Big Reflections on Small Phrases: Recovering Meditation

Thank You, Puritans

Not many people read the Puritans, though I am immensely thankful for the seemingly recent revival of great books (thank you Banner of Truth and by who I call the “old dead guys.”  There is tons of truth, deep theology, and soaring treatises on the holiness of God, communion with God, the mortification of sin, the doctrine of repentance, etc.  And in all of these writings by the Puritans and men similar to them, I have noticed one very common thread: big reflections on small phrases.  Oh, how these men loved the Book!  And not only the book, but the words of the book — and these men would write pages and pages, chapters and chapters on a few words, a small phrase, or a sentence from the pages of Holy Writ.  They have taught me and encouraged me to live on small phrases in the Scriptures and to turn them over again and again, to chew on them, and to recite them to my heart as I work, pump gas, or closing my eyes in bed — when I am away from my Bible.

David on the Run

I recently preached a sermon on Psalm 63.  I love this chapter, it is truly one of my favorite Psalms in the entire Scriptures.  And when preparing to preach this text, I was drawn back to the likely context of this penning: King David is in the wilderness on the run from one of his sons, Absalom.  Absalom has murdered and now has overthrown David privately by running him out and publicly by spearheading the coo and then publicly by sleeping with all of David’s concubines (hint: concubines are prostitutes; so, don’t have concubines like David) as found in 2 Samuel 14-17.  During this time, David was in the wilderness away from the temple (cf. 2 Samuel 17:16).

And in this Psalm, what did David do: he thirsted for God as in a dry and weary land (Psalm 63:1); he beheld God’s power and glory (63:2) because God’s steadfast love is better than life.  But, how could David “behold” God’s power and glory and “look” upon the Lord in his sanctuary when he is away from the Jerusalem and in the wilderness, or lying in fear, or feeling tempted with worry?

Psalm 63:5-6 “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night…”

David looked to the power and glory of the Lord and his soul found great and high satisfaction in the Lord Most High from his mind’s eye.  He meditated, he clung to the words of the Law that he had beheld and adored.  David remembered.  Friends, though there was a desert around him, there was no desert in his soul.

Find Phrases

There are a few phrases that I have personally found encouraging, convicting, and that remind me to behold the Lord, in no particular order:

  • Galatians 6:1, “Keep watch on yourself”
  • Hebrews 6:18, “it is impossible for God to lie”
  • Genesis 18:25, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”
  • Psalm 63:3, “your steadfast love is better than life”
  • Luke 18:1, “always to pray and not lose heart.”
  • Romans 6:11, “consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
  • Colossians 3:3, “your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
  • Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
  • Deuteronomy 32:4, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice.”
  • John 13:1, “[Jesus] having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
  • Hebrews 1:3, “after making purification for sins”
  • 1 John 5:21, “keep yourselves from idols.”

As you read the Scriptures, mediate and chew on these phrases, and in doing so you will behold the power and glory of the Lord that sustains weary saints in the desert of the soul where there is no water.  Meditate on the Scriptures.  Chew on them.  Pray them.  Ask the Lord to work these into your thinking, acting, and speaking.



Sanctification in God’s Good Gifts

It is like the sweetness of honey that rolls over the rottenness of a cavity — the sweetness exposes my rottenness.

The Many Medicines of the Lord

We are very much aware of the texts that speak of the meticulous and wise providences of God in brining about suffering, pain, and affliction for our good and God’s glory.  And we are keenly aware (hopefully) of the footing for these precious and very great promises:

  • Job 5:17-18, ““Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.  For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.
  • Hosea 6:1, “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
  • Lamentations 3:31-33, “For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.”
  • Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (see also verse 67, 75).

Continue reading “Sanctification in God’s Good Gifts”

Why Do We Celebrate Christmas?

The Reformed Alliance

“The Infinite has become the infant.”

— Charles Spurgeon

In modern America, Christmas is a time in which millions of people across the country spend time with family, exchanging gifts and seeing what “Santa Claus” put under the Christmas tree; a lot of the time it means nothing more to them than that. To Christians, there is a much deeper and beautiful meaning. For us, Christmas is an amazing holiday in which we get to spend time with family, friends and other believers celebrating the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is Christmas all about? I like how Paul Washer puts it: he says that Christmas is really about “God’s anger.” I get how that might seem odd or out of place, but bear with me for just a moment and allow me to explain. God absolutely despises sin, he abhors it and sinners. Psalm 11:5 (ESV)…

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