Skip to comments.Lent and Beyond: Lenten Meditations, continued: Drinking at the White Horse Inn
Posted on 03/09/2006 8:40:39 AM PST by sionnsar
Next in the outstanding Lenten meditations series from Lent and Beyond is Being Molded by the Scriptures by David Ould of the Drinking at the White Horse Inn blog. David has made quite an impression on me, and if you read this meditation, I think you will see why.
9 March 2006
Todays Revised Common Lectionary reading is the second half of Psalm 19, vv7-14. But in order to understand Davids message lets look at the whole Psalm.
Psalm 19:1 TO THE CHOIRMASTER. A PSALM OF DAVID. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 4 Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
The heavens declare the glory of God. Its hard to deny, isnt it, when standing upon a mountain peak or when looking out at the starry sky with stars too many to number and too beautiful to put into words, that there isnt a God. The very Creation itself screams it out, it almost demanding that we give glory to God; that we acknowledge not only His existence but His right to be given all the glory honour and power (Rev. 4:11).
But the reality of the situation is that the vast majority of the population of the world do no such thing. There is little if no acknowledgement of a creator God and certain no affirmation of His true nature. Not that we are suprised, of course. Because lined up on the battlefield against the awesome truth of God declared in Creation is set up the most destructive power that ever took up battle with the Almighty; sin. The Apostle Paul tells us why the vast majority of humanity refuses to join in with the Psalmists song of praise:
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
It is not, then, that the witness to God in the Creation is ineffective - far from it, as we shall see - but that mankind in their ungodliness and unrighteousness suppress the truth to their own condemnation. And it is not just some general truth about God that they suppress but the very gospel itself. That, at least, is the import of Paul when he takes up the theme again later in the letter to the Romans.
Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us? 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.
Israel have heard the gospel, the very word of Christ, and they have heard it from the most extraordinary source; the Creation. At first glance this appears bizarre but it is the plain meaning of what the Apostle says. And, on further reflection, it is the obvious place for him to go - back to the start of his argument. Romans 1-3, of course, is a sustained argument demonstrating the universal sinfulness of humanity, whether Jew or Gentile. All alike are under sin. It is natural, then, to demonstrate that Israel have heard the gospel in exactly the same way that the whole of the world have.
By now, of course, we are asking just how is the gospel declared in Creation? We return to the Psalmist who gives us an example
Psalm 19:4b In them he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
So, as the Sun charts its course across the sky every single day we have a picture of a bridegroom going to meet his bride. Not just any bridegroom, but THE Bridegroom - modelled to us in the daily solar cycle. Just consider that next time you see the Sun - you have a visual illustration of the Lord Himself coming to claim the Church as His bride on that Last Day!
All well and good, but we cannot forget the lesson of Romans - the Creation may declare the gospel but it does us no good since we are sinful and rebellious, suppressing the truth. So what must be done? Cue David
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
What the Creation cannot do, through no fault of its own but because of our sinful rebellious hearts, scripture more than accomplishes. Note the qualitative statements in this second section. Perfect. Sure. Right. Clean. More to be desired than Gold. Creation, for all its rich declaration of the glory of God, is not described in this way. The accolades belong to scripture. Thats why no man is ever converted by gazing into the night sky. He may have the beginnings of an understanding of power greater than himself, he may even begin to plumb the depths of the eternity that God has placed into his heart, but he will never consider the vast galaxies and conclude that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that he owes his allegiance, indeed his every breath, to the eternal Son Jesus Christ.
But when that same man opens up the scriptures, there he finds the true and living God declared to him on every page, convicting him of his sin and sending him to the foot of the Cross and then slowly transforming him into the righteous man that he has, graciously, already been declared to be. His soul is revived, his simplicity is turned into wisdom, his heart rejoices and his eyes are enlightened.
If Lent is a time of discipleship then it is, by extension, a time of scripture. At least thats what our Lord Himself models to us as He underwent His temptation in the desert - every answer to the Devil was straight from the scriptures. And we, too, need look nowhere else. As we read the scriptures the Lord shapes us and moulds us, we lay up precept upon precept and learn more and more of the Lord who loved us so much that He gave Himself.
Give thanks today for the trustworthy lifegiving scriptures!!!
David Ould(in his own words): Im a 31 year old seminary student based in Sydney, Australia but originating from the UK. Im an Anglican candidate in the diocese here and so hope to offer some alternate perspectives on current events and issues from Down Under
But thats not my whole life - Im married to the wonderful Jacqui. We have 2 children; Charis, who is 22 months old, and Ethan, who was born 5 January 2006!!!
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