Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
I pray this week finds you well. I most certainly missed being with you last Lord’s Day, but look forward to seeing you and to worshipping with you all this week. On Sunday, we will be diving head first back into the gospel of Mark, and will take some time to look at Jesus’ Parable of the Sower. Also we will be wrapping up our Sunday School series in Gen 1-12. And just as a heads-up, we will be starting a new Sunday school study in Ezra on Sunday, Feb 2. I appreciated your prayers for our Presbytery meeting last weekend. It was a wonderful time of fellowship with the other pastors of the presbytery and of encouragement to see how the Lord is raising up more solid men to preach the gospel!
Here are a couple of important reminders:
First, we will meet at Clay’s restaurant this Saturday to bid farewell to Stephanie and the kids. They have been a true joy for the past two years, and we will enjoy one more time of fun with them this Saturday!
Second, those interested in the Vos theology group should buy the book and start reading. It should be a great time to did deep into the word with good friends. Our first meeting will be Wed, Feb 12th at 7:00PM. You can find the book here: http://www.wtsbooks.com/biblical-theology-geerhardus-vos-9780851514581
Finally, this week’s devotional is a reflection from Psalm 115 on the glory of God and our trust in Him.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“To Your Name Give Glory”
Psalm 115:1, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and faithfulness.”
Psalm 115 is a Psalm of praise. This psalm of praise, however, is set against the backdrop of the temptation to idolatry. Israel was surrounded by pagan nations and idolatrous worship; and thus she was faced with the constant temptation to ‘mingle’ with the world. And thus, set against the backdrop of such idolatry, Psalm 115 is a declaration of praise to the one, true, and living God. There are two broad thoughts to consider regarding this passage.
First, what is Israel called to do? Israel is called (1) to worship the LORD and (2) to trust the LORD. God alone is worthy of our praise: “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and faithfulness” (v. 1; cf. Rev 4:11). God alone is glorious! God alone is worthy of our worship. Jesus’ words to Satan in the wilderness express the same idea: “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only you shall serve” (Matt 4:10, quoting Deut 6:13). Not only was Israel called to worship the Lord, but also they were called to trust him: “O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield” (v. 9). They were to trust the Lord – or to put it another way, they were to entrust themselves to him. And this ‘entrusting’ was to be total – not partly, not half way – but total trust and submission. They were to rely on him. As Prov 18:10 states, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” God’s people were to run to him and to rest in him!
But a second thought follows. Yes, Israel was called to worship and to trust the LORD alone. But why? Does the Psalmist give any foundational reasons as to why Israel should do this? He most certainly does. We can summarize the reasons given in this psalm this way: Israel is to worship and to trust the LORD because he is sovereign and he is good. First, God is sovereign. Verse 3, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” And in vv. 4-8 the sovereign character of God is contrasted with the lifeless idols of the nations. Whereas an idol has eyes, but cannot see, the LORD does all that he pleases. But also, secondly, God is good. God is the help and shield of his people (vv. 9-11). God remembers his people and blesses his people (vv. 12-13; cf. Ex 2:24-25; Num 6:24-26). God’s sovereignty is not an abstract power; nor is his goodness a weak and powerless affection. Rather, God’s sovereignty is a good sovereignty and his goodness is a sovereign goodness!
This Psalm has much to teach us today in the church. Just like his old covenant people, so we today – his new covenant people – are surrounded by idolatry and false worship. We are surrounded by a world at war with the things of the Lord (2 Cor 10:3-5; Eph 6:12). And we also are called to worship Christ alone and to trust Christ alone. That is, we are to entrust ourselves wholly to our Savior and King. And indeed, what glorious reasons we have to trust him. His goodness is an infinite goodness. His love is an infinite love. And His authority is an infinite authority.
God bless and I look forward to seeing you this Lord’s Day,