Seeing the God you Cannot See

Jn0114“As Christ reveals the Father in virtue of a most direct and an uninterrupted vision of Him, and not in result of isolated communications, so Moses, though to a lower degree, stands nearer to God, and is more in all that he speaks and does the mouthpiece of God than any subsequent prophet.” (Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, p. 120).
“Yahweh’s self-proclamation sets out in brilliant focus the the character of the covenant-making and -keeping God. As in covenant making, the suzerain would, as a rule, introduce himself. Yahweh does this in a beautiful, unforgettable manner as he begins to reconfirm his covenant with the people who had been involved in idolatrous worship.” (Gerard Van Groningen, From Creation to Consummation, p. 372).

Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

psalm_13511ac“The very sound of the two movements of the psalm tells us something of their two concerns: the broad sweep of God’s wordless revelation in the universe, expressed in the exuberant lines of verses 1-6, and the clarity of His written word, reflected in the quiet conciseness of verses 7-10, to which the heart-searching of 11-14 is the worshipper’s response.” (Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72, p. 97).

This evening’s study on prayer at Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC focuses on Psalm 19.

More on the golden calf and God’s grace

1cor1004Who or what you worship leaves its mark on you. Isaiah 6; 32:17-18 and 44:9 and 17-18, make the point, not only that idol worship is foolish, but that idolaters come to resemble what they worship. To worship an unseeing, unspeaking image is the work of someone who is spiritually blind and mute. Hosea 4:16-17, prophesying against the stubborn idolatry of Israel (which had calves set up at Dan and Bethel for worship), compares Israel to a stubborn heifer. Moses does not say so explicitly, but, as, not only the leader of Israel here, but also the writer who recorded this incident, he seems to pick language that makes a similar point. The people were “running wild” and “out of control.,” (Exodus 32:25). They turned away, making an idol in the sampe of a calf, and were “stiff-necked” (Exodus 32:8-9).

“How is Israel’s sin portrayed in Exodus 32? The description can be seen as using cattle metaphors. Sinful Israel seems to be depicted metaphorically as rebellious cows running wild and needing to be regathered.” (G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, p. 367). Pursue an idol today, and you and your life run a real danger of being characterized by that idol.

1 Corinthians 13 is a call to remember and to change how you live your life.

 

From the Reflection on Sunday morning’s message at Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC.

The Golden Calf–and God’s Grace

In preparing for a sermon on Exodus 32, an event of terrible idolatry, but one that proved to be the occasion for God to display his grace, I ran across the following quote:

calf_10596c“At the very outset, then, the covenant had been broken [by worshiping the golden calf]. The bond now had to be restored. . . . Although Moses served as a mediator, he could not die for his people. Only the other Mediator, Jesus Christ, could do that. Moses could do more than plead for his people. . . .  This prayer was also heard. The Lord Himself would be with them. With that the relationship was restored from the Lord’s side. “At the very outset, then, the covenant had been broken [by worshiping the golden calf]. The bond now had to be restored. . . . Although Moses served as a mediator, he could not die for his people. Only the other Mediator, Jesus Christ, could do that. Moses could do more than plead for his people. . . .  This prayer was also heard. The Lord Himself would be with them. With that the relationship was restored from the Lord’s side. Continue reading

How Majestic Is Your Name!

mountains_13293ac“. . . the Holy Spirit, who directed David’s tongue, doubtless intended, by his instrumentality, to awaken men from the torpor and indifference which is common to them, so that they may not content themselves with celebrating the infinite love of God and the innumerable benefits which they receive at his hand, in their sparing and frigid manner, but may rather apply their whole hearts to this holy exercise, and put forth in it their highest efforts. This exclamation of David implies, that when all the faculties of the human mind are exerted to the utmost in meditation on this subject, they yet come far short of it.”(John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, on Psalm 8:1).

Wednesday evening’s Bible study on prayer looks at Psalm 8, Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

The Ark of the Covenant

ark_7899c“Especially the presence of the ‘Kherubhim‘ [cherubim] upon the ark in the most holy place gives a majestic expression to the majesty-side of the divine holiness. These Kherubhim are throne attendants of God, not ‘angels’ in the specific sense of the word, for the angels go on errands and carry messages, whereas the Kherubhim cannot leave the immediate neighborhood pf the throne, where they have to give expression to the royal majesty of Jehovah, both by their presence and and their unceasing praise (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8, 9).” ( Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, p. 167).

“Accordingly the mercy seat is the place where the atonement is made. It is the place where punishment is carried out (represented by the substitutionary animal’s blood) and where cleansing occurs by means of the blood. God’s presence is above the mercy seat, and there he accepts the twofold atonement.” (G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, p. 488).

Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC.

The Potter and the Clay

rom920cThis evening’s 101 Bible Study focuses on the last half of Romans 9. You might note these quotes:

“The doctrine of this high mys­tery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the cer­tainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal elec­tion. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, rever­ence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 3.8).

“This trust of faith . . . consists on the one hand in a relinquish­ing of every human achieve­ment, it is the exclusion of all ‘boasting’ or moral self-confi­dence, leaning on the strength of the law as the means of sal­vation; on the other hand it is the absolute surrender to God’s grace, whereby ‘in faith’ and ‘in grace can be parallel expres­sions.” (Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theolo­gy, p. 246).