Christianity 201

June 17, 2014

Familiar Verse in Context: This is the Day

It’s been six months since we borrowed something from Mike Leake at the blog Borrowed Light. This is the second in what promises to be a series of “most shared verses.”  To read this at source, click here. To continue to follow the series as new entries are added, save this link.

At the end of last year, YouVersion highlighted the top 10 Bible verses that were shared the most. I found the list interesting and thought that it could be helpful to understand them in their original context. Today we are looking at Psalm 118:24—which according to YouVersion was the most shared verse in 2013.

The Verse:

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24 ESV)

The Context:

Psalm 113-118 are known as the Egyptian Hallel. These psalms were typical sang during Passover and other festivals. It is quite likely that Psalm 118 would have been the last song that Jesus sang with his disciples before going to the Garden of Gethsemane.

This Psalm is a call to worship God for his steadfast love and faithfulness. And his steadfast love and faithfulness is shown through his establishing of a king. Note that right before Psalm 118:24 is a verse that is oft-quoted in the NT.

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Also note that 118:26 was shouted by the people during the triumphal entry of Jesus. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD!”

Clearly, then, Psalm 118:24 ought to be read in light of the exaltation of God’s King. We see this ultimately fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.

The Meaning:

The key question of this text is, “what is ‘the day’ in which the Lord has made”. Surely it is theologically correct to say that the Lord creates every day and that every day ought to move us to worship. But is this text actually pointing to another ‘day’?

Some interpreters have this pointing to the Sabbath. (Spuregon was one of them). Personally, I believe that in the immediate context this is pointing to the day of the particular festival as a reminder of the goodness of the Lord in establishing his king. But this too is pointing to something even greater; namely, the establishment of Jesus Christ as the Eternal Davidic King.

So, what does it mean for us when we say, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”? I don’t know that one is wrong in celebrating each day as from the hand of the Lord. But I believe even more profoundly that this verse ought to draw us to thanksgiving to God for Christ being the established King. It is because of this event that we can truly rejoice in every day that the Lord has made.

As Christ left the upper room, singing with his disciples, “This is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it” he knew everything that ‘this day’ would include. And yet it was for the joy set before him that he endured the Cross. And it is because of this same joy set before us that we can rejoice every day.

His King is in Zion. Today and Forever. Let us rejoice and be glad!

July 26, 2012

Speaking To Yourselves in Spiritual Songs

(NIV)Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…

(CEB) Col 316 The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

This is a blog about “digging a little deeper.” I look for articles that begin with scripture and offer something beyond the superficial or shallow. I often recommend authors who “go deep.” Sometimes I borrow an HTML computer term and talk about “rich text.” There are only so many hours in the day, and I want to spend my devotional or Bible-study time with something that really sparks my thoughts. You can begin the day with your Our Daily Bread devotional booklet and your morning coffee, but hopefully that’s not the end of your meditating on God’s word for the day.

While some people consider the popular, contemporary Christian music — and by that I’m not referring to the modern worship genre — to be a little shallow. But there are songs that challenge us to deeper commitment. As we “speak” these songs to one another through video sharing, playing music as we drive somewhere, pre-service music on the sound system at church, background music as we cook dinner; we should naturally gravitate to the songs that take us a little deeper; the songs born out of rich text.

Case in point: Sidewalk Prophets “Live Like That”

Am I proof
That You are who you say You are
That grace can really change a heart
Do I live like Your love is true

People pass
And even if they don’t know my name
Is there evidence that I’ve been changed
When they see me, do they see You

I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You

Case in point: Matthew West “Motions” (I’ve written about this song before!)

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?”

Case in Point: Lincoln Brewster “Love The Lord” (My wife mentioned today how she loves the fact this is straight scripture.)

Love the Lord your God
With all your heart, with all your soul
With all your mind, and with all your strength.

Case in Point: Danniebelle “Work The Works” (a classic song from the early Jesus Music days we just added to our YouTube project; also straight scripture; this is how I originally learned this Bible story.)

One day Jesus saw a blind man sitting by the wayside
His disciples asked him, ‘Master who did sin?’
He said, “Neither this man, nor his parents,
But that the works of God might be manifest in Him”

I must work the works of Him, who sent me while it is day
For when the night is come the time for works will be done away.
Would you be willing to work for Jesus any time and every day?
He’ll reward you when He comes to take His bride away.

Let’s not minimize the gift of music God has given to us individually, and to the Church at large.