Anthony Gammage – The Christian Story Series – Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job
Psalm 40:1–2, 11-12, 17
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure…11 As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! 12 For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me…17 As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Psalm 13:1–2, 5-6
1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?… 5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 51:1–2, 12-13
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!…12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Taken together, these psalms indicate the kind of relationship that God wants his people to have with him. It is deeply authentic, not the kind of religion characterized by mumbo jumbo merely formal religious duties, self-importance, and religious arrogance, all of it carefully masking a stinking hypocrisy. The intensity of the psalms conspires to underscore that God cannot be deceived by religious rituals He wants his image-bearers to enjoy a real relationship with him, the true and living God.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Wisdom Definition: Skill in the art of godly living with a mind and heart in tune with God’s values and feelings.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; 10 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you 12 delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech
People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, “If you keep a lot of rules I’ll reward you, and if you don’t I’ll do the other thing.” I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.
~CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
1 My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, 2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; 3 yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
When we feel in our hearts and minds, as we grow older, that there has to be something more—there has to be something more satisfying, there has to be something bigger—we are right to listen to that brooding voice, because we were made for God and our souls will be restless until we know him. Those are the kinds of things that wisdom books teach us as the Old Testament barrels along in anticipation of the day when Wisdom incarnate—that is, Wisdom in the flesh—will come…
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
1 Corinthians 1:30
30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,