(This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I didn’t get to it…)
A PSALM. A SONG FOR THE SABBATH.
1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 2 to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night, 3 to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.
4 For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
5 How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep!
6 The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: 7 that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; 8 but you, O LORD, are on high forever. 9 For behold, your enemies, O LORD, for behold, your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered.
10 But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me fresh oil. 11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.
12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, 15 to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
(The second to last photo is of a portrait I drew of Francis Schaeffer…)
The other day a storm passed through: Dark, breathtaking, ominous, and beautiful. The wind whipped, the clouds billowed and boiled, yet it passed over us, doing no harm.
I take unutterable delight is witnessing “the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.” (Isaiah 35:2c) displayed through His providential power in creation…
Though storms come and go, some lasting and some brief, it is an unspeakable comfort to know that whether we stand, or fall, whether we live through it, or die, whether we are able to see the beautiful and breathtaking moments of God’s glory, or limited by our frailty see only darkness and fear, it is our comfort to know that we “shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.” And that the LORD our Strength does indeed despite our frailty, “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.” God commands, “Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.'” (Isaiah 35:2c-4)
Though being bold and fearless is much easier spoken about then fulfilled, God to His Church, to His Children, gives this commission to live out daily, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) What command could be more clearly spoken and more intimidating? Yet what promise of the LORD’s strength and presence could be sweeter?
And remember, not an ounce of this strength comes from our own bosom, for as Jesus reminds us in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (emphasis added)
It has recently been much impressed upon me how we, even we as children of the Most High–the God of Creation–are absolutely helpless and empty. Every grace is His, He is the source of our every good word and work, He truly is all that we have, without Him we literally have nothing. No salvation, sanctification, grace, mercy, love, physical strength, mental strength, nothing, not even life itself.
Empty vessels indeed!
Yet so often we act and think as though we could and do somehow fill ourselves just a little bit….But no, we are empty, parched and dead clay. Even in our sanctification it is still all of His power. Any fullness we have is of God, and any good thing that consequently proceeds from us is also of God. For we cannot give what is not first given.
In the life of His saints, God is, and literally must be, All in All, Alpha and Omega, The First and The Last.
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2)
I need to be reminded of this just as much as anyone, so let us take a moment to remember–to truly remember (not just recall to mind and promptly forget again), our utter dependence, even as those being sanctified, upon the God of our Salvation.
Non nobis Domine, sed nomini, tu o da gloriam!
(Not unto us O LORD, but to Your name may all the glory be!)