Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 23: Wednesday
Wednesday’s Bible reading is Psalms 66–68. These three psalms are all psalms of praise. These are ‘shout and sing’ psalms!1 Psalm 66 and 68 are praise for deliverance and help in difficult and perilous circumstances while Psalm 67 asks God to be gracious and calls upon all peoples and nations to praise Him, and the psalmist speaks of God’s upright judgment, guidance and blessings of harvest. In these Psalms, the psalmists teach us about who God is as they write of His goodness and mercy. In their introduction to the Psalms, M’Caw and Motyer write:
“One of the most remarkable features of the Psalms is that, though personal testimony is their chief mode of expression and the first personal pronoun abounds, yet the clearest impression left is not of man, but of God.”2
Think about that as you read the Psalms. As the Psalms give voice to our thoughts and heart, they teach us about God. It’s important that we know God as He is, and not trust on our own ideas that we build up about who He is. One of my prayers has been to know God as He truly is, and not as I may have imagined Him to be. Remember when Jesus prayed for His disciples, He asked God the Father to:
“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
God’s Word is truth. In the Bible God tells us who He is. B. B. Warfield wrote:
“…God is a person, and persons are known only as they make themselves known—reveal themselves. The term revelation is used in this distinction, therefore, in a pregnant sense….
“There is an element in revealed religion, therefore, which is not found in any unrevealed religion. This is the element of authority. Revealed religion comes to man from without; it is imposed upon him from a source superior to his own spirit.
“…Authority is the correlate of revelation, and wherever revelation is—and only where revelation is—is there authority. Just because we do not see in revelation man reaching up lame hands toward God and feeling fumblingly after Him if haply he may find Him, but God graciously reaching strong hands down to man, bringing him help in his need, we see in it a gift from God, not a creation of man’s….”3
We do not have to fumble after God trying to guess at who He is, nor are we to mislead or delude ourselves through seeking after a mystical experience with no authority whatsoever other than our own spirit. God has revealed Himself to us in His Word. Ask Him to teach you who He is through His Word—so that you may know Him and worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1In Psalms 60–62: Rejection & Promises, I mentioned David’s ‘deliverance’ and ‘refuge’ psalms as well as his ‘rejection’ psalms. How would you categorize the Psalms? What would be helpful to you? I came up with these labels; while the Psalms have been categorized by many, I think it’s helpful to think through the many ways in which the Psalms speak to our own lives and give a voice to our own heart.
2Leslie S. M’Caw, J. A. Motyer, “Psalms,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie,
J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., p. 450.
3Benjamin B. Warfield, “Mysticism & Christianity,” “This essay originally appeared in The Biblical Review (vol. 2 ,1917, pp. 169-191) but this edition was derived from The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1991, vol. 9, pp. 649-666). The electronic edition of this article was scanned and edited by Shane Rosenthal for Reformation Ink. It is in the public domain and may be freely copied and distributed. Pagination from the Baker edition has been retained for purposes of reference. Scanning errors may be present in this edition.”
I found Warfield’s essay, “Mysticism & Christianity,” last year when researching mysticism. As Warfield sorts out the errors of mysticism, he has these cogent words on revelation and authority. Throughout church history, some of the best delineations of truth are made as fallacies and heresies are explained and refuted.
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter