The Love of God and our Feelings

Here we are at the end of our blog series on Psalm 45.  I hope it’s blessed you.  If you haven’t, be sure to read those because they’ve been leading us to this point.  We just found out that because of the love of King Jesus for us, His Bride, we are adorned.  We are completely majestic.

Do you believe that?  I struggle to sometimes.  Many times, I feel like I’m being tolerated by Jesus instead of being his beautiful Bride that causes His pupils to dilate.  But, friend, THAT IS THE TRUTH!  He’s not just putting up with us.  He’s enamored with us!

You may not feel completely majestic.  Sometimes is so hard just to lift you eyes off of your own SHAME, SCARS, WHAT YOU’VE DONE, WHAT’S BEEN DONE TO YOU to see the love in the eyes of your King.  He’s taken all of that on himself. See what the King says about you in Song of Songs. Listen, Christ says this about YOU:

SoS 4.7, 9

You are altogether beautiful, my love;
    there is no flaw in you.

You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride;
    you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes,

The King doesn’t rescue the street girl so that she can just have a clean, well-provided room in his castle.  NO. He rescues her so that he may never be parted from her again. He desires you. He longs to have you with him.

13 All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.
14     In many-colored robes she is led to the king,
 with her virgin companions following behind her.
15 With joy and gladness they are led along
    as they enter the palace of the king.

And she doesn’t just want his stuff, remember, she wants HIM!  The Christian doesn’t just want forgiveness or righteousness or to get out of Hell free.  NO NO NO!  WE WANT GOD.  WE DELIGHT IN GOD. WE NEVER WANT TO BE PARTED FROM GOD. HE IS OUR BELOVED, THE LOVER OF OUR SOULS.  HEAVEN, WHATEVER BLESSINGS IT MIGHT HOLD, WITHOUT JESUS, WOULD BE NO PARADISE AT ALL.

He wants us, His Bride, and we want Him!  And because of this marriage, the Sons of Korah, our authors, now speak to the King again:

16 In place of your fathers shall be your sons;
    you will make them princes in all the earth.

What are they saying?  Basically: You and your bride will bear fruit together.  Friends, you were meant to be united with Christ so that HE MIGHT MAKE YOU FRUITFUL.  In fact, this is why creation exists. Jonathan Edwards put it this way:

“The spouse of the Son of God, the Lamb’s wife…is that for which all of the universe was made.” and “God created the world for His Son, that He might prepare a bride for Him to bestow His love upon; so that the mutual joys between this bride and bridegroom are the purpose of the creation.”

Do you believe that?!?!?!  That Jesus might enjoy you!  That the Father might call you to be the Bride who will be joy to His Son!  THAT is the purpose for which the world was created.  Oh, how weak is our faith.  Oh, how hard it can be to believe, and therefore feel this passion of Jesus.

And the Sons of Korah, these men delivered from death, out of the very pit of the earth…men who love the King, who BOIL OVER with affection for Christ, end their song this way:

17 I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.

This love they feel for the King will fill the earth!  They will declare this love for ALL who will come to the King, for all the people that God will bring to be a part of the Bride of Christ, His Church!  And that’s evangelism.  Not a grit your teeth and just share.  Not a fearful thing.  But a joyous recounting of how your King found you in the gutter and now calls you magnificent!  It’s not a chore or a duty, but a delight to speak of your lover, your treasure!  I pray that you would believe it and that you’d feel it, because Jesus does.  He’s overwhelmed with affection for His Bride – and that’s you.

Psalm 45 – A Love Song Written by Dead Men

Friends, I hope you’re 2019 is off to a grand start.  And what better way to start the blog year than discussing a Royal Psalm.  Of course, this isn’t just any Royal Psalm.  Yes, the King is front and center like the other Royal Psalms, but Psalm 45 differs markedly in terms of author, tone, content, and heart.  It’s a beautiful Psalm, though can give us trouble if we don’t know what’s going on, so let’s dig in.  Today, I just want to introduce the Royal Psalms, Psalm 45 in particular, and the author(s).

Royal Psalms

On the one hand, Royal Psalms seem to be directed to earthly rulers, instructing them in how to rule with truth, mercy, justice, and equality.  On the other hand, it becomes clear in these Psalms that God’s plan, ultimately, IS NOT to have merely good human rule – that we’d have simply good people leading us – but that God Himself would come and be our King.  That God himself would come and put an end to injustice, to suffering, to kings, prime ministers, emperors and presidents, and be our GOOD King. And Psalm 45 really is focused on that second piece.  It’s not going to pretend that any government of this world can give us what we need, but that Jesus, himself, is our King and His reign is, indeed, good.

PSALM 45 INTRODUCTION

So, let’s look at Psalm 45.  Before we get into the words of the Psalm, let’s look at the the title and author information.  Now, I’m looking at the ESV and the first line up there reads, “Your Throne, O God, Is Forever.”  Does yours say that? Ignore that…OK. That’s just added by some wonderful Crossway staff person as an attempt to describe the topic or a key verse in the Psalm.  It’s not actually part of the Psalm itself, in the Hebrew.  But, the rest is a part of the actual Psalm. It is an English translation of the Hebrew text, and so I want to look at a couple of things with you there.

SONS OF KORAH

First, I want to call your attention to the authors of this Psalm.  It is written by the Sons of Korah. There are several Psalms written by them, but who are they?  Who are these Sons of Korah? Well, in the book of Exodus (the second book of the Bible), we meet a man named Korah…he was a cousin of Moses.  And in the 4th book of the Bible, Numbers, in chapter 16, we find out that Korah didn’t like that God has appointed Moses to be his spokesman to all of Israel and had appointed Aaron as the high priest of Israel.  So, Korah, along with a couple of buddies, mobilized a group of about 250 people to institute a revolution, a coup. God chose Moses and Aaron, Korah said, “no thanks…God must have gotten it wrong.”

They were going to take control, by force.  So the Lord told the rest of the Israelites to separate from Korah and his goons, including their relatives who had all banded together against the Lord.  So, we read in verse 32: “And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods.”  Whoa!

But, get this, in Numbers 26:11, we get a summary of this story and it ends with this line: “But the sons of Korah did not die.”

And that’s it.  It doesn’t explain it.  It doesn’t elaborate. And if we don’t reflect on it, it’s just an 8-word sentence that flies in one ear and out the other, but in reality, it’s HUGE!  They were spared.  They didn’t die.  If you were in their family, that would be your favorite verse of all time.  Not John 3.16, but Numbers 26.11!!!!  So, here we are in Psalm 45, and we encounter a group of men who, for all intents and purposes, should be dead.  Men, who therefore understand what it means to encounter the mercy of God. These are dead men walking.  And let’s look at what they choose to write…what’s that say there in the header? What sort of song are they writing?  A love song.

Interesting!  This is a love song.  Men who should be dead…who have been graciously spared by God are writing a love song.  And it’s the content of that song that we’ll start to explore in the next post.

Psalm 45 – The Love of Christ for His Bride the Church

I had the privilege to preach at my church twice this summer.  The first sermon was the last in a series on the Royal Psalms.  I was given Psalm 45.  After reading the title to this post, you may be thinking, “How can Psalm 45 be about Jesus and His love for the Church?”  Well, for a full answer, you’ll need to watch/listen to the sermon.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.  You can comment below or email me at razorbackschell (at) gmail.com.

Let me just say that preparing for it was such a blessing for me.  It felt like I was just sitting in the warmth of Jesus’ sunshine!  I hope it blessed you.

http://www.mercyview.com/resources/sermons/?enmse=1&enmse_spid=17&enmse_mid=373

Steven’s Study

Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.

Every week I bring you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.

It is Never Right to be Angry at God. Ever.

I know that this is a controversial statement, but it is actually pretty cut and clear. I also think it is very important to understand this before the going gets tough. Otherwise, it is exponentially harder to grasp.

Nine Parenting Lessons from the School of Hard Knocks

As a father of 4 young children I am always looking for parenting help. This was a straightforward article that I think has several pieces of gold for those who have children, or may have them in the future. I have personally found many of these things to be true.

Consider Church Membership

The title really says it all. Joe Thorn gives you some good reasons that Christians should be members of a local church.

Dating is an Issue for the Whole Church

The gospel should change the way Christians date. Therefore we should know how to think Biblically about dating. Our culture has been overly sexualized and most single people, ages 12-100, can’t imagine not dating the way the our culture presents it. Saying something like, “Don’t date until you are old enough to marry.” makes many in our culture bristle, and if you haven’t thought it through it will make it even harder to stand.

As ever, may the Lord bless you and keep you! – Steven

 

A Model for Biblical Masculinity

At our church, we are about to begin a new quarterly time for men to get together and pursue God’s vision for Biblical masculinity, so I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic.  I wanted to share a little “model” with you that is my attempt to capture, in visual form what Biblical masculinity looks like, as well as some description (as short as I could bring myself to it) of how it all functions together.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A MODEL OF MASCULINITY

I’m a visual learner. I love charts, graphs, maps, and funny cartoon clippings. I also am a big-picture person. I struggle with details, but if you can give me a compelling overview, then I can begin to dig into the details in a way that keeps me from getting overwhelmed. So, when I began to ask, “what makes a good man” I quickly found myself trying to create some type of visual aid that would help me understand the big picture. Out of that, came the above Model.

While we could say much about the different pieces of this Model, I want to show how they all fit together here.

CORE IDENTITY OF WORSHIP

The Model consists of a core identity; namely, living in a loving relationship with the one, true God as a worshipper – one who delights in, who enjoys fellowship with the Triune God.

At the heart of every real man must be a heart of worship towards God. Not just any god will do, however, because we will become like what we worship. So, if the god I worship created mankind because he needed them (ancient Greek gods for instance), then I will become a needy, self-serving man who demands that others exist to fulfill me. If I worship a god who created mankind, but now keeps his distance (the god of Islam, deism), I will be a detached man who produces something (perhaps work, a child, a family) but then stands apart from it as if it must now continue without me. If I believe creation comes from an accident (new-age spiritualism, most forms of evolutionary theory, Gnosticism), then it doesn’t matter how I live. In this view, the fact that I’m a man is an accident any way. Finally, if I believe that creation isn’t a reality (Buddhism, Hinduism), but is a mirage, a façade, then my life isn’t real either, so the best thing I can do is ignore reality and spend my days seeking nirvana – whatever self-actualization plan I prefer. I will check out on my responsibilities because I don’t really believe in reality.

However, if I believe in the God of Christianity, the Triune God, who is real, who created with intentionality, who created not out of need but out of love, who created and then didn’t run away but remains active in the world, who takes all responsibility for what has been, what is, and what will be, and if I’ve been made in His image – to do his works, think his thoughts, and represent Him in the world – that makes all the difference. At the heart of every real man is a delight in the God who made him and all things. If that is missing, nothing else in the Model will work.

3 SECONDARY ROLES FLOW OUT OF WORSHIP

There are 3 other roles that every man must fulfill, represented by the outer circles of the Model. Every man must be a Shepherd, Soldier, and Sage. The core characteristics for these roles are Love, Courage, and Wisdom respectively. Certainly, each man will gravitate towards one of these roles more than another, but he is called to develop in and live out of all three.

And all three need to be tethered to Worship. Because God’s Wisdom, God’s Courage, and God’s Love are completely different from the world’s wisdom, courage, and love. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:25, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” If we start from any point other than the God of Scripture, we are hopeless. Our best love, courage, and wisdom, conjured up somewhere other than from the power of God, are faulty, weak, and foolish. And so to move out from that place spells doom. Soldiers will become dictators, Shepherds will love sporadically or with sappy sentimentality, and Sages will use their wisdom for their own good or for no one’s.

FIDELITY TO GOD’S COMMUNAL LOVE, KINGDOM MISSION, AND DIVINE TRUTH

In fact, these three roles are really responses to God. They exist because God exists and is who he says he is. God is love. That is the core of who he is, and so as those made in his image, we too are called to love (Shepherd). He is community, the Trinity, and so we were created to love in community. The Shepherd role reflects the appropriate response (relational fidelity) to God’s communal love.

So too, God is King of a Kingdom, and he is on a mission to establish that Kingdom. As citizens of that Kingdom and co-heirs with Christ, we are drafted into the Kingdom mission. We are His vice-regents. The Soldier role reflects the appropriate response (missional fidelity) to God’s Kingdom mandate.

Finally, God is true. Though every man be found a liar, he will be found true. And he not only knows the truth, but knows what to do with it, so he is also all-wise. His wisdom makes even the wisest man look like a fool. And so, He has given the Spirit of God to each of us, in short, he has given us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12-16). The Sage role reflects the appropriate response (theological fidelity) to the truth of God.

THE BALANCE OF THE 3 SECONDARY ROLES

Not only must they flow out of the heart of a worship, but these three roles also help balance each other. For instance, a Soldier who doesn’t use wisdom (Sage) will lose the battle, and one who doesn’t love (Shepherd) might win the wrong battle or win the right battle wrongly, believing that the ends justify the means. Similarly, a Shepherd who allows love to trump truth (Sage) has actually departed from real love. And a Shepherd, busy loving, who forgets his mission (Soldier) leads the sheep into danger or away from true blessing. Finally, a Sage who loves knowledge and wisdom, but forgets to employ that wisdom for the good of God’s people (Shepherd) and for his Kingdom (Soldier), fails. All three need each other.

THE INTERWOVEN BEAUTY OF THE 3 SECONDARY ROLES

And when they are working together, we see beautiful and critical activities flowing out, illustrated by the 3 outer rectangles. When courage (Soldier) and love (Shepherd) combine, the result is service – sacrificial, humble service to God, His Church, and humanity. When love (Shepherd) and wisdom (Sage) combine, the result is cultivation – that is, space for the things that make life beautiful and bountiful, from poetry to farming to government that is just. Finally, when courage (Solider) and wisdom (Sage) combine, the result is Christ-like leadership, resulting in the people of God wisely and boldly fulfilling their purpose.

This is just an overview. We could dive much deeper into each role and activity.  Thoughts?