Listen To Most Current
Grace Notes Archive
June 2021 (1)
May 2021 (5)
April 2021 (4)
March 2021 (5)
February 2021 (4)
January 2021 (5)
December 2020 (4)
November 2020 (4)
October 2020 (5)
September 2020 (4)
August 2020 (5)
July 2020 (21)
June 2020 (29)
May 2020 (28)
April 2020 (31)
March 2020 (5)
February 2020 (4)
January 2020 (5)
December 2019 (5)
November 2019 (3)
October 2019 (5)
September 2019 (4)
August 2019 (5)
July 2019 (4)
June 2019 (5)
May 2019 (4)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (6)
January 2019 (4)
December 2018 (4)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (3)
June 2018 (4)
May 2018 (4)
April 2018 (4)
March 2018 (4)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (4)
December 2017 (4)
November 2017 (5)
October 2017 (4)
September 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
July 2017 (4)
June 2017 (5)
May 2017 (4)
April 2017 (5)
March 2017 (3)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (3)
December 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (4)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (5)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (5)
March 2016 (4)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (5)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (3)
September 2015 (4)
August 2015 (5)
July 2015 (5)
June 2015 (4)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (2)
March 2015 (4)
February 2015 (4)
January 2015 (5)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
September 2014 (4)
August 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
October 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (4)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (5)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (4)
February 2013 (5)
January 2013 (4)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (5)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
January 2011 (5)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (6)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (4)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (4)
January 2010 (5)
December 2009 (5)
November 2009 (3)
October 2009 (6)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (5)
July 2009 (4)
June 2009 (4)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (4)
January 2009 (5)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (5)
October 2008 (4)
September 2008 (5)
August 2008 (4)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (4)
March 2008 (5)
February 2008 (1)
Grace Notes

Current Articles | Categories | Search | Syndication

A HAPPY VERSE!
by Philip Owen

          One of the happiest verses in the Bible must be this one: “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psa. 115:3). Almost never have I read that verse without smiling, if not actually laughing—not in derision or disbelief, but in delight. It is a disarmingly simple yet absolute declaration of God’s omnipotence and its corollary, His sovereignty.

            An inaccurate view of this declaration. We are instructed to fear the Lord. We are told that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. We are warned to fear the One (i.e., God) who can cast body and soul into hell. Without doubt, a holy God who judges all sin is a God who should be feared. It is absolutely right to do so. One of the most damning statements in all the Word of God is one given by Paul in his epistle to the Romans. Quoting from the thirty-sixth Psalm, he condemns Jews and Gentiles alike with these words: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” One of the chief characteristics of an apostate people is that they cease to fear God. So, yes, it is right to fear God, the lost and the stubbornly sinning in abject terror of judgment, and the penitent believer in reverent trust and obedience. Given these realities, it would be easy, then, to read our text as a warning to fear God. But as we have suggested, although the Word of God is filled with commands to fear God and warnings in that regard and, therefore, believers and unbelievers alike should fear (but in a different manner and for different reasons), our text was not written in order to inculcate fear. How do we know this?

            The accurate view of this declaration. The simple answer is: the context. Consider what follows the declaration in the third verse. Three times the psalmist calls upon, first, Israel (v. 9), then, the “house of Aaron” (v. 10), and finally, “you who fear the Lord” (v. 11) to “trust in the Lord” because “He is their help and their shield” (vv. 9, 10, 11). In other words, the fact that God does always and only just what He pleases is offered as a reason, not to fear, but to trust and take comfort in Him because He uses His omnipotence and exercises His absolute sovereignty in order to help and to shield those who trust in Him.

            But the psalmist isn’t done yet. He offers more encouragement and assurance. Now he adds God’s omniscience to the arsenal of weapons that God wields on behalf of His own. “The Lord has been mindful of us,” he says. “Uh-oh,” we respond. “Knowing what I know about myself, that could be unpleasant.” Not so, says the psalmist: “The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us” (v. 12a)! Then he reiterates the same three groups: “He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless those who fear the Lord”; and just to be emphatically clear, he adds, “the small together with the great” (vv. 12b, 13).

            Nor is he yet quite done with his encouragement. He adds a benediction (in this case, a God-breathed promise of blessing). “May the Lord give you increase, you and your children. May you be blessed of the Lord” (vv. 14, 15a). The opening bookend is that God does whatever He pleases. Here is the concluding bookend: God is “Maker of heaven and earth” (v. 15b); He is both omnipotent and sovereign.

            We are not given leave to dispense with reverence, for the psalmist ends thus: “But as for us, we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forever. Praise the Lord!” (v. 18). But it is a reverence imbued not with abject terror, but with peace and rest, rejoicing and thankfulness. We are told to believe and expect this omniscient, sovereign God to work on our behalf and for our benefit. And by “our,” I mean, those who fear the Lord (see, vv. 11, 13), that is, those who exercise a reverential trust in Him. God wants His own to know and trust in the absolute certainty that God can and does do whatever He pleases and that it pleases Him to bless those who love Him and to be a help and shield to those who trust in Him. We must take our eyes off our circumstances and look to our Savior because He has the desire to bless us and the ability to take care of us. Can you believe that? And will you “Bless the Lord from this time forth and forever”?

Actions: E-mail | Permalink

Previous Page | Next Page