Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

2021.03.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 18:1–6

Read Psalm 18:1–6

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom was this Psalm delivered (superscript)? By whom was it written? What is David called here? To Whom did he speak this Psalm? In what day? What will David to Yahweh (Psalm 18:1)? What eight things does he call Him in Psalm 18:1-2? What will David do to Yahweh in Psalm 18:3? Why? With what result? What had surrounded David (Psalm 18:4a)? What had the floods of Belial done to him (verse 4b)? What else surrounded him (Psalm 18:5a)? What confronted him (verse 5b)? What did David do (Psalm 18:6a)? How else does he describe this (verseb6b)? What kind of pronoun does he use there (and, really, throughout this passage)? What did Yahweh do (verse 6c)? From where? How else does he describe this (verse 6d)?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Psalm 18:1–6, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Jesus, Lover of My Soul

This Psalm covers pretty broad territory: “the day that Yahweh delivered David from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.” David had many enemies! And the significance of the Psalm is underscored by its nearly full repetition at the conclusion of the David narrative in 2 Samuel 22. 

So, we can probably conclude that this Psalm gives us a general response to any and all of God’s deliverances of us—most supremely so as a response to that greatest of all deliverances, God’s delivering us from sin and death and hell in His Anointed, the Lord Jesus Christ! There are several striking things about how the Spirit carries David to lead off the Psalm in the explosion of praise that we have before us. 

One striking feature is the use of the first-person, singular, possessive pronouns. My strength. My rock. My fortress. My deliverer. My God. My strength. My shield. The horn of my salvation. My stronghold (all from Psalm 18:1-2!). My God (Psalm 18:6)! This is the nature of saving faith. It is not only sure that God is a certain way; it is sure that He is that way toward me. This God, Who is like this, is mine!

A second striking feature of these opening verses of Psalm 18 is what they reveal about God’s purposes in our distress. “In my distress I called upon Yahweh” (verse 6a). The attributes of God’s power and wisdom and mercy and faithfulness are all especially displayed when we are in distress, and we find Him to be all those marvelous things unto us that Psalm 18:2 lists.

Another striking feature is the nearness to us of our transcendent God. He is “in His temple” (verse 6c), yet this same verse illustrates His nearness to us, even from there, in three ways. He hears my voice. I make noises on earth, and He listens to those noises from heaven. My cry comes before Him. Long after the compression wave dissipates, the cry is still before the throne of heaven. 

“even to His ears”—Who, of course, has no ears. And yet He uses that language to teach us that our having ears is designed to communicate to us something about how God Himself pays attention to us, and how near unto Him our cries come: as if they are entering His very being in a way analogous to how sound waves “shake us by the tympanic membrane.”

Finally, we see that crying out to God and praising God are ordained by Him as instruments unto our deliverance (Psalm 18:3). He chooses to work in response to our praying and our praising. Truly, our God is worthy to be praised for many reasons, and these are some of those reasons that He highlights in the opening verses of this Psalm.

What distress do you find yourself in? What attributes of God are displayed in His nearness to you and His hearing you? How are you called to bring glory to Him in these attributes?

Suggested songs: ARP18A “I Love You Lord” or TPH450 “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”

 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Assured Deliverance: Infinite Gain for Those Whose Goal Is Magnifying Christ (2021.03.07 Evening Sermon in Philippians 1:19–21)

If your goal in life is to magnify Christ, then you are guaranteed to be delivered in every situation—either by life, which is Christ for you, or by death, which will be infinitely more so.

The Great Reversal of Riches (2021.03.07 Morning Sermon in Genesis 47:13–27)


However much the Lord provides or takes away in earthly treasure, these great reversals anticipate that great reversal when we shall all see that earthly treasure is inherently worthless and heavenly treasure has infinite, inherent worth. There is a great reversal coming, and it will reveal the answer to the question: is money the chief end of your God, or is God the chief end of your money? One way to describe a believer is: someone who has discovered that he has nothing, but that Christ is everything, and who discovers that Christ has taken him to be His own… so that now he has everything!


"Of Saving Faith" part 1, WCF 14.1.1–2 — Faith the Alone Means of Salvation, and the Spirit the Giver of Faith (2021.03.07 Sabbath School Lesson)

I. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls,(a) is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts;(b)
(a) Heb. 10:39.
(b) II Cor. 4:13; Eph. 1:17, 18, 19; Eph. 2:8.

2021.03.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 47:13–27

Read Genesis 47:13–27

Questions from the Scripture text: What wasn’t there, and where (Genesis 47:13)? Why? With what result? What did Joseph gather up (Genesis 47:14)? For what? Where did he bring it? What happened where (Genesis 47:15)? Who asked for what? What did Joseph ask in return (Genesis 47:16)? With what result (Genesis 47:17)? At the end of that year, what did they say was the only thing left (Genesis 47:18)? What did they propose (Genesis 47:19)? For what two purposes? What did Joseph buy (Genesis 47:20)? What happened to the land? Where did he move the people (Genesis 47:21)? Whose land did he not buy (Genesis 47:22)? Why didn’t they sell? What did Joseph give the people (Genesis 47:23)? To do what with it? How much did they have to give Pharaoh (Genesis 47:24)? How did the people describe this arrangement (Genesis 47:25)? What did they ask to be? What became a permanent law (Genesis 47:26)? Who was doing what, and where, all this time (Genesis 47:27)?

Earthly riches sprout wings and fly away (cf. Proverbs 23:5). Certainly, that was the experience of all the land of Egypt and Canaan (Genesis 47:15a) in our passage. Twice in that verse, we read that the money “failed” (literally “was consumed/finished”; it ran out). Money will fail you.

Sometimes, the Lord blesses your labor and gives you an abundance, but then famine comes along (Genesis 47:13). 

Sometimes, your assets have appreciated for you to use as wealth, but then all the assets are sold (Genesis 47:16-17).

Sometimes, you have an inheritance (perhaps of land) from your fathers that though dearer than any other asset, you must part with in extreme circumstances (Genesis 47:18-20).

Sometimes, you have a providentially-protected position like the priests (Genesis 47:22), but you don’t know when that providence will quickly change. With the plagues of Exodus 7–12 as a judgment upon their gods, even Pharaoh who was so enriched (Genesis 47:21-22) would ultimately be ruined (cf. Exodus 10:7).

And sometimes the Lord gives His people a surprising season of government support like in the days of Mordecai or Daniel, or even government sponsorship like with Cyrus or Artaxerxes or Darius in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

But, however the Lord might provide earthly means for us, what a danger there is in relying upon those means! In our passage, Joseph’s position and Pharaoh’s favor lead to the enriching of Israel (Genesis 47:27) during the impoverishing of nearly all Egyptians and Canaanites (Genesis 47:13-26). And what an impoverishing it is, when you praise the state that enslaves you as your savior (Genesis 47:25)!

But we will always be impoverished of what earthly things we accumulate. We brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it (cf. 1 Timothy 6:7). How much we need to be content with God’s provision for our basic needs (cf. 1 Timothy 6:6–8) lest desire for earthly wealth either sink us lower than the grave (cf. 1 Timothy 6:9) or otherwise fill believers’ earthly lives with sorrows (cf. 1 Timothy 6:10).

O how important for us to read passages like this one and see what our God can do, and see that He is sometimes pleased to do it—so that when He takes it away, we know that we still have Him Himself “who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17) and who had enabled us to “be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for ourselves a good foundation for the time to come, that we may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:18–19).

Indeed, let us be wise with our wealth, and appreciate it, and even enjoy it. But let us always do so as those who expect the great reversal that is coming: the wealth of this world will vanish, and our invisible wealth toward God will be revealed (cf. Luke 12:13–34).

There are many who treat God as if God’s chief end is to facilitate their glorifying themselves and their wealth and their enjoying themselves and their wealth forever. O, let us make use of whatever He gives us with the conviction that the chief end of wealth is to facilitate our glorifying God by it and even enjoying God with it. The great reversal is coming; blessed are those who view themselves and their wealth and their lives with a view toward that great day!

What earthly things has God given you? How are you using it to glorify Him? How are you using it to enjoy Him? What eternal benefit will appear from your earthly wealth, once that earthly wealth has vanished?

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH564 “The Beatitudes”