Drinking Deeply

Friday, May 29, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Joy Inexpressible

Today I had the pleasure of sitting in on the first part of a two-day seminar put on by Bethlehem Church on "Prayer, Meditation, and Fasting:The Pursuit of Communion with God." Sounds intense, and it was.

One side note - I hope no one (of the 6 subscribers) reading this thinks, "wow, Mickey is so holy, he prays and he fasts and he meditates, look at the classes he goes to." That assumption is... well false. I go to these classes not because I get it, but because I don't but I want to!

But anyway, the first part was about the communion with God. What does that look like, why should we seek it, and what exactly does it mean anyway to have fellowship with God?

This post isn't about that seminar as much as it is about one tiny tiny part of one thing that he said. When John Piper was talking about how the Word sustains our joy through faith, he went to a text that I probably had read a hundred times before:

1 Peter 1:3-9
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I had read it in commentaries, in my personal devotional time, in my (attempts at) Bible memorization. I've seen it referenced in books.

But here, Piper explained it and I got it. He asked, "what does the this in the beginning of v. 6 refer to? What do we rejoice in here? And he went through the first 5 verses and completely blew me away:

1) He has caused us to be born again
2) We have a living hope
3) Our inheritance is imperishable
4) Our inheritance is undefiled
5) Our inheritance is unfading
6) Our inheritance is kept in heaven
7) We are being guarded through faith
8) All this is for salvation in the last day

And I was absolutely floored. All these connections, of course we're going to be rejoicing! I usually approach seminars/sermons with an eye towards information and understanding but I just couldn't take coherant notes anymore. The rest of my pages are a mess of exclamation marks, underlinings, boldings, and big boxes around "for me!!" and "free!!" "faith!!!" "deliverance!"


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Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Rethinking memory verses: Psalm 34:8

Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

For me, the phrase "taste and see" was kind of an ambiguous thing. Whatever it was, I guess my general connotation would be with "enjoy" and "delight" in what I know about God, to meditate upon God's attributes and His great work. Certainly a good practice apart from this verse.

But on Sunday, I had the blessing to be able to sit in on a Bible study where they went through Psalm 34. One of the questions posed was, "What exactly does it mean to 'taste and see'?" Unless you're Catholic (or Lutheran), it really isn't possible for us now to "taste and see" God in a physical manner. Through that Bible study, the phrase took on an entirely new light.

If we actually look at the context, we see that "taste and see" is probably best interpreted by, "Trust in the Lord and see that He is faithful!"

Why is that? As one of the members of the Bible study encouraged us, "when in doubt, read the passage!"

Psalm 34's context (v.0) is that David has changed his behavior before Abimelech (Maybe Abimelech is the same person as Achish in 1 Samuel 21? Not sure what is going on with the names).

David sings this psalm and begins with "I will bless the LORD at all times" (v.1) and proceeds to encourage all of Israel to join him (v.3). He testifies that the Lord has "answered [him] and delivered [him] from all [his] fears." (v. 4) He then testifies that, "This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles."(v.6) The promise is given that, "the angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them." (v.7)

With all of that setting the background, what does the encouragement to, "taste and see that the Lord is good!" mean?

I think it's a clear encouragement to trust the Lord. To follow in the footsteps of David, who cried out and the Lord delivered him. Much like the Lord challenged Israel in Malachi to, "put me to the test...if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need," David encourages Israel to put the Lord to the test, trusting in Him for provision and refuge.

Don't be like the "young lions" in v.8 who (presumably) trust in their own power and might and suffer "want and hunger," but instead seek the Lord, relying on Him for deliverance and hope.

So to paraphrase, "trust and see that the Lord is good!"


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Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 9:55 AM

For God so loved the world....

So I'm still at that spot where I know just enough Greek to get me in trouble, but not enough to really understand deeper implications and such. Alas, hopefully another year of Greek will do me good.

Anyway, John Piper preached on John 3:16 this week and I had the chance to follow along in my Greek Bible. I noticed something very interesting about the Greek text of John 3:16 -

οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν θεὸς τὸν κόσμον,

All the translations I checked (NIV, NASB, TNIV, KJV, NKJV, ESV [with a footnote], NLT, Message) render it, "For God so loved the world." That translation probably was correct back in a time when readers understood the word "so" to mean "in this manner," which is the correct interpretation of the first word (οὕτως). But now, my first instinct (and I suspect many others) would read that as "God loved the world so much that." Unfortunately, though the Lord does love His creation a great deal, that's not what the verse is saying, but rather it's explaining how the Lord loved the world.

"For in this way God loved the world..."

The New Living Translation and Message actually puts the idea "so much" in their rendering. Arrgh on paraphrases!

Interesting! Just goes to show...All Things are Better in Koine


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