Our God IS…

Psalms decorativeOur God is in the heavens;     
he does all that he pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,     
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;     
eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;     
noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;     
feet, but do not walk;     
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Psalm 115:3-7 ESV

Grouch Marx famously said that he would not want to belong to any club that would have someone like him as a member. How foolish of us to imagine belonging to any god that we have created for ourselves.

R.V.G. Tasker comments on Psalm 115:3-7… “The pagan’s pride in what he can see, and his contempt for what he cannot (which are modern attitudes as well as ancient), are flung back at him. A God too great to tie down to any image or even to earth itself, who is not the prisoner of circumstances but their master, is a God to glory in.

And he is our God, not in the petty sense in which the heathen have their idols – all their own work! – but in the personal bond of ‘steadfast love and … faithfulness’ (see 115:1).

“The caustic catalogue of 4-7, like the work-study on god-making in Isaiah 44:12ff., or on god-transport in Isaiah 46, needs no sermonizing to make its point: the facts are enough. It is one of the places where scripture, like the child in the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, takes a cool stare at what the world does not care to admit.”

From R.V.G. Tasker in his Tyndale O. T. Commentary on Psalms

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Psalm 115

 

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.

O Israel, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.

The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us;
he will bless the house of Israel;
he will bless the house of Aaron;
he will bless those who fear the Lord,
both the small and the great.

May the Lord give you increase,
you and your children!
May you be blessed by the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!

The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,
but the earth he has given to the children of man.
The dead do not praise the Lord,
nor do any who go down into silence.
But we will bless the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 115 ESV

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No strain, no gain…

Psalms decorative

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob…
Psalm 114:7 ESV

 

 

20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
John 16:20-22 ESV

In Christ, it is no bad thing to tremble ‘at the presence of the Lord’, because so much that Jesus wants to do for us, only comes with such trembling, as Dr. G. Campbell Morgan commented on Psalm 114:7….

Dr. Morgan writes “… the theme is that of the Exodus, forever associated with the Passover (and) the Exodus is thought of in its completeness; not only escape from Egypt, but entrance to the land, for both Sea and Jordan are seen as passed…. (Here) Jehovah is seen as Adon, the Sovereign Lord, and as Eloha, the Mighty One. In order to the accomplishing of His delivering purpose, He is revealed as producing convulsions in Nature, making the sea to flee, Jordan to turn backward, and the mountains and hills to quake. This convulsive action is interpreted in these particular words, and specially in the word ‘tremble’ … Our translations, Authorized and Revised, miss the point. … Rotherham, with his customary accuracy and daring, helps us, as he renders, ‘Be in birth-throes, O Earth.’

“When Jehovah, acting as Sovereign Lord, and in His might thus convulsed Nature, it was that a nation might be born. Out of the strain and stress and agony, produced by such action on the part of God, new life emerges, a new order is introduced.

“In the Upper Room, in connection with the celebration of the Passover, our Lord used the same figure of speech in connection with the sorrows which would come to His disciples as the result of their association with Him (see John 16:20-22).

“Not without strain, convulsion, agony, can new life be born out of conditions of bondage and evil; but for the accomplishment of His high purpose, God will Himself enter into those experiences. He did so in Christ, and Christ sang the song that praised Him for so doing.”

From Dr. G. Campbell Morgan in Searchlights From the Word.

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Psalm 114

 

When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became his sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.

What ails you, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.

Psalm 114 ESV

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Up from the dust!

Psalms decorative
He raises the poor from the dust     
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,     
with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,     
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord! Psalm 113:7-9 ESV

 

Derek Kidner, in his Tyndale Old Testament Commentary on Psalms, writes …

“Verse 7 and 8 (of Psalm 113) anticipate the great downward and upward sweep of the gospel, which was to go even deeper and higher than the dust and the throne of princes: from the grave to the throne of God (Ephesians 2:5f.).

“Consciously, however, these verses look back to the song of Hannah, which they quote almost exactly (cf. 7, 8a with1 Samuel 2:8). Hence the sudden reference to the childless woman who becomes a mother (9), for this was Hannah’s theme. With such a background the psalm not only makes its immediate point, that the Most High cares for the most humiliated, but brings to mind the train of events that can follow from such an intervention. Hannah’s joy became all Israel’s; Sarah’s became the world’s. And the song of Hannah was to be outshone one day by the Magnificat. The spectacular events of our verses 7 and 8 are not greater than the domestic one; the most important of them have sprung from just such an origin.

“But it would distort the psalm, and its values, to make verse 9 simply a means to an end. The psalm finishes with what seems an anti-climax, and it must not be disguised. It is here that God’s glory most sharply differs from man’s: a glory that is equally at home ‘above the heavens’ (113:4) and at the side of one forlorn person. There is plainly much more than rhetoric in the question of 113:5, ‘Who is like the Lord our God?’…”

From Derek Kidner in his Tyndale Old Testament Commentary on Psalms 73-150.

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Psalm 113

Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the
Lord,
praise the name of the
Lord!

Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the
Lord is to be praised!

The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
Who is like the
Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the
Lord!

Psalm 113 ESV

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Trust God and Carry On?

Psalms decorative

For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
Psalm 112:6-7 ESV

Our anxiety, our awful fear, just at hearing ‘bad news’, is no unusual response for mere mortals. In fact, it makes pretty good sense. But when we find ourselves wrapped in Christ, by grace, through faith, we may find more beyond the first flash of fear….

Charles Spurgeon wrote of Psalm 112:7 …. “The ungodly, when they are overtaken by evil tidings, rebel against God; they murmur, and think that God deals hardly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?

“(Unbelievers) often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Your wisest course is to do as Moses did at the Red Sea, “Stand still and see the salvation of God.” For if you give way to fear when you hear of evil tidings, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure which nerves for duty, and sustains under adversity.

“How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God’s high praises in the fires, but will your doubting and desponding, as if you had none to help you, magnify the Most High? Then take courage, and relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, “let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

From Charles Spurgeon in Morning and Evening.

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