Adoration, Not Autopsy

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The major problem with contemporary scholars’ approach to Jesus’ resurrection is that they come to do the work of autopsy, not adoration. But Jesus Christ is the apex of all that is precious, the center of all that is glorious and delightful. He is the very point of existence. He is the Son of the living God, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last who was and is and is to come.

“O come let us adore Him!”—not scrutinize, utilize, or analyze Him.

The personal claim the risen Jesus makes about Himself is that He is the God of the universe and that He deserves our awe, our reverence, our worship, our love, and our devotion.

— Jared C. Wilson, Unparalleled, 149.

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No Translation Necessary

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In contrast with the difficulty of vocalizing YHWH, what is the English equivalent of the Hebrew phrase Hallelu-YAH? It’s simply Hallelu-YAH. How do you say the Hebrew phrase Hallelu-YAH in Greek? in Spanish? in German? in French? in Swahili? in Chichewa? in Luganda? It’s all the same in these languages, with minor differences in spelling. No translation is necessary. Indeed, the phrase may be rendered “Praise the LORD.” Yet it has achieved spontaneous universality.

The Psalter has shown the way for the universe to praise its Creator and Redeemer. The Psalms consummate with Hallelu-YAH, and all nations and peoples can join in the joyful, spontaneous celebration. Even the ease with which the expression can be articulated deserves notice. In a remarkable way, the word Hallelu-YAH is particularly suitable for opening wide the mouth, dropping the jaw, and loudly shouting God’s praise. Try it!

— O Palmer Robertson, The Flow of the Psalms: Discovering Their Structure and Theology, Kindle Location 4411

Astronomy (Saraband)

O Yahweh, Maker of all things,
You Yourself s     t       r        e         t          c         h        e       d out the heavens.
You are with cherubim-song ringed.

O Wave-Treader, O Star-Namer,
Commander of celestial hosts:
Who am I to have such favor
That You would deign to bring me close?

A Saraband is a musical dance form, originally Asian, that was introduced to Spain and later France and Italy.

11-26-2014

Remedy and Replacement

If Psalm 95 had a soundtrack, the record skips and scratches or the car brakes slam between the middle and end of verse 7.

The first verses fit well within the surrounding psalms; the themes of singing, shouting, joy, and the greatness of God are all there. But beginning with the last line of verse 7, the song changes quick, fast, and in a hurry.

Continue reading “Remedy and Replacement”

Book Review: John Wesley on the Christian Life

I recently finished Fred Sanders’ (@fredfredsanders) John Wesley on the Christian Life: The Heart Renewed in Love. I was doubly drawn to the book: having read Sanders’ The Deep Things of God, I had been acquainted with his rich devotion to the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) and his helpful, clear writing. The subject of the book also appealed to me; I knew very little about Wesley, other than scattered “facts” that were admittedly unverified and likely caricature. Since Sanders comes from a thoughtful Wesleyan perspective, I hoped I was in for a treat.

I was not disappointed.

Continue reading “Book Review: John Wesley on the Christian Life”

Prayer

Jesus, our Compassionate Conquering King,

You, Yahweh, are God and cannot lie.
In our oaths, we must swear by that which is greater than us;
there is none greater than You.
So when You take an oath, You swear by Yourself.

Your Father, the Lordswore an oath
that bound the Unchanging God, who does not change His mind:
You, King Jesus, are a priest forever.

In ages past, You established the priests through Aaron’s line
to prepare the way for You to fulfill and finish priesthood.
Aaron’s priesthood was established without an oath
because it would not last forever.

Aaron and his line were priests in the Old Covenant, whose time has come and gone.
Since You have come as a new Priest,
You have become the guarantee of a better covenant, the promised New Covenant.

You are far outnumbered by Aaron and his descendants;
they outnumber you because they were prevented by death from remaining in office.
But death died in You and has no claim;
You remain forever, and hold Your priesthood permanently.

You are the forever King, and You are the forever Priest.
You always live to intercede for us,
so our confidence in You stands upon bedrock.
Since we have a forever Priest, we have no fear of weakness in Your salvation,
for You are always able to save to the uttermost those of us who come to God through You.

Everything we could ask for, hope for, and need in a priest
we have in You:
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.
As such, You had no need to offer sacrifices for Yourself,
but You offered sacrifice for our sins–You offered Yourself
once for all.

All the Old Covenant could do was appoint weak men captive to sin and death.
You did this, in Your great wisdom, so that we could look for and long for something better.
Better than better, Your Father appointed His Son,
who has been perfected forever.

This is the kind of high priest we need,
and in You, Jesus, this is the high priest we have.

You are reigning at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens,
ministering in the sanctuary which You, the Lord, set up.

You made us to worship, You saved us to worship, You welcome us to worship.

You alone are worthy.

None of this happened [the nullification of the Levitical priesthood by the arrival of Jesus, the Melchizedekean priest] without an oath. For others became priests without an oath, but He with an oath made by the One who said to Him:

The Lord has sworn,
and He will not change His mind,
You are a priest forever.

So Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

Now many have become Levitical priests, since they are prevented by death from remaining in office. But because He remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is always able to save [or, able to save completely] those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.

For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do–first for their own sins, then for those of the people. He did this once for all when He offered Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the promise of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son, who has been perfected forever.

Now the main point in what is being said is this: we have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle, which the Lord set up, not man.

Hebrews 7:20-8:2 HCSB

Prayer

I will praise You, Yahweh;
Your kindness is beyond words.

Like a fool, I sinned against You,
and I deserved it when You were angry with me.

You are worthy of praise, and I am glad to give it,
for Your anger has turned away,
and You have had compassion on me.

Indeed, You are my salvation;
You have rescued me from myself.
The Evil One seeks to destroy me,
but You keep me safe.

I will trust You and not be afraid,
for You, Yahweh, are my strength and my song.
You hold me up by Your power;
You give me hope and joy.
You are my treasure,
and You have become my salvation.

It is a pleasure to ask You for help,
like drawing water from the springs of salvation.
It makes me want to tell the world:
“Give thanks to Yahweh; proclaim His name!”

Remind me of all that You have done;
speak to me by Your Spirit in Your word.
May I be so overwhelmed by it all
that my excitement spreads among the peoples:
“Raise your voices! Start the music!
Let’s sing songs to Yahweh
look at the glorious things He has done!

You never leave us on our own;
You have never abandoned any of Your beloved ones.
O Holy One of Israel, You are among us
in Your greatness.

“I will praise You, Yahweh,
although You were angry with me.
Your anger has turned away,
and You have had compassion on me.
Indeed, God is my salvation;
I will trust Him and not be afraid,
for Yah, Yahweh,
is my strength and my song.
He has become my salvation.”

You will joyfully draw water
from the springs of salvation,
and on that day you will say:
“Give thanks to Yahweh; proclaim His name!
Celebrate His works among the peoples.
Declare that His name is exalted.
Sing to Yahweh, for He has done glorious things.
Let this be known throughout the earth.
Cry out and sing, citizen of • Zion ,
for the Holy One of Israel is among you
in His greatness.”

Isaiah 12 HCSB