The Bible Gateway verse of the day today is Psalm 116:1-2:
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
Before we consider the significance of this verse for ourselves, however, it is helpful to reflect on its occurrence in the New Testament.
In 2 Corinthians 4:13, Paul quotes the LXX of Ps 116:10, in a way that at first glance might just look like an almost-arbitrary snippet. He says,
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak ...
But Paul has in mind two things. The first is the Christian experience of weakness, carrying the treasure of the gospel in ‘jars of clay’ (v 7). Thus: “We are hard pressed ... perplexed ... persecuted ... struck down” (vv 8-9), carrying around in our body the death of Christ, and constantly given over to death for the sake of the gospel (vv 10-12).
Yet what sustained him, keeping him speaking out the word of faith, is in v 14:
... we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.
It is this that allows him to conclude, “Therefore we do not lose heart” (v 16). And it is the latter thought, as well, which surely leads him to words from the Psalm, for after affirming that God calls him, the psalmist writes,
The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
Moreover, his experience of human opposition is profoundly discouraging (v 11),
... in my dismay I said, “All men are liars.”
But he looks to God who watches over his suffering people (v 15):
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
And this same God will finally bring his people into his Temple presence:
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord— in your midst, O Jerusalem.(v 18-19)
In the same way, knowing the resurrection of Christ, Paul writes (2 Cor 4:17-18) that,
... our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
God has already heard our cries for his mercy, and will ultimately deliver us even from death itself.
John RichardsonAnonymous users wishing to paste in the comments box need first to select 'preview', then close the preview box. When posting your comments please give a full name and location. Comments without this information may be deleted.
24 August 2010
24 August 2010