Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Even the Wrath of Man Shall Praise Thee

Even the wrath of man shall praise thee” (Cantus Christi version of Psalm 76:10a), that’s an interesting phrase – what are we singing?

Matthew Henry tells us that these are words of comfort to the believer, He writes, We live in a very angry provoking world; we often feel much, and are apt to fear more, from the wrath of man, which seems boundless. But this is verse is a great comfort to us, for as far as God permits the wrath of man to break forth at any time he will make it turn to his praise, will bring honour to himself and serve his own purposes by it: Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, not only by the checks given to it, when it shall be forced to confess its own impotency, but even by the liberty given to it for a time. The hardships which God’s people suffer by the wrath of their enemies are made to redound to the glory of God and his grace; and the more the heathen rage and plot against the Lord and his anointed the more will God be praised for setting his King upon his holy hill of Zion in spite of them, Ps. 2:1, 6…

He continues - Men must never permit sin, because they cannot check it when they will; but God can. He can set bounds to the wrath of man, as he does to the raging sea. Hitherto it shall come and no further; here shall its proud waves be stayed. God restrained the remainder of Sennacherib’s rage, for he put a hook in his nose and a bridle in his jaws (Isa. 37:29).

We live in a world full of sin, full of terror and terrible events. But even this wrath of man shall praise God and so we gather to sing His praise. We often do not know how such vile events and catastrophes will turn out for good – what we do know because we are promised is that they will.

We must believe this and worship accordingly – and we must worship that we might believe this at ever deepening levels. God is God and that means He is God over this sorry world – controlling the affairs of every nation and every household. More wonderful, God knows every storm, every trial, every test in your life right this minute – and He has a hook in its nose – it will go no further than where He says, “stay – here – and no further” And then, He will manifest His praise in and through it as He vindicates you, relieves you, renews with you, and even when He raises you up at the last day.

Love Never Fails

(This was my Call to Worship Exhortation on Feb 13th, the day before Valentine's Day)

Valentines Day is tomorrow – and so listen again to what love is – and Who love is –

Jesus said, John 15:9-17 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

Paul later defines true love – he writes, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails…

That is why God has summoned You, His people, brothers and sisters in Christ, to come before His presence with thanksgiving and joy. Love never fails – and God is love. He has never failed. He never will. He accomplishes all that He intends through and in His love – the Father’s love for the Son, the Son’s love for the Father, the Sending of that Love in the Holy Spirit who causes us to live and love in the abiding love of the Triune God – and therefore to love one another in other-worldly ways – ways that should not make sense to the rest of the world – but they do to those who know the love of God. Far beyond the sentimental Hallmark moment of Valentine’s Day – Jesus commands you in His name and in the power of His Holy Spirit – love one another – as I have loved you.