James 5 points us to Elijah as one who, though human like us, prayed, and saw the Lord accomplish great things. In the Wednesday evening Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church we look at some of those prayers in 1 Kings 17 and 18.
Elijah’s prayer restored to life the son of the widow of Zarapheth.
“Living daily with that miracle must have been a constant joy for his [Elijah’s] faith and hers [the widow’s]. Do we live any differently? That there is still a Word of grace today, that there is grace in the Lord Jesus Christ, is a miracle. Yet, it is through this grace that we receive all things. Everything we receive is a revelation of the miracle of grace in the Christ. This realization is the key to a life full of joy.” (S. G. De Graaf, Promise and Deliverance, Vol 2, p. 249).
In contrast to the frenzied prayers of the prophets of Baal, Elijah quietly prayed–and the Lord sent fire from heaven on the altar the prophet had made.
“The sign Elijah asked for is not the last word. Rather, it cries out for a greater, more powerful, more elevated demonstration of God’s truthfulness. It cries out for the One in whom all signs and wonders find their fulfillment. In that great Miracle, the truthfulness of the God of the covenant, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, the God of historical revelation, will be fully manifested.” (M. B. van’t Veer, My God is Yahweh, pp. 269, 270).
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16
This evening’s Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC continues to look at what the Bible teaches us about prayer. Tonight we focus on David’s prayer found in Psalm 139.
“That power or hand of God leads David as a shepherd leads his sheep or a father his child. The place is distant, and David knows it not, yet God’ s power is leading him.” (Edward J. Young, Psalm 139: A Study in the Omniscience of God, p. 56).
“Oh! that we might turn from the superficiality of so much of present-day religious life and come once again to know God in His wondrous majesty! . . . He is God, and we are but men. Before such a God the sinner cannot stand. He has no right. Yet we know that we are sinners, and that we have offended this holy God. May we, too, pray that He will search us and know our hearts and see if there be any wicked way within us! And if such a wicked way be found, may we lean upon His own mercy, provided for us in the gift of the Son of His love, even our Lord Jesus Christ, the only One who can lead us in the way everlasting.” (Edward J. Young, Psalm 139: A Study in the Onmiscience of God, pp. 116-117).
“The Psalter is wide awake to the significance of history as leading up to the eschatological act of God. It knows that it deals with a God, who spake and speaks and shall speak, who wrought and works and shall work, who came and is coming and is about to come. To no small extent it is the dignity of Jehovah as Creator and Redeemer from which the eschatological necessity springs. . . . His work must appear unto his servants, his glory unto their children (xc.16).” (Geerhardus Vos, “The Eschatology of the Psalter, The Pauline Eschatology, p. 335).
Wednesday evenings we are looking at how the Bible teaches us to pray. This week Psalm 90 is our focus.
Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC
“It is one thing to glory in the might of God, another to venture forth in it. . . . The enemy is no longer the invader, as in verses 1ff., but the one to be invaded. Finally prayer turns into affirmation, and the lonely venture into partnership.” (Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72, p. 218 — on Psalm 60:9-10).
“. . . the prayer open thou my lips is no mere formula but the cry of one whose conscience has shamed him into silence. He longs to worship freely, gratefully again; and he believes that by the grace of God he will. Seen in its true setting, this heartfelt, humble plea leads the worshipper in one step from confession to the brink of praise.” (Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72, p. 193).
The Bible study this evening at Trinity Presbyterian Church focuses on Psalm 51, David’s great prayer of repentance.
As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1, 2 ESV)
“This ‘stricken deer’ is no camel, desert-dwelling and self-sufficient. He has chosen the blessedness of those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, not the deceptive ease of ‘you that are full now.’” (Derek Kinder, Psalms 1-72, p. 166).
This evening’s Bible study / prayer time at Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC continues to look at prayer in Scripture.
“The cry, ‘My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34), while unique in its kind, nevertheless was prefigured in those piteous plaints of desolation heard now and then in psalm and prophecy. And through the imparting of this baptism of prayer the prophet, no doubt, was meant to prefigure Him on whose lips the graces of psalmist and prophet dwelt together in perfect unison to comfort the people of God of all ages.” (“Jeremiah’s Plaint and its Answer,” Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos, Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., editor).
A desperate prayer by the psalmist is even more piercing as it comes from the lips of the Savior on the cross. The Wednesday evening Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC is looking at prayers of the Bible, focusing on Psalm 22 this evening.