The Grace of Grieving

Ralph Venning, in his work The Sinfulness of Sin describes sin in this way, “Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the jeer of his patience, the slight of his power, the contempt of his love, the upbraiding of his providence, the scoff of his promise, the reproach of his wisdom and the rape of his mercy.” May God grant us the grace to see sin for what it is, and yet to see the healing grace and mercy of God in Christ, who has paid the debt for even the “vilest of offenders.”

I recently read Ezra 9 in my morning devotions and was struck by the character of Ezra’s sorrow over the sins of God’s people. His grief was intense; it was profound. His sorrow over the sins of God's people had tangible evidences to it and true effects on God’s people. There are lessons here for us to learn--lessons that will help us understand the nature of sin, the nature of repentance and confession, and the nature of God’s mercy and grace. Consider the following:

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Monday: God's Flock and God's Vine

Theme: A Chorus of Restoration

In this week’s lessons we learn that there is no restoration of God’s favor without repentance.

Scripture: Psalm 80:1-19

What is this restoration for which the psalm is asking? And what does this indicate about its historical setting? The first stanza begins by talking about God as Israel's shepherd, which links it thematically with the earlier two psalms, which also talked about God shepherding his people.

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

It's Not Until...

There are many Psalms that we neglect until we find ourselves in the difficult circumstances of life. It's not until we go through the trials of life commensurate with those of the Psalmist that will we ever draw strength from the imprecatory Psalms and the Psalms of lament.

 

God's word is so rich and full, we will never be able to exhaust its wisdom, instruction, correction, comfort, encouragement and restorative power in this life. There is much in Scripture that we will never experientially appropriate into our lives until God has placed us in a particularly difficult situation in life. There are many Psalms that we neglect until we find ourselves in the difficult circumstances of life.

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Christward Collective is a conversation of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Christward Collective and the mission of the Alliance.

Friday: "Where Is Their God?"

Theme: Looking Ahead with Hope and Confidence

In this week’s lessons we learn that when hard times come, we are to wait upon and praise the Lord with expectant hope.

Scripture: Psalm 79:1-13

The last verse of the psalm stands by itself, for this is no longer a case of petition. The prayer has ended. This is rather a faith-filled anticipation of a brighter, future day when God's people will again praise him with full hearts and with fresh memories of what he has done for them (v. 13). It is amazing in its confidence that a day like this will come.

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

Thursday: "Where Is Their God?"

Theme: The Need for Confession

In this week’s lessons we learn that when hard times come, we are to wait upon and praise the Lord with expectant hope.

Scripture: Psalm 79:1-13

We continue looking at the four important questions, confessions or statements in this passage of Psalm 79. Yesterday we looked at the first two, and today we pick up with the second two.

We continue looking at the four important questions, confessions or statements in this passage of Psalm 79. Yesterday we looked at the first two, and today we pick up with the second two.

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

Reading the Bible: The Importance of Genre

Identifying genre will have an incredible affect on your reading of Scripture. It’s as important to reading the Bible as tuning an instrument is to playing music. Understanding the genre of a work helps you read in harmony with what is written. It “attunes” you to its structure, purpose, and language.

The previous two posts in this series argued that one of the reasons we have trouble understanding the Bible is because we do not read it in the ordinary way that books are to be read.

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Christward Collective is a conversation of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Christward Collective and the mission of the Alliance.

Wednesday: "Where Is Their God?"

Theme: How Long?

In this week’s lessons we learn that when hard times come, we are to wait upon and praise the Lord with expectant hope.

Scripture: Psalm 79:1-13

The next two stanzas (vv. 5-8 and 9-12) are best if they could be taken together, for they contain the substance of Asaph's prayer to God following the lament in verses 1-4. They ask different questions. The first asks, “How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire” (v. 5)? This is the same question that was asked in Psalm 74:10. It emphasized the "forever." The next stanza asks, “Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’” (v. 10).

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

Tuesday: "Where Is Their God?"

Theme: When Trouble Comes

In this week’s lessons we learn that when hard times come, we are to wait upon and praise the Lord with expectant hope.

Scripture: Psalm 79:1-13

We have already commented on Asaph's distress over the destruction of Jerusalem when we were discussing Psalm 74. In that psalm Asaph took God by the hand, as it were, and walked him through the ruins of the desolate and abandoned city. "Look, that is where they broke in," he seemed to be saying. "They set up their military standards over there. That is where they attacked the carved paneling. After that they burnt the temple. Look at those ashes. That is all that is left. Then, as if the damage to the temple were not bad enough, they went through the whole land to destroy every place where you were worshipped. And they have done it!" Both psalms ask how long this terrible state is to continue: Is it to go on forever? 

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

Monday: "Where Is Their God?"

Theme: The Historical Setting

In this week’s lessons we learn that when hard times come, we are to wait upon and praise the Lord with expectant hope.

Scripture: Psalm 79:1-13

It is hard to find perfect scholarly agreement on anything relating to the interpretation of the Bible, including the historical setting for Psalm 79. But the psalm describes the destruction of Jerusalem, the defiling of the temple and the slaughter of the people, and the most obvious historical setting for this is the period following the destruction of the city by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C.

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

The Least Mentioned Sin?

In our day, bribery in all its sophisticated and subtle forms may be the least mentioned sin. It is, however, in no way whatsoever absent from the pages of Scripture.

"You scratch my back; I'll scratch yours." This familiar idiomatic phrase sometimes simply refers to the way in which people with differing skills and abilities seek to care for one another out of a sense of need and gratitude. However, more often than not, it represents the way in which people are willing to show unjust partiality to one another for dishonest advancement or gain. In the latter case, it is not always made manifest in an official offer of possessions or promotion. Instead, it is often packaged in unspoken and unofficial ways.

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

Christward Collective is a conversation of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Christward Collective and the mission of the Alliance.

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