From 95 Theses to Psalm 95 and Back

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 11:50 PM 0 comments




Today marks the 493rd anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses which sparked the Protestant Reformation. As a Methodist, when it comes to Protestantism, I can’t trace my roots without tracking through the English Reformation. The Reformation in England is somehow unique because it is a government-imposed Reformation. It happened when King Henry VIII convinced the Parliament to enact a series of statutes denying the pope any power or jurisdiction over the Church of England.

The Bible Reading Programs. The government of England had designed a program for the English people to meet twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening, for Bible reading. These reading program “forced” the people to finish reading the whole Old Testament once a year and the whole New Testament twice a year. Moreover, the whole Book of Psalms was also pressed down to fit a 30-day reading plan. Therefore, an Englishman would read the Old Testament once, the New Testament twice, and the Psalms twelve times a year.  But what tops all of them is the reading of a particular psalm before the daily morning reading fellowship: the reading of Psalm 95. That makes 365 Psalm 95s a year. What is with this specific psalm that makes it the everyday psalm?

I) The Daily Invitation
Half of the psalm (vv. 95:1-7a) shouts a call of invitation. The invitation is at v.1, “Come, let us...” and resounds at v.2, “Let us come...” and also at v.6, “Come, let us...”

A) Invitation to Cheer. The first two verses of the psalm are filled with calls to rejoice. The church is often portrayed as a placed where the boring personas cluster. Christians are pictured as peoples who walk into a narrow series of don’ts. But Christians are the only and truly rejoicing GOD-treasuring worshippers.

Three Reasons to Cheer. The psalmist David has provided at least three grounds of our celebration. (1) We should rejoice because GOD is the rock of our salvation at v.1 Who ensures our protection. (2) Verse 3 states our second reason to rejoice: that our GOD is a great God and a great King. He, therefore, assures us that everything is under his great sovereign authoritative power. (3) Thirdly, we should be joyful because our GOD has got the whole world in His hands which certifies us of His providence as illustrated by verses 4 and 5.

B) Invitation to Kneel. After the joyful attitude of the first five verses comes the call for humility. The psalmist seem to want to convey that having God’s protection, power, and providence on our side is not a warrant for pride. Instead, “let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD (v. 6).”

The Reason to Kneel.  The basis of our humility is plain: He is our Maker and our Shepherd (6b-7a). We did not form Him with our hands neither is He a fruit of our imaginations. He is our Creator. Beholding the greatness and power and wisdom and glory of this GOD should make us tremble, our knees shake, and our lips acknowledge, “Woe is me for I am ruined” as did Isaiah.

II) The Daily Caution
The second half of the psalm starting from 7b is a warning. And the warning is very urgent. The psalmist states that the call is “Today, when you hear His voice.” Hearing GOD’s Word is daily. You should hear it today and not tomorrow. It is a daily appetite that needs to be satisfied. TODAY!

The Cautionary Statuses. David, the author of the psalm, recollects the wilderness experience of his forefathers and, therefore, provides the dangerous states of those who don’t take heed to the Words of GOD. (1) He warns us of hardened hearts in verse 8. When we don’t have a daily meditation on GOD’s Words, lies keep on creeping into our hearts thus hardening our hearts to sin. We will then tend to justify our sins, make compromises, and embrace disgraceful acts that GOD hates. (2) The second warning pertains to testing GOD as in verse 9. To test GOD, like what the Israelites did, is to distrust GOD. It is to doubt what His admirable attributes can do. It is to trample on His promises and to tell Him that He appears to be not able.

The Frightful Threat. Having a hardened heart that puts GOD on the test is being threatened by a horrible fate, “They shall not enter my rest.” The rest here is not the temporal Canaan rest. When David wrote this psalm, they are already occupying the Promised Land. The rest here instead is the eternal rest being with the most enjoyable Being. However, those who insult the weightiness of the Word of GOD will be excluded from this rest. A sure mark of a genuine Christian is loving the words of GOD.

Conclusion
This is the everyday psalm. It should reflect the attitude of every Protestant. Its call to cheer and kneel is a call for a joyous behaviour towards Bible study, meditation, and memorization. And its warnings should exhort us to approach the Scriptures with trembling obedience. To cheer and to fear should be the heart that fuels the mind of Sola Scriptura.

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Free Books on Christmas Institute 2010

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 7:26 AM 5 comments



This morning, I have an e-mail waiting for me.

=====================================
Dear Bernard,

...

As for your Christmas Institute request, I have good news - we will donate 130 copies of "Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ" and have them transported to the Manila area by our volunteer courier, Terry Plath, on December 1 or 2.  We will arrange for the two of you to connect with each other directly on how you can obtain the books.  He will be there at Makati City in Metro Manila on assignment for his employer, so he will not have much freedom to travel.  Before I share his email address, please let me know if it will be possible to meet him in the Manila area to obtain your CI books.

For now, I will wait for your reply and then we can keep working things out.

Many Blessings,

JIM HARRISON
International Outreach
Desiring God
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The United Methodist young people of Pangasinan Central District is so blessed to have this gift. Please join me in praying, not just for the success of the pick-up, but more importantly for the books not to be wasted. May our sovereign GOD be pleased to use these books to create hearts that treasure Christ among United Methodists and, therefore, bring renewal. Let us also pray to GOD to continually bless Ptr. John Piper, Desiring God, and Mr. Jim Harrison. This may be our only way to truly thank them.

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