Hungry for something good

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There are times when we seek God by seeking silence. (Psalm 62) There are times when God silences us with goodness. (Psalm 65)

Great people draw us like a moth to a lamp. We are hungry for that multiplied goodness we call greatness. We try to get good by being near great people. And we assume, the greater the person, the greater the life we can derive from that person. But the life we get by being near others, even great people, doesn’t satisfy us for long. So, a lot of people are walking around with chronic frustration in relationships. Few work well.  None seem to do what they are suppose to do. None of them really satisfy.

Psalm 65 is a promising contrast to our frustrated longing for goodness. David invites us to admire and relish the goodness of God and in His presence, finally, to be satisfied, just as he writes: (v.4) We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.

Two Places where God’s goodness are most evident

 The first place where God’s goodness is evident is in Worship. David speaks of being in God’s house, ever praising Him. God’s house is the place where God meets with His people, reveals His name and enters into fellowship. All people are called to worship. Everyone prays at some point in their lives. Then there are those who “dwell in His courts”. Whether it is the distant hope of answered prayer or the experience of His daily presence, God is good and makes that goodness known in worship.

God’s goodness can also be seen in God’s world. See His provision and care for the world? For people, for plants and animals, for the rocks, soil and sea? David sees the reign of God’s goodness extending out of God’s presence in Zion into all the earth.

“How can I partake of this goodness I know I must have?”

 The ultimate frustration is  to see the goodness of God and not draw near. David recites the problem. The great God reveals His goodness and we have committed iniquity and transgressed against Him. The taste of goodness seems lost. Then, goodness upon goodness, He forgives. The word means to cover or atone. The greatest goodness of the good God was carried out on Good Friday, when Jesus stood in the place of sinners and reconciled them to God. We were made for God. We were made to know and live out of His goodness. In Christ we do. “And we will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.”

Now we can draw near to God in worship and in the world, in the goodness of grace and in the goodness of creation (“every good and perfect gift comes from above…”). And so we end by revisiting verse 1. Such an intimate relationship with God produces silence, praise and obedience (performance of vow) and people hungry for something good are drawn to us like a moth to a lamp — a lamp that shows the way to Good Friday and the God of great goodness.

The Lord of Silence

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Psalm 62

Five years ago, the sound system in my car died. I’ve been thinking about getting it fixed. But then, what would I give up if I did? I’d give up silence.

 –          Silence shows me pretty quickly what’s in my heart and on my mind. My inclinations.

–          Silence shows me pretty quickly whether or not I am delighting in Christ and the gospel.

–          Silence shows me pretty quickly if the resources of the gospel have been packed in my soul. Can I reach in and bring out a “gospel promise”?

–          Silence creates an opportunity for a conversation with God

 The devil hates this kind of silence because as George McDonald writes,

” Heaven [is] the regions where there is only life and therefore all that is not music is silence.”

C.S. Lewis captures the dark lord’s strategy exactly in the mouth of demon Screwtape, in The Screwtape Letters, (page 119):

“Music and silence — how I detest them both! how thankful we should be that ever since Our Father entered Hell…no square inch of infernal space and no moment of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all have been occupied by Noise — Noise, the grand dynamism, audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless and virile — Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end.”

 David’s life, like ours, was full of noise, the noise that serves to drown out the conscience, the noise of the machinery of our own passions and fears, the noise of endless conflict. How could he hear and follow God with so much noise in the ear? We learn from Psalm 62.

David shows us four qualities of the silence that prevails.

My soul is in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.

He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

 Purposeful silence, seeking silence, serving silence – in silence for God.

Dedicated silence, pure, guarded, concentrating, attentive to God alone silence – in silence for God only.

Revealing silence. I see who God is to me and what He has done for me – My salvation, My rock, My stronghold.

Job sees God and shuts his mouth (Job 40:3) and alone with God in silence, we begin to hear/receive his word.

“Silence is the simple stillness of the individual under the Word of God.” Bonhoeffer, Life Together (p.79):

Encouraging silence. My confidence in Him and what He has done for me grows – not greatly shaken (Ps. 34 – “not fall headlong”).

 This prevailing silence is found only in…

 The Lord of Silence

 Apart from Christ there is no refuge from the noise. He walked into the devil’s cacophony with imperturbable silence.

    • In the wilderness temptations, He walked alone, listening to God’s Word. The devil’s noise did not overcome Him.
    • In the bustle of ministry the voices of sinners, broken and needy could be heard at nearly every moment. The silence still reigned in Him. He always listened in His Father’s presence.
    • In His condemnation: (Matthew 26:63; 27:12-14; Isaiah 53:7) He did not open His mouth in reply to the many charges brought against Him. He carried that imperturbable silence all the way to the cross.

 Christ has won silence for us who are in Him. For unless His silence had prevailed on the cross, we would have all been lost in the noise of our own conscience, passions and conflict. We could have never been quiet again.

When I am afraid

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What are you afraid of? No one is a stranger to fear. Some people are ruled by it. So much so that psychiatry began to name overwhelming fear phobia. If you have ablutophobia you are afraid of bathing; gephyrophobia: you’re afraid of bridges. A recently added  phobia is nomophobia (I’m not making this up).It’s the fear of being out of cell phone contact. And to top off the list of phobias is phobophobia: the fear of phobias.

The root  idea of fear is respect or regard. Proper fear is respecting or regarding someone or something appropriately or according to its nature.. Improper fear is either inordinate respect or regard for someone or something or a lack of proper respect or regard. So it is right to be filled with a fear towards God. To be filled with the fear that you will lose cell phone coverage is irrational.

If you struggle with overwheming fear, then Psalm 56 was written for you. As you read it, you will want to know:

            “Can the gospel enable me to face fear with courage?”


            “Can the gospel bring inflated fear back into proper proportion?”

Have hope. In Psalm 56, the God of grace delivers David from fear to praise.

David had a good case for his fear. Saul wanted to kill David and David was forced to live like a fugitive (1 Sam. 18:10-11, 21, 19:2, 9-10, 11-12, 20:24-31). How afraid of Saul was David? He fled to Gath, the hometown of his most notable conquest, Goliath! So, David shows up at the city gates of Gath, a mighty commander of the hosts of Israel who has “killed his ten thousands” of the Philistines, and this is safer than running from Saul? Constantly pressed between threats, David struggled with a fear of man, a fear of Saul, a fear of Achish, king of Gath. That fear threatened to take over his life.

What are you afraid people will do to you? Reject you? Make fun of you? Be better than you? Take advantage of you? Abuse or hurt you? Dominate you? Criticize you? Misunderstand you? Deceive you?  

How did David overcome overwhelming fear?

  1. He Acknowledged his fear. When I am afraid…”
  2. He put His trust in God. “I will put my trust in You ” Trust ties us to the hope of God. It’s like the rappellers rope fixed secure at the top of the cliff, we hang on, overcoming fear, and ultimately begin to have fun.  There is irrational fear, and there is an irrational faith or trust. Some thinkers say that faith is a “leap in the dark”, but the faith of David, the trust he exercised was not irrational. It was a faith defined by God’s word –  “in God, whose word I praise”.
  3. David acknowledges his God –v.8  “In God, I have put my trust” Most fear circles around losing that which is precious to us, but when you and I place all that is precious to us into the hand of God, the God we know, the God who has told us who He is in His word, then we can rest in that security and say, “I shall not be afraid.What can man do to me? ” Whatever is in God’s hands cannot be assailed by man.
  4. Finally David called upon God – (v. 9), saying “I know God is for me”  –  Romans 8:31 and following assures those who have faith that God is for them. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not with Him freely give us all things…If God is for us, who can be against us.”

Christ has made Himself our safe place through the cross: “who can bring a charge against God’s elect? It is Christ who died!” Christ’s death is the fulfillment of God’s own covenant vows toward sinners like us. In verse 12 David writes – “your vows are upon me.” Those vows were made long ago. In Genesis 15 the Lord-Savior of His people promised to fulfill the covenant with His own blood, taking the consequences of our disloyalty and sin.  Even as He went to the cross, not once was Jesus ever afraid because He trusted His Father perfectly. Therefore, His gift-life to us is a gift-life of courage. His sovereign faithfulness assures us that He is FOR US, therefore we will not fear. What can mere man do to us?

 The bravery of Jesus defeats all our runaway fears. Admit your fear. Entrust everything to the faithful God and call upon Him and you will no longer walk in the darkness (of fear) but shall have the light of life!

From Brokenness to Delight

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If you hang around long enough you’ll discover that the people most serious about following Jesus Christ think, talk and pray about sin a lot. It might even sound like an obsession. Can’t we just lighten up?

These same people, who are serious about following Jesus, might adopt that advice if they didn’t know Psalm 51. Because, not only does Psalm 51 do a pretty good job of identifying sin, it also leads us into God’s delight. In fact, the more we reflect on this psalm the more we will see that the only way into the freedom and delightfulness of God is through an honest interaction with Him about our sin, an interaction that, more often than not, will break our hearts.

Like David the king, who wrote this psalm, we’d rather avoid such embarrassing subjects. As we will see, however, it is a great mercy when God makes it impossible to ignore our sin any longer. David evaded that moment for almost a year before God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David. Afterward, he wrote Psalm 51 as a prayer of repentance to God.

Just how bad was David’s sin and…How bad is my sin?

2 Samuel 11-12 tells us that David committed adultery with Bathsheba then had her husband Uriah, who was a close friend of David, murdered. Now that’s what everybody calls sin! More, David was called “a man after God’s heart”. He was a believer. Psalm 51 invites anyone, no matter the sin, to join David in his prayer of repentance.

David does not try to avoid the horror of his sin. He pursues it. Like a pathologist, David gets out his microscope to examine the tissue of his sin closely. What he discovered is:

  1. There is no human remedy for sin. It can only be remedied with grace.         see “gracious” (v.1)
  2. Sin haunts the inner life  – see “my sin is ever before me” (v. 3)
  3. God speaks his diagnosis of sin into the heart – see “speak, judge” (v.4)
  4. Sin is a genetic disorder, “brought forth in iniquity” (v.5)
  5. Sin soils the inner life. So it has to be “washed/cleansed”    (vv.2,7)
  6. Sin weakens resolve, turns us on our sides like a capsized ship. –  see “right spirit” (v.10)
  7. Sin separates from God. (v.11)
  8. Sin robs of joy.  (12)
  9. Sin pollutes the will and all of life (sacrifices).  (vv.12, 16)

 To pursue the diagnosis of your sin is the necessary beginning of the journey from brokenness to delight.

David also admits his sin. First he admits it to God. Later,through Psalm 51, David admits his sin publically. Only those against whom you sin need to hear your confession, but to admit it is the second step from brokenness to delight.

How can I hope for forgiveness?

We surely can’t look to self for forgiveness! We must look to God. Scottish pastor Robert Murray McCheyne once advised:“For every look at self take 10 looks at Christ” When David looked to God, this is what he saw:

 David saw, first

  1. A Merciful God, full of�
    1. loving-kindness      (1)
    2. grace         (1)
    3. and compassion           (1)

Next David saw an offended God

    1. Universally offended by all sin (4)
    2. Not silent or passive about sin (4)
    3. who loves truth and wisdom in the inner being (9) and delights in a spirit/heart broken and contrite over sin (17).

And a Powerful God

    1. who is able to wash away sin, powerful enough to deal with sin.

How did the powerful God ultimately deal with sin? 1 Peter 2:24:

“[Christ] bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds we are healed.”

And 1 Corinthians 1:18-24:

“We preach Christ crucified …to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 

 When God forgives me He changes me (See verses 10-12)

His forgiveness makes me:

  1. Clean, whiter than snow, the baggage of sin is gone!
  2. Right or steadfast in spirit, no longer capsized, but upright and ready to catch the wind.
  3. at peace in God’s presence and with His Holy Spirit.
  4. Hear the joy and gladness of God’s salvation. Solid, nor circumstancial, joy comes back again.
  5. Willing. I am no longer resisting God’s rule, but ready for it.

 And that brings us to how God comes to delight in us

God delights in me when He sees me confessing my sin, when He sees the fruit of His convicting work — a broken and contrite heart.

God delights in me when He sees me confessing His mercy:

  1. In worship. He loves the praise of a forgiven person.
  2. In witness, when the story of my sin and forgiveness leads another sinner to repent and believe in the Christ who forgives. Strangely, God uses the story of our sin to praise Him. Cynics see our sin and God’s mercy, and are convinced that He is the Lord who shows mercy to sinners — even big sinners like David…and me…and you.

The King of Joy

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Shout to God with the voice of joy. For the Lord Most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth.”  Psalm 47:1b-2

Question: Are you happy that God is King?

Or do you fret with a fearful, stubborn, adamant resistance against God’s rule?

 What can turn our fretting to joy?

            The unexpected.

Our generation interprets the phrase “high and lifted up” as a posture of power, as a coercive tyranny. We resent the very idea.

But Jesus made “high and lifted up” a posture of weakness. He said, “ And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32) He pointed to His crucifixiion.

 The historical precedent for Psalm 47 is 2 Samuel 6:12ff. The time has come for David to bring the Ark of God’s Covenant into the citadel of Jerusalem. So every six steps David offers sacrifices . The crowd is shouting and the trumpets are blaring and David is dancing. For David, God Himself was ascending to His rightful throne, surrounded by His people’s praise.

Contrast Jesus ascent to the cross. Every step of the way (Was it the same roadway?) was agony and blood for Jesus and in the end, the cross. He understood that it was the only way stubborn rebels become celebrating servants!

 Our wills must be subdued by Christ’s ascension to the Cross,  before they will celebrate Christ’s ascension to the throne. 

How does Christ’s ascension to the cross subdue our resistant wills?

  1.  by Jesus’ obedient love for God the Father on behalf of those who reject Him.  His submission won ours. (Philippians 2:5-8)
  2.  by the gravity of our sins. The cross shows us how big our sin problem is by showing us the value of the Sacrifice for sin. Stubbornness requires self-justification. The cross annihilates self-trust.
  3. by the promises of love and glory. Ultimately we cannot resist the tital wave of grace poured out for sinners on the cross. 1 Peter 2:24 says –

“He Himself bore our sins in his body on the cross so that we may die to sin and live to righteousness. For by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

Now that’s a King we can celebrate!

Singing the Blues

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I need to know how to live with my sadness. Southern slaves sang the blues and passed on to us a more ancient prescription that, given a healthy brain, will lead us through sadness to joy. And  in Psalm 42 & 43, God teaches us to sing the blues, too.

 These psalms exists because someone, one of the sons of Korah, labored to release his sadness into song. Were the “sons of Korah” the original blues brothers?

“These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.”(42:4

Cooped up sadness kills us. Remember, Psalm 42-3 is a song, a soulful song to be belted out with all the feeling it deserves. It points to three key relationships where our sadness needs to be “poured out”.

God teaches us to “pour out” our soul to Him. (42:1, 6-7, 43:1-3).

He also teaches us to “pour out” our soul to the community of God. ( 42:2-4, 8-10, 43:4)

 Third, God teaches us to “pour out your soul” to yourself.  (42:5, 11, 43:5)


Sin has alienated us from ourselves. We don’t know ourselves.

So, God leads us to pour out our souls– to sing the blues — because it sharpens our longings, our sadness and our hope.

When we pour out our longings before Him we sharpen our desire for God (42:1-2), our  desire for community(42:3-4) and our desire for hope, peace and joy (42:5).

 Singing the blues helps us understand the depth and power of our sadness, too. Sometimes my wife, Jill, teases me. She’ll say, “What’s wrong”? I say, “nothing”. Three days later, I say,” Something was really bothering me the other night…” And she will laugh. It took me three days to realize something was wrong. Have you ever been singing a song (the blues) and been surprise by tears or a knot in your throat?

Sadness asks three questions in Psalms 42 and 43: “when” (:2), “where” (:3); “why” (5, 9 11, 43:2, 5). In our deepest sadness we even wonder if God has forgotten  or rejected us.

 Singing the blues points us to our hope (what or who you count on to meet your longings), too.

In popular culture hope is in “that boy” or “that girl” or “that car” ( in a country music song, “that truck”.) or “the way it used to be”.

The Sons of Korah declare their one hope: God. He is the Living God. He is like water to the thirsty. He satisfies my longings. Help comes in His presence, before His face. He is “the God of my life” (:8) and commands His kesed (grace) with a song in the darkness and His song becomes MY prayer.

In C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the travelers discover The Dark Isle and row into the darkness to a place where dreams come true, including nightmares! Unable to find their way out of the darkness,  Aslan, Lewis’ Christ-figure, comes as an albatross of light and leads them to safety and sanity. Christ alone enters the darkness of depression and leads us out.

God’s light and truth lead me, bring me to God my exceeding joy (43:3) . Depression is a deep darkness, with no evident way out. But John 1:4 tells us that “In Him was life and the life was the light of men”. When we sing the blues, we sing the truth about our longings, our sadness and our Savior. Singing the blues is singing the gospel. The light comes and we are sane again.

Way of Escape

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In Psalm 40 David gives us some good news:


       On October 14, 1987, in Midland, TX, an 18-month old girl named Jessica McClure fell down an open well-shaft. At 54 feet down the fall stopped as her little body lodged in the narrow passage. Her mother called 911 and rescuers began a 3-day operation to rescue the still-living, but bewildered toddler. Most of us know what it’s like to fall and get stuck in a pit: a dark, narrow place we cannot escape. We have fallen into lusts and habits that are eroding the most precious part of our lives. We have fallen into insurmountable debt. Some of us would say we have fallen into a bad marriage or an impossible work situation. We are in a pit. There’s no way out.


ancient cistern

Moreover pits are sticky at the bottom: “He brought me out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay”. David was probably picturing a pit like the one into which the patriarch Joseph was thrown, a ground well, a stone cistern carved into the rock, with ever deepening, ever threatening miry mud at the bottom. And the pit some of us have fallen into is sticky at the bottom, too. Stay there and sink. Whatever pit we fall into will progressively destroy. Get out or die. The ultimate pit, of course, is hell.

As it was with little Jessica McClure, so it is with us: We could not rescue ourselves. Someone had to go down into the pit to rescue us. In Jessica’s case, workers dug a parallel shaft beside the old well opening, then two men were lowered on ropes to cut the pipe, and eventually save Jessica.

Our only hope ultimately is that we be rescued by Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10 tells us about it, quoting Psalm 40: “ I have come — in the scroll of the book it is written of me  — to do Your will” . Jesus Christ came down into our pit, into our condition and circumstances. As another verse in Hebrews says (2:18) “since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” and “By that will he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Jesus delighted in the Father’s will and rescued pit-bound sinners like us through His perfect sacrifice.

Think you’re too stuck in your pit. Betsy Ten Boom assures us: “There is no pit that He is not deeper yet.”  

So David, in Psalm 40,  leads us into the kind of faith we need in the pit. He shows us a faith that waits and a faith that cries out. It is a faith that is both passive — resting in the character and promises of God — and active, crying out — resting in the character and promises of God. “For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

When Christ rescues us, we are changed in three ways: 

  • Our personal worship is enlarged: “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.”
  • Our personal witness is enlarged: “Many will see and fear and trust in the Lord.”
  • Faith is enlarged among our fellow believers: “I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation…”

Minnie Louise Haskins poem “God Knows” was made popular by King George VI of England as the nation braced for world war Christmas, 1939. In his Christmas message he quoted:

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”


Here’s the gospel: You don’t have to be trapped in your condition and circumstances. Christ has entered all of our pits and made the way out.

Our Surprising Conflict with Forgiveness

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Psalm 32 reveals  a surprising conflict we  have with being forgiven and living as a forgiven person. Even though the very first verse of the psalm tells us: “Oh, the multiplied joys of the one whose transgressions are forgiven!”

We shun or avoid forgiveness by trying to hide our guilt. David was “silent about [his] sin”. Do you know how much energy it takes to hide your guilt? It requires constant, demanding diligence. Guilt is like a worm that eats away at our souls.

We shun forgiveness also because we still hope for personal moral achievement . We are glad to be forgiven, but sorry it’s necessary. If we could be totally honest with ourselves, we had rather have our righteousness than Christ’s. It takes a lot of energy to build our own righteousness! And it always fails.  We desparately need a righteousness which is ours by faith in Jesus Christ, the righteousness of God.

The great news of Psalm 32 and the gospels is God pursues us in our hiding and false hoping. He pursues us by making us miserable (:3-4) and by counseling us and teaching us (:8)

 So what is our response?

  1. Repent out loud with words           (:5)
  2. Believe by taking refuge in Him       (:6-7)
  3. Listen to Him in His word (:8)
  4. Draw near to God (:8 “lest he not come near you”)
  5. Forgive

Only forgiven people can truly forgive. This is especially true in our marriages.

Living as a forgiven person, in the constant need and experience of Christ’s forgiveness, frees us to constantly forgive others. No wonder then that David writes:  “Oh the multiplied joys of the one who is forgiven.”

Welcome, King of Glory

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Psalm 24  tests us by testing how we welcome the King of Glory

 Some scholars believe Psalm 24 was written for bringing the tabernacle into Jerusalem for the first time, when David went before the Ark of the triumphal-entry-jesusofnazarethCovenant dancing. Later, Jewish leaders prescribed Psalm 24 as the psalm of the first day of the week, the psalm of creation. In that context, Psalm 24 takes on significance in the triumphal entry of Christ on the first day of the week before His crucifixion…”that the King of Glory may come in” pointing to His Second Coming.

 The same scripture can have multiple fulfillments. So some theologians see in Psalm 24 the song of heaven at the ascension of Christ.  But for us in the third week of Advent in Auburn Alabama, it seems good to think of this psalm in view of Christ’s first coming. This last view is not just a convenient one. Eminent OT scholar Franz Deilitzsch called this psalm: “an old Testament Advent hymn in honor of the Lord who would come into His temple” and in which “we are called upon to prepare Him a worthy reception.”

 Psalm 24 identifies three ways to welcome Christ, prepare Him a worthy reception, this Christmas — and the rest of the year.

We can welcome Christ with an unnecessary gift. The King of Glory comes as the  Owner of all (24:1-2)But we will not welcome the King of Glory well if we have laid claim to that which belongs to Him only. The worthy welcome is to give Him what is His: everything. It is an unnecessary gift, but He delights in it. 

  • Abraham Kuyper once wrote: “… there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!'”

Such a welcoming gift to Christ changes our relationship with our things, and we can become more free in our giving, both to Him and to others on His behalf.

We welcome Christ simply by seeking Him, too; by being like those who run out of the city gates to find Him, meet Him and praise Him. But, we will not welcome the King of Glory if we are practicing sin. We will hide, for  He is holy; we are not. So “who can ascend the hill of the Lord. Who can dwell in His holy place?” Psalm 24 tells us that we must have a gift of righteousness that comes from Him (:6) The garments of our own efforts are unworthy to welcome Him. But He delights to see the robe of His righteousness on us when we greet Him. The One who requires holiness has provided it in the holiness of His Son. Psalm 24 tells us to greet the King of glory “wearing His grace”.

 Finally,  we welcome the King of glory when we savor His victory. The Lord is strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle. In the glory of His strength, He is our champion – We can’t lose! As we savor all His victories in our lives, in His church and in the world, our delight in Him overflows. We will glory in the King of glory…and welcome Him when He comes…today, this Christmas and on that final day. Come Lord Jesus.

One Holy Passion

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Some OT scholars that think Psalm 27 was originally two psalms. No wonder. Look at the stark contrast between the two spheres of action in the psalm: the conflict of the battle field and worship in the house of the Lord. It is the sheer genius of the Holy Spirit to stack these two spheres of action on top of one another in this psalm, to make us look at both of them at once, and show us a walk with Christ that is better than either pietism or pragmatism.  

Psalm 27 teaches us that life with God is both worship in the battle, the daily grind and battle in the worship, our personal and gathered times with Him. In more contemporary terms, life with God is devotional and practical at the same time.  Both these dimensions are the simultaneous and permanent reality of life this side of heaven. We live on a battlefield and we live in the presence of God and God intends us to embrace both! The Psalm comes to the aid of people with one holy passion, those who want to love and serve God with all their hearts: “One thing…one thing I have asked of the Lord,that will I seek…”  But how can anyone fight and worship at the same time?

Thankfully, there was One who engaged in this life and the needs of this world and never lost the fullness of God’s presence. John 1:14 tells us that “the Word became flesh and tabernacled with us”. Those who receive Jesus Christ transfer the whole of their lives under the tent, the tabernacle of Christ. The life of the believer is lived in the presence of God, now. It is lived in the light of His face, under the roof of His provision, protection and grace. In Christ, all of life is temple life. One holy passion, Christ, joins our devotional and practical passions into one.

“Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” John 6:33