It’s tough hearing God’s “no,” especially when it doesn’t sound like protection, only prevention. Such is what King David might have thought when he was denied building the Temple. Enduring God’s “no’s,” however, is made possible only by realizing and recognizing that he has already given us the ultimate “yes.”
Psalm 18 is one of David’s most recognized psalms. It is a highly regarded piece of poetry, not only for its biblical weight but for its lyrical beauty. Yet, the true weight and glory of Psalm 18 is unfolded once you are taken captive by that which captivated the psalmist himself. Namely, the all-surpassing, never-stopping deliverance of his God.
There is a beast lurking within all of us. An animal we often feed without realizing until it rears its ugly head and roars for all to hear. This beast affects us all, from Adam all the way down. The story of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar perfectly illustrates and portrays the tragedies of feeding this beast. The beast of sin is pride and the hammer that defeats it is the law.
There are some stories in the Bible that are so perplexing that it makes you wonder why they were ever uttered by our Lord in the first place. I think there’s no better example of this than the parable of “The Workers in the Vineyard” from Matthew 20. The tale at first feels incredibly unbiblical and opposite of Jesus’s penchant for justice. But, another glance at this story reveals it to be another grandiose expose of grace.
There is, perhaps, no better scene to identify who the church is for and what church should be about than the parable Jesus relays in Luke 18, that being the parable of “The Pharisee and the Publican.” In this short account, Christ plainly discloses the leveling nature of the gospel, in that it’s for sinners, because sinners are all that there are. The good news is for fakers and fugitives alike.
The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is one of the most famous in all of Scripture. The account of these three young Hebrew hostages resolutely standing on behalf of the God they believed in and were sure of stands a testament to the power of faith and the gospel. Their story, though, takes on even greater meaning when you realize who it was that was in the fire with them.