A matter of the heart

Driving home from visiting with family over Thanksgiving (yes, I started this post over a week ago and am just now getting around to finishing it), I was thinking about Ps. 119:1-2 and 36-37, which I memorized a couple of months ago:

1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart! (NKJV)

36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way. (NKJV)

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More observations on Ps. 144:2

Ps 144:2 My lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my defense, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me. (NKJV)

I woke up real early this morning and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I started reviewing memory verses while lying in bed, not sleeping. I suddenly realized that though I had previously noticed what looks to me like the use of parallelism in Hebrew poetry, which Danny talked about here, I hadn’t taken that observation far enough. It’s easy to see the parallelism (I hope I’m correct here! Danny?) in the 2nd and 3rd parts of this verse, but it hadn’t yet sunk in that the first part also follows this formula: my X and my Y, where Y redefines, or is another way to look at X. (And then there’s the fact that each of the 4 parts reinforces the others – they all define and contrast different aspects of God as protector or refuge. Calvin helps in understanding how to fit “who subdues my people under me” in with the rest of the verse.)

It’s more evident that God, as my “high tower”, is my defense, and that I can take refuge in (behind) God who is my shield – but God my lovingkindness = my fortress? Somehow, I kept separate the fact that God being my lovingkindness (or goodness, or mercy) is a fortress! How could I not have seen that redefinition? I’ve even written about these verses a couple of times before – here and here – but I didn’t notice this connection: I can dwell securely in God’s lovingkindness in the midst of life’s trials because He is my fortress. God being my lovingkindness defines Him as a fortress.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

(It’s very possible that thoughts percolating in my head from the Perfect Storm men’s conference I attended this past weekend helped me connect the dots here. I’ll probably write about the conference soon.)

God’s lovingkindness and tender mercies

As I was going over some memory verses this morning, I (finally) saw a connection which I hadn’t seen until this morning:

Ps. 103:4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, (NKJV)

Ps. 144:2 My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield and the One in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me. (NKJV)

God not only crowns me with lovingkindness (ESV: steadfast love)–not to mention tender mercies (ESV: compassion)–in 103:4, He is my lovingkindness in 144:2! And in order to bless me eternally, He sent Jesus, who wore a crown of thorns and died in my place. Words fail me.

Spurgeon, in his Treasury of David, wrote this about Ps. 103:4b:

Who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies. Our Lord does nothing by halves, he will not stay his hand till he has gone to the uttermost with his people. Cleansing, healing, redemption, are not enough, he must needs make them kings and crown them, and the crown Continue reading