Teaching the Light from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.
27Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" 28And they answered him, "John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." 29He asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Messiah." 30And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
31Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."
34He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, i will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words j in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God
1For the leader. A psalm of David.
2The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky proclaims his handiwork.
3Day to day makes utterance, night to night speaks out.
4There is no utterance, there are no words, whose sound goes unheard.
5Their voice carries throughout the earth, the words to the end of the world.
He placed in them a tent for the sun,
6who is like a groom coming forth from the chamber,
like a hero, eager to run his course.
7His rising-place is at one end of heaven,
and his circuit reaches the other; nothing escapes his heat.
8The teaching of the LORD is perfect, renewing life;
the decrees of the LORD are enduring, making the simple wise;
9The precepts of the LORD are just, rejoicing the heart;
the instruction of the LORD is lucid, making the eyes light up.
10The fear of the LORD is pure, abiding forever;
the judgments of the LORD are true, righteous altogether,
11more desirable than gold, than much fine gold,
sweeter than honey, than drippings of the comb.
12Your servant pays them heed; in obeying them there is much reward.
13Who can be aware of errors? Clear me of unperceived guilt,
14and from willful sins keep your servant, let them not dominate me;
then shall I be blameless and clear of grave offense.
15May the words of my mouth and the prayer of my heart be acceptable to You,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God.
David was a shepherd boy. David was a warrior. David was a king. David was a husband, and a father, and a complex, flawed individual.
But above all his accomplishments, struggles, failures, and the weight of the dynasty that follows him, one attribute stands out.
David was a poet.
Dozens of the psalms are attributed to him, cutting across the book and intersecting with his life, and with our own, time and time again. There’s no telling how many other poems he wrote during his life, for surely Psalms does not include everything the Poet-King ever composed.
The Psalms were the hymnbook of ancient Israel, and gave the people the language to express their relationship with God using a variety of forms, images, and approaches. There’s a psalm for almost every occasion.
Psalms are, at their heart, poetry for God.
And y’all called an English Major to be your preacher. While not every English Major-type-person is a lover of poetry, this one is.
History tells us events and gives us perspective and wisdom. Science tells us data and gives us facts and knowledge. Poetry tells us truth, and gives us to ourselves.
Psalm are, at their heart, poetry for God. They tell truth about God and give us ourselves as people of God.
Psalm 19 points us toward our God who speaks into being that which does not exist. This psalm lifts up the creator by pointing to the heavens and declaring that the fact that they exist is an act of praise to the one who called them into existence. "The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky proclaims His handiwork.” Their movements and vibrations throughout the universe testify to the greatness of the creator. The heavens exist to praise God.
And moving through the heavens, hanging in the sky is one specific part, connected to the rest of creation by the will of God. In the midst of the praise and prayer of the heavens, “God placed in them a tent for the sun.”
David, that poet-king, knows that we cannot imagine the mind-boggling bigness of space. so he gives us a smaller slice of the truth. One smaller, more accessible portion of the heavens. The sun moves through the heavens joyfully, “like a groom coming forth from the chamber.” The sun hangs in the sky, eager to proclaim God’s handiwork, “ like a hero, eager to run his course.”
There's a strong break in this poetic passage. We move from “His rising-place is at one end of heaven, and his circuit reaches the other; nothing escapes his heat,” to “The Teaching of the LORD is perfect, renewing life.” Right between verses 7 and 8, we switch from a psalm of creation to a psalm of God's law. The shift is so jarring that some commentators suggest that this psalm was once at least two different poems that were joined together.
Either way, the Holy Spirit has preserved Psalm 19 as a single unit. The two sections of the psalm run parallel to one another, rather than against each other. The first section builds upon the praise of creation. God has formed everything that is, from the building blocks of substance up to systems of inestimable complexity. In the second section, the poet enters with his own words of praise.
“The teaching of the LORD is perfect, renewing life; the decrees of the LORD are enduring, making the simple wise; The precepts of the LORD are just, rejoicing the heart; the instruction of the LORD is lucid, making the eyes light up. The fear of the LORD is pure, abiding forever; the judgments of the LORD are true, righteous altogether, more desirable than gold, than much fine gold sweeter than honey, than drippings of the comb.”
God is not distant, winding up creation and then watching it tick away, God is still intervening. The words of creation are not the only words God has spoken. God has given us the gift of the perfect teaching of the LORD, renewing life. God has given us the gift of enduring decrees, making the simple wise. God has given us just precepts, rejoicing the heart. God gives us lucid instructions of the LORD, making the eyes light up.
Just as the heavens are defined by God’s creating word, so too the people of God are defined by God’s teaching. But we are limited people, and in spite of the gifts God has given us, they are too much for us to hold. So the Psalmist, again, gives us a smaller, more accessible part. One servant. One person who represents the community, and both confesses his sin and asks for God’s forgiveness and protection, so that “the words of my mouth and the prayer of my heart be acceptable to You, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” In the same way, the heavens which declare the glory of God affirm that “there is no utterance, there are no words, whose sound goes unheard.”
Poetry tells us truth and gives us ourselves. This Psalm, this poetry for God, reminds us that we particular servants are connected to one another, just as the sun is placed in a tent in the heavens. We servants of God are connected to one another by the continuing word of God, which God has spoken from the beginning and is still speaking as God guides both creation and his church.
But we know the word most clearly as a person. Jesus Christ, whom Peter called Messiah. Jesus Christ is the Word of God at creation, he is the Word to who came to the prophets and to whom the law testifies.
Moreover, Jesus Christ is the person and the God who connects to one another. He is the Messiah who teaches us how to live as human beings, he is the one who clears us of unperceived guilt and keeps us from willful sins. He is the righteous one who makes us blameless and clear of grave offense. He is the suffering servant who would even let his friends stand int he way of the redemptive, hopeful story God has for us.
Through his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus connects us to one another, and to God. He remains our rock and our redeemer. The church, servants of Christ first and foremost, preaches his true salvation in every age and land.