Monday, April 25, 2011

Meditations from the Psalms: Twitter Feed Explanations

#ResurrectionMeditation 1/7: Psalm 8 He is most glorified at the cross (humility) and is given a name above every name (exaltation)

Imagine the most beautiful sight you have seen, the northern lights, the Grand Canyon, Angel Falls, or any other of the spectacular portions of His creation. God has given Him a name that is far more glorious and beautiful than any of it or all of it combined.

Psalm 8 is quoted by Christ, when the Pharisees had to try and get Jesus to silence the kids who were singing Psalm 118 to Him, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." Jesus points to this Psalm as if to say, the kids have it right.

Unless you have the faith of a child, you will never understand the truth that God was most glorified in the humble obedience of Christ on the cross. There, every character attribute of God was on full display, and because of His humility, He is given a name which is above every name. It is this name that all will, willingly or unwillingly and sooner or later, bow and worship.

#ResurrectionMeditation 2/7: Psalm 22 - The Crucifixion described, Call to sinners, and the Gospel proclaimed to every generation

Psalm 22 provides us a window into the crucifixion, as Jesus cried, "My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?" The truth is that He was forsaken, so that we do not have to be forsaken. He was bruised and broken so that all, both rich and poor, can be invited to come, eat, and be satisfied in Him.

One generation will hear and come to Him, and they will declare it to the next generation. This will continue as we, who believe, repeat the gospel of Christ. We proclaim, "He has done it." It was fulfilled and accomplished.

#ResurrectionMeditation 3/7: Psalm 69 - Betrayal and False accusations; the humble will see the glory of the cross; the others...not so much

For a closer look beyond the physical suffering of the Messiah, we turn to Psalm 69. There we see the inner suffering of the Messiah, as He prays for those who believed Him, that they would not be ashamed. He was suffering for wrongs He did not commit, betrayed, mocked, and falsely accused. He cleansed the Temple and accepted the identification of Himself as the Messiah, the Son of David.

The crowd mocked Him, whom God had stricken. They were insensible to the fact that He was suffering for their crimes and not His own, but He took those sins to Himself and owned them as His own sins. There are two kinds of people who view the crucifixion and each displays a different response to this event. Then each is addressed by God in return.

One group joins in the mockery and even participates in the crucifixion. In response, we read the imprecatory prayers of the Messiah. He prays that those participating in His suffering would have their names blotted out of the book of the living, that they would not be counted among the righteous. He prays that God's wrath will come down upon them, and lest we miss the significance of this event, we must realize that every sinner is a participant in His crucifixion.

He bore the rod of God's wrath for the sake of those whose sins He bore! The second group are the humble, who see the suffering of the Messiah and are glad. They see the glory of God that Christ displayed on the cross, and they are sensible that this was the Just One suffering for the unjust. They will humble themselves and seek the Lord; they will praise God and glorify Him for His restoring grace!

#ResurrectionMeditation 4/7: Psalm 2 - The Resurrected Son's warning to the rebels: serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling

Psalm 2 describes a tumult of rebellion, with unified kingdoms, possibly even including God's people. They unite together to throw off the rule of God and His Messiah. This doesn't warrant much of a response from God, since He doesn't even stand up. Instead, He speaks, and what He says will terrify those who hear it.

He says, "I have set my King on my Holy Hill of Zion." Upon first consideration, it might seem that having a king enthroned is the point, but that could hardly terrify the rebels, since they are already rebelling against His rule. It isn't that there is a king that is significant, it is where The King is enthroned - the temple mount!

No king of Israel has ever been enthroned there. It is the dwelling place of God, and only the High Priest even has access. That means that the king spoken of in this Psalm is also a priest, and He is divine. Now that would be enough to terrify the rebels. They were thinking of this king as a mere man, who could be destroyed.

In fact, this is what happened, the rulers of the known world, the Romans and the Jews together took steps to destroy the rightful heir of the throne, and it seemed as if they had succeeded when they crucified Him. After the resurrection, the Messiah speaks to the rebels and tells them what the Father had decreed.

He is the Son, and the Father has given the whole earth to Him, with its inhabitants. When they thought they were destroying Him, He was really being chastened in their place, and the divine rod of God's wrath against ungodliness was applied to Him. When the Father declares that He is the heir of all things, He says, "You will break them with a rod of iron."

This is the rod of wrath, turned on the rebels, and there can be no escape from this divine priest/king. The only safe place is to reconcile with the Son before his wrath is kindled (even a little). They are urged to serve the Lord, submitting to His rule with fear, and they are encouraged to rejoice, with the joy of ones who have been spared a well-deserved judgement. All who trust in God are blessed!

#ResurrectionMeditation 5/7: Psalm 16 - The resurrected life of perfect trust, modeled by the Messiah and leading to fullness of joy

We discover, in Psalm 16, that the Messiah (the Holy One) may be placed in the grave, but His body won't even be in the ground long enough to decay. Instead, the perfect example of godly humanity shows us the path of life, leading to the only place where eternal pleasure can be found - with God.

This Psalm sketches the life of one who lives, fully trusting and treasuring God. God is his choice portion and with Him, his future inheritance is secure. He loves all of those who are set apart to God, and He rejects all association and participation with those who follow other gods. He learns from God and rests in hope.

Because the Lord is before him, as the goal of his life and because the Lord is with him, providing stability, he has perfect confidence that death itself cannot shake. The Messiah was the firstborn from the dead, and He paved the way by living in this perfect trust and being obedient to death. He rose from the grave and gave us the hope that we can follow in His steps all the way to finding our greatest joy, eternally in the presence of God.

#ResurrectionMeditation 6/7: Psalm 110 - The exalted priest and king, with his holy subjects following Him, goes forth to conquer

Psalm 110 describes what happens when the Messiah, who is now seated at the Father's right hand, will be sent forth to conquer those who stand together in one final rebellion. To this point He has ruled His people, who dwell in the midst of His enemies, but now, they are living offerings, following Him into the final battle, where He will put down every enemy, even death itself will be finally cast away forever.

He is both the King and Priest, hinted at in Psalm 2, and now fully revealed in all His glory. None can stand in rebellion and many are destroyed. He will judge the world in righteousness, with the rod of His wrath, and who can stand in the day of His coming?

#ResurrectionMeditation 7/7: Psalm 118 - the conquering king's coronation, "I will not die but live and declare the works of the Lord"

After the final battle, the processional heads to Jerusalem, singing Psalms that re-tell the story of His deliverance and the mighty acts, from Sinai to the Cross. The final song is Psalm 118, where the crescendo of voices sing, "His mercy endures forever!" But this gives way to the solo voice of the Messiah, singing about His victory.

He tells of the chastening that He endured; He describes the nations surrounding Him and seeking His life; and   He proclaims, "I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord." Then He cries out to open the gates of Righteousness to Him; He will enter in, for He is the Righteous One!

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it! HOSANNA!!! Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.

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