Blogroll Category: Friends

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A prayer towards the end of a clergy sabbatical

Sussex Parson - 1 hour 2 min ago
I wrote this prayer towards the beginning of my sabbatical.

Here's something of what I've been praying this final week of my sabbatical:


Heavenly Father,
Thank you for this sabbatical:
For the financial assistance I’ve received;
For time and space and freedom;
For the privilege of worshiping with your people in a variety of different places without being responsible for leading.
Thank you for all who have ministered to me and who have helped me;
For those who have given of their time and expertise;
For those I’ve met who have been a blessing to me;
For all that I’ve been able to do and to think about;
For the rest, refreshment and challenges;
For the opportunity to experience new places and different things.
Thank you for every encouragement.
Thank you for the ways in which I’ve been stretched and stimulated.
And for the ways I’ve been able to minister and study.
Thank you for all that has been achieved.
Thank you for those who have looked after my responsibilities in my absence.


Help me not to be preoccupied by what has not been done.


I continue to pray that the study I have done might bear fruit for me and for the church.


Help me as I consider my return to my normal ministries.
Help me to listen as I seek to discover what has happened in my absence and how things have been.
Give me grace where I might have done things differently.
Help me particularly as I return to the busyness of perhaps a number of things that are over-due my attention.
Give me wisdom as I consider priorities for the immediate and longer-term future.
Help me to say “no” to things appropriately where that’s the right thing to do.
In particular, help me to give myself to prayer the ministry of the Word.
Help me to be a faithful pastor to those you’ve entrusted to my care and to do the work of an evangelist.
Make me willing to serve whole-heartedly and self-sacrificially in all the roles to which you’ve called me.
Again, I pray that you would help me to have in place patterns that will help to sustain a healthy long-term ministry.
Bless and guard our family-life.   
Give me those who will partner with me faithfully in prayer and ministry and help me to be a good friend and fellow-worker to others.
Help me as I share ideas for future ministry with others.
Give me grace to encourage others.
Give us grace to consider what we should pursue and what good things we should leave undone.


Forgive my sins and failures.
Grant me your grace and empower me with your Spirit. In your mercy, may I play my part in your purposes faithfully and to your glory. AmenMarc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Psalm 13 jottings

Sussex Parson - 1 hour 13 min ago

Psalm 13 notes


Uses:


When prayer seems unanswered / God seems far away or absent or appears to hide / when feeling forgotten (by God) / when wrestling with thoughts / sorrowful / defeated / enemies triumph / when feeling near death


Outlines / structure:


Expositor’s Bible:


Waiting for God’s Salvation


Expression of despair: how long? (vv1-2)
Expression of prayer: give me light! (vv3-4)
Expression of hope and trust: let me sing! (vv5-6)


Goldingay, Baker Commentary


How long, how long, how long, how long?


Wilcock, BST:


1. Distinctive pattern, distinctive prayer
2. Looking backward, looking forward


Kidner, Tyndale:


Desolation into delight


Vv1-2, desolation
Vv3-4, supplication
Vv5-6, certainty


Motyer, Psalms by the Day: A New Devotional Translation


Still waiting, still trusting


A. The fourfold ‘How long’: protracted anxiety
B. The threefold ‘in case’: urgent threats
C. The twofold rejoicing: the fruit of trust


Wilson, NIV Application Commentary


Questioning God (vv1-2)
Plea for deliverance from approaching death (vv3-4)
Trust and confidence (vv5-6)




Notes:


Title:


David


The Psalm suggests “the state in which hope despairs, and yet despair hopes” so Luther according to James L. Mays, cited in Goldingay, p208.


Kidner: “The three pairs of verses climb up from the depths to a fine vantage-point of confidence and hope. If the path is prayer (v3f), the sustaining energy is the faith expressed in verse 5. The prospect from the summit (v5) is exhilarating, and the retrospect (v6) overwhelming.” (p77)


The sections of the Psalm become steadily shorter


Pain, prayer & praise (Wilcock, p50)


“in each stanza the psalmist is concerned with God, with himself, and with his circumstances, in that order.” (Wilcock, p50)


Almost a howl (Keller) – a deep sense of abandonment (Goldingay)


A dose of realism – not pious pretence


A Psalm that gives us permission to be honest with God about how we really feel, to repeatedly question him, to come to him with our doubts / worries / challenges / “issues” . struggles / agony


A personal 1stperson Psalm but also for the music director – how does this affect the reading of the Psalm?


The Psalm considered as the words of Christ – a Psalm Jesus could have prayed on the cross when forsaken by his Father – suffering then vindication pattern


Is God’s absence real or felt / perceived only?


The Psalmist’s problem(s): how he feels (vv1-2)


Vv1-2, Goldingay, aggressive, confrontational – a uniquely impertinent 4-fold question


How long? - Ps 62:3; Hab 1:2; Ps 74:10; 80:4; 94:3; Ex 16:28; Num 14:11, 27 – rhetorical, not a request for information – implication, this is intolerable and needs to stop now – Jer 47:6


Zech 7:13


Vv1-2 – Kidner: the distress analysed in relation to God, to the Psalmist himself and to his enemy.


Motyer, “In turn, divine remoteness, personal indecision / uncertainty, human enmity. The causes of potential breakdown are supernatural, personal, circumstantial. What a recipe!” (p35)


Yahweh, why are you ignoring / neglecting me? Why don’t you act?


The act of praying presupposes that God hears / might hear – he keeps praying! Pray even if it seems God is not listening or responding


Even great King David had his share of sufferings and distress


Cf. Ex 2:24f


V1b, cf. David’s longing to behold God’s face – 11:7; 17:15; cf. 27:4, 8; 34:5 – a clouded friendship Job 29:1ff; 30:20ff; Ps 22:1ff


The Psalmist is not experiencing the blessing of God’s face - Num 6:24-26


David’s plight seems interminable to him – 2 Pt 3:8


How long? echoed in Rev 6:10


V2, “How long will I place plans before my soul?” – plans a plural of amplitude, set plan after plan before – turmoil of thought cf. 77:3-6


Cf. Prov 26:24


V2 – before myself, before my soul (nepes, spirit, self), lit. in / within – to myself – protracted anxiety, different ideas about how to deal with the situation – what am I to do? What can I do? Should I try this or that or the other? Agonising ? about causes, causes of action etc.


V2 – enemy – cf. ? 1 Sam 27:1, with its counsel of despair


What he prays for (vv3-4)


Vv3-4 – God and David’s enemy as two poles of his life


V3 – Take note (notice), answer – two verbs without conjunction – cf. 10:10 – answer lookingly – a look is enough, reassuring David of favour, lifting the trouble, sending the enemy packing (Motyer)


V3 – My God – personal faith under trial – cf. Mk 15:34 – Yahweh is still the Psalmist’s God even though Yahweh seems hidden / absent


V3 – enlighten my eyes – cf. 1 Sam 14:27, countenance, eyes of renewed vitality, resilience – suggests encouragement – Ps 19:8; 118:27; Ezra 9:8


V3b – cf. Mk 14:33f


V3b – illness involved as cause or effect?


V4 – “in case my enemy say: “I have proved able for him”” – i.e. I have prevailed over him (Motyer), I was more than a match for him


V4 – ‘emmot, I am shaken, fall down – and don’t get up again – dead?!


The Psalmist’s resolve and his reasons (vv5-6)


Reasons for trust / rejoicing / singing (in the midst of / despite the realities of the Ps?)


V5 – And / but – And might be a way of suggesting this was his experience throughout


V5 – the I is emphatic, but for my part I…


V5 – committed love – 5:7


V6 – 13 words of one syllable


V6 – “because he is sure to deal fully with me” – treating the verb as a perfect of certainty (Motyer), “Trust brings delight even when nothing has actually yet changed.” – cf. 1 Sam 1:18


Gamal, “he has acted fully for me”, has done all that should be done, all that is necessary


“good” – cf. Eph 3:20


Vv5-6 – a prophetic perfect expressing certainty of future deliverance as a past even?


Phil 1:6 – God’s goodness to us in the past assures us he will bring his work in us to completion


Rom 8:28


Eugene Peterson suggests our real need is not more information / answers to our questions / insight into God’s plans and the future but God’s presence and love, God himself to be an ever-present help in times of trouble.







Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Psalm 7 jottings

Sussex Parson - Thu, 20/07/2017 - 09:19
It looks like I may have neglected to post these notes when I made them so just in case they are of any interest:


Psalm 7 notes


Summary:


A prayer of trust in Yahweh for vindication, for justice and for deliverance from enemies.


Uses:


When persecuted or opposed unjustly
To focus on God’s character in difficult circumstances
Praising God’s righteousness and judgement
Giving thanks for deliverance or in the confidence of future deliverance


Prayer:


Lord, you search me and you know me.
I confess that I am a sinner, entirely dependent on your grace.
Make me a person of righteousness and integrity, I pray.
May I be faithful and consistent, as you are, keeping my word, honouring my friends and partners, always dealing fairly with others and fulfilling my responsibilities.


May I never give others cause to hate me or to hate you.


Lord, I pray for justice for myself and for the world.
Vindicate me, and all who are wronged.
Deliver your faithful people who are persecuted without cause.


I look to you as my refuge and shield, my only confidence in this world and in the next.
Arise and fight for your people, I pray.
Yours, Lord, is the battle and the victory.
May your kingdom come and your will be done.
May your just rule be seen upon the earth.


Thank you, Lord, for your righteousness, that I can have complete confidence that the judge of all the world will do right.
Thank you for the Lord Jesus Christ: the only perfectly innocent one who suffered unjustly for me and whom you delivered from death and hell, triumphing over all his enemies.
Thank you for the vindication of his resurrection and ascension and that all evil will be undone.  
All praise to your high and holy name.
Amen.


Outlines / structure:


Expositor’s Bible:


The righteous God loves the righteous


(1)  A - Prayer for refuge (vv1-2)
(2) B - Oath of innocence (vv3-5)
(3) C - God’s righteous judgement (vv6-13)
(4) B’ - Judgement of the guilty (vv14-16)
(5) A’ - Praise of God’s righteousness (v17)


Goldingay, Baker Commentary


On trial, in battle, hunted


Wilcock, BST:


(1) Concerning Cush: a lion (vv1-5)
(2) Concerning God: a courtroom (vv6-9)
(3) Concerning God: an armoury (vv10-13)
(4) Concerning Cush: a pregnancy and a pit (vv14-17)


Kidner, Tyndale:


A cry for justice


Vv1-2, The hunted man
Vv3-5, The oath of innocence
Vv6-11, The righteous judge
Vv12-16, “Sin, when it is finished…”
V17, Thankful praise


Dale Ralph Davis, The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life


Just Justice


Take care with your prayer (vv1-5)
Find hope in God’s anger (vv6-11)
Watch Judgement take place (vv12-16)
Remember praise is due (v17)


Notes:


Title:


Goldingay calls a siggayon a lament on the basis of the Akkadian sigu


Shiggaion – Wilcock guesses it could be related to the verb to wander and therefore wild, rhapsodic music


David


Sang to the LORD


Davis has “on account of the words of Cush”


Cush – Sudan (Goldingay) – the area south of Egypt not Ethiopia
2 Sam 18:20-32 the Sudanese – Shimei and or Sheba both styled Benjaminites (Goldingay) – see Goldingay p144 for verbal links between this story and the Psalm
Cf. 1 Sam 24
Concerning Cush, a Benjamite – not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible
When David was pursued by Saul the Benjaminite?
Or during Absalom’s rebellion the latent hostilities of the Benjaminites resurged – 2 Sam 16:5-14; 20:1-22


How is God pictured and described in this Psalm?


Movement from lament to thanksgiving


A broadening out to God’s eschatological rule over the nations? – then God’s people will no longer be troubled


2 Thess 1:5-10 – the coming judgement


Themes / genres: individual lament (vv1-2), oath (vv3-5), kingship psalm (vv6-12), thanksgiving hymn (v17)


Justice and salvation go together here


From intensely personal to global (v7-8)


Cf. Naboth
Num 5:11-28; Dt 8:7-20; 1 Kings 8:31-32


Vivid pictures of David’s opponents: a lion, a pregnant man (!), and a digger of holes
Of God: judge and warrior (Wilcock, p35)


Wilcock: 4 chiastic stanzas: Cush / God / God / Cush (p35)


David lays out before the Lord his position (v1a), his danger (vv1b-2) and his conscience (vv3-5) (Davis, p86)


V1 – Yahweh, My God (repeated in v3) – an initial note of confidence


V1 – I take refuge in you – loyalty, trust


Cf. other supposed refuges… “Other refuge have I none” (Charles Wesley, Jesus Lover of My Soul)


Kidner says the tense shows that “while David’s preservation and deliverance were still matters for prayer (v1b), his unseen refuge was already a fact”


Vv1 & 2 – repetition of save


V2 – lion imagery


V2 – God his only hope – an argument for God to act


Vv3-4 – If, ‘im, 3x in MT


V3 – “this” – whatever his enemy is accusing him of


Dt 25:16


V3 – awel – guilt (NIV) is meanness, deception, hostility, unfaithfulness


Cf. Is 1:15; 59:3, 6


Vv3-5 – an appeal to God’s justice – of course the Psalmist cannot claim sinless perfection but he knows himself to be in the right with respect to his enemies. They are baddies and he is a goody. Their opposition is undeserved.
Cf. Job’s claim to righteousness – 1 Cor 4
Is the Psalmist at all confused about this / really questioning it or is this rhetorical?


He who is at peace with me equivalent to a close friend Ps 41:9; Jer 38:22 – cf. Judas?! – an ally?


2 Kings 7:17


Perhaps david feels slandered, misunderstood, falsely accused of bribes, treachery etc. – cf. Absalom’s smear campaign – 2 Sam 15:1-6


Cf. God’s knowledge and an illustration from the art of spying – CIA photos from 1973 in which one can make out the time on the soldiers watches (Davis, p86f)


V4 – David’s supposed betrayal of Saul?


Vv4-5 suggest a war context


V4 – solem - friend, strictly, ally – someone in a committed salom relationship


Ex 23:4f; lev 19:17f; 1 Sam 24:10f; Prov 25:21


V4b – Goldingay, “but released my watchful foe without cause” – says halas never elsewhere means to plunder – a former ally who has become a foe?


Unprincipled leniency to foes? – cf. Saul to Agag 1 Sam 15


V5 – kebodi, kabod, my glory – personal worth? – can sometimes refer to the liver or inner being, heart – cf. 4:2 / honour – 3:3


Cf. Job 31


V5 – evil as an army


V5 – Selah – Goldingay translates this “(Rise)” – Willock: an interlude for music or meditation? – a pause to read related Scriptures? (Goulder)


Vv6-11 – Kidner: breadth of vision here; concern for universal justice


V6 – God’s anger


V6 – An appeal to God’s anger against the anger of the enemies – God’s anger is the Psalmist’s hope; the attackers’ anger is the Psalmist’s threat (Goldingay)


Cf. Heb 4:13 – God as all-knowing judge – There’s no fooling him!


Cf. 5:5; 6:1


V6 – appeal to God to arise and awake – God does not sleep of course, but it can seem like he does!


V6 – God, you must have ordered a decision


God is more powerful than any enemies and he cares


Cf. Acts 17:31


V6 – repetition: arise, rise up, awake


Cf. Num 10:35-36 and Ps 3:7


V7 – MT suba, return, not seba, rule – return on high, LORD


Return to your judgement seat throne / sit as judge


Vv7-8 – an appeal to God to exercise his rule and judge, to God’s righteousness and integrity / character


A prayer for vindication, declare me in the right – judge my case and find for me, Lord


Cf. 2:8-9


V9 the hinge of the Psalm – movement from prayer to expressions of confidence and praise


V9 – The righteous God searches minds and hearts – both David and his enemies are open books to the LORD


God not grandfatherly and mildly indulgent! (Wilcock)


A court with teeth! (Wilcock)


Vv9-11: 6 descriptive phrases of God: righteous God, tester (one who searches my heart, v9), my shield, saviour, righteous judge, God who expresses his wrath


The ungodly will experience God’s sword; the repentant will benefit from his shield. It is precisely by dealing with the wicked that God delivers the innocent. We ought to be grateful for the fierceness of the Biblical God because it guarantees that eventually all will be as it ought to be (Wilcock, p37)


Chiasm:
A Tester
B Righteous
C Shield
C’ Saviour
B’ Righteous judge
A’ Indignant
(Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p132)


The confidence of a believer before God


Heb 10:19-23; 2 Tim 8:8


V9 – mind and heart, lit. hearts and kidneys, inmost being, the deepest part of a person, innards, Ps 26:5; Jer 11:20; 17:10; 20:12 – God knows the heart Jer 17:9


V10 – God as shield – cf. 3:3; 18:35 – Heb. Lit, my shield is on God


The Lord as righteous judge with the nations gathered around him a familiar image in the kingship of Yahweh Pss 95-99


V12 – God’s delay has given an opportunity for repentance


V12 – God as warrior – cf. Ps 98 – he will fight his peoples’ battles on their behalf


V12 – darak, maybe lit. he treads his bow, pulling the string with his foot


V13 - God’s lightnings like flaming arrows – Ps 18:14


Judgement inescapable and deadly. David’s predicament will be reversed.


Vv14-16 cf. Prov 26:27; 28:10


V14 – pregnancy and birth metaphor


Wickedness may be allowed a gestation period


V14 – The first verb in the verse, habal, elsewhere describes the pain and anxiety of actually giving birth. There are several roots: a common one denotes “act corruptly” or “destroy” (Goldingay).


Cf. begetting and digging – Is 51:1-2 – pregnancy and digging (hara and kara) sound like one another


Evil is fertile but futile (after Kidner)


V14 – NIV disillusionment = saqer, lie, falsehood


Cf. James 1:14f


V15 – word play in the Hebrew – wayyippol, falls, yipal, made


Falls back, yasub, the same as turns (v12)


The lion of v2 falls into the pit of v15


V15-16 – they provoke their own downfall – their plots rebound on themselves – they fall into the pit they have dug – no doubt they think themselves so very clever and well prepared – perhaps they gloat over how they will ruin their enemies, not knowing that a great downfall awaits them


Sin comes home to roost


Wrongdoing is a boomerang – Prov 26:27; Mt 26:52


God stands behind all things – no such thing as merely natural consequences but the way God has established and governs the universe


Davis p90 – an Eskimo technique of getting a wolf to lick itself to death on a knife covered in frozen blood


Cf. the cross – the innocent unjustly suffering one delivered, the evil of his persecutors will rebound on them


V16 – the abcc’b’a’ structure of the verse mirrors the reversal it describes (Goldingay)


V17 – Application: resolve to thank and praise God


Mk 7:37


V17 – the exact expression Yahweh Most High only elsewhere in 47:2


V17 – The name of the LORD most high – note in Expositor’s Bible Commentary on the Name of Yahweh (p135) – The Creator-Redeemer-King God who has revealed himself, the God of the covenant – reliable, promise-keeping, God’s people who call on him can expect his blessing and protection – God’s name recalls his perfections and mighty acts and will be praised – list of other Psalms which use The name of the Yahweh on p136


Name / character


Hope in God’s faithfulness and power


Trial / war / hunt imagery often used together (Goldingay, p152)


Isaac Watts: O bless the Lord, my soul, nor let his mercies lie / forgotten in unthankfullness, and without praises die.


Troubles à prayer àdeliverance à praise


Whether in trouble or in thankfulness, pray!Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

The Goldilocks Zone: Collected writings of Michael J. Ovey

Ministry Nuts and Bolts - Thu, 20/07/2017 - 08:12
This collection of essays and articles shows why Mike Ovey's contribution to evangelical Christianity was so widely appreciated in the UK and around the world.
Categories: Friends

Three books to make you think like Tim Keller: No. 2, To Be a Machine.

Ministry Nuts and Bolts - Wed, 19/07/2017 - 13:51
Make no mistake: this area of medical science is going to pose some new ethical questions, that our teens are probably already on the brink of asking.
Categories: Friends

Simple but not easy: the life of a pastor

Sussex Parson - Wed, 19/07/2017 - 10:03
Much of life is, on the whole, simple but not easy.

Take healthy living as an example. Eat a moderate balanced diet and exercise and so on and you can expect better health. Of course there are complications which need very deep and technical thinking about, but basically, how to look after yourself is simply stated for most people most of the time. But that does not mean it is easy! Most of us know what we ought to do, but our eating, exercising and sleeping may often not be what we know they should be.

So it is with the Christian life. Love God and love your neighbour. Now, some of the detail gets very complicated sometimes, but in outline it is very simple but not easy.

So too with the life of a pastor. Minister the Word, pray, love people, do the work of an evangelist and so on. There are a host of specific skills to learn, like how to do weddings and funerals well. And the Word and the Lord and people are inexhaustible. And sometimes there is a tricky ethical question that 35 hours of study won't really get to the bottom of. But on the whole, most of the time, it is pretty simple.

So why is it not always done? Or not always done well?

Often we know what we ought to do. And we even really believe that we should do it!

We must cry to God for his grace and mercy and the power of his Spirit.

But perhaps one other thing - one to pray for - is keeping the realities of God and heaven and hell at the front of one's mind. Life is busy and distracting. We need to consciously and repeatedly remember God and his love for sinners, his call to repentance, his sanctifying grace and the power of the Spirit and so on.

Regularly the pastor needs to re-focus on eternal realities and on the core of his vocation - not on that pile of admin, the leaky gutter, the financial issues or even the tensions between X and Y over the choice of music - important and urgent as these things might sometimes be. He must even lift his eyes from getting the next sermon adequately prepared.

God. Bible. Prayer. Love. People. Evangelism. Repeat. Something like that, anyway, maybe?Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Scripture and Supper are both

Sussex Parson - Tue, 18/07/2017 - 09:23
Scripture and Supper are both signs related to a reality. How do they refer?

If we might say that the “language” of the Supper, including the bread and wine and what is done with them, is something like metaphorical, it is worth remembering that all language and language about God in particular is analogical.

Make sense? Need developing? What footnotes might it call for I wonder?Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Psalm 12 jottings

Sussex Parson - Mon, 17/07/2017 - 18:36
I expect these will be my penultimate sabbatical Psalm of the week jottings:


Psalm 12 notes


Summary:


A cry to the LORD for help when evil and lies abound; God’s flawless promise of safety and protection despite the wicked strutting about


Uses:


When feeling isolated / lack of Christian fellowship / the ungodly seem to prevail and are confident of victory
When slander / lies abound


Key verses / possible memory verses: v6, v7


Prayer:


LORD, help, deliver and save me and all your people.
Keep me faithful when many are faithless, when it seems as if everyone is overtaken by a tide of evil.
Protect me from lies and smooth, flattering speech.
May I not be taken in by boasts or bravado.
May I not simply believe what I like to hear.
Make me discerning in the words I listen to.
And also in how I speak.
May I speak wisely, truthfully, honestly.
Keep me from seeking to use and manipulate others.
May I not put an undue confidence in my supposed eloquence or powers of persuasion.
Make me always conscious that you are my Lord, my creator, my owner;
that I owe everything to you;
That I constantly depend on you;
That I have no self-sufficiency;
That all I have is a gift.
Thank you, LORD, that you hear the prayers of your people;
That you regard the oppressed, the weak and the needy;
That you are attentive to their groaning.
Thank you that you have promised to act and bring justice.
LORD, vindicate those who are slandered.
I praise you LORD, that you are exalted above the muck and mess of this world;
That you are unsullied by it;
And yet that you care for it;
That you perfectly govern it with your infallible wisdom;
That you mean to put it to rights.
Thank you for your precious and pure words – words which are tested and proved and trustworthy.
May I prize all that you have said and be quick to resort to your word.  
Whatever the state of the world, however things appear, may I be conscious of my safety and security in you.
Grant me an everlasting confidence in you.


Outlines / structure:


Expositor’s Bible:


Lying tongues and the truthfulness of God’s Word


Prayer for deliverance (vv1-4)
Promise of the Lord (v5)
Reflection on God’s promises (v6)
Prayer for deliverance (vv7-8)


Goldingay, Baker Commentary


Vv1-2 – direct plea and lament at the life of the community
Vv3-4 – wish (jussive declarations) and lament at the life of the community
Vv5-6 – Yahweh’s word in light of the life of the community and response to that word
Vv7-8 – confidence in Yahweh, but a further reference to the depraved life of the community


Wilcock, BST:


Words of guile
Words of truth


Kidner, Tyndale:


“The easy speeches that comfort cruel men”, G. K. Chesterton, ‘O God of earth and altar’


Vv1-4: The power of propaganda
Vv5, 6: The counter-thrust of truth
Vv7-8: The war continues


Wilson, NIV application commentary


Grounds of complaint (vv1-2)
Plea for deliverance (vv3-4)
Divine response and promise (v5)
Confident expectation (vv6-7)
Reprise of complaint (v8)


Dale Ralph Davis, The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life


Spin Doctors
Where we are: A lying society (vv1-4)
What we hear: A pure word (vv5-6)
How we get on: A present paradox (vv7-8)


Motyer, Psalms by the Day devotional


The tongue of falsehood and the Word of truth


A1. Appeal to Yahweh in a collapsing society (vv1-2)
B1. The words of man, false and forceful (vv3-4)
C. Yahweh’s commitment (v5)
B2. Yahweh’s words, pure and purified (v6)
A2. Confidence in Yahweh in a mixed society (vv7-8)


Eric Lane, Focus on the Bible Series


David under pressure
Vv1-4: David brings his situation to God
V5: God answers him
Vv6-8: David responds to God’s answer


Notes:


Title:


To the choirmaster


According to sheminith – an octave / 8th – Leupold translates it “by the bases”


A Psalm Of David


Theme: various types of speech / lips / what people are saying / words – the use and abuse of words


What the Psalmist says
What the world is saying
What the LORD says


Structure of the Psalm: problem - prayer – promise – prayer - problem


Similarly Micah 7:2; Is 57:1; Elijah in 1 Kings 19:10, 14


David when persecuted by Saul (1 Sam 18; 19:9-10; 22; 26:19 – sly foes; 23 – two faced dealing with David ?) or in Absalom’s rebellion (2 Sam 15-18)?


Similar context to Ps 11? Perhaps David’s friends have now fled and he is alone (v1) – social foundations destroyed, could be considered an expansion of 11:3 – the same confidence in Yahweh as in Ps 11


Vv1-4: The many who cannot be trusted
Vv5-8: The one who can be trusted


Vv1, 8 – an inclusio of ungodliness – not an instant removal of sin


V1 – cf. Ps 69 - help, deliver, lit. save or send a saviour – a rather blunt / bold / impolite beginning – heartfelt urgency


Vv1-2 – The Psalmist feels as if he is the only godly person left
David is isolated (v1) and facing false accusations (v2)


V1: a peculiar absence – who / what isn’t there: covenant (Hasid/ hesed / faithful) man is no more – cf. Mt 5:13
V2: a social trend – what is there: empty, smooth, deceptive talk


V2 – lies = empty, cheap talk, vanity, no truth behind them, no substance / foundation, false, insincere, irresponsible – corrodes discourse if people’s word cannot be trusted – cf. his word is his bond
Flattering lips – lit. “a lip of smoothnesses” – a plural of amplitude, every sort of flattery (Motyer), smooth lips, plausible talk – nice – their words glide easily – can be addictive to the one who enjoys receiving it – dangerous – cf. Is 30:10; Jn 5:44
Deception – double talk – a double heart, lit. a heart and a heart / a mind and a mind, double minded, two-faced – cf.1 Chron 12:33; Jer 32:39 – the double talk comes from the double mind - they are not people of integrity – the speaker is afflicted too by his denial of truth, disintegrates


Cf. advertising, politics, spin


David’s prayer – vv3-4


V3 – cut off – cut off from the covenant – Gen 17:14


V3 – a boastful tongue – the tongue that speaks big things, big talk – James 3 esp. v5 which may have v3b in mind


Eugene Peterson, God’s words never bloated by boasting or distorted by flattery


Cf. Dan 7:20, 25, “mouth spoke great things”


2 Pt 2; Rev 13; 20:10


V4 – an arrogant philosophy
V4 – lips we own, our lips are with us – part of our equipment, on our side – irresponsible talk for which they do not expect to be held to account – they think they can talk their way to success
Maybe ‘et – our lips will be our blade (Goldingay) – if this is right, their words seem smooth but they are actually sharp!


Cf. Ps 36:1-4


Fake news?


From a truth-twisting society to a truth-speaking God (Davis)


Last half of v5 “those who malign them” tricky to translate – something to do with blowing / panting / longing – NRSV: I will place them in the safety for which they long – or perhaps breathe out a curse – cf. Ezek 21:31


Goldingay, v5, he witnesses to him from puah


V5 – the first time the LORD speaks in the David Collection!


The wicked say, “we will triumph” (v4), but God says, “I will arise” / shine forth (v5)


V5 – “protect” is from the same root as help / save / deliver (v1), could be put in safety


Cf. Ps 3 – taking a stand / arise / deliver language similar


Similarly God’s promises in Ps 34:22; 46:10; 94:14


V6 is an assurance about the assurance given in v5 (Davis) – Yahweh’s words can be trusted
                                                
V6 – furnace of clay – on the earth? To the earth? Of the earth? A change of letter would make it gold, “a furnace, gold purified”


Contrast vv6 and 2 – God’s sayings solid wealth against empty tokens / fake coinage


V6 – 7 representing perfection / completeness – rigorous quality control. Human words are tested and fail in this Psalm. Yahweh’s words are tested and pass – no dross, impurity, corruption in them.


The statement in v6 is of course a general truth always applicable to all of God’s words, but what difference does it make to apply them particularly to God’s words in v5? God’s justice and timing perfect and so on.


V7 – lit. the generation this, from this generation for ever?


The clear confidence of v7 seems to contrast with the present reality of v8


V8 – vile – Kidner: cheapness, worthless (Jer 15:19), shameful excess, gluttonous, Pr 23:20; Dt 21:20


V8 – zullut – worthless / trivial – they treat the valuable as worthless and the worthless as valuable and they can walk about freely, heads held high, because society shares their estimate of things


V8 – lit. when triviality is exalted for the sons of man, that is, in the estimation of people


V8 – the wicked still walking about openly, swaggering about, strutting their stuff, flaunt themselves – back to the situation of vv1-4! – outwardly nothing has changed – living by faith not by sight, with confidence that God will act decisively if not now then at the judgement day Marc Lloyd
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Three books to make you think like Tim Keller: No. 1  The World Beyond Your Head

Ministry Nuts and Bolts - Mon, 17/07/2017 - 09:18
If I said that this was the most important piece of secular philosophy I have read in a long time, you'd probably switch off.  But it is, and I want you to read it.
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Adorned for the Lord

Emmanuel Evangelical Church - Mon, 17/07/2017 - 00:00

1 Peter 3:1-7 causes confusion and perplexity for all sorts of reasons, many of which have to do with the shameless resistance of our culture to biblical teaching about marriage, male and female sexual identity, and a host of related topics.

But even for Christians who are seeking to understand what the text actually teaches (as opposed to those who are actually seeking to explain it away), some exegetical questions remain. Among them is the significance of the surprising word-group kosmos / kosmeō in vv. 3, 5, where it’s normally translated “adorning”, “adorn” or suchlike.

However, a glance at the other biblical occurrences of the term (especially in the Greek translation of the OT) quickly reveals what Peter has in mind. Here goes:

1. Imagery of holiness, especially connected with the Temple

  • 2 Ch 3:6 King Solomon adorned the house of God, the Temple, with precious stones, gold, and so on.
  • Luke 21:5 Temple was adorned
  • Esther 1:6 Description of the palace of King Ahasuerus of Persia, which is itself described in terms reminiscent of a counterfeit Temple

2. Imagery of "right-ness", especially with hints of a moral sense

  • Ecclesiastes 7:13 Translated "straighten", in the sense of "straighten out", "make things as they ought to be".
  • Mic 6:9 (LXX =/= MT) Similar to Ecc 7:13
  • Mt 12:44; 23:29; Lk 11:25 Decorate, put in order

3. Imagery combining the "Temple" and "(moral) right-ness" themes

  • Jer 4:30 "Adorn" in a negative sense, apostate Judah "adorning herself" with makeup when in fact she's a moral ruin. Significant, perhaps, for 1 Pet 3.
  • Ezek 16:11, 13 The LORD adorns his bride, Jerusalem, with gold and fine clothes and jewels etc as a gesture of love and an image of spiritual beauty
  • Ezek 23:40-41 Jerusalem and Samaria depicted as beautiful women who prostituted themselves to foreign nations
  • Tit 2:10 Godliness “adorns” the gospel
  • Rev 21:2, 19 Bride Jerusalem, holy city, “adorned" for her husband, Christ

4. Other usages

  • 1 Tim 2:9 Adorn with clothing
  • Mt 25:7 Lamps trimmed

With all these in mind, the links from “adornment” to “Temple” and thus to “holiness” become obvious. This in turn makes sense of the context in 1 Peter, with its reference to “the holy women [hagiai gunaikes]” in v. 5.

The point is that women are being urged to adorn themselves with a particular form of godliness, since in this way they become "holy women", the fulfillment of God's OT holy temple-sanctuary, the place where the Spirit of God dwells, a concrete picture of the holiness of the bride of Christ, the church.

Categories: Friends

The sacramental interpretation of Scripture

Sussex Parson - Sat, 15/07/2017 - 07:59
Once again the judicious use of The Face Book has drawn my attention to an interesting piece on the alleged sacramental nature of Scripture:

George Westhaver, The Oxford Movement’s sacramental interpretation of Scripture

Westhaver also points to interesting use of the analogy between the incarnation and Scripture - that the divine comes to us clothed in humanity, without an outward appearance of glory. Marc Lloyd
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Salvation by allegiance alone

Emmanuel Evangelical Church - Sat, 15/07/2017 - 00:00

There's an interesting introduction here to Matthew W. Bates' book Salvation by Allegiance Alone. It's a podcast interview between the author and Scot McKnight. Worth a listen.

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Help with your Hebrew, step 2

Emmanuel Evangelical Church - Sat, 15/07/2017 - 00:00

OK, so let's imagine that you've moved past the first-year level of Hebrew, so that 100 Hebrew Translation Exercises aren't going to be much help any longer

You're at the weak verb stage, which means you're at the you've-got-to-be-kidding-me-I'll-never-remember-all-that stage.

What you need is a simple way of condensing all the stuff you've learned about the crazy Hebrew verb system into three simple rules which will allow you to actually read this strange and wonderful language. Then you can read a couple of verses each day, and perhaps have a hope of arriving back at college in September without having forgotten everything you've spent two years learning.

You need the Hebrew Weak Verb Cheat Sheet.

Here's an extract from the introduction:

Lots of theological students find weak verbs a bit baffling. Way back in the day, I was one of them. James Robson, our lecturer at that time, was (and is) an utterly outstanding teacher, and produced dozens of full-colour sheets designed to help us chart a course through the minefield of weak verb paradigms. Some of my fellow-students even managed to learn them. Yikes - there were some smart folks in that class. But not everyone has the neck muscles to support the planet-sized brain necessary to memorize all that stuff.

Fortunately, it turns out that there’s an easier way. If you think about it, you don’t actually need to learn all of the rules for forming Hebrew verbs if your only aim is to translate from Hebrew to English. The range of possible meanings for any given verb is constrained both by the root letters that remain and by the context. This means that if you have a good grasp of Hebrew vocabulary, and if you’re sufficiently experienced at actually reading the Hebrew Bible to have a reasonable idea of the context, then a few simple rules will enable you to identify the root letters of almost every weak verb in the Hebrew Bible. You won’t impress your purist friends, but you should at least pass the exam, and you might even find yourself able to read the Hebrew Bible. Now there’s a neat idea.


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Figural practice as a five-fold movement

The Hadley Rectory - Fri, 14/07/2017 - 22:19
From Ephraim Radner, Figural exegesis and the Anglican tradition
Figural practice can be imaginatively described as a five-fold movement: sowing, tending, gathering, sorting, and enjoying. There is nothing inevitable about this imaginative framework, of course, although it does have the advantage of having some scriptural resonance. In sowing, a biblical word is cast into the soil of the Scriptures and allowed to resonate, collide, scrape, and wander. In tending, there is a deliberate effort to let this seed do its resonating work — time, prayer, reflection, study. In gathering, the reader (ultimately the Church) consciously collates the accumulated connections and associations the original word or words have taken on. These become a fund or treasury, and at this point are most clearly given over to documentation. With sorting we come to the articulated effort to make sense of this collation. This is the stage we associate with theology or homiletics, dogmatics or controversy. Finally, in scriptural delight, the reader (and Church) turns all this work to God, and returns to prayer, considering the nurture the word has offered, and praising its speaker and person.
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Figural Reading in the Anglican Tradition

The Hadley Rectory - Fri, 14/07/2017 - 21:53
The Living Church website recently run a series on Figural Reading in the Anglican Tradition. It consisted of the following posts published between 14 March and 20 June 2017:Introductory essay by David Ney, “The bare reading of Scripture and Anglican hermeneutics
First, I will suggest that being a community gathered around the Word of God is central to Anglican identity. Second, I will argue that, historically, to speak of Anglicanism as a community gathered around the Word is to speak of the prayer book tradition and the way it orders the communal reception of God’s Word. Finally, I will suggest that this ordered reception breeds a particular response to Scripture: the prayer book’s juxtaposition of “bare” Scriptural texts commends figural reading.David Mason Barr, The accessible Word in Anglicanism: Tyndale and Scripture’s figuresNate Wall, ‘Interpret thine own work’: Figural reading with George Herbert and John DonneJeff Boldt, The Anglican approach to Christian apologetics: Joseph Butler’s biblical cosmosDavid Ney, William Jones: Scripture makes the world speakDane Neufeld, Defending the complex witness of Scripture: Henry Mansel (1820-71)George Westhaver, Spiritual renewal, Scripture, and the Oxford Movement: The vision of GodGeorge Westhaver, The Oxford Movement’s sacramental interpretation of ScriptureGeorge Westhaver, Oxford Movement exegesis and sacramental ontologyCole Hartin, The ‘fitness’ of Scripture: Richard Chenevix TrenchJeff Boldt, Lionel S. Thornton: The 20th century’s lonely figural readerJeff Boldt, Lionel S. Thornton and Scripture as ‘the divine mind’Ephraim Radner, Figural exegesis and the Anglican tradition

From the final essay:
The different articles have emphasized that the individual interpreters had their unique approaches to figural interpretation, but they all approached their craft from a particular standpoint: As members of the prayer book tradition they received the “allness” of Scripture, and their particular figural practices therefore must be seen as particular responses to this allness. In this final post, I will suggest that these figural practices are far more than merely idiosyncratic responses to Scripture’s breadth. These practices help us to see that, for Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike, the Christian interpretation of Scripture has little to do with the division between subject and object that modern critical studies take for granted. Instead, Christian readers are drawn into the Scriptures, unveiled for who they are, and, through the integrative reach of the divine Word, transformed. When pursued in common, the figural interpretation of the Bible finally refashions and transfigures the Church as a whole.
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Help with your Hebrew, step 1

Emmanuel Evangelical Church - Fri, 14/07/2017 - 00:00

It's the time of year when theological students have finished their exams and have a few months to forget everything they've learned since September. And the first thing to disappear from the mind of the average student is the large stack of Hebrew vocabulary and grammar that they've spent the last nine months stuffing into their aching brain.

Actually, let's be honest, it never really stuck in the first place, did it?

Don't worry - all is not lost.

Wouldn't it be great if you could get to the start of next semester better at Hebrew than you were just before your end-of-year exams?

Well, it's all now possible with the help of 100 Hebrew Translation Exercises.

100 Hebrew Translation Exercises contains 100 short texts from the Hebrew Old Testament, together with English translations, footnotes to help with unusual or irregular phrases, and a vocabulary list.

So, now you have no excuse.

Enjoy.

Categories: Friends

Calls to worship

Emmanuel Evangelical Church - Fri, 14/07/2017 - 00:00

I was reading through Robert I. Vasholz's excellent book Calls to Worship, which prompted me to look again at the liturgical responses we use at the start of our services at Emmanuel. With the help of Vasholz, we now have a set of ten call-and-response elements which feature as part (not all) of the "Call to Worship" portion of our liturgy. We'll be cycling through them on successive weeks. Just on the off-chance that they're useful to anyone else, here they are:

Ezekiel 37:12, 14

Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I will open your graves
and raise you to new life, O my people.
And I will put my Spirit within you,
and you shall live.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD;
I have spoken, and I will do it,’ declares the LORD.

 

Isaiah 60:1-2

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.

 

Psalm 33:20–22

Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

 

Ps 106

Save us, O LORD our God,
And gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
and glory in your praise.
Blessed be the LORD our God,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Praise the LORD!

 

Psalm 118:19; Zechariah 8:21

The LORD has opened the gates of righteousness,
that we may enter through them
and give thanks to his name.
Let us seek the favour of the LORD,
and rejoice in his goodness!

 

Isaiah 55:1-3, 6

“Come, everyone who is thirsty,
come to the waters,” declares the LORD.
“Incline your ear, listen diligently to me,
draw near to me, that your soul may live!”
Let us seek the LORD while he may be found,
and call upon him while he is near!

 

Psalm 30:3–4, 12

Sing praises to the LORD, all you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name,
for he has brought you up from the grave,
and spared your life from the pit!
O LORD our God,
we will give thanks to you for ever!

 

Psalm 29:1–2, 11

Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength,
ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name;
worship the LORD in the splendour of holiness!
May the LORD give strength to his people;
May the LORD bless his people with peace!

 

Psalm 50:1, 5, 15

The Mighty One, God the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth:
“Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
Let us call upon the LORD;
he will deliver us, and we will glorify him!

 

Psalm 66:1–4

Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
Awesome are his deeds, and great is his power,
all the earth will worship him and sing praise to his name!

 

Categories: Friends

Scripture's Language

Sussex Parson - Thu, 13/07/2017 - 12:02
The ‘Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy’ (International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, 1978) which is available with bibliographical information at: http://www.bible-researcher.com/chicago1.html remains helpful in clarifying the doctrine of inerrancy and its limits. E.g. it does not commit one to literalistic interpretation nor to assuming that the Bible always speaks with technical precision or strict accuracy (e.g. it may contain round numbers or phenomenological descriptions).

Interestingly, Calvin noted that God sometimes speaks to us in the language of everyday appearance not of scientific exactness. In his sermon on Job 9:7f, he says: "God speaketh unto us of these things, [the planets and stars] according to our perceying of them, and not according as they be."

Sermons on Job, 157 quoted in Helm, Calvin's Ideas, 187.
Marc Lloyd
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