I Will Not Boast in Anything–No Gifts, No Powers, No Wisdom

I always enjoy posting music that fits our readings so enjoy this wonderful song describing our God’s great love for us. The following lines especially fit with our repeated theme of boasting, and not doing so about ourselves, but only in Jesus Christ.

From How Deep the Father’s Love for Us:

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.

Music from the Psalms – Psalm 130

Several months ago I bought an album by Indelible Grace that leads off with the song “From the Depths of Woe.” It is a long song that builds from its mournful opening to a confident and hopeful end. I had heard it played a little differently before, but this is a powerful version that I was eager to share with you. But since it is a song based off of Psalm 130, I had to wait until this week when it falls within our readings.

Quick bit of history: It was written by Martin Luther way back in the 16th century. Not the psalm, of course, someone else wrote that. But he paraphrased it into German. If you didn’t know it yet, Luther was not only an accomplished nuisance to the church and great reformer, but he was a man of many talents, such as writing hymns.

If you enjoy playing the music, as well as listening to it, here is the music for it. (The links are on the right).

Catching Up: 1 Samuel 7 and ‘Come Thou Fount’

I’m going to look back in our schedule at a selection that fell in the previous week of Year in the Bible. In 1 Samuel the Israelites are having some difficulties with their neighbors the Philistines. At the urging of Samuel, they cry out to their Lord for forgiveness and deliverance, and Samuel intercedes with prayer and sacrifice. God saves his people giving them victory over their enemies.

In response to God’s help and in recognition that God is the one who secured the victory, Samuel sets up a memorial to be a witness for the people. Earlier Israel had matched up against the Philistines and failed, but with God’s help they succeed. Samuel wants the people to remember this so he erected a stone to serve as the memorial and named it Ebenezer, meaning ‘stone of help.’

There’s a song that recounts this story from 1 Samuel and mentions this Ebenezer, but this detail has been lost in more recent rewritings. The song is “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Our hymnal at church uses the 1973 rewrite in which the second stanza goes like this:

Hither to thy love has blessed me
Thou has brought me to this place
And I know thy hand will bring me
Safely home by thy good grace

These lyrics replace in other modern hymnals the lyrics:

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

I can see why someone would rewrite lyrics that might carry no significance if no one knows what Ebenezer is. But that can be a challenge to teach others or inform ourselves of these Bible stories that inspired the hymn writers and shaped their words. When we sing this popular hymn let the words remind us of this story from 1 Samuel, a story of our complete dependence on God’s help and of the way we should memorialize the wonderful help he gives to us.

A Song for Psalm 51

On Sunday I invited everyone who is not reading along with Year in the Bible to read one thing this week, Psalm 51. It’s thought to be a psalm written by David after Nathan the prophet came to him, rebuking him for the sin he committed with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12).

It is a psalm of repentance and reliance on God, and it is one of my favorites. A band called Indelible Grace plays an amazing version of a song based off this psalm that balances a plaintive, yet hopeful tone. I think this is fitting given the context and the depth of pain and brokenness we see in these words. There is a desperate longing to be reconciled with God. But there is still hope because of the work of God and the assurance we have that he will forgive. Check out the song at this link, and let me know what you think:

Indelible Grace, ‘God, Be Merciful To Me (Psalm 51)’

Take to the World

Yesterday’s post about being sent brought to mind the song, Take to the World, by Derek Webb. I commend to you his whole album, but read these lyrics and listen to the song. It does a good job of describing our being sent.

Go in peace to love and to serve
And let your ears ring long with what you have heard
And may the bread on your tongue leave a trail of crumbs
To lead the hungry back to the place that you are from

And take to the world this love hope and faith
Take to the world this rare relentless grace
And like the three in one
Know you must become what you want to save
‘Cause that’s still the way
He takes to the world

Go and go far take light deep in the dark
Believe what’s true use it as all, even you
May the bread on your tongue leave a trail of crumbs
To lead the hungry back to the place you are from

Better That One Man Die

We’ve already looked at the words of Caiaphas from John 11, but as we approach Good Friday, take time to dwell on them further.

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

What we see in the giving of Christ’s life is the greatest show of God’s love for us. This song is a great meditation on the depth of such love.