Fifty-nine (Cyhydedd hir)

dog-eat-dog-2-2-1245209-639x426

Rescue me from foes:
Ere dawn they arose
Their traps to enclose
Around me fast.

These men of bloodshed
And lies fill their heads
With plans of my death
No chance is passed.

Snarling, mangy curs
Come away the worse
For wear, for their purse
Emptied en masse.

LORD God of Armies,
My soul waits to see
You come in glory
To save at last.

You laugh at their schemes,
Yet they do not dream
That you would redeem
With fiery blast.

Empty stomachs growl
While they vainly prowl;
Unsatisfied scowls
They wear like masks.

But I gladly sing
The love of my King;
He to me strength brings,
Grace unsurpassed.

12-5-2017

Advertisements

Advent Meditation: Psalm 58

bible-1440953-639x426

This is from my journal meditation on Psalm 58. Psalm 58 is not a go-to passage for Advent, but perhaps it ought to be.

The world reels at the revelation of some new credible accusation of immorality or at the scope of injustice that still happens in our supposedly enlightened, evolved era. Slavery, rape, sexual assault, racism, and more all exist today and seem to thrive unabated. Christians are persecuted more than any other century in the Church’s history.

Rather than being on the “wrong side of history,” the Christian stands with the Judge of all the earth in the middle of history. It is not yet the end. Judgment will come one day, some day, but perhaps not today. It will still come, and that’s David’s foundation for Psalm 58.

Injustice is not a mirage nor misunderstanding; David refuses to be gaslighted by Satan or the wicked (58:1-2). We desperately need the reflex of asking, “Do you really speak righteously, you mighty ones? Do you judge people fairly?” and then honestly answering, “No, you practice injustice in your hearts; with your hands you weigh out violence in the land” (58:1-2 CSB).

The wicked are so from birth, and no charmer’s recorder can whistle a tune to charm them. They are deaf to the cries of those they oppress.

David trusts in God’s righteous judgment, both now and future. He prays that they would be broken and swept away from their oppressive ways.

The sight of righteousness will cause the saints to rejoice, since their long waiting has ended. Though it may not seem so now, one day, some day, we will know with visible certainty that “there is a reward for the righteous,” that “there is a God who judges on earth!” (58:11 CSB).

The problem is, we too are wicked from the womb, deaf to the charms of righteousness’ flute. We practice unrighteousness and injustice. We deserve judgment. The only way this can be a psalm of good news is if that judgment can be meted out, but not on us.

It’s not enough to simply not give justice; that gives no hope. That lets righteousness go unpunished.

Justice must be done and its wrath spent. However we avoid wrath, we still must be able to say at the end, “There is a God who judges on earth!”

That’s why the Incarnation matters. That’s why Advent matters. That’s why imputed righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21) matters.

I deserve to be swept away, consumed by fiery wrath for my anger, selfishness, for all the immorality bound up in my heart.

Yet Jesus came, so that “the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why he is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11 CSB).

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel!

Fifty-two (Russell)

olive-trees-1389588-638x477

O hush your boasting, Lentil-lover’s son,
And keep your razor-forkèd tongue shut up
That no more lies may issue destruction
And serve falsehood’s strong cup!

Like Ozymandias from time’s reverse
The righteous ones will mock your fatal fall:
“Here lies the one who when God he did curse
To wealth for his aid called.”

Though fleeing for my life, I trust the love
Of Him whose Name all praise transcends
And flourish like an olive tree He dug
To last beyond world’s end.

11-22-2017

Beneath Your Wings’ Shadow (Psalm 61)

sentry-and-tower-1213194-639x852

8.7.8.7.8.7.

With the last gasp of a crushed heart
Hearken to my cry, my God!
Set the pieces of my crushed soul
On a rock so high above.
You have been for me a fortress:
Strong, secure before the foe;
In your presence I will ever
Dwell beneath your wings’ shadow.

In that shadow, wings o’erspreading,
In your tabernacle dwell:
Where no priest dare come without blood
Where the wrath-fire is kindled.
Mercy there will be my shelter;
I will not there be consumed.
But in perfect peace before you
Watch your endless days ensue.

May your King, whom you appointed,
Reign forever on your throne.
May his days be without number;
May his years be ever long.
Faithful love and truth to stand by,
Guarding, obeying his will.
Then may I in loving gladness
Live obediently still.

4-4-2017

How Magnificent Is Your Name (Psalm 8)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How magnificent is Your name,
Yahweh, our Lord and King!
The heav’ns aren’t enough to contain
Your spreading majesty!

From the mouths of babies told
And infants singing, too
You have established Your stronghold
To silence Satan’s hue.

Galaxies are Your fingers’ work
Your delicate crafts made;
What is man, just the dust of earth,
To make You fix Your gaze?

You gave him such a glorious crown
To bear Your image forth;
You gave him lordship, sea to mount,
O’er all the things of earth.

Yet now we do not see it so,
But we see Jesus Christ
Who was for love of us made low
That with Him we should rise!

4-3-2017

True Happiness (Psalm 32)

guitar-1194896-638x439

In the darkness of my sin
I confessed, came to the light;
My brittle bones bent beneath
Your hand of holy might

Let the sinner pray to You,
And the rising flood escape;
Judgment’s waters cannot reach
The one who lives by faith

My joy is Your forgiveness
My happiness, Your peace
How glad I am that You don’t count
All my sins against me!

Lord, You are my hiding place
The devil’s arm is too short:
The shouts of Your salvation
Drown out the Accuser’s hurts

The wicked are beset by pains
Their end is ruin and shame
But faithful love surrounds the one
Who trusts alone in Jesus’ name

My joy is Your forgiveness
My happiness, Your peace
How glad I am that You don’t count
All my sins against me!

3-12-2017

Mighty

…because mighty over us is His committed love,
and Yahweh’s truth is for ever (Psalm 117:2 Motyer).

[‘mighty’ is] gabhar, of the stronger force in a battle (Exodus 17:11); of flood waters dominating the earth (Genesis 7:18-20); of our transgressions (Psalm 65:3); of God’s love (Psalm 103:11) (Motyer, 327).

A fearsome warrior galloping to war:
His two-edged sword gleams, ready for the fight;
Like wind-blown chaff, all His enemies fall
He leads the vict’ry train, all robed in white

Mighty over us is His love
Mighty over us is His love
He is the truth forever
Mighty over us is His love

Flood waters rising from the falling rain
The fountains of the great deep are broken
Grace lifts the ark above the damning waves
Louder than thunder, Love’s Word is spoken

Mighty over us is His love
Mighty over us is His love
He is the truth forever
Mighty over us is His love

Until the compass point comes back around
We’ll never again run into our sins
We will never hear condemnation’s sound
The greater song of Love welcomes us in

Mighty over us is His love
Mighty over us is His love
He is the truth forever
Mighty over us is His love

9-24-2016

Get Out of Debt (Etheree)

 

loan-application-1240982-639x852

What
can I
offer You
in payment for
the debt I’ve incurred?
You finance my debt by
serving me salvation’s cup,
filling my mouth with the sweet wine
of Your Name; the glory payment plan
never even touches the principal.

9-20-2016

What am I to return to Yahweh
for all His full recompense to me?
The cup of full salvation I will take,
and on Yahweh’s name I will call (Psalm 116:12-13 Motyer).

A striking reply! Asking what am I to give back, he replies ‘I will take.’ Our true response always is first to receive what Yahweh gives. He fills the cup, we take it (Motyer, 325n36).

Troublemaker Blues (Psalm 3)

electric-guitar-04-1493357-640x480

Listen to Troublemaker Blues (Psalm 3)

There are so many troublemakers
O Lord, they’re all around
They’re sayin’, they keep on sayin’
His God, his help, can’t be found

Lord, You’re my shield, defendin’ me
You hear my every weepin’ cry
My glory, You lift up my head
You’re the only one on my side

I lay down my weary head and sleep
Come mornin’, get back up again
I ain’t afraid of thousands startin’ trouble
They don’t know the trouble they’re in

Salvation is the Lord’s, He ain’t stingy
He save an ole lowlife like me
His blessings pour down on His people
I’m waitin’ them blessings for to see

8-27-2016

Look Out of Your Window

51gvpg5zstl

Everywhere we look in the world around we should see God. This is very likely contrary to the way we were taught in school. Mechanism reigned supreme! What caused rainfall: why rain bearing clouds were driven higher by mountains—or was it that they dropped lower as the land fell away? I can’t remember, but it was all a matter of cause and effect. River valleys were the result of the movement of glaciers, weren’t they? Or was it water-erosion? Well, Psalm 104 has lovely news for us: whatever ‘tools’ He may or may not have used, God the Creator did it all. Mechanistic explanations of rainfall may well be clever, and speak to us of the wisdom and art of the Creator, but how much more splendidly marvellous it is to say that ‘He waters the hills from His high rooms’! Talk about the food chain? Who set it up but the transcendent God who cares whether lions get their meat? Look at the dark clouds massing and approaching. The Creator is walking towards us. Sentiment tells us we are ‘nearer God’s heart in a garden’—how true, for the garden of Eden shows us He loves horticulture—but His heart is also in sunrise, seed time and harvest, wind, storm, earthquake, thunder. No aspect of ‘nature’ is without the immanent God, just as no part of nature is big enough to contain Him who is exceedingly great, clothed with splendour and majesty, the giver of life and the giver of death, controller of oceans and tides, providing crags for wild goats and foliage for little birds. It is because it is His world that we can live in it with easy minds. We cannot see what may come over the hills tomorrow, but we do know that whatever happens will happen in His world where He rules and reigns (Psalm 121:1-2), and where nothing happens without His say-so. Learn it, my friends, learn it! Learn to look out of your window and see your God.

— Alec Motyer, Psalms by the Day, 293.