My Soul Waits

 

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

Psalm 130:5 ESV

I wait for the Lord,…. For his gracious presence and the light of his countenance, being in darkness, as well as in the deep; for his salvation and deliverance out of the depths of distress; for an answer of prayer, having cried unto him for application of pardoning grace he had some view and hopes of; and for the performance of promises the Lord had made to him; and for eternal glory and happiness: all which are to be patiently and quietly waited for, God having his set time to do them; and may be confidently expected, since he is gracious and merciful, wise and powerful, faithful and immutable. David might also be waiting for the coming of Christ, as all the Old Testament saints did; through whom all the above are enjoyed;

my soul waits; which shows that this was not mere bodily service or waiting upon God and for him in an external way; but expresses the intenseness of his mind, the earnest desires of his heart after God, his affection for him, and the exercise of all other graces on him; his whole soul, and all the powers of it, were engaged in this work.

and in his word I hope: both in his essential Word the Messiah, who was the Hope of Israel as well as the Saviour of them; the object, ground, and foundation of hope, of all blessings, of grace and of glory: and in his word of promise concerning the coming of Christ, and salvation by him; concerning the pardon of sin through him, and eternal life by him; as well as in many other special and particular promises made to David, concerning himself, his family, and his kingdom. Arama and Kimchi interpret it of the promise of deliverance from captivity made to the Jews.

Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!

Till next steps made plain shall be;

To hear, with the inner hearing,

The Voice that will call for me.

.

Waiting! Yes, quietly waiting!

No need for an anxious dread;

Shall He not assuredly guide me,

Who giveth me daily bread?

.

Waiting! Yes, hopefully waiting!

With hope that needn’t grow dim;

The Master is pledged to guide me,

And my eyes are unto Him.

.

Waiting! Yes, expectantly waiting!

Perhaps it may be today

The Master will quickly open

The gate to my future way.

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Waiting! Yes, trustfully waiting!

I know, though I’ve waited long,

That, while He withholds His purpose,

His waiting cannot be wrong.

.

Waiting! Yes, waiting, Still waiting!

The Master will not be late;

He knoweth that I am waiting

For Him to unlatch the gate.

—J. D. Smith

Source: Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

PROPHETS: GOD SENT MESSENGERS TO DECLARE HIS WILL

 

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

Here we are continuing our discussion on J.I. Packer’s Concise Theology.

Understanding basic theological truths is important in the life of the believer. Again I reiterate what J.I Packer says,

theology is for doxology and devotion—that is, the praise of God and the practice of godliness. “

PROPHETS

GOD SENT MESSENGERS TO DECLARE HIS WILL

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.

DEUTERONOMY 18:18

The canonical prophets, whose books make up over a quarter of the Old Testament, were called by God to be organs and channels of revelation. They were men of God who stood in his council (Jer. 23:22), knew his mind, and were enabled to declare it. God the Holy Spirit spoke in and through them (2 Pet. 1:19-21; Isa. 61:1; Mic. 3:8; Acts 28:25-27; 1 Pet. 1:10-12). They knew he was doing so; hence they dared to start messages with “this is what the Lord says” or “an oracle of the Lord,” and to present Yahweh himself as the speaker of what they were saying.

Prophecy involved prediction (foretelling), but usually this was done in a context of declaring God’s warnings and exhortations to his covenant people here and now (forth-telling). The predictions had to do with the coming of God’s king and kingdom after purging judgments; the prophets’ chief concern was to exhort to repentance, in hope that for the present the judgments might be averted. They were primarily reformers, enforcing God’s law and recalling God’s people to the covenant faithfulness from which they should never have lapsed.

With their preaching to the nation went prayer for the nation: they talked to God about people just as earnestly as they talked to people about God, and they fulfilled a unique ministry as intercessors (Exod. 32:30-32 [Moses]; 1 Sam. 7:5-9; 12:19-23 [Samuel]; 2 Kings 19:4 [Isaiah]; cf. Jer. 7:16; 11:14; 14:11).

False prophets were a bane to Israel. Professionally linked with Israel’s organized worship, they said what people wanted to hear and spoke their own dreams and opinions rather than words of God (1 Kings 22:1-28; Jer. 23:9-40; Ezek. 13).

In the New Testament, one book, Revelation, announces itself as a true and trustworthy prophecy, received directly from God (actually, from God the Father through Jesus Christ: Rev. 1:1-3; 22:12-20). The ministry of the apostles brought instruction directly from God to his people, just as the Old Testament prophetic ministry had done, though the form of presentation was different. Prophets of the New Testament period were linked with the apostles in the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20; 3:5) as expositors of the fulfillment in Christ of Old Testament hopes (Rom. 16:25-27). The book of Hebrews may well be an example of this kind of prophetic ministry.

Source: Packer, J. I. Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993.

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Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

WORSHIP: GOD GIVES A LITURGICAL PATTERN

 

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

Here we are continuing our discussion on J.I. Packer’s Concise Theology.

Understanding basic theological truths is important in the life of the believer. Again I reiterate what J.I Packer says,

theology is for doxology and devotion—that is, the praise of God and the practice of godliness. “

WORSHIP

GOD GIVES A LITURGICAL PATTERN

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.…

PSALM 95:6-7

Worship in the Bible is the due response of rational creatures to the self-revelation of their Creator. It is an honoring and glorifying of God by gratefully offering back to him all the good gifts, and all the knowledge of his greatness and graciousness, that he has given. It involves praising him for what he is, thanking him for what he has done, desiring him to get himself more glory by further acts of mercy, judgment, and power, and trusting him with our concern for our own and others’ future well-being. Moods of awestruck wonder and grateful celebration are all part of it: David danced with passionate zeal “before the Lord” when he brought up the ark to Jerusalem, and sat in humble amazement “before the Lord” when he was promised a dynasty, and his worship evidently pleased God on both occasions (2 Sam. 6:14-16; 7:18). Learning from God is worship too: attention to his word of instruction honors him; inattention is an insult. Acceptable worship requires “clean hands and a pure heart” (Ps. 24:4) and a willingness to express one’s devotion in works of service as well as in words of adoration.

The basis of worship is the covenant relationship whereby God has bound himself to those whom he has saved and claimed. This was true of Old Testament worship as it is now of Christian worship. The spirit of covenant worship, as the Old Testament models it, is a blend of awe and joy at the privilege of drawing near to the mighty Creator with radical self-humbling and honest confession of sin, folly, and need. Since God is holy and we humans are faulty, it must ever be so in this world. As worship will be central in the life of heaven (Rev. 4:8-11, 5:9-14; 7:9-17; 11:15-18; 15:2-4; 19:1-10), so it must be central in the life of the church on earth, and it should already be the main activity, both private and corporate, in each believer’s life (Col. 3:17).

In the Mosaic legislation, God gave his covenant people a full pattern for their worship. All the elements of true worship were included in it, though some of them were typical, pointing forward to Christ and ceasing to be valid after he came. In the book of Psalms, hymns and prayers for use in Israel’s worship were provided. Christians rightly use these in worship today, making mental adjustments when the reference is to typical features of the Old Testament dispensation of God’s covenant—Israel’s earthly king, kingdom, enemies, battles, and experiences of prosperity, impoverishment, and divine discipline, plus what was typical in the Jewish worship pattern.

The main features in the liturgical pattern that God gave to Israel were as follows:

(a) The sabbath, each seventh day following six days for labor: a holy day of rest, to be observed as a memorial of Creation (Gen. 2:3; Exod. 20:8-11) and redemption (Deut. 5:12-15). God insisted on sabbath-keeping (Exod. 16:21-30; 20:8-9; 31:12-17; 34:21; 35:1-3; Lev. 19:3, 30; 23:3; cf. Isa. 58:13-14) and made sabbath-breaking a capital offense (Exod. 31:14; Num. 15:32-36).

(b) Three annual national feasts (Exod. 23:14-17; 34:23; Deut. 16:16) in which the people gathered in God’s sanctuary to offer sacrifices celebrating his bounty, to seek and acknowledge reconciliation and fellowship with him, and to eat and drink together as an expression of joy. The feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread, held on the fourteenth day of the first month, commemorated the Exodus (Exod. 12; Lev. 23:5-8; Num. 28:16-25; Deut. 16:1-8); the Feast of Weeks, also called the Feast of Harvest and the Day of Firstfruits, marked the end of the grain harvest, and was held fifty days after the sabbath that began Passover (Exod. 23:16; 34:22; Lev. 23:15-22; Num. 28:26-31; Deut. 16:9-12); and the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths, also called the Feast of Ingathering, held from the fifteenth to the twenty-second day of the seventh month, celebrated the end of the agricultural year, as well as being a reminder of how God led Israel through the desert (Lev. 23:39-43; Num. 29:12-38; Deut. 16:13-15).

(c) The Day of Atonement, held on the tenth day of the seventh month, when the high priest took blood into the central shrine of the sanctuary to atone for Israel’s sins during the previous year, and the scapegoat went into the desert as a sign that those sins were now gone (Lev. 16).

(d) The regular sacrificial system, involving daily and monthly burnt offerings (Num. 28:1-15) plus a variety of personal sacrifices, the common features of which were that anything offered must be flawless and that, when an animal was offered, its blood must be poured out on the altar of burnt offering to make atonement (Lev. 17:11).

Rituals of personal purification (Lev. 12–15; Num. 19) and devotion (e.g., consecration of the firstborn, Exod. 13:1-16) were also part of the God-given pattern.

Under the new covenant, in which Old Testament types give way to their antitypes, Christ’s priesthood, sacrifice, and intercession supersede the entire Mosaic system for putting away sin (Heb. 7–10); baptism (Matt. 28:19) and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:23-26) replace circumcision (Gal. 2:3-5; 6:12-16) and Passover (1 Cor. 5:7-8); the Jewish festal calendar no longer binds (Gal. 4:10; Col. 2:16); notions of ceremonial defilement and purification, imposed by God to enforce awareness that some things cut one off from God, cease to apply (Mark 7:19; 1 Tim. 4:3-4); the sabbath is renewed with a casuistry of doing good rather than doing nothing (Luke 13:10-16; 14:1-6), and re-counted, on the basis of one-plus-six rather than six-plus-one. It seems clear that the apostles taught Christians to worship on the first day of the week, the day of Jesus’ resurrection, “the Lord’s day” (Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10), treating it as the Christian sabbath. These changes were momentous, but the pattern of praise, thanks, desire, trust, purity, and service, which constitutes true worship, continues unchanged to this day.

Source: Packer, J. I. Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993.

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Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

LAW: GOD LEGISLATES, AND DEMANDS OBEDIENCE

 

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

Here we are continuing our discussion on J.I. Packer’s Concise Theology.

Understanding basic theological truths is important in the life of the believer. Again I reiterate what J.I Packer says,

theology is for doxology and devotion—that is, the praise of God and the practice of godliness. “

LAW

GOD LEGISLATES,
AND DEMANDS OBEDIENCE

Moses summoned all Israel and said: Hear, O Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them.

DEUTERONOMY 5:1

Man was not created autonomous, that is, free to be a law to himself, but theonomous, that is, bound to keep the law of his Maker. This was no hardship, for God had so constructed him that grateful obedience would have brought him highest happiness; duty and delight would have coincided, as they did in Jesus (John 4:34; cf. Pss. 112:1; 119:14, 16, 47-48, 97-113, 127-128, 163-167). The fallen human heart dislikes God’s law, both because it is a law and because it is God’s; those who know Christ, however, find not only that they love the law and want to keep it, out of gratitude for grace (Rom. 7:18-22; 12:1-2), but also that the Holy Spirit leads them into a degree of obedience, starting with the heart, that was never there before (Rom. 7:6; 8:4-6; Heb. 10:16).

God’s moral law is abundantly set forth in Scripture, the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments), other Mosaic statutes, sermons by the prophets, the teaching of Jesus, and the New Testament letters. It reflects his holy character and his purposes for created human beings. God commands the behavior that he loves to see and forbids that which offends him. Jesus summarizes the moral law in the two great commandments, love your God and love your neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40), on which, he says, all the Old Testament moral instructions “hang” (depend). The moral teaching of Christ and his apostles is the old law deepened and reapplied to new circumstances—life in the kingdom of God, where the Savior reigns, and in the post-Pentecost era of the Spirit, where God’s people are called to live heaven’s life among themselves and to be God’s counterculture in the world.

Biblical law is of various sorts. Moral laws command personal and community behavior that is always our duty. The political laws of the Old Testament applied principles of the moral law to Israel’s national situation when Israel was a church-state, God’s people on earth. The Old Testament laws about ceremonial purity, diet, and sacrifice were temporary enactments for instructional purposes which the New Testament cancels (Matt. 15:20; Mark 7:15-19; 1 Tim. 4:3-5; Heb. 10:1-14, 13:9-10) because their symbolic meaning had been fulfilled. The juxtaposing of moral, judicial, and ritual law in the Mosaic books carried the message that life under God is to be seen and lived not compartmentally but as a many-sided unity, and also that God’s authority as legislator gave equal force to the entire code. However, the laws were of different kinds, with different purposes, and the political and ceremonial laws were of limited application, and it seems clear both from the immediate context and from the rest of his teaching that Jesus’ affirmation of the unchanging universal force of God’s law relates to the moral law as such (Matt. 5:17-19; cf. Luke 16:16-17).

God requires the total obedience of each total person to the total implications of his law as given. It binds “the whole man … unto entire obedience for ever”; “it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul as well as the words, works, and gestures” (in other words, desiring must be right as well as doings, and Pharisaic externality is not enough: Matt. 15:7-8; 23:25-28); and the corollaries of the law are part of its content—“where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded” (Westminster Larger Catechism Q.99).

Source: Packer, J. I. Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993.

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Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

SATAN: FALLEN ANGELS HAVE A LEADER

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

Here we are continuing our discussion on J.I. Packer’s Concise Theology.

Understanding basic theological truths is important in the life of the believer. Again I reiterate what J.I Packer says,

theology is for doxology and devotion—that is, the praise of God and the practice of godliness. “

SATAN

FALLEN ANGELS HAVE A LEADER

One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord,
and Satan also came with them.

JOB 1:6

Satan, leader of the fallen angels, comes like them into full view only in the New Testament. His name means “adversary” (opponent of God and his people), and the Old Testament introduces him as such (1 Chron. 21:1; Job 1-2; Zech. 3:1-2). The New Testament gives him revealing titles: “devil” (diabolos) means accuser (i.e., of God’s people: Rev. 12:9-10); “Apollyon” (Rev. 9:11) means destroyer; “the tempter” (Matt. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5) and “the evil one” (1 John 5:18-19) mean what they say; “prince” and “god of this world” point to Satan as presiding over mankind’s anti-God life-styles (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; cf. Eph. 2:2; 1 John 5:19; Rev. 12:9). Jesus said that Satan was always a murderer and is the father of lies—that is, he is both the original liar and the sponsor of all subsequent falsehood and deceits (John 8:44). Finally, he is identified as the serpent who fooled Eve in Eden (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). The picture is one of unimaginable meanness, malice, fury, and cruelty directed against God, against God’s truth, and against those to whom God has extended his saving love.

Satan’s deceptive cunning is highlighted by Paul’s statement that he becomes an angel of light, disguising evil as good (2 Cor. 11:14). His destructive ferocity comes out in the description of him as a roaring, devouring lion (1 Pet. 5:8) and as a dragon (Rev. 12:9). As he was Christ’s sworn foe (Matt. 4:1-11; 16:23; Luke 4:13; John 14:30; cf. Luke 22:3, 53), so now he is the Christian’s, always probing for weaknesses, misdirecting strengths, and undermining faith, hope, and character (Luke 22:32; 2 Cor. 2:11; 11:3-15; Eph. 6:16). He should be taken seriously, for malice and cunning make him fearsome; yet not so seriously as to provoke abject terror of him, for he is a beaten enemy. Satan is stronger than we are, but Christ has triumphed over Satan (Matt. 12:29), and Christians will triumph over him too if they resist him with the resources that Christ supplies (Eph. 6:10-13; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:9-10). “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Acknowledging Satan’s reality, taking his opposition seriously, noting his strategy (anything, provided it be not biblical Christianity), and reckoning on always being at war with him—this is not a lapse into a dualistic concept of two gods, one good, one evil, fighting it out. Satan is a creature, superhuman but not divine; he has much knowledge and power, but he is neither omniscient nor omnipotent; he can move around in ways that humans cannot, but he is not omnipresent; and he is an already defeated rebel, having no more power than God allows him and being destined for the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).

Source: Packer, J. I. Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993.

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Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez