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Haggai on Today’s Economy? December 4, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Haggai, Scripture.
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haggai

Haggai 1:2-11(English Standard Version)

2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ “3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.”

The book of Haggai is written at the time when the Jews were returning to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon. One of the tasks of the returning Jews was to rebuild the temple. We see that God has with held good things from his people “because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.”  This really struck me as I think about the ‘ruin’ of today’s church; more entertainment than worship, more pop psychology than God’s wisdom- where to stop? All the while so many of us (I’m guilty but changing) place much concern on our own homes, wealth and families to the neglect of God’s.

I’m not sure why as a Calvinist I have trouble placing God behind the bad and good things that happen in today’s world, a sovereign God obviously controls all. My guess is that I don’t want guess God’s motives or tie worldly blessing too close to God’s real blessings. Yet could this neglect be leading to our current economic woes?

My prayer is that by whatever means used God will bring a revival of true religion to his church.

Psalm 19 September 29, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Law/Gospel, Psalms, Scripture.
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Psalm 19 (English Standard Version)

The Law of the LORD Is Perfect

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

This Psalm shows us how God’s creation displays his glory. Next we are shown God’s wisdom in his law. Yet we know that we cannot keep the law. The Psalm closes with a reminder that we need to call on God to keep us from sins. Only than can we be considered blameless. The Lord is truly our rock and redeemer.

Psalm 86 August 15, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Psalms, Scripture.
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David playing the harp

Psalm 86 (English Standard Version)

Great Is Your Steadfast Love

A Prayer of David.

1 Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
3 Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me.

8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant,
and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Show me a sign of your favor,
that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

In the first section of this Psalm we see the importance of relying on God. God will save those who trust in him. How well this relates to Sola Fide or faith alone. God truly is ‘abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you’ providing salvation through his son Jesus.

The next section praises God for his uniqueness and power. David then asks the Lord to ‘Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth’. What other response should we give to one so loving and wise but to desire to know his ways and walk in them?

Finally David prays that God would allow his life to be a witness to ‘insolent men’. For God can grant strength so ‘those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me’. Again David knows that for this he must rely on the Lord’s help. Just as today we can be a witness only through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 119:1-8 August 8, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Law/Gospel, Psalms, Scripture.
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David playing the harp

Psalm 119 (English Standard Version)

Your Word Is a Lamp to My Feet

Aleph

1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
4 You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
8 I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!

What a great comfort to know that we are counted blameless through our Saviour, Jesus Christ. How thankful we should also be that we can learn God’s righteous rules as he has given them to us in his word.

Our blessing is through Christ and part of our praise to him is through our attempted keeping of his statutes.