In the Wednesday evening Bible study and prayer time at Trinity OPC, we are in what is proving to be a long series on what the Bible teaches us about prayer. This evening we look at Daniel 6. Despite the king’s decree forbidding prayer to anyone except him for a month, Daniel not only prays, he opens his window towards Jerusalem to pray, and is thrown into the den of lions as a result.
What is God teaching us about prayer? What is he teaching us about his own character and his own work?
The curse of wild beasts is the penalty for covenant infidelity (Deut. 32:24). What Daniel experienced is the common experience of all Israel, which has been devoured by Babylon and swallowed up. With the restoration of Daniel, however, one sees a glimmer of hope that perhaps all Israel also will experience rest-oration. One man, devoured by the pit, and then returning from there, personifies all the saints–given over to death by fearsome forces, then against all hope being restored and seeing their enemies vanquished instead. One man is needed, who is in reality what Daniel is only in symbol. We need one morally perfect, blemish-free man who really does die on behalf of his people, who really is brought back from Sheol, and in so doing destroys the real enemy–the pit itself. Amen, come, Lord Jesus! George M. Schwab, Hope in the Midst of a Hostile World, p. 92, © 2006. Pub. by P&R Publishing.
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“Silence is creation’s expectant response to the Lord’s impending arrival in judgment. ‘Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD; for he is aroused from his holy habitation. (Zech. 2:13)…. This silence is the calm before the storm. For God’s enemies on earth it is a silence of dread, but for those who dwell in heaven it is the silence of eager expectation.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 136).
“Indeed, prayer is one of the important military tactics used by the soldiers of Christ….” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 463).
“The bloodying of the sea and the death of its creatures parallel the the bloodying of the Nile in the time of Moses. The worldly powers that oppress God’s true Israel are to be shaken at the source of their confidence.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 145).
(Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC)
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.