"Making" God Big
There is a cancer update at the end of this message.
CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE: BE THE MATCH
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is from a new book by Douglas Sean O'Donnell. He writes about five of the Songs of Scripture and what they teach us about how great our God really is. Here they are—one each for the first five chapters of the book:
1. The Song of Moses: TE DEUM of Triumph (Exodus 15:1-6, 11)
2. The Song of Yahweh: An Exodus from Israel's Apostasy (Deut. 32:1-4, 43)
3. The Song of Deborah: A Punctured Temple, a Pouring Out of Joy (Judges 5:1-5, 31)
4. The Songs in Samuel: The Barren Woman and the Fertile King (1 Sam. 2:1b-2; 2 Sam. 22: 50-51)
5. The Song of Habakkuk: A Time to Wait—for Wrath (Hab. 3:1-2, 17-19a)
In the introduction he writes, "This book is an attempt to rediscover this lost treasure, and to dig up and display, if you will, something of the great value of the Songs of Scripture for Christian orthodoxy and doxology."
"MAKING" GOD BIG
In the Bible, all the Songs of Scripture, like this song before us [Song of Moses, Exodus 15:1-6, 11], share an important characteristic: they "make" God big. The greatness of God is their theme. I think of Mary's song in the first chapter of Luke (1:46-55). It is called the Magnificat because that's the first word of her song in the Latin translation. It means (as does the original Greek) "makes large." That's what Mary's song is all about. Singing of God's strength, justice, mercy, holiness, and faithfulness, this little-in-her-own-eyes lady declares, "My soul magnifies the Lord."
That's the first song in the New Testament. The first song in the Old Testament, in Exodus 15, is little different. Its theme is the magnification of God! Moses is not focused on himself, his role, or the human perspective on this event. Rather, his mind is occupied with the Lord and his mighty and unmediated acts. Moses makes this hard for us to miss. The name "LORD" occurs ten times in this text. This is God's covenant name Yahweh, the one he gave himself in Exodus 3, at the burning bush, revealing his eternity: "I am who I am."
But Moses magnifies more than God's name, covenant, and eternity. He also magnifies God's strength: "Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy" (v. 6). He also magnifies God's kingly justice and his warring wrath: "In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send our your fury; it consumes them like stubble" (v. 7).
Surprisingly to us, this warring wrath is one of the divine attributes Moses most magnifies. And he does so by using military metaphors. Most prominently and most strikingly is what we find in verse 3, where the LORD is called a "man of war" or (in a tamer translation) "a warrior." To the enemies of God, to those who seek to strike down his people, the LORD comes with sword in hand, so to speak. The picture here is quite close to the one we find at the end of our Bibles, the picture of that mighty King of kings and Lord of lords, clothed in a robe dipped in blood, with a sword protruding from his mouth and an iron rod held firmly in his hand. He rides upon a white horse, leading the armies of heaven, and "in righteousness he judges and makes war" (see Rev. 19:11-16; cf. 1 Cor. 15:24-28).
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name, [Lord of hosts, Lord of armies]
From age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.
This is no mild monarch. This is no wimpy warrior. This is no little God! The God here is like the one Isaiah envisioned: he is "sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple" (Isa. 6:1). Just the train of his robe fills the whole temple! "The foundations of the thresholds" shake (6:4), the holy seraphim cover their eyes, and Isaiah says, "Woe is me! . . . for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" (6:5).
— Douglas Sean O'Donnell, GOD'S LYRICS: REDISCOVERING WORSHIP THROUGH OLD TESTAMENT SONGS, Phillipsburg, NJ: R&R; Publishing, 2010, pp. 7-10. ISBN 978-1-59638-172-8
[What a great reminder that we need to sing our praises to a "big" and awesome God.]
Blessings to all!
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 1 (Ed Willmington):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 2 (Carl Stam):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 3 (Donald Hustad):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 4 (Ron Man):
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, CANCER PATIENT
July 16 Update
Dear friends and family,
Thanks for keeping us in your prayers. There is a longer update (July 9) with pictures of the infusion day at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam.
JULY 15 — HOME AGAIN AFTER 31 DAYS IN THE HOSPITAL
Honestly, it did not seem like a full month to me, but it was. They might have sent me home even earlier, but I developed a bladder infection that took several days to figure out and to treat effectively. That seems to be mostly under control now. I lost eighteen pounds while in the hospital. This was because nothing tasted good, and for various portions of my visit I was tip-toeing around issues related to nausea (a challenge for every cancer patient).
Thankfully, I am not feeling quite as YUCKY as I was last week. I am eating yummy stuff (small portions), and at least for now, the nausea is not an issue. I will be going to the cancer clinic every day for a while for various tests and treatments. They are keeping a close eye on me with daily blood test. When I spoke to the doctor this morning, he seemed very pleased with "the numbers." How wonderful! He reminded us that it will be many months before we know if my brother's cells have "grafted" successfully and safely, but we have only good news at this point. Soli Deo Gloria!
Many thanks to all for praying for us. We are deeply blessed to be in the Lord's sovereign care and to know the deep love of so many of you.
God is sufficient.
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