Blogroll: Sussex Parson
I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading. There are currently 12 posts from the blog 'Sussex Parson.'
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How Long, O LORD?
4X in 2vv
How long did David live in vv1 and 2?
(1) The Psalmist’s problems (vv1-2)
(a) God (v1)
Cf. Ps 10:1
Cf. Gen 3
(b) His own thoughts and the sorrow in his heart (v2a)
(c) The triumph of his enemies (v2b)
(2) The Psalmist’s prayer (vv3-4)
(3) The Psalmist’s praise (vv5-6)
A Primer on Praise and Prayer
Emotional honesty, but also form / literary artistry (acrostic poem)
The value of set prayers / liturgy / hymns / the psalms etc.
Explicit and deliberate praise (cf. Ps 8:1, 9)
Who / what do you praise?
V1 – Praise the LORD – Yahweh
V1 – with all my heart
Reasons to praise God:
(1) What he has done (v1)
Cf. creation – Ps 8:1, 3, 7-8
(2) Who he is (v2)
What does the Psalmist encourage us to praise God for and pray about?
(1) God gives the Psalmist victory over his enemies (vv3-6, 19-20)
(2) God will rule in righteousness (vv7-18)
Mixed metaphors / 4 or 5 striking images
The Psalmist’s enemies are like a ferocious lion (v2)
who is pregnant with evil (v14)
and who falls into the pit he has dug (vv15-16)
because the Lord is a righteous judge (vv3-11)
and a powerful warrior (vv12-13)
2 possible objections to this picture:
John 15:18, 20
1 Peter 5:8
(2) God as judge and warrior?
Cf. Ps 6:1-2Marc Lloyd
Be honest with God
Great suffering can be an authentic part of the true believer’s experience
(1) The Psalmist’s problems / plight / predicament
Physical agony (v2)
Anguish of soul (v3)
Enemies (vv7, 8, 10)
(2) The Psalmist’s prayer / appeals / arguments to use with God!
Cf. Ps 2:12
God’s unfailing love (v4)
The glory and praise of God (v5)
(3) The Psalmist’s prospect / hope / confidence
Turning point in v8
V4 – Turn – v10Marc Lloyd
Salvation to Sing About
3 ‘levels’ to think about when reading the Psalms:
(1) The Psalmist (maybe David or a king or...)
(3) Us - believers in Jesus
Title – see 2 Sam 15-19
(1) When mocked by many enemies… (vv1-2)
2 Sam 15:30
(2) … cry to God to save you… (vv3-4)
(3) … and you will be delivered (vv5-8)
V6 – cf. Ps 2:11Marc Lloyd
Why do the nations rage?
(1) The nations stupidly rebel against the LORD (vv1-3)
Cf. vv6-7 & 2 Sam 7:11-14
(2) But God has established his King (vv4-9)
Cf. 1v1 & 2v4
Ps 37:12f; 59:8
(3) So “kiss” the Son (vv10-12)
Cf. v12 & Ps 1v1
Ø God’s enemies: fear – flee to the Son
Ø God’s people: fear, rejoice, serve, blessed, safe, refuge
Confidence and boldness in evangelismMarc Lloyd
Whether you voted ‘leave’ or ‘remain’, you could be forgiven for being sick of all talk of Brexit. I’m afraid, even at the risk of boring you, I am going to mention it, though I hope to avoid giving away my own EU-leanings. Please don’t write in if you think you detect a bias!
There has been much talk of freedom and independence from advocates of ‘leave’. And such themes have been on my mind especially this summer, as, at our Ventures camp for 11-14 year olds, we’ve been studying the book of Exodus, in which Moses famously leads the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt to freedom. You can see how Brexitiers might love that. It seems there were Remoaners amongst the Israelites. Many of them seemed to have despaired of the brighter future which God promised as they journeyed in the wilderness. They had rose-tinted memories of their time in captivity. They forgot their ill-treatment and complained that they were relatively well-fed when they were slaves. God might have brought them out of Egypt, but was their independent isolation any better? What would they eat and drink? Was God really powerful enough to bring them into a Promised Land of their own, flowing with milk and honey? Did God care? Perhaps they should have remained. You can almost imagine them saying “we didn’t vote to be poorer and unemployed!”.
Well, any Brexit analogy here is probably already overstrained and best abandoned. But the Bible does have much to say about freedom and slavery. Sometimes when we please ourselves it can seem as if we’re making a bid for great freedom. But the Bible tells us that all sin is really slavery. The liberation we hope for is an illusion because our own desires, the world around us, and the forces of evil master us. Jesus put it starkly: “"Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34) By nature, all of us are trapped by our own misplaced longings.
When we know we’re spiritual addicts, Jesus’ promise comes to us as wonderful good news: “if the Son [that is, Jesus himself] sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
In the Bible, freedom is not a merely negative idea. It is not just the absence of constraint. It is not only freedom fromslavery but something positive: freedom to live not for ourselves or our own desires, but for God. It is freedom forlife as it was meant to be lived. In the book of Exodus, we are repeatedly told that the Israelites wanted to go out into the desert so that they might worship God. And likewise, the Christian is set free from slavery to sin to live for God and others.
The Apostle Paul too makes much of this theme of freedom and slavery. He says that believers have died with Christ so that they are no longer slaves to sin. He tells the Christians at Rome: “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:18) Or again, “now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap is holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Christian freedom, then, is not autonomy from God. We are always dependent creatures. And why would we want to be “free” from God? Jesus transfers his people from the service of sin and self to the service of God. And, as The Prayer Book puts it, God’s “service is perfect freedom”. We were made to love and serve God, and it is as grateful recipients of his grace that we can find true fulfilment and purpose. We’ve no need to seek to earn God’s love – he loves us anyway. So, we can serve him gladly out of a sense of who he is and all that he’s done for us. We could have no better Master.
Who knows how Brexit will turn out – assuming it happens, of course. It is sometimes claimed that many who voted ‘leave’ now have buyer’s remorse and would change their minds if asked again. We’re told that we’ve been lied to and that people didn’t know what they voted for. God’s promises are clear and sure, however. You won’t regret looking to Jesus for freedom from the desires which promise so much, but which can easily enslave us. Even the most ardent Euro-sceptic should admit that only the Son, not Article 50, can make us free indeed. Marc Lloyd
It could be something about surprises or appearances and reality. Or the right and wrong sort of people / unexpected choices.
Surprisingly, Jesus calls someone who seems the wrong sort of person who does the right thing.
And those who might seem the right people do the wrong thing and reject Jesus.
We are all spiritually sick to the heart, but those who think they are healthy risk rejecting the great Doctor.
We won't see our need of Jesus until we admit the seriousness of our spiritual illness.
I might have to plagiarise Glen Scrivener's sermon which goes something like:
Jesus is the ultimate commander in chief who calls you.
Jesus is the ultimate happy host at the party who throws a banquet for sinners.
Jesus is the ultimate doctor who came to make sinners whole.
Then there could be something around eating or eating together or new and old etc.
No screen is available.
Who knows how many children / willing volunteers there will be!Marc Lloyd
HT: TR on FB.Marc Lloyd
I don’t know how much the academic year impinges on your consciousness. The ages of our children mean that the summer holidays are a big deal for us. From September, for just one year, our 4 will all be at Dallington C of E Primary school. Our youngest, Thomas, is starting school for the first time, so it seems like the end of a long era for us!
For many, August and September are a time of transition, whether it’s new classes and/or teachers, new schools, colleges or universities. Let’s especially be praying for the young people from our benefice who are about to leave home for the first time and for the work of The Universities’ and Colleges’ Christian Fellowship (UCCF), the Christian Unions. You can read more about them at: uccf.org.uk.
We’ve presented those Year 6s leaving Warblers, our after-school club at Punnetts Town School, with bibles and the Year 6 leavers at Dallington and Punnetts Town schools and elsewhere receive a copy of the Scripture Union book, It’s Your Move, all about starting secondary school.
Many of our young people will see these changes as exciting new challenges, but its perfectly normal if there’s also a little anxiety about the unfamiliar.
Whether or not this summer sees great change for us, for everyone, the future is uncertain. Anything could happen! Indeed, as I’ve thought about writing this article, I’ve wondered whether there will be further cabinet resignations before its published, how much Brexit turmoil there will be, and perhaps even whether the government will somehow have fallen. Who knows?!
As we face an uncertain future, I’ve encouraged the children at Dallington School to remember two biblical texts from the letter to the Hebrew Christians. Here they are:
(1) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Everything changes, but God never does. Jesus is utterly reliable and trustworthy. Whatever happens, he has promised to be with his people. He will not leave those who trust in him comfortless.
So, as the writer to the Hebrews says:
(2) “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)
Jesus told his followers not to worry about tomorrow. So many things might concern us, but if we are wise, we wont waste our energies speculating about what might or might not happen. Rather, whatever we face, we face it looking to Jesus, inspired by his example and confident in his care. All our circumstances might change in an instant, and Christians are not insulated even from terrible disaster, but we do have Jesus’ promise that he will help and sustain us. He walked the path of change and the most dreadful suffering before us, and through his victory over sin and death, he is more than able to save us completely, to bring us safely through to glory. We really can rely on him.
Whether your summer is tranquil or full of turmoil, perhaps you’ll find a moment this August to sit in the garden or lay on the beach and reflect on those two great Bible truths. They point us to Jesus, a sure anchor in a world of change. The new academic year is perhaps an opportunity for a fresh start: to pray for God’s grace that by the help of his Holy Spirit we might be able to face the future confidently knowing that Jesus does not change. He has gone before us and will be with us even to the end of the age. If we are believers, our security in Jesus Christ is absolute and that unalterable fact is a stronghold against fear of the future. The future belongs to our loving Lord. Much along the way may be painful, but the wonderful final outcome of all things is not in doubt.
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Over the last couple of days on holiday I have read this little book (176pp) and I really loved it. Short, readable chapters on how the Bible uses and develops the themes of the Exodus. Full of insights. Engagingly written. Doesn't waste words. Pastoral and doxological orientation too. The book will wow you with the Bible but it should also do your soul good and drive you to praise the Word who has brought us from slavery to sin and death that we might worship him with hearts and lives set free.
The authors advocate a musical reading of the Scriptures which is attentive to patterns, echoes, key changes, transpositions, crescendo and so on. The metaphor is worth reading about and dwelling on.
This book is extremely worthwhile for its specific content: it helped me to notice lots of things I had not seen before. But I find the whole approach convincing too: the Bible is surely meant to be read as a unity with differentiation, with attention to the use and re-use of themes and imagery. The argument for this kind of reading is made by hearing it done.
The book would repay close study with a re-reading of the passages mentioned. It will make you want to read the Bible more and again, I think. Sometimes you will have to track down the allusions yourself as not every single reference is given every time. Naturally the better you know the Bible the easier it will be to benefit from the book.
Whenever I am teaching a particular Bible book I might well check what Wilson and Roberts have to say about the Exodus themes in it. Genesis - Revelation is pretty much covered here, obviously in some cases very briefly, but their thoughts seemed on track and useful to me.
Incidentally, the book also shows off the wonderful unity, intricacy and artistry of the Bible. Although not a logical proof, the kind of reading offered here surely makes the case for the divine inspiration of Scripture. Only God could have caused such a number of different authors over such a variety of times and places to produce such a coherent masterpiece which speaks to all generations and cultures of the Redeemer.
There are helpful questions for review and further thought. Subject and Scripture index.
Get and read this brilliant book! I hope you can tell I really liked it and think it is fab.Marc Lloyd