Posted in psalms, theology

The terrifying gentleness of God, or the gentle terror of God

By Elizabeth Prata

I love the poetry of the Psalms (and the Bible, really 😉

In Psalm 18, David is praising the Lord for being the Rock.

pulpit rock1
6In my distress I called upon the LORD;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

7Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
10He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
12Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.

13The LORD also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
14And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.

It’s a sweeping and vivid rendering of God’s might. You can feel the earth trembling and the smoke from His nostrils curling and the fire He’s breathing out. God’s protection of His children is no less real for this being poetic. No, it is majestic.

Then David writes in v 35-

You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.

Do you love the terrifying vision of God aroused in His wrath, yet his gentleness of love for David as God raises David up?

The Psalms. They’re in the middle of your Bible.

———————————–

Further Reading

The Treasury of David is Spurgeon’s commentary on the Psalms. It is  masterwork. Learn more about it here and also to access the commentary.

Phil Johnson has preached on many of the Psalms. Access the sermons here.

 

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

The House on the Rock

The Ocean State is aptly named Growing up in Rhode Island in the 1960s was a fun experience. The nation’s smallest state is beautiful and the ocean and bay is never far from anyone who lives there. We happened to live just a few miles from the ocean and most Sundays we took a drive south to Saunderstown, crossed the Jamestown bridge, and then took the ferry to Newport. Dad would drive us around the island on Ocean Drive past all the mansions, and then we’d have a picnic by the sea at the Park.

There was no Newport Bridge at that time. On the bridge and the ferry, we passed boats, the islands with lighthouses, and other sights. One sight always captured my attention.

Clingstone.

Clingstone
Source. CC BY-SA 4.0

Clingstone is a house built in 1905, perched atop a small, rocky island in an island group called “The Dumplings” in Narragansett Bay, near Jamestown, Rhode Island. It withstood the devastating 1938 Hurricane, (though was damaged) faced other hurricanes, storms, decay, renovation, and more. The house is known by locals as “The House on a Rock”.

Even to my young eyes the house looked strong. I mean, it’s built on a rock! I often wondered what it was like to live there.

I don’t have to wonder any more what it is like to build my house on the rock. In His grace, He saved me and taught me to cling to the rock. I have my own Clingstone now. Isn’t it funny how life goes. Jesus, who was so far from my mind for over 40 years, is my All in All now. The little girl with big eyes looking at the House on a Rock, has one of her own now.

The verses below are familiar but please slow yourself and read them carefully. Then really think about it for a minute, before you go on to other things. The verses are soul-soothing. Be encouraged.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25).

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Praise the Lamb, who is building His church

Crazy world! But the sane world is coming, and Jesus will rule and reign. So we study end time prophecy in order to obey the command of Him who said to be watchful, sober, and vigilant; to encourage each other with these words, and to turn our eyes from this world in preparation for the next. And let’s offer His world to as many as we can! Let’s encourage fellow saints who are fainting, embroiled in besetting sin, or who are only lukewarm. We all need encouragement, and it’s the one thing these days that is FREE.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

But you, beloved, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, (Jude 1:20).

Have you been thinking all along that we were making a defense to you? We speak before God in Christ, and all of this, beloved, is to build you up. (2 Corinthians 12:19).

And soon enough, one of these days we will all really be physically going up, built up in Christ’s majestic plan, and we will see it in its conclusion. He is building His church upon Himself, the Rock.(Matthew 16:18).

John Piper:

“I will build my church.” The church is not a building. It’s a people, with or without a building. But the Bible pictures this people sometimes as tree that grows and sometimes as a building that is built. The point is that this people has a builder, and the builder is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus builds the church.

Photo EPrata

Praise the Lamb!