Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Re-Telling Story

I love listening to our oldest daughter, Isabella. This stage of her life is fascinating to me because she retains so much of what she's taught. I almost can't believe some of things she knows and I love listening to her tell me the things about which she learns. For example, she loves telling jokes. I use the word joke loosely because they really aren't jokes and they really aren't funny. What is funny, though, is how funny she finds these "jokes". I find myself laughing at how hard she laughs. Now, sometimes it gets to be a little much because she likes to tell, and tell, and tell, and tell these jokes again – to the point I have to say, "Let's take a little break, Pixie."

Much like Isabella likes to tell and re-tell her jokes, the Lord desires we reflect and re-tell ourselves about the glorious way in which He has revealed Himself. In fact, ONE OF THE IMPORTANT FUNCTIONS of
worship is recital - a “re-telling” of the wonderful things that God has done.

• Psalm 75.1 - We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.
• Psalm 78.2-4 - I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

The New English Bible translation of Psalm 75.1 is a little closer to the Hebrew – “Thy name is brought very near to us in the story of thy wonderful deeds”. God’s “Name” is part of His gracious self-disclosure. It is a revelation of who He is (Ex. 3:14; 34:5-7, 14). God’s “Name” then, is brought very near to us in the story of His wonderful deeds - that is, who God is, disclosed in the accounts of what He has done.

Thus the re-telling of what God has done is a means of grace to bring God near to His people. Believers who spend no time reviewing and pondering in their minds what God has done, whether they are alone and reading their Bibles or joining with other believers in corporate adoration, should not be surprised if they rarely sense that God is near and eventually turn away from Him – they don’t know Him. They have loved His works more than His being.

The emphasis this psalm makes regarding God is that he is the sovereign disposer - the “disposer supreme” (as one commentator puts it). It is wonderfully stabilizing to us to rest in such a God. He declares, “At the set time that I appoint. I will judge with equity"(75:2). It is hard to imagine a category more suggestive of God’s firm control than the set time. Yet mere control without justice would just be fatal. This God, however, not only sets the appointed times, but judges uprightly (75:2).

Further, in this broken world there are cataclysmic events that seem to threaten the entire social order. So elsewhere David ponders, "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3). But here we are reassured, for God himself declares, "When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars" (75:3). So the arrogant who may think themselves to be the pillars of society are duly warned - Boast no more (Psalm 75:4).

Tell and re-tell God’s wonderful deeds to yourself, your children, your friends – believers and unbelievers alike. Let's bring His Name near.