Why Theological Study Is for Everyone – Jared Wilson

Why Theological Study Is for Everyone by Jared Wilson | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

April-TT-2014For part of my Sunday reading I did get in the next featured article on this month’s theme (“The Great Commission”). That is pastor Roland Barnes’ article titled “All Authority in Heaven and on Earth”, which treats the authority the church has to go and bring the gospel to the nations. The authority is Christ’s, for all power (authority) is given Him in his state of glorification (Matt.28:18-20).

The article which I reference today, however, is another one – the one by pastor Jared Wilson linked above. Writing under the rubric “Heart Aflame”, he wrote this great article on why every believer ought to be a theologian. No doubt he is picking up a theme R.C. Sproul, Sr. loves to trumpet – and about which he has just written an entire book (Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology, Reformation Trust, 2014. I have received it for review, so look for notes on this to come.)!

Wilson gives three (3) main reasons why every Christian must be interested in and pursuing the study of theology. I encourage you to read all of his article; below I give you his final reason for being a theologian. It ties in rather well with our primary activity yesterday and in all of life – worship.

Third, the study of God authenticates and fuels worship. True Christians are not those who believe in some vague God nor trust in vague spiritual platitudes. True Christians are those who believe in the triune God of the holy Scriptures and have placed their trust by the real Spirit in the real Savior—Jesus—as proclaimed in the specific words of the historical gospel.

Knowing the right information about God is just one way we authenticate our Christianity. Intentionally or consistently err in the vital facts about God, and you jeopardize the veracity of your claim truly to know God. This is why we must pursue theological robustness not just in our pastor’s preaching but in our church’s music and in our church’s prayers, both corporate and private.

But theological study goes deeper than simply authenticating our worship as true and godly—it also fuels this worship. We must remember what Jesus explained to the Samaritan woman at the well:

True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23–24)

We are changed deeply in heart and, therefore, our behavior when we seek deeply after the things of God with our brains. The Bible says so: “Do not be conformed to this world,” Paul writes. “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). The transformation begins with a renewing of our minds. As John Piper has said, “The theological mind exists to throw logs into the furnace of our affections for Christ.”

Purposeful theological study of God, as an expression of love for God, cannot help but deepen our love for God. The more we read, study, meditate on, and prayerfully apply the word of God, the more we will find ourselves in awe of Him. Like a great ship on the horizon, the closer we get, the larger He looms.

Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed – I.Watts

Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed – Hymnary.org.

For our music meditation on the suffering and death of our Savior today we post the lyrics and music of Isaac Watts’ classic hymn “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed”. The full text of this hymn is taken from the website Hymnary.org (link above), where you will find more information on this particular piece.

The video recording is a beautiful arrangement sung by ProMusica of Washington Adventist University.

 

1 Alas! and did my Savior bleed,
and did my Sovereign die!
Would he devote that sacred head
for sinners such as I?

2 Was it for crimes that I have done,
he groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

3 Well might the sun in darkness hide,
and shut its glories in,
when God, the mighty maker, died
for his own creature’s sin.

4 Thus might I hide my blushing face
while his dear cross appears;
dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
and melt mine eyes to tears.

5 But drops of tears can ne’er repay
the debt of love I owe.
Here, Lord, I give myself away;
’tis all that I can do.

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989

The History of Psalm-Singing in the Church (1) – Rev.B.Huizinga

SB-Psalm Issue-April 1-2014_Page_1As I noted here previously, the April 1 issue of The Standard Bearer is a special issue devoted to the subject of psalm-singing. Included in this issue are two articles on the history of psalm-singing in the church – one more general (Rev.B.Huizinga’s on the history in the church generally) and one more specific (Rev.K.Koole’s on the history in the PRC).

It is the former one by Rev.Brian Huizinga (pastor of Hope PRC, Redlands, CA) that I would like to start referencing today. “Through Endless Ages Sound His Praise”: The History of Psalm-Singing in the Church” was part of my Sunday reading yesterday, and I found his article to be not only informative but also inspiring. And I hope by quoting from it, it will also be the same for you.

Today I quote from the opening paragraphs, which set the stage for what is to follow.

What among men has endured as many ages under the sun as the psalms…the psalms sung…the psalms sung in corporate worship?  Precious little.  Psalmody has seen Solomon’s temple used and burned, doleful children of the covenant marched to Babylon and jubilantly returning, the Son of God incarnate humiliated and exalted, Rome risen and fallen, the mighty wave of the gospel of salvation sweeping through the Mediterranean world, into Europe, over the seas to America, and now to the ends of the earth, always with the bitter death of apostasy following in its wake.  Over the past three thousand years much has come and much has gone.  Psalmody has seen it all.  Psalmody remains.  Psalmody is rare.  Psalmody is not popular.  But psalmody remains.  Because Jesus Christ defends and preserves His church to the end, psalmody will certainly remain to the end.  None may doubt that psalmody will see the antichristian world-kingdom and then Christ Himself—the one of whom the psalms spoke, and that by His own testimony (Luke 24:44)—appear in splendid majesty arrayed more glorious than the sun.  Through endless ages the church sounds Jehovah’s praise—with psalms.

 

The Old Testament Age

The Old Testament church sang the psalms, one of them perhaps already in the wilderness on the way to Canaan (Psalm 90, written by Moses), most in Solomon’s temple (those written mostly by David), and others thereafter.  So much was psalm-singing a part of Israel’s life and worship that when the Jews were deported by Nebuchadnezzar as captives into Babylon in 586 B.C., they were identified as psalm-singers.  As they sat weeping by the river, their proud captors taunted:  “Come sing us one of Zion’s songs.”  Even the ungodly knew what took place in Zion.  Israel sang the psalms.  Would to God Babylon of today would have reason to know and say the same.

If you would like to receive this issue, or become a regular subscriber to this fine Reformed magazine, contact the RFPA at the link given above.

Man of Sorrows – Hallelujah, What a Savior – CCHS Concert Choir

Hallelujah, What a Savior. CCHS Concert Choir – YouTube.

Since Pastor A.Begg quoted from the hymn “Man of Sorrows” (“Hallelujah, What a Savior!”) in the sermon from which I quoted in the previous post, I also post this arrangement of this hymn sung by the Concert Choir of Covenant Christian High School in Grand Rapids, MI. This was part of their November 2012 concert, with the video recording made by Nick Kleyn.

Here are the lyrics to the hymn as originally written by Philip Bliss (1875):

  1. 1. “Man of Sorrows!” what a name For the Son of God, who came Ruined sinners to reclaim. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

  2. 2. Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood; Sealed my pardon with His blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

  3. 3. Guilty, vile, and helpless we; Spotless Lamb of God was He; “Full atonement!” can it be? Hallelujah! What a Savior!

  4. 4. Lifted up was He to die; “It is finished!” was His cry; Now in Heav’n exalted high. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

  5. 5. When He comes, our glorious King, All His ransomed home to bring, Then anew His song we’ll sing: Hallelujah! What a Savior!

J.Calvin on Psalm 131: “All the senses…, were subjected to the restraints of humility.”

Calvin PreachingFor our further reflection on Psalm 131 today, we include these comments of John Calvin on v.1. May they also point us to the way of humility of heart before God, whether we are in worship of Him or in the service of our daily callings.

1. O Jehovah! My heart has not been elated

David had been made head over God’s people, and in order to prove that he was their lawful prince, entitled to the allegiance of the faithful, he is desirous to show that he had not been influenced, in anything which he had attempted, by ambition or pride, but had submitted himself with a quiet and humble spirit to the divine disposal.

In this he teaches us a very useful lesson, and one by which we should be ruled in life — to be contented with the lot which God has marked out for us, to consider what he calls us to, and not to aim at fashioning our own lot, to be moderate in our desires, to avoid entering upon rash undertakings, and to confine ourselves cheerfully within our own sphere, instead of attempting great things.

He denies that his heart had been lifted up, for this is the true cause of all unwarranted rashness and presumption in conduct. Is not pride what leads men, under the instigation of their passions, to dare such presumptuous flights, to hurry on recklessly in their course, and throw the whole world into confusion? Were this loftiness of spirit checked, the consequence would be, that all men would study moderation of conduct. His eyes were not lifted up; there were no symptoms of pride in his looks or gestures, as elsewhere (Psalm 18:28) we find proud looks condemned.

Something more than this, however, may be intended: That while he put a restraint upon the risings of ambition in his heart, he was careful that his eyes should not lend their assistance to the heart in any covetous aspirations after greatness. All the senses, in short, as well as his heart, were subjected to the restraints of humility.

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 131

Psalm131Today for our worship preparation we take a look at the brief but important Psalm 131, the twelfth of the “songs of ascent”. These were the psalms sung by the children of Israel as they journeyed to the special seasons of worship in Jerusalem throughout the year. From this point of view we could also call them “pilgrim psalms”.

As such, they are also our songs as NT Christians. For we belong to the Jerusalem from above, the “mother of us all” (Gal.4:26), and we are “come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, …To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, …And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant…” (Heb.12:22-24). With joy and thanksgiving we “go up” to our God each Lord’s Day to praise and glorify Him through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Today we are called to do so again. And we do so using Psalm 131 as our guide. This precious psalm is attributed to the “sweet psalmist” of Israel, king David. Which means that, because David was a type of Christ as king of the church, Christ our sovereign, saving King leads us in worship through this song too.  Let us hear Him sing this song:

Psalm 131

Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.

2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.

3 Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.

Why is this little psalm so important? Because just as the previous psalm (130) taught us that we must come into the presence of God in worship with confession of sin and confidence in God’s redeeming and forgiving mercy in our hearts and on our lips, so Psalm 131 teaches us that we must come into His presence with humility and spiritual contentment. Our holy God requires certain attitudes and behavior from us when we worship Him. We must seek Him and stand before Him and glorify Him with the right heart and with the right conduct. For He is God, the High and lofty One, Who inhabits eternity. He does not dwell with just anyone, but with those of a contrite and humble spirit (Is.57:15). He cannot and will not be glorified by those who are not fully satisfied in Him but seek their fulfillment in themselves or in idols.

And David, knowing this to be true, wrote these words as a reminder to himself and to all the people of God that we must worship the Lord in humility of heart and with spiritual contentment in Him. Our hearts may not be “haughty”, proud and full of self. Our eyes may not be “lofty”, set on self-promotion and self-fulfillment. We come into God’s presence with hearts and eyes focused on Him, fully realizing Who He is and who we are.

Nor must we come exercising ourselves “in great matters, or in things too high” for us. This too speaks to the pride that can envelop our hearts, such that we who are especially well-grounded in the faith and knowledgeable of the Scriptures think that we can fully comprehend the God we worship. That we who have such a deep understanding of the Reformed-Christian faith have the God of our salvation all figured out and can easily wrap our minds around His majesty and greatness. That worship is a relatively light and easy thing to do, and that we really “have it down pat”. That we are not truly going to learn all that much new out of God’s Word from that experienced or youthful pastor, so we don’t really need to submit ourselves to the preaching. We are “above” all this, you see. How quickly you and I can come to worship in this proud attitude and conduct! Which is why we need to sing as we prepare and as we enter the Lord’s presence, “Jehovah God, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty.”

No, when we worship, we must behave and quiet ourselves as a little child “weaned of his mother”. Are we familiar with the longing of a young child for its mother and with the contentment that that young one finds in her when he has been filled with her love and milk? Then this must also be our longing for our Father in heaven (Who is also as a spiritual nurse to us) and our satisfaction when we come into His presence and feed on Him through His Word. Let our souls seek and find their all in the God of our salvation! Let us quiet ourselves today in worship as we seek and find our satisfaction in Him alone. Let us find true rest for our souls as we rest in the bosom of our Father through His Son. Let us behave as weaned children, content with the “milk” of God and His grace alone.

Little wonder, then, that David closed this brief psalm with this direction to the church: “Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and forever.”

If you wish to meditate on this psalm through the music of the Psalter, I encourage you to make use of this versification, Ps.#366. The lyrics are posted here; the music you may find at the link provided.

1. Not haughty is my heart,
Not lofty is my pride;
I do not seek to know the things
God’s wisdom hath denied.

2. With childlike trust, O Lord,
In Thee I calmly rest,
Contented as a little child
Upon its mother’s breast.

3. Ye people of the Lord,
In Him alone confide;
From this time forth and evermore
His wisdom be your guide.

J.Calvin on Psalm 130: “…the sinner… shall find him (God) ready to be reconciled towards him.”

JCalvinBibleFor our further meditation on Psalm 130 let us also read and take to heart these words of John Calvin on v.4. While we focus on this part of Calvin’s exposition of the psalm, it would also be worth your while to read his thoughts on v.3 at the CCEL website. May his words also point us to the only One in Whom we have hope as sinners, so that by faith we come to Him and cast ourselves upon Him in Jesus Christ.

4. But with thee there is forgiveness.

This verse leads us farther. Though all men confess with the mouth that there is no human being in the world whom God may not justly adjudge to everlasting death, should it so please him, yet how few are persuaded of the truth which the Prophet now adds, that the grace of which they stand in need shall not be denied them? They either sleep in their sins through stupidity, or fluctuate amidst a variety of doubts, and, at length, are overwhelmed with despair. This maxim, “that no man is free from sin,” is, as I have said, received among all men without dispute, and yet the majority shut their eyes to their own faults, and settle securely in hiding ­ places to which, in their ignorance, they have betaken themselves, if they are not forcibly roused out of them, and then, when pursued close by the judgments of God, they are overwhelmed with alarm, or so greatly tormented as to fall into despair.

The consequence of this want of hope in men, that God will be favorable to them, is an indifference about coming into the Divine presence to supplicate for pardon. When a man is awakened with a lively sense of the judgment of God, he cannot fail to be humbled with shame and fear. Such self-dissatisfaction would not however suffice, unless at the same time there were added faith, whose office it is to raise up the hearts which were cast down with fear, and to encourage them to pray for forgiveness. David then acted as he ought to have done when, in order to his attaining genuine repentance, he first summons himself before God’s judgment seat; but, to preserve his confidence from failing under the overpowering influence of fear, he presently adds the hope which there was of obtaining pardon.

It is, indeed, a matter which comes under our daily observation, that those who proceed not beyond the step of thinking themselves deserving of endless death, rush, like frenzied men, with great impetuosity against God. The better, therefore, to confirm himself and others, the Prophet declares that God’s mercy cannot be separated or torn away from himself. “As soon as I think upon thee,” he says in amount, “thy clemency also presents itself to my mind, so that I have no doubt that thou wilt be merciful to me, it being impossible for thee to divest thyself of thy own nature: the very fact that thou art God is to me a sure guarantee that thou wilt be merciful ”

At the same time let it be understood, that he does not here speak of a confused knowledge of the grace of God, but of such a knowledge of it as enables the sinner to conclude with certainty, that as soon as he seeks God he shall find him ready to be reconciled towards him.

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 130

Psalm130For this first Lord’s Day in March we focus on Psalm 130 for our worship preparation of the one, true Triune God, our Father in Jesus Christ. This is the eleventh “song of ascents”, another part of those songs the pilgrim saints sang as they sojourned “up” to Jerusalem for her special worship services. Let’s put this Word of God before us so that we may meditate on it and pray from it as we go up to God’s house today:

Psalm 130

Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.

2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.

3 If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

7 Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him isplenteous redemption.

8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

We sense right away that this is a crucial song for spiritual pilgrims to sing as they come before God in worship. This is a song of confession of sin and it is a song of confidence in a merciful, forgiving Lord. As such it is fitting for our special services too, such as holy communion or preparatory.

Yet, Psalm 130 is a song that we must sing (and pray!) every time we prepare to enter the Lord’s house and every time we stand before the holy and righteous God. For we are sinners, objectively, according to the law and testimony of the supreme Judge of heaven and earth. Not one of us is righteous, no, not one. Not one of us has done good. We are guilty, vile, rebellious people, and proud of it too. And therefore, not one of us fears God and desires to give Him one ounce of thanks and praise. Not one of us is worthy to or seeks to enter God’s presence and worship Him (Go back and read Psalm 14 again, and then Romans 1:18ff., and chaps. 2-3). All we deserve is God’s condemning wrath and fierce, everlasting judgment: “Depart from Me and go to hell!” Yes, He is the only One Who may say that.

But knowing this truth of God’s Word objectively, we must confess this subjectively. With repentant hearts and cleansed mouths (by God’s sovereign grace and Spirit alone!) we must personally acknowledge God’s righteous judgment of ourselves and confess “out of the depths” with a sincere cry, “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” Indeed, looking at ourselves in the light of God’s law again today, who of us can stand before the Holy One?! He knows your sin and mine. He sees far more than you or I see. And only one of our vile sins is worthy to banish me from His presence.

What hope do we have then?! What are we doing taking one step toward Jerusalem and the house of God?! Why start a pilgrimage to the holy city of God?! If we go and appear before this God, we are only damned and doomed!

O, no, fellow confessing sinners, get up and get going to Zion, for we have hope! Don’t stop your reading of Psalm 130 at v.3. Go on to the gospel in vss.4-8! In fact, there was hope expressed already in vss. 1-3 in the name of God the psalmist used: “LORD” – Jehovah God, the faithful, covenant-making, covenant-keeping God! The God of our salvation in Jesus Christ, the Mediator and Redeemer of the covenant! The Lord Who gave the Lamb slain for us sinners! The Lamb Who bore our sins, our curse, our wrath, our hell and took it all away! The Lord of boundless and endless mercy!

That’s why there is forgiveness with Him! Full pardon for guilty, putrid, proud sinners such as ourselves. Full dismissal of all charges against us stiff-necked, law-breaking rebels! Full removal of all stains of guilt and corruption! And perfect righteousness and holiness in the place of these filthy rags besides. O, wonderful God and wonderful gift! Blessed Lamb of God!

What shall we do then, as we prepare for worship? Wait for this Lord, v.5-6. Hope in this God of mercy, v.7. For, yes, He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. We know that and can sing that because He has redeemed Israel. That’s Calvary. The proof is in the empty tomb, which we commemorate every Lord’s Day. Christ is risen and we are redeemed! Hallelujah! Get up and get going to Zion, pilgrims! The Lord of mercy waits to receive us and our praise-giving thanks!

Psalter1912If you wish to meditate on Psalm 130 through the music of the Psalter, I encourage you to make use of this versification, Ps.#363. Below are the lyrics; at the link is piano accompaniment for you to use in singing these words.

1. From the depths do I invoke Thee,
Lord, to me incline Thy ear;
To my voice be Thou attentive,
And my supplication hear.

2. Lord, if Thou shouldst mark transgressions,
In Thy presence who shall stand?
But with Thee there is forgiveness,
That Thy Name may fear command.

3. For Jehovah I am waiting,
And my hope is in His word,
In His word of promise given;
Yea, my soul waits for the Lord.

4. For the Lord my soul is waiting
More than watchers in the night,
More than they for morning watching,
Watching for the morning light.

5. Hope in God, ye waiting people;
Mercies great with Him abound;
With the Lord a full redemption
From the guilt of sin is found.

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 129

Psalm129-2Our psalm for consideration today as we prepare to worship at our sovereign God’s footstool is Psalm 129. This is the tenth of the “song of degrees” or “ascent”, sung by the Israelite pilgrims as they journeyed to Jerusalem for the solemn seasons of worship according to the law of the Lord. As they made their way to the city of God, they were conscious of many things, including their enemies, as we have seen previously (see especially Psalms 120, 124).

According to Psalm 129 the people of God were conscious of these foes of the Lord and themselves again and sang this song along the way:

Psalm 129

Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say:

2 Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.

3 The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.

4 The Lord is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.

5 Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.

6 Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:

7 Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.

8 Neither do they which go by say, The blessing of the Lord be upon you: we bless you in the name of the Lord.

 

Why sing of such haters of Zion? Why sing/pray for the ruin of these enemies of the church? Because Israel realized how important her cause and calling was. The worship of the one, true and living God was the highest activity in which Israel could be engaged. It is the chief purpose of the church to praise and glorify the God of the whole earth, the God Who is her Lord by creation and redemption in Jesus Christ. God must be exalted – in the church and among the nations. He must be shown to be God alone and all idols shown to be nothing.

And therefore, the worship of this one, true God was Israel’s holiest activity and her highest witness to the wicked world around her. And as the NT church, we must know that our worship of the Lord still is this.

Which is why this worship is so hated, so despised, and so opposed. This is why Zion, God’s true, worshiping church in the world is so afflicted, even from his youth (vss.1-2). Because the wicked and unbelieving cannot stand to see the one, true God exalted and praised and their own idols and worship condemned and put down. Their carnal enmity against God is roused when they see Zion marching to worship Him, and so they attack God’s people and try to prevent them from worshiping (v.3). They would never give their blessing and encouragement to the church in her journey to Jerusalem (v.8).No, they hate Zion and curse her (Remember Balak?!).

And again, as God’s NT church, we must know it is still the same. We may not experience that hatred and opposition so directly in this country (Though it is increasing all the time!), but in many parts of the world believers in the true God and Father of Jesus Christ do. The persecution of God’s true worshipers continues to this day.

And so the church then and now may and must sing the words of Psalm 129. Such words may be viewed as “intolerant” in our day; they may be viewed as “hate speech” on the part of the church. But these inspired words of God are also put into her mouth: “Let them be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.” For, yes, our God is righteous (v.4)! He is the just Judge of all men, including the wicked Who hate Zion.

In praying for the overthrow of her enemeies the church is not acting out of personal spite or revenge. She is commiting her way to the Judge of heaven and earth. She is seeking the revelation of the perfect justice of the righteous God, Who blesses and rewards good-doers and Who curses and punishes evil-doers. This God is the great Savior and Defender of His church (v.4). He protects His true worshipers so that the wicked do not prevail against them (v.2b). And therefore to this God Zion prays.

And so, as Israel sang this as she went up to Jerusalem, so do we who go up to the spiritual city of God. Conscious of our foes, as the OT church was, we sing with her, “Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth….” May our sovereign Savior and faithful Father hear our prayer and answer us in mercy. For Christ’s sake, because as sinners, we too are by nature the enemies of God. But now, for Jesus’ sake, we are covenant friends. Let us draw near and worship!

Psalter1912If you should desire to reflect on Psalm 129 through the music of the Psalter, I point you to this special versification of it found in the songbook the PRC uses in public worship. Below are the lyrics; at the link provided here you will also find piano accompaniment.

1. Through all the years, may Israel say,
My bitter foes have oft assailed,
Have sought my hurt in fierce array,
Yet over me have not prevailed.

2. Though scars of conflict and distress
Remain to tell of trials past,
Jehovah in His righteousness
Has safely brought us through at last.

3. The foes of Zion shall be brought
To hopeless flight and put to shame;
Their wicked plans shall come to nought
And all mankind forget their name.

4. To them no kindly friend shall say,
God bless you now and speed you well;
No grateful heart for them shall pray,
May God’s rich blessing on you dwell.

 

J.Calvin on Psalm 128: “…Having it as chief desire to see the Church of God in a flourishing condition.”

To further promote our meditation on Psalm 128 today, let us also consider these comments of John Calvin on v.5, where he too ties together family blessedness with the blessedness of the church. May his words also serve to encourage us to walk in the fear of the Lord in our homes and in the church.

JCalvinPic5. Jehovah shall bless thee from Zion.

…The persons described are said to be blessed from Zion, to lead them to call to remembrance the covenant into which God had entered with them, for he had graciously promised to be favorable to the observers of his law; and these principles of godliness they had imbibed from their infancy. The Prophet, therefore, declares that it is no novel doctrine or something before unheard of which he adduces, the law having long ago taught them that it is made manifest even by the temporary benefits conferred on those who serve God, that the pains taken in serving him are not thrown away; and he affirms that of this they shall actually have the experience.

What is added concerning the good of Jerusalem is to be regarded as enjoining upon the godly the duty not only of seeking their own individual welfare, or of being devoted to their own peculiar interests, but rather of having it as chief desire to see the Church of God in a flourishing condition. It would be a very unreasonable thing for each member to desire what may be profitable for itself, while in the meantime the body was neglected.

From our extreme proneness to err in that respect, the Prophet, with good reason, recommends solicitude about the public welfare; and he mingles together domestic blessings and the common benefits of the Church in such a way as to show us that they are things joined together, and which it is unlawful to put asunder.

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