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Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Biblical Vision of the Good Life.

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“Psalm 128 is a picture of the good life.” These words from Dr. James Hamilton have been echoed in my ears since I arrived at Southern Seminary for a recent Alumni Academy on Biblical Theology. While the whole two days left me with much to dwell on, this passage has been heavy on my heart. Little did I know recent events in Atlanta would tie right into what God has said. The good life is intrinsically tied to family life.*

Psalm 128 begins, “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!  “Blessed” means happy.  Reverence was to lead the Psalmist to rejoicing.  And not just a moment of rejoicing but a “walk.”  Fear of God is more than what you do in a Sunday service; it is a continual walking in obedience to God.  And we see in Psalm 128, the fear of God is connected with blessedness.  It is clear that the author of this Psalm was familiar with the blessings for obedience in Deuteronomy 28.  The people were promised blessing for obedience and curses for disobedience.  Notice verse 2 which carries this thought along, “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.”  The blessing of God brought him provision.  Notice both what the Psalmist does say, and what he does not say.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Being Thankful With our "Whole Heart" (Psalm 138)

I was flipping through my Bible in search of a passage the other night and stumbled upon notes on a passage I don't remember making. Upon investigating closely, I had written notes all over Psalm 138. What follows are notes and reflections put together to share.  I feel God brought me back to this passage for reasons only He knows. Hope it encourages you.

David introduces Psalm 138 this way- "I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;" He was giving thanks to the Lord!  Notice with his "whole heart."  David said he would even do it before the "gods." This is simply a phrase referring to rulers who are in a sense little gods. Psalm 95:3 and 96:5 are perfect examples of the use of the term "god" in the Psalms to refer to rulers. Before all kings God is worthy of praise for He is greater than any king! This brings us into the first thing David gives thanks for.

He was thankful for God's name.

I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness - Psalm 138:2

He gives thanks to God's name (who He is at His core) because of His steadfast love and faithfulness.  This would draw us back to the words of God to those in Exodus. God's faithfulness is not something He gives, but it something He is. He is thanking God for being who He is. He also thanks God for what He has done.  He is thanking God for His character, which means he must have had something to inform this understanding.  God's word was what informed it.