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Verse of the Month - July 2017

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[5] Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! (Psalm 89:5 ESV)

Psalm 89 is a song of lament from God’s people.  The reality that the Bible contains lament should in and of itself be a great comfort for us today.  The truth of living in a fallen world is that in different seasons and times of life we all deal with sorrow, whether it be due to sickness, death of a loved one, broken relationships, a wayward child, addictions, etc.  The great news is that the Bible gives us permission to grieve, and it is in our grief that we are able to experience the faithfulness of a God who gives us a garment of praise out of our distress.

The psalmist builds this lament upon the faithfulness and steadfast love of God.  But why?  What is it about God’s faithfulness and steadfast love that gives us permission and confidence to bring our troubles to him?  Some would argue that sorrow is proof that our God is not faithful. But this is not true because God’s faithfulness is not circumstantial, rather God’s faithfulness is a part of His character.  Although our circumstances may change, our God does not.  This is why the psalmist can proclaim in verse one that God is faithful to all generations.  Times change, sin damages, our flesh fails, but our God redeems through his steadfast love and faithfulness.  This was the promise that God gave to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David.  In times of difficulty, we should cling to a God whose Word is unable to fail.  The psalmist does this by calling to mind the promise given to David that his throne would be eternal (vv 3-4).  

The beauty for the church today is that God kept his promise to David through Jesus.  It is in Jesus that God’s steadfast love and faithfulness is most clearly seen.  The death of Jesus for our sins is the evidence that God takes evil and uses it for good.  Because of this truth the Apostle Paul writes, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (2 Cor 1:20).  So now we too can sing as Israel did, “Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!”

Written by Pastor Rick Bartek

Posted by Rick Bartek with

Verse of the Month - June 2017

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[2] The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. (Exodus 15:2 ESV)

The book of Exodus is the account of God’s people being delivered from slavery to song.  Within this narrative, Exodus chapter 15 is the response from the people of God to the victory that God had won for them.  In the beginning stages of the book of Exodus, we get the glimpse of the slavery and hopeless situation that God’s people have found themselves in.  They are enslaved and being oppressed by a wicked ruler.  The picture described by the author is not a picture that we would naturally think that the people of God should be in.  But it is in this narrative that we get to see the character of God as rescuer.

Through a mediator named Moses, God proclaims His good intentions for His people so that they might be released from captivity of Pharaoh.  Yet, the wicked and evil Pharaoh refuses to bow and submit to God and because of his objection to God’s request, God the rescuer begins to flex.  God’s power and might is seen as He sends plagues upon the gods of Egypt and all those who stand in opposition to His purpose and plan for His people.  As God’s people are instructed to quickly exit Egypt, they find their backs up against the waters of the Red Sea with the wicked Pharaoh and his army barring down on them.  Once again, God the rescuer acts as He splits the waters so that the people might cross over on dry ground.  In this scene, all opposition is swallowed up as God releases the waters as one final act of judgement upon Pharaoh and his army.  Through this we see that the people of God are drawn out of slavery and into freedom by God’s might and power alone.  The response of the people of God is song.  They celebrate and proclaim, “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

For us today, the story of the Exodus is our story also.  We too have been delivered from slavery to song through the power and might of God alone.  Jesus Christ, the new mediator and better Moses has split the sea of God’s judgement so that we might cross over on dry ground.  Now we join in the song of salvation that God our rescuer has become our salvation.

Written by Pastor Rick Bartek

Posted by Rick Bartek with

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