, as we must. God will hear us because He is our faithful Father, Who loves us and Who gave His Son for us so that the way would be open for us to go to Him and ask Him for anything according to our real need. And He will answer us because He is righteous, perfectly just (right and fair) to grant us what we need according to His sovereign will.

Yet that righteousness of God also reminds David (and ourselves!) that he is a sinner who cannot stand before this righteous Judge in his own works or merits. And so, secondly, David prays that God not enter into judgment with him. And the reason is simple: in God’s sight no man is or can be justified. We recognize this as the “dark side” of the doctrine of justification (see Romans 3:20 and Gal.2:16). We have no righteousness of our own to hold us up and give us a hearing before the holy and just God. All our “righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Is.64:6). And so if God the righteous Judge enters into judgment with us, we are condemned as guilty sinners and damned to hell.

But there is also a “bright side” to justification, shined by the light of the gospel of salvation by grace alone in Christ alone through faith alone. That precious light is that the righteous Judge Himself has made and provided a perfect righteousness for sinners through the perfect work of Jesus Christ – through His death on Calvary and through His obedience to God’s righteous law. And so, all our righteousness is in Christ, and His beautiful robe replaces our filthy rags when we trust in Him alone.

It was in that knowledge and trust that David approached his Lord. Yes, his Lord was Jesus, the great “I am” to come. And in promise and hope of His coming and His perfect work to be accomplished, David prayed what he did in v.2. He was a penitent sinner. And as such he was also a justified sinner. Shall we also learn to pray this way? In sorrow for our sin and in hope of Christ? In that way too we shall be heard!

Thirdly, David petitioned his God for spiritual direction (vss.8,10). Beseeching God to have him hear His lovingkindness first thing in the morning, he wanted to know the way he should go in this midst of this persecution-trial. And thus he asked God to teach him to do His will and to lead him in the way of uprightness. We can understand this need, I trust. One of the great temptations that fall on us when we are being attacked by enemies is to resort to their tactics. Satan wants us to be filled with hate, to lose our perspective in sinful anger, and then respond sinfully – both to God and to the persecuting neighbor. And according to our fallen nature, this is what comes so easy to us.

David knew that and prayed in essence, “Don’t let me fall into this trap, Lord. Don’t let me follow the devil’s way and my own sinful way in this trial, but You make me know the right way to respond and lead me to do it. I trust in Thee and I trust the good work of Thy Holy Spirit. Make me alive by that Spirit (v.11), and I will do the right thing – for Thy glory and for my good.” Shall we also learn to make these our requests in our trials? How necessary and important!

Fourth, and finally, David also asked the Lord for deliverance (vss.9, 11). While he knew that this trial was of the Lord and that he must submit to the Lord’s way for him, he also wanted to be rescued from these deadly foes; he desired his soul to be brought out of trouble. He longed for peace and rest. There is no conflict in these two sides to our trials. God is sovereign and brings such trials in our lives. And we are called to submit to Him and trust Him fully.

Yet at the same time, we do not wish to live in persecution and pain, to be so low in life and soul. From our perspective our need is to be free of troubles and to enjoy peace and joy. And so we ask as David did, “Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies. Bring my soul out of trouble.” Is that not our experience, whatever our troubles are? Even Jesus, Who knew perfectly that the cross was God’s way for Him, prayed for deliverance from it (Matt.26:39). Such petitions are also the will of God for us. Such requests we may also make confidently, yet humbly and submissively.

And so, as we come into the Lord’s house of prayer this day, may we bring this prayer of David before the Throne of Grace. This is the prayer our Father delights to hear. This is the prayer that praises and glorifies Him. This is the prayer that speaks to our great needs. And our God has the great grace that answers to all those needs. “For Jesus’ sake. Amen!”

Psalter1912If you desire to meditate on Psalm 143 through music, I encourage you to listen to a versification of this psalm at the PRC Psalter page. Here is one such versification, titled “Contrite Trust”, to get you started (Visit the link to hear piano accompaniment and sing along.):

1. Lord, hear me in distress,
Regard my suppliant cry,
And in Thy faithfulness
And righteousness reply.
In judgment do not cause
Thy servant to be tried;
Before Thy holy laws
No man is justified.

2. The enemy has sought
My soul in dust to tread;
To darkness I am brought,
Forgotten as the dead.
My spirit, crushed with grief,
Is sad and overborne;
My heart finds no relief,
But desolate I mourn.

3. Recalling former days
And all Thy wondrous deeds,
The memory of Thy ways
To hope and comfort leads.
To Thee I stretch my hands,
Let me not plead in vain;
I wait as weary lands
Wait for refreshing rain.

4. My failing spirit see,
O Lord, to me make haste;
Hide not Thy face from me,
Lest bitter death I taste.
O let the morn return,
Let mercy light my day;
For Thee in faith I yearn,
O guide me in the way.

5. Lord, save me from my foe,
To Thee for help I flee;
Teach me Thy way to know,
I have no God but Thee.
By Thy good Spirit led
From trouble and distress,
My erring feet shall tread
The path of uprightness.

6. O Lord, for Thy Name’s sake
Revive my fainting heart;
My soul from trouble take,
For just and true Thou art.
Remove my enemy,
My cruel foe reward;
In mercy rescue me
Who am Thy servant, Lord.

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