Awe and Reverence https://www.aweandreverence.com Prostrating in awe and reverence of God Tue, 14 Feb 2017 22:43:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 78476474 Isaiah 40:22 – He who sits above the circle of the earth https://www.aweandreverence.com/bible/ot/isaiah/isaiah-4022-he-who-sits-above-the-circle-of-the-earth/293 Mon, 13 Feb 2012 16:55:00 +0000 http://www.aweandreverence.com/?p=293 Passage: Isaiah 40:22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. I saw … Continue reading

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Passage: Isaiah 40:22

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

I saw this interactive Flash demo of the Scale of the Universe on Challies’ A La Carte post for 2/13 and thought of this verse that talks about the immensity of God.

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Psalm 100 – Call to Worship https://www.aweandreverence.com/bible/ot/psalms/psalm-100-call-to-worship/180 Sun, 12 Feb 2012 17:03:17 +0000 http://www.aweandreverence.com/?p=180 Passage: Psalm 100 According to the Bible, the title for this psalm is “A Psalm for Thanksgiving.” A psalm is a song, and this psalm is not just any song–it is a call to action; it is a call to … Continue reading

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Passage: Psalm 100

According to the Bible, the title for this psalm is “A Psalm for Thanksgiving.”

A psalm is a song, and this psalm is not just any song–it is a call to action; it is a call to worship. Thanksgiving, or giving of thanks to God, is one of the purest forms of worship.

Whenever I am lost in my thoughts and my heart is wild and chaotic and reluctant to worship God–and I soon realize this by God’s grace–I turn to Psalm 100 to guide myself, the creature, to the rightful place before my Creator–humbled and prostrated low.

I love the Psalms because nearly every call to worship in this book is coupled with a reason, explanation, or justification to make the call more pertinent and urgent to the ones who are being called.

Here is the psalm with the imperative verbs emphasized–these are the calls to action:

(1) Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
(2) Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
(3) Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
(4) Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
(5) For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.

Now look at this passage with most of the direct objects removed:

Shout joyfully, all the earth. Serve with gladness. Come with joyful singing. Know (that God is God and we are His creation). Enter (His presence) with thanksgiving and praise. Give thanks (to God) and bless (the name of God).

When the direct objects of those verbs were left out, the commands become extremely confusing. Insert the direct objects again, and the motivation becomes painstakingly clear. In fact, any other object besides God would not be worthy of such worship and adoration.

It is God whom we are called to worship. It is God whom we are called to shout joyfully to along with the entire population of the earth; it is God whom we are called to serve with gladness; it is God whom we are called to approach with joyful singing. We are called to know that the LORD, YHWH, is God. We are called to know that God made us with His own hands (c.f. Psalm 139:13-16), and that we did not spontaneously generate. We are called to know that we are God’s rightful possession. We sheep who have gone astray (c.f. Isaiah 53:6) are called to know that the LORD God is our Shepherd–so good that He lays down His life for us (John 10:11).

Note in verse 3 that the call to know God and know about His works is the longest verse in this Psalm. God wants us to make knowledge of the truth the basis of our worship. It is no coincidence that Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Next, the psalmist calls us to approach God with thanksgiving and praise. In the days when the tabernacle or temple worship set up by Solomon in Jerusalem was still around, God’s presence was literally there in the Holy of Holies (c.f. Hebrews 9:3), so there was actually a gate at the temple to enter through, and an actual temple courtyard where people congregated for worship. While we may no longer have access to the temple in Jerusalem, we actually have something greater (c.f. Hebrews 9:11, 2 Corinthians 16:16, Psalm 139:7-9).

After that, the psalmist calls us to direct our thanks and blessing toward God. Finally, the psalmist concludes this call to worship by telling us about God’s characters and qualities–His goodness, lovingkindness, and faithfulness. Is God good? Yes, God is absolutely and exceedingly good. For what duration does God demonstrate His lovingkindness–His love, mercy, grace, patience, kindness? Forever. For how long is God faithful to His people? To all generations (c.f. Psalm 145:3-5). The reader or hearer of Psalm 100, having no questions left unanswered, should be imparted a crystal clear understanding of why the call to worship God is so compelling.

I hope and pray that I would respond in obedience to this call to worship God, and that you would as well.

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What is the Gospel? https://www.aweandreverence.com/gospel/what-is-the-gospel/248 Thu, 28 Apr 2011 17:53:28 +0000 http://www.aweandreverence.com/?p=248 “What is the gospel?” To answer this question succinctly is a very difficult endeavor. Depending on a person’s background, there is a way to custom-tailor the presentation of the message of the gospel to him or her. Let’s start with … Continue reading

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“What is the gospel?” To answer this question succinctly is a very difficult endeavor.

Depending on a person’s background, there is a way to custom-tailor the presentation of the message of the gospel to him or her.

Let’s start with a definition and etymology of the word:

The word gospel derives from the Old English gōd-spell (rarely godspel), meaning “good news” or “glad tidings”. It is a calque (word-for-word translation) of the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, euangelion (eu- “good”, -angelion “message”). The Greek word “euangelion” is also the source (via Latinised “evangelium”) of the terms “evangelist” and “evangelism” in English. The authors of the four canonical Christian gospels are known as the four evangelists. 1

So the word gospel means “good news.” Generally, in order for there to be good news, by necessity, it must be contrasted with bad news. In light of the Bible, where the gospel message is found, we find that the bad news is exceedingly bad, making the good news incredibly good.

Therefore, one very coarse outline of the gospel would be:

  1. Bad News
    1. We were lost in sin (Romans 3:23), dead in our transgressions and trespasses against God, lost without any hope (Isaiah 64:6), doomed to eternal punishment and condemned to eternal hell (Romans 6:23).
  2. Good News
    1. God Himself made a way for us to be reconciled with Him, through His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16). That way was through the cross and crucifixion of Jesus, His subsequent death, burial, and resurrection from the dead, and placing our faith and trust in Him that He has died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins, and was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25).

When I study the message of the gospel, it is amazingly refreshing to my soul. In the near future, I will be sharing some of the things that I’ve discovered (and still am discovering!) from the Bible about different aspects and rich facets of the gospel, and how they have caused me, the sinner, to see the immensity and magnanimity of God and the goodness of God in light of my own utterly repulsive wretchedness.

Here are a few other places that I’ve found online with the gospel message explained clearly and more in-depth, which you may find as helpful resources:

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Matthew 21:28-32 – What God Wants https://www.aweandreverence.com/bible/nt/matthew/matthew-2128-32-what-god-wants/202 Thu, 20 Jan 2011 17:04:26 +0000 http://www.aweandreverence.com/?p=202 Passage: Matthew 21:28-32 The Plot This passage tells a story that is quite simple–it doesn’t have a very complicated plot. A man had two sons (v. 28) The father gave an imperative to both of his sons–“Go work today in … Continue reading

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Passage: Matthew 21:28-32

The Plot

This passage tells a story that is quite simple–it doesn’t have a very complicated plot.

  • A man had two sons (v. 28)
  • The father gave an imperative to both of his sons–“Go work today in the field” (v. 28b, 30)
  • Son #1 said “No” at first, but later regretted and obeyed (v. 29)
  • Son #2 said “Yes” at first, but ultimately disobeyed (v. 30)

Basic Listening Comprehension Test

Next, Jesus asks a question to test the listening comprehension of His audience composed of the chief priests, the elders of the people, and the Pharisees (v. 23, 45)–“Which of the two [sons] did the will of the father?”

And what did they respond? Surprise, surprise–they passed with flying colors! They responded, “The first [son].”

What Jesus says next is not a congratulatory remark for their correct understanding of the story, but harsh words of indictment: “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you” (v. 31).

What? How can that be? How can immoral people such as tax collectors and prostitutes get into the kingdom of God before the righteous (or so they appear to be) Pharisees, elders, and chief priests? What does God want? What is “the will of the Father?” Are God’s standards arbitrary?

The answer is that God desires repentance that produces genuine obedience, not feigned obedience. When it comes to the economy of God, it is how you finish that matters, not how you start.

A Warning Against Feigned Obedience

What does feigned obedience look like? They are: actions which are displeasing to God, yet disguised as piety and reverence for God, but are actually presented before men in order to receive the praises of men.

There are many serious indictments against feigned obedience in the Bible:

Matthew 15:7-9 (NASB, c.f. Mark 7:6-8)

You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:
‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'”

Feigned obedience, simply put, is fake, phony, and false obedience.

Matthew 23:27 (NASB)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.

Who gives feigned obedience to God? Or if someone gives feigned obedience to God, what does that make him? Scriptures tell us that those who give feigned obedience to God are His enemies.

Psalm 66:3 (NASB)
Say to God, “How awesome are Your works!
Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You.

That God is great, awesome, marvelous, and powerful is an undeniable fact to many people–yet for some of those people, they would bother to go to lengths to pretend to obey Him instead of actually doing it.”Do not be deceived, God is not mocked”(Galatians 6:7). If you realize now, be quick to turn and repent, for there is still yet hope; however, if you remain an enemy of God’s, He will certainly crush all His enemies and make them a footstool for His feet (Psalm 110:1).

Surely not I, Lord?

Jesus talks of Pharisees not only to provide an example of what to avoid, but also to point out who some of us are.

I am a Pharisee.

After Jesus told two parables (vv. 28-31, 33-41) and gave a severe warning (vv. 42-44), the Pharisees “understood that He was speaking about them” (Matthew 21:45). Not surprisingly, their response was that of resentment rather than remorse.

Disobedience toward God, stated more harshly, is defiance–and the consequence facing anyone who has the audacity to defy God is terrifying: “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end” (v. 41; c.f. Hebrews 10:31).

O, would that God grant us the grace to obey Him!

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Psalm 27:8 – Conquering Your Heart https://www.aweandreverence.com/bible/ot/psalms/psalm-278-conquering-your-heart/187 Sat, 24 Jul 2010 16:24:02 +0000 http://www.aweandreverence.com/?p=187 Passage: Psalm 27:8 The writer of Psalm 27 is David, otherwise known as King David, or the “man after God’s own heart.” God’s accolade for David (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) is certainly more than enough to put the spotlight … Continue reading

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Passage: Psalm 27:8

The writer of Psalm 27 is David, otherwise known as King David, or the “man after God’s own heart.” God’s accolade for David (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) is certainly more than enough to put the spotlight on David and direct our attention to the details of David’s worship life. God is essentially saying of David, “He is the model worshiper of Me; be like him.”

Psalm 27:8, I believe, is the one verse in all of Scripture that most concisely describes and depicts the proper relationship between man and God–of submission and obedience and worship and reverence of a holy God who is perfectly good and righteous and most worthy to be praised (Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 145:3).

God deserves and demands a response from His people. That God is both deserving and demanding of a reverent response should be obvious, but to attempt to offer an explanation for this which needs no explanation, it is sufficient to point out that God is the Creator and we are His creatures. In His demanding, God does not always make requests of man in a communicable way. When a man is in the presence of the king, the king does not need to move his lips to speak for himself and command the subject to bow–it is implied, and the very presence of the king imposes glory before which one must display respect. In this way, God demands of His people to worship Him without demanding (c.f. Philippians 2:9-11).

God deserves and demands a response from His people that is immediate. In Psalm 27:8, the phrase, “When You said,” does not appear in the original Hebrew–there is simply the imperative which God speaks, “Seek My face.” When the NASB translators insert that phrase to improve the readability of the passage, “When You said…” it points both to a specific time in the past when this was done, and also a general behavior and attitude toward God. It can be expected of believers that at specific times–“when God said to us last week,” “when God said to us yesterday,” “when God says to me today,” “when God will say to me tomorrow,” or at any time–“whenever God says to me” to “seek My face,” we do so.

When comparing the ESV and NASB translations of this passage, the next phrase is rendered in different tenses–NASB renders it, “My heart said to you,” while ESV renders it, “My heart says to you.” This further supports that what is important is that there is a timely response to God’s call to “seek [His] face,” and to be ready at any moment.

When examining David’s response, we find that it is not first a response of the heart, but rather a submission of the mind and the will. David conquers his heart to the point of submission and subjugation to his will–David conquers and commands his own heart to worship God. Though David is the most prominent, he is not the only worshiper of God who worships God with such resoluteness; Habakkuk says, “Though the fig tree should not blossom /And there be no fruit on the vines, / Though the yield of the olive should fail / And the fields produce no food, / Though the flock should be cut off from the fold / And there be no cattle in the stalls, / Yet I will exult in the LORD, / I will rejoice in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18). In great suffering, Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, / And naked I shall return there. / The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. / Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). Even when they were hurting, these saints praised God with beautiful songs and poetry.

David’s acts of worship to God throughout the Scriptures and his character and determination in being devoted and faithful to God is admirable. We may or may not know the condition of David’s heart at any point in time–which may be sad, joyful, glad, mournful, or rejoicing–but we know that David is firm and resolute in his will and desire to praise and worship God. David’s knowledge of God and his knowledge of the oughtness of worshiping God work together to fully convince himself of the truth that God is good and God is worthy of his worship–therefore, David conquers his own heart to the point of subjugating his heart, the center of his feelings, longings, and affections, to his mind, the center of his thoughts, discernment, and will.

When does God call us to “Seek [His] face?” The answer is all the time. Many passages in Scripture implicitly and explicitly command us to seek Him.

Here are a few samplings of those passages, just from the book of Psalms:

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. / Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). When even the heavens tell of the glory of God and testify of His handiwork in creation, how much more ought man, who is created in God’s image, worship Him?

Psalm 148 is a call to praise Him and worship Him–it calls upon every creature and every created thing of His to praise and worship Him; it calls upon every element of nature, every animal, and men of every age and position in society and from all places to give God the glory that is due Him–“Let them praise the name of the LORD, / For His name alone is exalted; / His glory is above earth and heaven” (Psalm 148:13).

Psalm 100 is a call to worship–it calls upon those who have a relationship with God, who know Him as their Shepherd, who belong to Him, to come before Him with joyful gladness and singing.

The tragedy of when we do not draw near to God is seen in Psalm 32:9–

Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.

In the Old Testament, Israel was often called “stiff-necked” because that was an illustration pointing to how an animal or beast of burden was stubborn to the point that even when you pulled and tugged on the rope tied to its neck, it would not follow you; instead, the animal would resist, and pull in the opposite direction. Surely, man has greater understanding than a horse and a mule, a mere animal! Yet, we prove to be no greater if we do not “come near to [God]” upon our own volition. A man who has no fear of God and does not know who He is has no understanding (Proverbs 9:10). God will not take a drill and bore a hole behind our jaws and put a bit there, in order to attach reins and a bridle to force us and control us–but rest assured, that those who belong to Him, who are loved by Him, will be disciplined by Him when they do not come close to Him–“My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD / Or loathe His reproof, / For whom the LORD loves He reproves, / Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

Knowing that every knee will bow before Him (Philippians 2:10-11), whether willingly or unwillingly, and knowing David’s heart toward God, and knowing the tendency of the human heart to behave as stubborn animals, the question to ask myself is: “What does my heart look like, and where do I want it to be?”

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Luke 12:15-21 – Don’t Waste Your Life https://www.aweandreverence.com/bible/nt/luke/luke-1215-21-dont-waste-your-life/168 Thu, 01 Apr 2010 03:07:37 +0000 http://www.aweandreverence.com/?p=168 Passage: Luke 12:15-21 The rapper Lecrae mentions this passage in his song with the same title; one of the most influential Christian books in my life was John Piper’s book of the same name: DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE In this … Continue reading

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Passage: Luke 12:15-21

The rapper Lecrae mentions this passage in his song with the same title; one of the most influential Christian books in my life was John Piper’s book of the same name:

DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE

In this passage, Jesus teaches that every form of greed is dangerous and deadly. It is a waste of life. Greed is dangerous and deadly because even when greed is satisfied and fulfilled, when an abundance is had, the greedy individual is blinded to the condition of his soul. He is a ripe candidate for becoming Satan’s latest victim among millions (if not billions), and is just asking to be devoured by the prowling and roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8).

The greedy man is like the naive young man who listens to the woman of folly rather than voice of wisdom (Proverbs 9:18). Using an analogy from a children’s tale, Hansel and Gretel, the man of greed is like the naive children who are lured into the house of candy and cake occupied by the child-devouring witch.

Jesus sums up the story that He just told in this passage with one hard-hitting punch line, equating the rich man with an eternal fool:

So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Since we know that Satan, the enemy, is exceedingly wise–he is thousands of years old, was created before the first man, Adam, and has seen the rise and fall of many human civilizations, we know that his schemes are all too crafty (Ephesians 6:11) and his wiles all too deceitful. He is the tempter (Matthew 4:3) and the accuser (Revelation 12:10). From one man, Satan may withhold material goods, and so tempt him to despise and blame God for his lack; from another, Satan may give so abundantly that he becomes so full, so fat, and so rich, that he denies God (Proverbs 30:9).  Against such a formidable foe, who can stand a chance?

Quick Recap

I wanted to give a quick recap about the purpose of my writings. It is not simply to analyze Scripture and to add to head-knowledge. It is an exercise for me to know and love God’s word, and to practice delighting in the wonders of His law (Psalm 119:18), and to teach my heart and my soul to love God and worship Him in awe and reverence. So the question that must be asked of myself every time I read the Bible–how does what I just read point me to worship God?

I am thankful for this passage because Jesus loves us very much. He loves me very much, because if it were not for Him and these words of His, I would be like the unwary fat kid trapped in the evil witch’s house. This passage reminds me that if it were not for Jesus Christ my Advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1), I would stand guilty in this sin, and have to be eternally punished. Furthermore, having been justified already in Christ (Romans 5:9), this passage teaches me the very thing to avoid, whereas if I were to pursue it, I would waste my life.

We can stand far off as an observer and gawk at the folly of the rich fool, but who has ever told me, “You are that fool!”? Apart from the revelation of God’s word, no one else has ever pointed out to me that my soul was fast on its way to hell; not only has Jesus Christ pointed out the error of my ways, He has also paid the penalty for my transgressions against Him. Praise and thanks be unto Him!

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Psalm 119:136 – Real Men Cry Part 1 https://www.aweandreverence.com/bible/ot/psalms/psalm-119136-real-men-cry-part-1/135 Thu, 11 Mar 2010 08:00:03 +0000 http://www.aweandreverence.com/?p=135 Passage: Psalm 119:136 God made emotions, and God made tears. Real men, godly men, know how to embrace their God-given emotions. They won’t cry when they break their humerus in a freak snowboarding accident, but they will be moved to … Continue reading

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Passage: Psalm 119:136

God made emotions, and God made tears.

Real men, godly men, know how to embrace their God-given emotions. They won’t cry when they break their humerus in a freak snowboarding accident, but they will be moved to tears when their love for God is so great and their love and compassion toward others reflects God’s heart toward men.

Crying and weeping and being moved to tears is an act of worship to God under two broad circumstances of loving another person–and when it doesn’t end with just that, but also with interceding and praying on his or her behalf for the restoration of a broken Creator-creature, servant-master relationship, or for the salvation of his or her soul.

Loving the Brother or Sister

A genuine believer who loves the Lord would only want others to do the same–to obey the greatest commandment, which is to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). His heart is grieved because the sinning brother or sister is grieving the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). He knows that while this brother or sister is having difficulty in repentance to the Lord–perhaps because he or she is drowned in the feeling of guilt and is forgetting to turn to the Lord who is not wrathful and easily angered, but rather is meek and gentle–he or she is temporarily forfeiting infinite joy and pleasures in the Lord (Psalm 16:11) while being robbed by the deceitfulness of the passing pleasures of sin (Hebrews 3:13; 11:25).

When all seems hopeless for the straying sheep, the weeping believer prostrates himself and falls to his knees as he pleads with the Lord for the restoration of the straying one. A picture of this is described in the song “Prayin’ for You” by the Christian rap artist Lecrae.

Loving the Unbeliever

A believer who truly understands the gravity of the consequences of sin (Romans 6:23) and the heart of God which is grieved by the unwillingness of hardened sinners to repent (Genesis 6:5-6; c.f. Ezekiel 18:23; 2 Peter 3:9) will pray with much weeping for the salvation of the unbeliever, if perhaps that the Lord may be moved by the relentless prayer of His godly ones (Luke 18:1-8; c.f. Judges 2:18; 2 Samuel 24:25; 2 Chronicles 33:13).

In trusting the sovereignty of the Lord in salvation (Revelation 7:10, 19:1; c.f. Psalm 46:10), the believer who acts in dependence by praying with humility and sincerity even to the point of shedding tears couples that action with evangelism–sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:15-16) who purchased sinners with His own blood (1 Peter 1:18-19).

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Psalm 139:14 – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Part 1 https://www.aweandreverence.com/bible/ot/psalms/psalm-13914-fearfully-and-wonderfully-made-part-1/145 Thu, 11 Mar 2010 05:24:55 +0000 http://www.aweandreverence.com/?p=145 Passage: Psalm 139:14 “Binocular Vision” a.k.a. Canon PhotoStitch (Image stitching program) on steroids: Take your hand, flatten your palm, and place it perpendicular to your nose, between your two eyes. Close one eye and leave the other open. Then, open … Continue reading

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Passage: Psalm 139:14

“Binocular Vision” a.k.a. Canon PhotoStitch (Image stitching program) on steroids:

Take your hand, flatten your palm, and place it perpendicular to your nose, between your two eyes. Close one eye and leave the other open. Then, open that eye and close the other. Finally, open both eyes.

Your two eyes are perceiving two different images, and when both eyes are open, your brain creates a composite image from the two separate images and you perceive one uninterrupted image, as if the two images were “stitched” together.

Many digital cameras today come with image stitching software, which is used in conjunction with a panoramic shooting mode. As you pan the camera and take images along the pan, the program is able to algorithmically calculate the similarities of the images and shared boundaries, and stitch them into one image. On my computer running a 2.4 GHz Intel Pentium Core 2 Quad and some advanced video card, there is still a noticeable delay when stitching images together.

With my two eyes and brain given to me by my Creator God, the innate “photo stitching software” is perfect, instantaneously creating a seamlessly “stitched photo.”

Indeed, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I worship my Creator, and praise Him for His wisdom and ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:9).

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Matthew 9:18 – Faith https://www.aweandreverence.com/bible/nt/matthew/matthew-918-faith/59 Thu, 14 Jan 2010 14:50:45 +0000 http://www.aweandreverence.com/?p=59 Passage: Matthew 9:18 (c.f. Mark 5:21-24) A synagogue official comes before Jesus in desperation because his daughter just died. What’s the big deal? This kind of thing happens every day, right? (No!) Why is it recorded in the Bible? When … Continue reading

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Passage: Matthew 9:18 (c.f. Mark 5:21-24)

A synagogue official comes before Jesus in desperation because his daughter just died. What’s the big deal? This kind of thing happens every day, right? (No!) Why is it recorded in the Bible?

When you think about it, since the Bible is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), then what we read in the gospels is a very selective account of Jesus’ life. The gospels don’t talk about His entire life, but mostly circumstances and events prior to Jesus’ birth, His early childhood, and then the last three years of His life before crucifixion.

Of the selectivity of what is recorded for us in God’s word in the gospel of John, John gives a specific reason:

John 20:30-31

Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

John 21:25

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they *were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself *would not contain the books that *would be written.

Therefore, when we read the Bible, we should not read it flippantly or casually, but we should always ask the deeper questions–“Why was this passage recorded for God’s people to read for generations and generations to come?” and “What can I learn from this passage?” and “How does this apply to me?”

One more example of selective records from Matthew 26:13 (c.f. Mark 14:9)

Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.

Now that we have seen that the gospels are not an exhaustive historical record, but rather a highlight reel for Christians to pay heed to, we can look at this passage and seek to understand its significance.

Two characteristics which the synagogue official exhibit, and which we should emulate, are:

1. Humility and reverence in coming before God

a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him

2. An unwavering faith and trust in God’s ability to save

My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.

Along the spectrum of worshiping God and faith in God, where do you lie–nonchalantly casual towards God and doubting Him, or humbly dependent before Him and completely trusting in Him?

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Psalm 119:59-60 – I Hastened and Did Not Delay https://www.aweandreverence.com/bible/ot/psalms/psalm-11959-60-i-hastened-and-did-not-delay/98 Mon, 11 Jan 2010 17:21:41 +0000 http://aweandreverence.com/?p=98 Passage: Psalm 119:59-60 When reading the Old Testament, we find many great examples of faith and faithfulness (Hebrews 11:32-38). The psalmist who wrote Psalm 119 is certainly no exception. Through these two verses, the psalmist exemplifies a lifestyle of obedience … Continue reading

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Passage: Psalm 119:59-60

When reading the Old Testament, we find many great examples of faith and faithfulness (Hebrews 11:32-38). The psalmist who wrote Psalm 119 is certainly no exception.

Through these two verses, the psalmist exemplifies a lifestyle of obedience to God, and is a great Old Testament illustration to a New Testament command many are familiar with–Paul’s exhortation to test and examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). It’s amazing to find many gems in the Bible of Old Testament saints who have obeyed commands written much later in the future–which is owing to the fact that the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament (Deuteronomy 6:4; John 1:1; Hebrews 13:8), and that the heart of God for faithfulness and obedience to Him has never changed.

Presumably, the psalmist, upon examining himself, had many atrocious things to the Lord, and out of fear and reverence, he repented immediately. Likewise, I have many things in my life which are “ugly” that I need to confront and repent of and submit to the obedience of Christ–immediately, without delay.

Let us break down what the psalmist did:

  1. Self-reflection and examination of his life against God’s word
  2. Turning away from sin that was uncovered
  3. Turning toward righteousness by following God’s commands in the Scriptures
  4. Responding immediately and without delay

While we are still in the flesh, we will never be completely free from sin (1 John 1:8), yet for those who are born-again (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17), they have been freed from the bondage of sin and have been empowered to be slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:17-18; 1 Corinthians 10:13).

The Lord is gracious to us all! I pray that He may instill in me and you the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10).

Chinese Lesson

An exercise that I am personally making an effort to do is to read through the Psalms in Chinese (my mother tongue), which helps me to learn the vocabulary used by Chinese-speaking believers to worship God, and also helps me to comprehend the passages more deeply than when just reading it in the English NASB translation.

The NCV (New Chinese Version, what they currently use at EBCT) says:
59 我思想我所行的道路,/ 就轉回腳步歸向你的法度
60 我趕快謹守你的命令, / 不敢耽延

My attempt to translate it back to English:
59 I thought about the path upon which I walked, / then I turned my steps back toward Your testimonies
60 I hurried to keep Your commandments, / Not daring to delay

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