Posts made in February, 2011


The Destiny of the Unevangelized

The question of what happens to those who have not heard of Jesus has serious theological and practical implications on nearly every aspect to our Christian life. The exclusive view states that it is impossible to attain salvation apart from hearing the Word since faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God (Romans 10:17). The restrictivist view states that those who have heard the gospel are those who have made a conscious decision to accept it, but those who have never heard the gospel are judged on the basis of what they know or should have known. I will begin this essay theologically by discussing how general and specific revelation from Scripture clearly teaches that those who have not heard the message of Jesus will not be saved.

The knowledge of God’s existence, character, and moral law, which come through creation to all humanity, is often called general revelation (because it comes to all people generally). General revelation comes through observing nature, through seeing God’s directing influence in history, and through an inner sense of God’s existence and his laws that he has placed inside ever person. General revelation is distinct from special revelation which refers to God’s word addressed to specific people, such as apostles, and the words of God spoken in the personal address, such as at Mount Sinai or at the baptism of Jesus. Special revelation includes all the words of Scripture. [1]

The context of Romans 10 is about how Israel needs the Gospel, but has rejected the Gospel. Romans 10:14-15 asks a series of rhetorical questions to make it clear that a clear presentation of the gospel message must precede true saving faith. True faith always has for content the revealed Word of God. Paul’s statement in vs.17 relates back to Word of God literally meaning, “words of Christ” which means this is about the gospel.  Verse 16 makes it clear by way of Isaiah 53:1 that any presentation of the Gospel must have the message of the subsitutionary death of Christ.

Through Christ drawing men to Himself they can be saved (John 6:44). Scripture indicates that no free will exists in man’s nature for man is enslaved to sin and unable to believe apart from God’s empowerment. Only those whom the Father gives the ability to will toward Him will come. The drawing of John 6:44 is selective and only produces the desired effect upon those whom God has soverignly chosen for salvation. Those whom God has chosen will believe because God has soverignly determined that result from eternity past (Eph 1:9-11).

There are two main objections to this view; the first is that it is unfair and the second is that babies and the mentally disabled cannot be saved. I will deal at more length with the first objection because the second objection I believe is simple one of those things that we cannot know (Deut 29:29).

People define fairness as the ability to get their views or opinions out there. When this view is used it is often applied by those who want to have their own way regarding religion and life. The problem is that the Bible does not support this view. Jesus did not come to die for my wishes, dreams and wants. He came to die for my sin which offended His holiness. The charge that God is unfair is logically inconsistent to the core. Ascribing to ourselves knowledge of God but saying that we are God does not line up. Logically if one says that this view is unfair then they must also say that they are unfair since God is the One who created them. The Creator who created the world can destroy the world. The Creator who made all things can deny them eternal life but doesn’t. Jesus who died for sin can withhold forgiveness from sin but doesn’t. The argument from fairness is flawed because it argues on an I, me, you basis which makes it logically impossible to prove not to mention Scripturally unsound.

 

Nature of Hell

Many believers today affirm the truth of God’s love but struggle with God’s justice. By understanding how God’s love and judgment work together leads to understanding God’s sovereign purpose, which is seeking and saving the lost (Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10)

Popular contemporary Christian teaching focuses on improving oneself but understanding the message of Hell leads to seeing the need for Jesus. Scripture and history teach that humanity is digressing. The primary motivation as humans is not godliness but sin, and this makes one’s desires muddled in the pool of sin.

The Bible says that God created hell to serve as the ultimate destiny of the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). The Bible also teaches that Hell will be the destiny of all people who reject the grace and mercy God has provided through Jesus and who chose, instead, to reject God by following Satan (Matthew 25:46). Hell is described in the Scriptures as a place of darkness and sadness (Matthew 22:13), a place of fire (Matthew 5:22), a place of torment (Revelation 14:10), a place of destruction (Matthew 7:13), and a place of disgrace and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2).

Jesus spoke more about Hell than any figure in the Bible combined. His warnings of the eschatological judgment are colored with the imagery of Hell. He portrays this future judgment through the picture of Sodom’s destruction. These images of God’s judgment were well established in the Old Testament and intertestamental literature. Hell in the parables of Jesus are presented in the tares, the net, the great supper, the good servant and the wicked servant, the talents, and the last judgment.  Mankind legally, morally, and spiritually deserves to rot in Hell for all eternity. Jesus did not leave people to the punishment of sin, but came into the world to take upon Himself the wrath of God and die in our rightful place. Salvation therefore is wholly by God’s grace, and not by man’s effort, merits or ability.

There are two main objections to the classical view of hell; the first of which is eternal hell is cruel and the second that Scripture teaches annihilation.  First, I will tackle the view that eternal hell is cruel and secondly the notion that Scripture teaches annihilation.

God created mankind in His image to know, serve and glorify Him. In Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed Will and Word of God; man lost his innocence, an incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death. This made man incapable of doing or choosing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. Therefore we cannot accuse God of judging us on false pretense because our forefathers sinned, and sin is a crime, which means legally we deserve the wrath of God for our sin, and our sin nature. This makes the view that eternal hell is cruel logically and Scriptural impossible to defend.

The second objection to the classical view of hell is that Scripture teaches annihilation. The Scriptures do not teach the annihilationist view of hell.  The  souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15), when the soul and the resurrection will be united (John 5:28, 29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41-46), cut off from the life of God forever( Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2nd Thess 1:7-9).The bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11; 19-23; 2nd Cor 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13-15).

Jesus spoke more about Hell than any figure in the Bible combined. His warnings of the eschatological judgment are colored with the imagery of Hell.  Jesus did not leave people to the punishment of sin, but came into the world to take upon Himself the wrath of God and die in our rightful place. Salvation therefore is wholly by God’s grace, and not by man’s effort, merits or ability.

I am always glad to hear from readers. Feel free to leave a comment or write me atdave@servantsfograce.org Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com.DaveJJenkins or follow us on facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/Servantsofgrace

Bibliography

Grudem, Wayne, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine Documents. (Michigan: Zondervan, 2000), 122-123.


[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine Documents. (Michigan: Zondervan, 2000), 122-123.

 

Read More

Around the Blogs 2/28/2011


Posted By on Feb 28, 2011

Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 47, Judges 19, Ecclesiastes 5, Psalm 48, Proverbs 15, Isaiah 47, Luke 2, 1 Corinthians 2, Galatians 1, and 2 Peter 1.

Seven Cautions for Christians Part 4 and 5: http://www.joethorn.net/2011/02/25/theology-still-seven-cautions-for-christians-4/ http://www.joethorn.net/2011/02/25/theology-still-seven-cautions-for-christians-5/

The Lost Tools of Discipleship: http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2011/02/27/whi-1038-lost-tools-of-discipleship/

How to Encourage your Pastor by Dr. Thom Rainer: http://www.thomrainer.com/2011/02/how-to-encourage-your-pastor.php

To Hell with Hell by Kevin DeYoung: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2011/02/26/to-hell-with-hell/

Quote of the Day: “Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King, Who hath saved me? …You threaten fire that burns for an hour and is over. But the judgment on the ungodly is forever.” ~Polycarp~

 

Read More

Reflections at 30


Posted By on Feb 26, 2011

Today, for my 30th birthday, I decided to do something a little different. I decided to write on a few things I’m thankful for at 30.

Five Things I’m thankful for
The first thing I’m thankful at thirty for is for the grace of God. I’m thankful that Jesus saved me from my sin and adopted me as His child. I’m thankful for at thirty is how God used mistakes in my life to refine my character and make me the man I am today.

The second thing I’m thankful for at thirty is my beautiful wife, Sarah. Outside of Jesus saving me, my wife is the best gift I’ve ever received from God. She is my best friend, my best advisor and closest confident. I love her more everyday and with every passing moment. My wife has been a voice of reason in many situations and circumstances. She has also been my greatest cheerleader and encouragement to me in serving within Servantsofgrace. She not only supports Servantsofgrace Ministries, but she has supported my work as a student- giving of her time to help me improve my writing (she’s extremely intelligent about English grammar). For this and for a hundred things, sweetheart, I want to thank God, and for His work in you for being such an awesome godly wife. I love you.

The third thing I’m thankful for at thirty is my mom. My mom put up with me when I was rebellious, and immature as a teenager. My mom has been my best prayer warrior and encourager my entire life. There is much more, I could say about my mom, but I will leave it at just this, and thank the Lord Jesus for my mom.

The fourth thing I’m thankful for at thirty is my best friend Paul. Paul has been amazing friend, and even when he and I have had our difficulties in our friendship- he has always been there to listen to me, to pray with me and encourage me to run hard towards Christ. Paul’s friendship has saved me from much folly and foolishness in my walk with God. For that, Paul, I want to publically thank you. Your friendship and your fellowship brother mean a great deal to me, and have brought the Lord great glory.

The fifth thing I’m thankful for at thirty is for you who read my blogs, and listen or watch my sermons. I thank God for such an incredibly privilege and honor that you’ve bestowed upon me- in allowing me into your homes, and into your lives. I’m thankful especially for the faithful prayers of faithful prayer warriors who pray for me, encourage me, and challenge me.

Goals in my 20’s

One of my biggest goals in my twenties was to get married. I’m thankful here that God protected me from myself and my own stupidity, and sent the right wife at the right time. As I said earlier she has been an integral part in my growth in Christ and as a man. The other goal I had was to finish my academic training in my twenties. By God’s grace, I did finish my bachelors, and am almost finished with my Masters of Divinity (I have only ten classes left).

Goals’ in my 30’s
By God’s grace, I hope to finish my Masters of Divinity degree by May of 2012. The biggest present goal, I have (and prayer request) is to finish my degree well to the glory of God. After that, I’m praying the Lord would send me wherever He would find me useful. I’m currently praying through a number of options- including taking a Pastorate or going overseas to train Pastors. I ask that you continue to pray with me that God would give me wisdom and guidance in this area.
Conclusion

As I conclude here today, I want to thank you the reader and supporter of this ministry. I want to thank and praise God that He has found fit to use this ministry for His glory in the way He has. I want to thank the Lord that so many of you have prayed for me, and for this ministry. I want to thank the Lord for you. Finally, I want you to know that I consider it the greatest honor and privilege to be able to share the Word of God with you. My prayer is that God would use Servantsofgrace in your life for the purpose of growth in Him and equipping you for His service.

At thirty, I’m thankful, I’m grateful, and I’m humbled. I’m thankful for what God has done in my twenties but as I look now towards my thirties I’m excited. I’m excited about how God is moving in my life and through the lives of so many for the sake of His glory. I’m grateful that He has chosen to save me from my sins. I’m thankful that He has adopted me as His son. I’m thankful for all the work He has done in me and through me for the sake of His own glory.

Finally at thirty, I’m truly humbled. I’m humbled that God has put a calling on my life to know and make known His Word and glory to the nations. I’m amazed at all He has done in my life. Yet, I look forward to the future knowing that He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion.

Thank you again- my dear readers for reading, viewing and supporting this ministry. May You praise Him for all He has done in our lives- all by the work of His grace, for the sake of His glory.

Read More

The Power and Love of God


Posted By on Feb 25, 2011

Synthesis and Outline of Psalm 62.

Summary: God’s people sing Psalm 62 to foster confidence in the care of God, especially as they are faced with people who use power and wealth to oppress them. The temptation in such a case is either to despair or else to seek security in power and wealth rather than in God. The simplest way to follow the thought in the psalm is to observe how the addresses shift: from a description of “my soul” and God (vv.1-2), to speaking directly to and about the attackers (vv.3-4), then back to “my soul” and God (vv.5-7), on to exhorting the whole of the worshiping congregation (vv.8-10) and finally back to a description of God’s trustworthiness (vv.11-12).

Outline:

I.   My Soul Waits for God’s alone (Psalm 62:1-2). The Psalmist opens Psalm 62 by stressing how “my soul” relies on God in silence.

A)    The Psalmist emphasizes that God is the only reliable hope (Psalm 62:1).

B)    The description the Psalmist gives of a trusting soul is there to set an example for the people of God that every believer should aspire to the quiet faith he describes (Psalm 62:1-2).

II. To the Attackers: We Know What You Want (Psalm 62:3-4).

A)    The Psalmist speaks against those who attack a man using lies and injustice (Psalm 62:3)

B)    The purpose of singing Psalm 62 is to remind the godly that the attacks they experience have only one plan, and only one pleasure so there is only one recourse for them to trust in God.

III.  O My Soul, Wait For God Alone (Psalm 62:5-7).

A)    The main difference between vv.1-2 is the descriptive “wait in silence” is now an imperative; wait in silence (Psalm 62:5).

B)    The Psalmist expresses his confidence in the reliability of God (Psalm 62:6-7).

III.  To the Faithful: Evil Men Are But a Breathe (Psalm 62:8-10).

A)    The Psalmist turns from addressing his soul (Psalm 62:5-7) to now addressing the whole congregation with whom he is singing the hymn (Psalm 62:8).

B)    The Psalmist urges the congregation to trust in and take refuge in God (Psalm 62:8).

C)    The Psalmist urges the people to earnest prayer (Psalm 62:8) and refusing to take any part in the methods of their attackers (Psalm 62:10).

IV. God’s Word is Certain (Psalm 62:11-12)

A)    The Psalmist stresses the power and character of God (Psalm 62:11-12)

B)    A persons work reveals whether his or her faith is real or counterfeit (Psalm 62:

Exposition of the Text

 

I.                   Historical Setting

Psalm 62 is in Book 2 of the Psalms. From the Davidic voice of Book 1, Book 2 introduces the first Korah collection, with a single Asaph psalm at Psalm 50. A further Davidic collection is found in Psalms 51-65 and 68-69, including the bulk of the “historical” superscriptions (51-62; 54; 56-57; 59-60; 63). Lament and distress dominate the content of these prayers, which now include a communal voice (Psalm 44; 67; 68). The lone psalm attributed to Solomon concludes Book 2 with the Psalm’s pinnacle of royal theology (72).

The heading of Psalm 62 is to the choirmaster according to Jeduthun, a psalm of David. The setting of the Psalm finds David surrounded by evil conspirators who wanted to dethrone him. The setting could be the treason he faced during Absalmon’s rebellion (2 Sam. 15-18) or it could have been Saul’s jealous rage.

Jeduthun was one of the leading musicians of the Jerusalem cultus, along with Asaph and Heman. All these names appear in the headings o psalms, and here in Psalm 62, where David also figures, the reason is more uncertain than usual.

II.                Literary Analysis

Psalm 62 seems to reflect a situation of trouble for the psalmist, but it does not follow the usual pattern of laments or pleas for deliverance. Instead it has more in common with the instructive discourses both to the wicked (Psalm 62:3-4) and the reader, for whom the psalmist is mostly intended as exhortation to faithful endurance.

David is in danger in Psalm 62 but in spite of the danger his trust in God is so strong that the psalm is wonderfully serene and confident. H.C. Leupold wrote, “There is scarcely another psalm that reveals such an absolute and undisturbed peace, in which confidence in God is so completely unshaken, and in which assurance is so strong that not even one single petition is voice throughout the psalm.[1] J.J. Steward Perowne observed, “Scarcely anywhere do we find faith in God more nobly asserted, more victoriously triumphant; the vanity of man, of human strength and riches, more clearly confessed; courage in the midst of peril more calm and more unshaken, than in this psalm.[2]

  1. III. My Soul Waits for God’s alone Psalm 62:1-2

Psalm 62:1. David begins Psalm 62 by reaffirming to his own soul who God is. The word soul (Hebrew nephesh) refers to one’s entire being, one’s whole inner self, encompassing the mind, emotion and will.[3] David’s entire inner person or his whole heart finds rest in God alone. This particular word for God (Hebrew elohiym) is in the plural form, indicating plentitude of power, majesty and dominion (Gen. 1:1, 3, 6). David vowed to trust in God, who was his salvation and who would deliver him from all harm. This word alone (Heb. Ak) is used with a fourfold, intentional repetition (vv. 1-2, 5-6) to underscore the exclusivity of David’s reliance on God. It is difficult to wait on God when danger lurks, yet David chose to do so. Refusing to take matters into his own hands, he waited on God to act.

The most important thing about Psalm 62 is that the psalmist is making God his only object of trust. He does not trust something other than God, nor is he trusting God and something else, or God and someone else. His trust is in God only, and that is why he is so confident. Alexander Maclaren one of the best commentators and preaches on the psalms captures this when he says, “That one word only is the record of conflict and the trophy of the psalmist’s victory.[4]

Psalm 62:2. The psalmist’s trust was well placed. He boasted that God alone was his rock. The thought of God as rock and fortress is a favorite with David, whose psalms are seldom free from some shadow of an enemy.[5] Although David’s world was quaking, his hour was dark, and his circumstances were difficult he was sustained by God, who was his rock-solid and immovable, David’s salvation and fortress (Heb. Misag, “high place,” “a refuge set high up”). Although he had reasons to fear, he wrote with confident resolve, I will never be shaken. In this time of mounting difficulty the psalmist’s faith rose still higher. He was safe in God’s care (Psalm 10:6; 37:24).

  1. IV. To the Attackers: We Know What You Want (Psalm 62:3-4).

Psalm 62:3. Addressing his assailants, David asked rhetorically, “How long will you assault a man?” The man to whom he referred was himself. He accused them of trying to throw him down like a leaning wall or tottering fence. These two metaphors show how he saw himself- in a weakened state, ready to fall.

Psalm 62:4. These conspirators intended to topple David from his lofty place. David was probably referring to an attempted coup to remove him from his royal throne. The people who plotted to do so were those around him who posed as his friends. With their mouths they were blessing David and praising him, but in their hearts they were cursing him and plotting evil plans against him. Their slanderous lies threatened to turn the tide of public opinion against him and undermine his leadership.

The question here turns to an assertion. The intent of the wicked is to bring ruin and destruction by insurrection (V.4a), by delighting in deception (v.4b), and by hypocritical speech (v.4c; 12:2; 28:3; 55:21). Facing this enmity the psalmist finds his strength in the Lord alone (vv.5-6).

  1. V. O My Soul, Wait For God Alone (Psalm 62:5-7)

Psalm 62:5-7. Reaffirming his confident trust in God (vv.1-2), David instructed his heart to find rest in God alone. By repeating the open refrain, he called upon himself to have faith in God, a reliance that was full of hope, a Hebrew word meaning an eager waiting upon God that looked forward to his intervention. His natural tendency would be to act impetuously, taking these matters into his own hands. David understood that God alone was his rock, salvation, and fortress, the one who could protect and defend him. God was his sole deliverance. God alone would uphold his honor.

The hope in the Lord (v.5) receives its proper focus because of the underlying faith in God, who can protect and defend His own (Psalm 18:2). Faith is the antidote to despair (Psalm 37:7). Silence in the presence of the Lord will speed God’s deliverance as Calvin observes, “Never, as if he had said, will he frustrate the patient waiting o his saints; doubtless my silence shall meet with its reward; I shall restrain myself, and not make that false haste which will only retard my deliverance” (2:423).

  1. VI. To the Faithful: Evil Men Are But a Breathe (Psalm 62:8-10)

Psalm 62:8. David invited others to share his confident faith in God: Trust (Heb. Batah, “o attach oneself to another object”) in him at all times, O people, even in the midst of difficult times. As a parallel synonym for trust David called out to the people, pour out their hearts to Him. This was a reference to earnest prayer, or the unburdening of oneself to God who alone is our refuge. True faith will express itself in fervent prayer to God. The emphatic confession of trust in the Lord (vv.5-7) transforms into an even bolder proclamation, calling on all the godly to put their trust in God. Mankind is unreliable whereas God is unfailing.

Psalm 62:9-10. David concludes by contrasting the weakness of man (vv.9-10) with the power of God (vv.11-12). David’s unwavering testimony was to trust God, not man. Lowborn men- meaning those of low rank and social standing- as well as the highborn- those born into privilege- are but a breath, meaning futile, empty and a lie, representing those who are not anchored to God’s holy trust. They are weighted on a balance, helpless to deliver themselves out of trouble. Mortal man must not trust in his own devices such as extortion, stolen goods or riches. All of those will fail.

With the Lord there is salvation and refuge (vv.6-8), whereas man is found wanting “on a balance” (v.9; Prov. 16:2; 21:2; 24:12). Man is but a breath, lacking in lasting perfections. Man’s riches and power are all too often the result of extortion, deception and theft (Isa. 30:12; Ezek. 22:29). Even when riches are gained legitimately, there is an inherent danger in self-reliance on them (Matthew 19:22; 1 Tim. 6:17).  Though man may increase in riches and thereby in power, the godly know that their hope lies in the Lord and not in man.[6] The positive “trust him” and the negative “do not trust in extortion” (v.10) undergird the psalmist’s contention that with the Lord is lasting salvation. Though the godly may have to wait with “hope” for his salvation, they are assured that the Lord provides a “refuge” (v.) to those who long for his salvation and who do not set their hearts on the riches of man.

  1. VII. God’s Word is Certain (Psalm 62:11-12)

In contrast to mortal men, God alone can be trusted. Only he is strong and loving. In other words, he is able to deliver his people who trust him, and he is willing to take into account their best interests and highest good. Unquestionably, God will reward each person who trusts Him, according to what he has done. The believer who trusts God will be rewarded by him. It is futile to initiate our own deliverance. We must wait patiently on God to act.

VI. Theological Significance

Psalm 62 begins with the awkward but impressive image of finding a place of stillness in relation to God. In this passage the Hebrew root describes a kind of motionless waiting- a sort of “holy inactivity” in anticipation of divine action and deliverance. The lack of movement- the stillness of the whole being indicates the psalmist’s trust and confidence. There are a variety of Hebrew words and phrases in the Old Testament that capture this holy inactivity.

First, keep still. In Exodus 14, the Israelites, having fled Egypt following the death of the firstborn, find themselves in a difficult spot. The pursuing army of Pharaoh has caught them up against the sea, with no way to escape. The Israelites, aware of the approaching Egyptians, mob Moses in a panic, expressing their fear in terms of wishing they had never left Egypt in the first place. Moses responds in words most often used to encourage troops just before an attack: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still” (Exodus 14:13-14). The Israelites were encouraged not to fight but allow God to fight for them. Their inactivity was a sign of their trust and reliance on God, that he had to do what they could not hope to do alone.

Dr. Wilson points out that the verb used in Psalm 62:1 (dmm) expressed much of the same idea as hrs. Both have the idea of remaining still, not beginning activity although dmm may have a bit more emphasis on motionless.[7] Psalm 4:4, “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent [dmm].” The point is not to get caught up in frantic activity that relies on human strength.

Secondly, be still. Silence is another way to demonstrate “holy inactivity.” Israel did not do silence well. Israel constantly voiced their complaints and laments to God and his human representatives. Their many words needed to be stilled in order to allow them to hear God speaking or to see him acting on their behalf.[8]

Stillness and quietness, reflect a strong them in Israel’s understanding of her relationship to Yahweh. When Yahweh comes, silence shows proper respect and attention in order to learn his will and purpose. Cessation of activity mirrors the Sabbath rest, which witnesses to Israel’s dependence on God rather than on human strength and endeavor. Frantic activity, whether in conflict with the enemy or in pursuit of wealth and personal security, does not acknowledge the strength and power of God as the place of refuge and ultimate security in the midst of trouble. Quiet repose in the face of attack is the ultimate evidence of trust in God and reliance on his strength.

When fear, worry, anxiety and panic come to a believer’s heart, he, or she must remember that God is strong and loving toward him, or her. These two divine attributes are the twin towers of every believer’s trust in God. Because God is strong, He is over all the events of history, even our own lives. Thus, He is able to deliver believers out of all their troubles. We may rest assured that nothing is impossible for God, who rules over all. Likewise, God is loving and merciful, a kind King who uses his omnipotence with infinite tenderness, coming to the aid of his people in their darkest hour. Believers can confidently call out to God for help, knowing that He loves them perfectly and will use his power wisely when they are attacked and endangered.

The last two verses of Psalm 62 are intended as a summary of what David has been learning, but they also go a step beyond it. David says that he has learned two lessons: that God is strong and that God is loving.

The opening lines (“one thing God has spoken, two things have I heard”) can be taken three ways. First, they can mean that God has spoken one thing twice. That is, God has repeated his lesson for emphasis. Second, they can mean that God has taught David two lessons, “one” and “two” being only a Semitic literary device. Third, they can mean that God spoke once but that David learned two things from it. David means that he has learned two great things about God as a result of God’s continuing self-revelation of himself.

First, God is strong; that is, he is sovereign in all the events of history, including the dangers that have threatened David. Second, God is loving or merciful, even in these apparently contradicting things. The word David uses is hesed, which refers to God’s faithful covenants with his people. It means that he is a covenant-keeping God.

Understanding God and the salvation he has provided in Jesus Christ ought to lead the believer to rejoicing in the Lord for these two great attributes of God. There would be no salvation if God lacked either of these attributes. If God had no power but lacked mercy, he would be able to save mankind but would have no inclination to do so. If God was merciful but lacked power, he might desire to save us, but he would not be able to do it. Fortunately, God is both all-powerful and compassionate. Therefore, he has reached out to save us and has been successful in doing so through Jesus Christ.

J.J. Steward Perowne reflects on these attributes in a slightly broader way, saying, “This is the only truly worthy representation of God. Power without love is brutality, and love without power is weakness. Power is the strong foundation of love, and love is the beauty and the crown of power.”[9] Calvin commenting on this said, “The Psalmist coupling two things together, his power and his clemency. They are the two wings wherewith we fly upwards to heaven; the two pillar s which we rest, and may defy the surges of temptation.”[10] The God who covers His children with the shadow of His wings, is the same God who rules the universe with His nod, holds in secret chains the devil and all the wicked. This is why we can rest in God alone. We can come to God for help, because he loves us and invites us to come to him. Once there, we can rest in perfect contentment, because we know that God is also able to protect us. Indeed, he is more than able. He is an impregnable fortress.

The psalms concern with silence has made it seem an appropriate text to encourage contemplative prayer[11], yet this is not the silence of contemplative piety but the silence after the storm, or rather, in the midst of storm. This Psalm teaches that if there is a way to live through the storm it is in light of some basic truths about God. The number of things to be learnt about God is very small and may reduced to just two. The central theme of the Old Testament understandings of relationship between God and humanity. In these two things are contained nearly all the Scriptures.[12] They are the two pillars on which we rest, and may defy the surges of temptation.[13]

V. Application

The kind of calm confidence believers seek is not found in the absence of attack. The narrator of the psalm acknowledges that outside the center of calm, all hell is still breaking loose. The winds still howl, the rain still blows horizontally. The trouble, whatever it might be, assumes impossible proportions beyond any hope. But simply to acknowledge to oneself and another that the trouble is real is to begin to rob the situation of its power to attack one.

Secondly, acknowledging one’s dependence on God. Giving up attempts to escape or avoid attack forces one to acknowledge just how dependent one is on God alone. Psalm 62:7, “My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.” Whenever one accepts the lack of power and control they have over any situation, calm begins to descend. To acknowledge one’s rightful place in the world- that one is not particularly unique and that they are powerless, out of control, needy, dependent- actually restores calm.

Finally pour out your hearts to God. This kind of confident stillness does carry a price tag. It involves vulnerability and transparency before God. The words of the Psalmist are “pour out your hearts to him” (Psalm 62:8). The verb “pour out” describes the completely pouring out of liquid with no reserve- nothing held back. That might be water on the desert sands;[14] a libation of oil or wine before Yahweh;[15] the lifeblood of a murder victim or sacrifice;[16] or metaphorically anger;[17] God’s spirit,[18] one’s mind[19] or the heart.[20] To enter the still point of confidence afforded by God’s power means opening ourselves completely to God: our need, our fears, our weakness, our sin. This kind of vulnerable honesty is characteristic of the psalmists as a whole and is the foundation of their trust in God.

Bibliography

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Mediation on the Word (Cambridge, MA; Crowley, 1986), 58-63.

Calvin, John, Psalm 36-92 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009), 431.

Lawson, Steve, Holman Old Testament Commentary Psalms 1-27 (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2003), 312.

Leupolad, H.C, Exposition of the Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), 458.

 

Kidner, Derek, Psalms 1-72 (Illnois: Intervarsity, 2008), 239.

Maclaren, Alexander, Expositions of Holy Scripture, vol.3, The Psalms, Isaiah 1-48 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959), part 2, 67.

Perowne, J.J. Stewart, Commentary on the Psalms, 2 vols. In 1 Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1989), 1:480.

VanGemeren, Willem A, The Expositors Bible Commentary with NIV Version: Psalms (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 424.

Wilson, Gerald, The NIV Application Commentary Psalms Volume 1 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 882.


[1] H.C. Leupolad, Exposition of the Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), 458.

 

[2] J.J. Stewart Perowne, Commentary on the Psalms, 2 vols. In 1  Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1989), 1:480.

[3] Steve Lawson, Holman Old Testament Commentary Psalms 1-27 (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2003), 312.

[4] Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, vol.3, The Psalms, Isaiah 1-48 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959), part 2, 67.

[5] Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72 (Illnois: Intervarsity, 2008), 239.

[6] Willem A. VanGemeren, The Expositors Bible Commentary with NIV Version: Psalms (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 424.

[7] Gerald Wilson, The NIV Application Commentary Psalms Volume 1 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 882.

[8] Eccl. 5:3, 7; Matthew 6:7.

[9] J.J. Stewart Perowne, Commentary on the Psalms, 2 vols. In 1 Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1989), 1:484.

[10] John Calvin, Psalm 36-92 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009), 431.

[11] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mediation on the Word (Cambridge, MA; Crowley, 1986), 58-63.

[12] Augustine, Psalms, 256.

[13] John Calvin, Psalm 36-92 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009), 2:431.

[14] Ex. 4:; 1 Sam. 7:6; Psalm 22:14.

[15] Judg. 6:20; Isa. 57:6.

[16] Gen. 9:6; 37:22; Ex. 29:12; Lev. 4:7; 17:13.

[17] Isa. 42:55; Ezek. 9:8.

[18] Joel 2:28-29.

[19] Ps. 42:4.

[20] 1 Sam. 1:15; Lam. 2:19

Read More

Around the Blogs 2/25/2011


Posted By on Feb 25, 2011

Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 46, Judges 18, Ecclesiastes 4, Psalm 47, Proverbs 14, Isaiah 46, Luke 1, 1 Corinthians 1, 2nd Corinthians 13, and 1 Peter 5.

The Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person by Kevin DeYoung: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2011/02/24/distinguishing-marks-of-a-quarrelsome-person/

A Milestone in the Betrayal of Marriage by Dr. Albert Mohler: http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/02/24/a-milestone-in-the-betrayal-of-marriage/

What is Present when kneeling to pray in Jesus name by Dr. John Piper: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/what-is-present-when-kneeling-to-pray-in-jesus-name

How to Slay Sin Part 3: http://www.gty.org/Blog/B110224

Quote of the Day: ‎”It is the Shepherd who seeks the sheep, and not the sheep that seek the Shepherd.” ~A.W. Pink~

 

Read More