and 128 are psalms of ascent that turn toward the home and home-life – while still including a concern for the City (127:1; 128:5) – that is the City of Jerusalem, the city of God, and I think we should rightly say the church. There is a connection between the church and the home and God’s protection of His people as they make their pilgrimage through this life. I believe we can see from this Psalm is the grand truth that only if God builds our homes by uniting us to Christ and His body will there be security for our families!
Powerful, Peaceful Protection (Psalm 46:1-11)
This is a song for those who belong to the believing company, and for those who have God to be his God, and Christ in our midst, or else he cannot sing the song of peace amid commotion and calamity. No man can truly sing this psalm but those who are redeemed from the earth. In a special way, though, this Psalm rings out for the church of the Reformation – not only because Luther loved it so, or because all 5 of the 5 sola’s (battle cries of the Reformation) can be seen through it … but for its theme, the church is safe under divine protection!
Perfect Faithfulness (2 Samuel 3:1-21)
The old adage not to judge a book by its cover – or things are not as they appear – is well-trod in application to many of the narratives in the Bible. Indeed our whole life is sort-of a surprise ending where glory will be revealed where groaning is now. So it makes sense that all throughout the Bible are reminders to wait upon the LORD. The appearance of things is not a good judge of how things really are, but rather the outcome of things. This is exactly what Abner said to Joab in the last chapter that finally stopped the bloodshed when he asked him to consider “Do you not know that the end will be bitter?”
The Measure of Ministry (2 Corinthians 3:1-6)
Paul knew that the gospel is more than words, it is the transformation of the whole person through the power of the Creator and Redeemer. Paul wanted nothing to do with a FORM of godliness that had NO power. For Paul and for us true gospel ministry is measured by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit! So Paul points the Corinthians in two directions to measure his ministry, namely the fruit and the power.
Paradox Triumph (2 Corinthians 2:12-17)
Paul brings forward in 2 Corinthians one of the greatest gospel paradoxes throughout the letter that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness! The Triumph of Christ – which He Himself won through the CROSS – that Paul so eloquently speaks of in Colossians involves the open display of His redeemed as Weak and yet Waring, as Poor yet Pleasing. In Christ, the paradox of our lives always brings praise to God!
Holy Ambition (2 Samuel 2:1-32)
How do we go about with a Godly ambition in the right way? Genuinely offering our service without advancing our personal cause and seeking pride and glory for ourselves? That is what the contrast in this chapter unveils. We must always remember those biblical warnings about reaping what we sow… and what Jesus told Nicodemus in
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” But with these fixed in our minds, we also need the practical instruction that to reap godliness we must sow faith!
Radical Sincerity (2 Corinthians 2:5-11)
The church needs dynamic Christians. Paul writes in v.9 that he wanted to the test the Corinthians to see if they were obedient to Christ – not just in one thing – but in everything. That is where sincerity is really found out, because to be dynamic, to be obedient on both sides of the spectrum and every point in between requires that we have given ourselves over to the LORD. The real test of sincerity is our commitment to Christ over self!
Love Hurts (2 Corinthians 1:23-2:4)
The heart of Christian ministry can only be seen on the other side of pain. Why? because Adam made death to reign through his disobedience. And Christ’s obedience which brings life and justification as a free gift – also unites us to Christ so intimately that we all share a death like his before we are united with him in a resurrection like his. This is why LOVE HURTS. That is what real faith is all about. Real faith will be a full participation in Christ’s sufferings and his glories!
Always Yes! (2 Corinthians 1:15-22)
The closer we stick to the Word the more the Word sticks in us. When a man is serious about divine truth – his life reflects that throughout his life! The Big-picture effects the little. You see our lives are reliable as they flow out of the Testimony of Christ! Our integrity comes out of the integrity of God in Christ.
Eschatological Ethic (2 Corinthians 1:12-14)
If we miss the mark in our Christian life – we will eventually forfeit everything – we will end up in the WRONG place altogether. Paul has come in our verses to the main body of the letter. A major reason that Paul had to write this letter is to set things straight with the Corinthians. Paul appeals to that which is being done in him by the grace of God (v. 12). The whole point for Paul is that God gets the glory when His strength is made perfect in our weakness. It is especially that idea of “MADE PERFECT” that Paul will focus in on. It is the MARK that Paul always wants to hit. Paul’s faithfulness finds its ultimate support in this truth, that God is faithful, faithful to the very end. And what I believe Paul would have us focus on in these 3 verses is that God’s completed work is the mark we should never deviate from!