Oh Give Thanks!

Psalm 118 (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. 6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. 10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! 11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! 12 They surrounded me like bees; they went out like fire among thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! 13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly, 16 the right hand of the LORD exalts, the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!” 17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. 18 The LORD has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.23 This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  25 Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD. 27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! 28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. 29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Finished! (Until I start again…)

I finished reading through the  Bible this morning, completing my RttBiaY program.  I know I haven’t been posting a lot about my reading lately – not that I’ve been posting a lot lately, period!  (Perhaps I’ll have some time to finish a few of the 10 or so unfinished posts which I started and never got around to finishing over the past 6 months… Some of those are about verses or passages which I had come across during my RttBiaY reading.)

But I’m excited to have finally done what I’ve set out to do many times over the years – read straight through from Genesis to Revelation!  It was a very rewarding exercise – one I hope to do many more times in the future.  I’m not sure if I’ll start again right away, or spend some more in-depth time in a few books which I decided I wanted to study some more – or perhaps both.  We’ll see.

It was great to see for myself the arc of the Biblical narrative from beginning to end.   Of course, growing up in the church, going to Christian jr/sr high schools, attending or leading dozens of Bible studies, and doing all sorts of personal study (other than reading the Bible from cover to cover), I have always “known” that the Bible is consistent in its presentation of man’s condition and his need for a solution to the problem of sin which is external to himself – in other words, the focus of the Bible is Jesus Christ.  The Old Testament looks forward to Jesus Christ, and the New Testament reveals His life, death, resurrection, and the resulting freedom from sin and eternal death, sin’s penalty, which we can have in Jesus Christ.  Reading the Bible from beginning to end, however, gives one a better grasp on exactly how consistent the Bible is in this respect. It also shows all the more clearly how patient God is with His people (both Israel and the Church) — and how fickle His people can be.  And it shows all the more, with painful clarity, how much God hates sin.

But thanks be to God, for He has provided us with a perfect, spotless substitute!  A beautiful Savior, whose birth we are about to celebrate.  The older I get, and the more that I see how attached my heart can still be to the things of this world, or just to my own selfish desires – the more I appreciate the free gift of salvation which God had in mind before the foundation of the world, the gift long pointed to in the Old Testament which began life in a lowly manger some 2000 years ago – and which God also planned to send to the cross for your sins and for mine.

Do you know this Savior?  He alone can truly and permanently satisfy the deepest desire of your heart.

Spurgeon on OFI

This was on OFI on January 30th:

Spurgeon on objections to Isaiah 45:22: “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other!”But thou sayest sin will not let thee look. I tell thee, sin will be removed the moment thou dost look. “But I dare not; He will condemn me; I fear to look.” He will condemn thee more, if thou dost not look. Fear, then, and look; but do not let thy fearing keep thee from looking. “But He will cast me out.” Try Him. “But I cannot see Him.” I tell you, it is not seeing, but looking. “But my eyes are so fixed on the earth, so earthly, so worldly.” Ah! but, poor soul, He giveth power to look and live. He saith – “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.”

– Charles Spurgeon, Sovereignty and Salvation