August 30, 2015
August 31, 2015
September 1, 2015
September 2, 2015
September 3, 2015
September 4, 2015
September 5, 2015
1 And he said to me, “Son of man,[a] stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” 2 And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. 4 The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ 5 And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions.[b] Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. 7 And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.
8 “But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” 9 And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.
Do Not Forsake Me, O Lord
A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.
1 O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath!
2 For your arrows have sunk into me,
and your hand has come down on me.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
4 For my iniquities have gone over my head;
like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
5 My wounds stink and fester
because of my foolishness,
6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.
7 For my sides are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am feeble and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
9 O Lord, all my longing is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
and my nearest kin stand far off.
12 Those who seek my life lay their snares;
those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
and meditate treachery all day long.
13 But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
14 I have become like a man who does not hear,
and in whose mouth are no rebukes.
15 But for you, O Lord, do I wait;
it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
16 For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,
who boast against me when my foot slips!”
17 For I am ready to fall,
and my pain is ever before me.
18 I confess my iniquity;
I am sorry for my sin.
19 But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty,
and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
20 Those who render me evil for good
accuse me because I follow after good.
21 Do not forsake me, O Lord!
O my God, be not far from me!
22 Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!
In some ways the first three chapters of Ezekiel hang together to describe Ezekiel’s early call and commission—the commission of a prophet called to serve in declining times. In the Old Testament, not all prophetic calls are the same. Elisha served as an apprentice to Elijah; Amos was called while he was serving as a shepherd; Samuel first heard the call of God when he was but a stripling. But prophets commissioned to serve in peculiarly declining times have some common features in their call. We cannot trace all of those features here, but one of them emerges with great strength in Ezekiel 2.
Here God tells Ezekiel what he is being called to do. He is being sent, God says, “to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me” (2:3). He is being sent to the nation of Israel, at least that part of it that is in exile with him—and that part, of course, comprised the most gifted, the most learned, the most noble, the most privileged. From God’s perspective, they are merely “obstinate and stubborn” (2:4). Ezekiel is to tell them, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says” (2:4). So far God has not told Ezekiel what he is to say, i.e., the content of what the Sovereign Lord says. Rather, the rest of this chapter is devoted to making sure that Ezekiel understands that his ministry turns absolutely on one thing: passing on to this rebellious house the words of God. “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen” (2:7).
Of course, it is always important for prophets and preachers to speak God’s words faithfully. But it is especially urgent in declining times. In periods of revival and prosperity, the preacher may be viewed with respect, his faithfulness and insight lionized. But in declining times, those who truly speak for God will be taunted and threatened. The pressures to dilute what God says become enormous. Clever exegesis to make the text say what it really doesn’t, selective silence to leave out the painful bits, hermeneutical cleverness to remove the bite and sting of Scripture, all become de rigueur, so that we can still be accepted and even admired. But God is aware of the danger. From his perspective, success is not measured by how many people Ezekiel wins to his perspective, but by the faithfulness with which he declares God’s words. Anything less participates in the rebellion of this “rebellious house” (2:8). This calls for godly courage that drives out fear (2:6-7).
Precisely where are such faithfulness and courage most urgently demanded in the Western world today?
1 And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.
4 And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. 5 For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel— 6 not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. 7 But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. 8 Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. 9 Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” 10 Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. 11 And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.”
12 Then the Spirit[a] lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice[b] of a great earthquake: “Blessed be the glory of the Lord from its place!” 13 It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the sound of the wheels beside them, and the sound of a great earthquake. 14 The Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the Lord being strong upon me. 15 And I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who were dwelling by the Chebar canal, and I sat where they were dwelling.[c] And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days.
A Watchman for Israel
16 And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for[d] his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. 20 Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”
22 And the hand of the Lord was upon me there. And he said to me, “Arise, go out into the valley,[e] and there I will speak with you.” 23 So I arose and went out into the valley, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the Chebar canal, and I fell on my face. 24 But the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and he spoke with me and said to me, “Go, shut yourself within your house. 25 And you, O son of man, behold, cords will be placed upon you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people. 26 And I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house.
What Is the Measure of My Days?
To the choirmaster: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
1 I said, “I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
2 I was mute and silent;
I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
3 My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
4 “O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing[a] they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
9 I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me;
I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11 When you discipline a man
with rebukes for sin,
you consume like a moth what is dear to him;
surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah
12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
a guest, like all my fathers.
13 Look away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more!”
Two of the themes of Ezekiel 3, intrinsic to the call of Ezekiel, may usefully be elucidated:
First, the opening part shows how important it is for the prophet to empathize with God and his perspective. Trailing on from the closing lines of chapter 2 and into the beginning of chapter 3, Ezekiel in his vision is commanded to eat a scroll with “words of lament and mourning and woe” (2:10) written on both sides. Ezekiel eats it and reports that “it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth” (3:3). Why would a scroll full of “words of lament and mourning and woe” taste sweet? The point of the vision is that God’s words become sweet to Ezekiel simply because they are God’s words. God really does know best; he knows what is right. Therefore even when his words pronounce judgment and calamity, there is a sense in which the prophet must be empathetic to God’s perspective.
Similarly in the next verses (3:4-9): Ezekiel is not being sent to some foreign culture where the first step is to learn the local language. He is being called to speak to the people of his own heritage. Nevertheless he will find them unwilling to listen to him, precisely because they are unwilling to listen to God (3:7). So God promises: “But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house” (3:8-9). So in this head-butting contest Ezekiel is being enabled to side with God unreservedly. God sometimes raises up strong and obstinate leaders who, regardless of personal popularity, hunger to side with God. None of this means that Ezekiel has no fellow-feeling for the exiles; both the next verses and the rest of the book contradict any such notion. Nevertheless his commission is a call to empathize with God’s perspective and to be unyielding.
Second, this chapter contains a call to utter warnings and to be careful (3:16-27). The theme of the watchman (3:16-21) recurs in the book (chap. 33), and can be explored later. But in the closing verses Ezekiel is forbidden to say anything— courtesies, greetings, political speeches, whatever—except for what God gives him to say. This state of affairs endures until the fall of Jerusalem, about six years away (Ezek. 33:21-22), when his tongue is loosed. This restriction adds weight to the times he does speak. It is also a challenge to everyone who speaks for God. All of our talk and our silences should be so calibrated that when we convey God’s words our credibility is enhanced and not diminished.
The Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized
1 “And you, son of man, take a brick and lay it before you, and engrave on it a city, even Jerusalem. 2 And put siegeworks against it, and build a siege wall against it, and cast up a mound against it. Set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. 3 And you, take an iron griddle, and place it as an iron wall between you and the city; and set your face toward it, and let it be in a state of siege, and press the siege against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel.
4 “Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment[a] of the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their punishment. 5 For I assign to you a number of days, 390 days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment. So long shall you bear the punishment of the house of Israel. 6 And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah. Forty days I assign you, a day for each year. 7 And you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, with your arm bared, and you shall prophesy against the city. 8 And behold, I will place cords upon you, so that you cannot turn from one side to the other, till you have completed the days of your siege.
9 “And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer,[b] and put them into a single vessel and make your bread from them. During the number of days that you lie on your side, 390 days, you shall eat it. 10 And your food that you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels[c] a day; from day to day[d] you shall eat it. 11 And water you shall drink by measure, the sixth part of a hin;[e] from day to day you shall drink. 12 And you shall eat it as a barley cake, baking it in their sight on human dung.” 13 And the Lord said, “Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations where I will drive them.” 14 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I have never defiled myself.[f] From my youth up till now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has tainted meat come into my mouth.” 15 Then he said to me, “See, I assign to you cow's dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread.” 16 Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, behold, I will break the supply[g] of bread in Jerusalem. They shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay. 17 I will do this that they may lack bread and water, and look at one another in dismay, and rot away because of their punishment.
My Help and My Deliverer
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
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.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
4 Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.
6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.[a]
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance[b]
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
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
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.
13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
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!
O Lord, Be Gracious to Me
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor![c]
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;
2 the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
3 The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness you restore him to full health.[d]
4 As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me;
heal me,[e] for I have sinned against you!”
5 My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die, and his name perish?”
6 And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
while his heart gathers iniquity;
when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
7 All who hate me whisper together about me;
they imagine the worst for me.[f]
8 They say, “A deadly thing is poured out[g] on him;
he will not rise again from where he lies.”
9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
10 But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,
and raise me up, that I may repay them!
11 By this I know that you delight in me:
my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
12 But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence forever.
13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.
If we are to understand reasons why Ezekiel is called to the powerful parabolic actions we find in Ezekiel 4, we must put ourselves in the place of the exiles. Like the people back home in Jerusalem and Judah, many of them could not imagine that the city and temple of the Great King could ever be destroyed. God simply would not allow it to happen. In general terms the exiles in Babylon respond to Ezekiel the same way that the Jews in Jerusalem respond to Jeremiah: they don’t believe him. In fact, the exiles doubtless have added incentive to maintain their false hopes. As long as Jerusalem stands, they can nurture the hope that God will rescue them and bring them back home. If Jerusalem falls, there will be no “home” to which to return. One can imagine how desperately negative and even impossible Ezekiel’s warnings sound to them.
But Ezekiel does not flinch.
(1) He begins by drawing a picture of Jerusalem on a large clay tablet—perhaps the profile or some other easily recognized perspective, so that onlookers can instantly see what he is doing. Around the city he erects siege works and the like, as if he were playing war games with homemade toys. Everyone perceives that this means Jerusalem will be besieged. Then he holds an iron pan over the model. As God’s prophet he stands in for God, and holds the pan in such a way as to threaten to crash it down on the city and destroy it—picturing the fact that it is God himself who is threatening the city.
(2) In the next section (4:4-8), Ezekiel spends some time each day lying on his left side. (He is not there all the time, of course, as the succeeding verses show he has other actions to perform.) If his head is toward the model of Jerusalem he has made, and his body lies on an east-west axis, then when he lies on his left he is facing north, toward Israel, the ten tribes that have already gone into captivity under the Assyrians. For 390 days (more than a year!) he does this, every day. Then one day the onlookers show up and find him on his right side—facing the south and thus threatening Judah with judgment and disaster.
(3) Inside a besieged city in the ancient world, as supplies dwindled people were forced to make bread out of dried beans and lentils mixed with the tiny bit of flour that was left. They would eat their impossibly small portions (about eight ounces of “bread”) and sip their tiny quota of water, and waste away. They would cook their food on cow patties (as in the slums of India), because there was no more wood. All this, Ezekiel predicts, “because of their sin” (4:17).
Jerusalem Will Be Destroyed
1 “And you, O son of man, take a sharp sword. Use it as a barber's razor and pass it over your head and your beard. Then take balances for weighing and divide the hair. 2 A third part you shall burn in the fire in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are completed. And a third part you shall take and strike with the sword all around the city. And a third part you shall scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. 3 And you shall take from these a small number and bind them in the skirts of your robe. 4 And of these again you shall take some and cast them into the midst of the fire and burn them in the fire. From there a fire will come out into all the house of Israel.
5 “Thus says the Lord God: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. 6 And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes. 7 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not[a] even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, 8 therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments[b] in your midst in the sight of the nations. 9 And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. 10 Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers. And I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to all the winds. 11 Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw.[c] My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. 12 A third part of you shall die of pestilence and be consumed with famine in your midst; a third part shall fall by the sword all around you; and a third part I will scatter to all the winds and will unsheathe the sword after them.
13 “Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. And they shall know that I am the Lord—that I have spoken in my jealousy—when I spend my fury upon them. 14 Moreover, I will make you a desolation and an object of reproach among the nations all around you and in the sight of all who pass by. 15 You shall be[d] a reproach and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations all around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious rebukes—I am the Lord; I have spoken— 16 when I send against you[e] the deadly arrows of famine, arrows for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, and when I bring more and more famine upon you and break your supply[f] of bread. 17 I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword upon you. I am the Lord; I have spoken.”
Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?
To the choirmaster. A Maskil[a] of the Sons of Korah.
1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?[b]
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation[c] 6 and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
Send Out Your Light and Your Truth
1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people,
from the deceitful and unjust man
2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
why have you rejected me?
Why do I go about mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?
3 Send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
In Ezekiel 5, Ezekiel extends by one more his list of parabolic actions and then reports God’s words as to their significance.
Ezekiel sharpens a sword and uses it as a straight razor. He shaves his head, beard and all. After tucking a few strands into his garments, he divides the rest into three piles. The first he puts into the city (i.e., onto the clay tablet that is the model of the city of Jerusalem, 4:1), and sets the hairs alight, perhaps with a live coal. Another third he scatters on the ground all around the city, and then whacks them and whacks them with his sword until only tiny pieces are left. The final third he throws up into the wind, a few hairs at a time, until they have all blown away. A few strands tucked into his garments he now takes out and throws onto the smoldering coal and ashes within the model city, and they too burst into flame and are consumed.
The significance of all this is spelled out in 5:12: a third of the people will die within the city (from the famine of the siege), a third will die by the sword in the final breakout, and the remaining third will be scattered into exile.
The entire chapter emphasizes that it is God himself who is going to bring down this judgment on his people: highlight every instance of “I” in 5:8-17. This is what takes place when the Lord shoots to kill (5:16). “Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again” (5:9); the formula means that this judgment is as bad as temporal judgments get. Jesus himself uses virtually the same words with respect to the impending judgment on Jerusalem in his century (Matt. 24:21).
God says his wrath must be poured out. Yet this wrath is not ungovernable temper. God insists that when judgment has been meted out, his wrath will subside and his anger will cease (5:13). This outbreak of wrath forms part of a list of punctuated outbreaks of wrath from the Fall on: the curse in Genesis 3, the Flood, Babel, slavery in Egypt, various judgments in the desert (including the wilderness wanderings for forty years), and so on. In cycles of judgment corresponding to cycles of particularly egregious sin, God pours out his wrath. All of this forms part of the necessary biblical theology behind Romans 3:20-26: there is no solution to the threat of God’s righteous wrath upon his creatures who have rebelled against him—until in the person of his Son God himself bears the wrath we deserve, preserving his justice while justifying us.
Judgment Against Idolatry
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, 3 and say, You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. 4 Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain before your idols. 5 And I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars. 6 Wherever you dwell, the cities shall be waste and the high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined,[a] your idols broken and destroyed, your incense altars cut down, and your works wiped out. 7 And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the Lord.
8 “Yet I will leave some of you alive. When you have among the nations some who escape the sword, and when you are scattered through the countries, 9 then those of you who escape will remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols. And they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations. 10 And they shall know that I am the Lord. I have not said in vain that I would do this evil to them.”
11 Thus says the Lord God: “Clap your hands and stamp your foot and say, Alas, because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, for they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. 12 He who is far off shall die of pestilence, and he who is near shall fall by the sword, and he who is left and is preserved shall die of famine. Thus I will spend my fury upon them. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when their slain lie among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountaintops, under every green tree, and under every leafy oak, wherever they offered pleasing aroma to all their idols. 14 And I will stretch out my hand against them and make the land desolate and waste, in all their dwelling places, from the wilderness to Riblah.[b] Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Come to Our Help
To the choirmaster. A Maskil[a] of the Sons of Korah.
1 O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old:
2 you with your own hand drove out the nations,
but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
but them you set free;
3 for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.
4 You are my King, O God;
ordain salvation for Jacob!
5 Through you we push down our foes;
through your name we tread down those who rise up against us.
6 For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
7 But you have saved us from our foes
and have put to shame those who hate us.
8 In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah
9 But you have rejected us and disgraced us
and have not gone out with our armies.
10 You have made us turn back from the foe,
and those who hate us have gotten spoil.
11 You have made us like sheep for slaughter
and have scattered us among the nations.
12 You have sold your people for a trifle,
demanding no high price for them.
13 You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,
the derision and scorn of those around us.
14 You have made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock[b] among the peoples.
15 All day long my disgrace is before me,
and shame has covered my face
16 at the sound of the taunter and reviler,
at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.
17 All this has come upon us,
though we have not forgotten you,
and we have not been false to your covenant.
18 Our heart has not turned back,
nor have our steps departed from your way;
19 yet you have broken us in the place of jackals
and covered us with the shadow of death.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God discover this?
For he knows the secrets of the heart.
22 Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.
23 Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
24 Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
our belly clings to the ground.
26 Rise up; come to our help!
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!
PSALM 44 IS AN IMPORTANT FOIL for the themes we have been digesting from the prophets. The major prophets keep drawing a tight link between the sins of Israel and the destruction that God inflicted upon them: the people get what they deserve. Of course, we have come across innocent suffering before, especially in Job and in some Psalms. But here in Psalm 44 is the suffering of an innocent nation.
There were defeats and even deportations (44:11) before the exile (see Amos 1:6, 9), so we cannot be certain when this psalm was written. Defeat was not unknown even to good kings (e.g., Ps. 60). Here the psalmist begins by reviewing the past. When the nation was called into existence, everything depended on God’s strong intervention: “it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them” (44:3). The psalmist is not looking back to national heroes and bemoaning their contemporary absence. He looks back to God’s power in the past, and insists the nation still relies on God (44:6-8). So why the disastrous defeats (44:9-16)? Unlike the gross sin denounced by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, here fidelity still triumphs: “All this happened to us, though we had not forgotten you or been false to your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path” (44:17-18).
At least two hints toward the end of the psalm, though they do not provide “solutions,” invite the reader to reflect on the direction taken by later biblical writers. (1) Sometimes God’s apparent sleep, his withdrawal (44:23ff.), is not overt wrath poured out on our sin, but his own timing. He refuses to be hurried, and his “unfailing love” (44:26) will triumph in the end. The ebbs and flows of Christian history support the same stance: they do not always correspond with differing degrees of loyalty or different methods. As one commentator (F. D. Kidner) has finely put it, “Although its picture of the sleeping Lord may seem naive to us, it was acted out in the New Testament, to teach a lesson which we still find relevant: cf. verse 23 with Mark 4:38.” (2) More stunningly, the psalmist says it is “for your sake [that] we face death all day long” (44:22, italics added). That point is not fully developed until Paul quotes the verse (Rom. 8:36ff.). But already it embraces the notion that some suffering is not the result of our sin but simply the result of being faithful to God in a world at war with him. In such cases suffering is not a sign of defeat but a badge of fidelity and fellowship, even of victory: we are “more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).
The Day of the Wrath of the Lord
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “And you, O son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel: An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land.[a] 3 Now the end is upon you, and I will send my anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you for all your abominations. 4 And my eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity, but I will punish you for your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
5 “Thus says the Lord God: Disaster after disaster![b] Behold, it comes. 6 An end has come; the end has come; it has awakened against you. Behold, it comes. 7 Your doom[c] has come to you, O inhabitant of the land. The time has come; the day is near, a day of tumult, and not of joyful shouting on the mountains. 8 Now I will soon pour out my wrath upon you, and spend my anger against you, and judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you for all your abominations. 9 And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord, who strikes.
10 “Behold, the day! Behold, it comes! Your doom has come; the rod has blossomed; pride has budded. 11 Violence has grown up into a rod of wickedness. None of them shall remain, nor their abundance, nor their wealth; neither shall there be preeminence among them.[d] 12 The time has come; the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn, for wrath is upon all their multitude.[e] 13 For the seller shall not return to what he has sold, while they live. For the vision concerns all their multitude; it shall not turn back; and because of his iniquity, none can maintain his life.[f]
14 “They have blown the trumpet and made everything ready, but none goes to battle, for my wrath is upon all their multitude. 15 The sword is without; pestilence and famine are within. He who is in the field dies by the sword, and him who is in the city famine and pestilence devour. 16 And if any survivors escape, they will be on the mountains, like doves of the valleys, all of them moaning, each one over his iniquity. 17 All hands are feeble, and all knees turn to water. 18 They put on sackcloth, and horror covers them. Shame is on all faces, and baldness on all their heads. 19 They cast their silver into the streets, and their gold is like an unclean thing. Their silver and gold are not able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord. They cannot satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it. For it was the stumbling block of their iniquity. 20 His beautiful ornament they used for pride, and they made their abominable images and their detestable things of it. Therefore I make it an unclean thing to them. 21 And I will give it into the hands of foreigners for prey, and to the wicked of the earth for spoil, and they shall profane it. 22 I will turn my face from them, and they shall profane my treasured[g] place. Robbers shall enter and profane it.
23 “Forge a chain![h] For the land is full of bloody crimes and the city is full of violence. 24 I will bring the worst of the nations to take possession of their houses. I will put an end to the pride of the strong, and their holy places[i] shall be profaned. 25 When anguish comes, they will seek peace, but there shall be none. 26 Disaster comes upon disaster; rumor follows rumor. They seek a vision from the prophet, while the law[j] perishes from the priest and counsel from the elders. 27 The king mourns, the prince is wrapped in despair, and the hands of the people of the land are paralyzed by terror. According to their way I will do to them, and according to their judgments I will judge them, and they shall know that I am the Lord.”
Your Throne, O God, Is Forever
To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil[a] of the Sons of Korah; a love song.
1 My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
2 You are the most handsome of the sons of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you forever.
3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
in your splendor and majesty!
4 In your majesty ride out victoriously
for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!
5 Your arrows are sharp
in the heart of the king's enemies;
the peoples fall under you.
6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
10 Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:
forget your people and your father's house,
11 and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him.
12 The people[b] of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,
the richest of the people.[c]
13 All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.
14 In many-colored robes she is led to the king,
with her virgin companions following behind her.
15 With joy and gladness they are led along
as they enter the palace of the king.
16 In place of your fathers shall be your sons;
you will make them princes in all the earth.
17 I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations;
therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.
At one level Psalm 45 is a royal wedding song. The opening verse affords a glimpse of the psalmist’s passions as he composes his lines (cf. similar introductions in 39:1-3; 49:1-4). The rest of the psalm is broken down into five sections.
The first (45:2-5) depicts the king’s majesty and stature. “Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty” (45:3)—and pursue truth, humility, and righteousness, even while displaying “awesome deeds” and military prowess (45:4-5). In the second (45:6-9), the psalmist reflects on the monarch’s person and state, and addresses him as God (45:6). The psalmist is not turning away from the monarch to address God. The next verse (45:7) proves he is still addressing the king, and is perfectly able to distinguish between the king as “God” and God himself: “therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions.” Thus the address of verse 6 is extravagant: “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever”—in the first instance referring to a Davidic king, as the rest of the psalm demonstrates. In the third section the psalmist addresses the bride and encourages her lifelong allegiance (45:10-12). That entails “forgetting” her father’s house (the counterpart of Gen. 2:24), and focusing her affections and loyalty on her husband. The fourth briefly describes the bridal party (45:13-15) leading up to the wedding itself, the details signaling the importance of the occasion. Scripture never trivializes marriage, least of all the marriage of a Davidic king. In the fifth section (45:16-17), the psalmist returns to the king (the Hebrew pronouns are masculine). The focus is on the fruit of the marriage: heirs who displace their fathers. This demonstrates that the psalmist is thinking in terms of ordinary procreation and succession. This is not an oracular messianic psalm.
Nevertheless Hebrews 1:8-9 quotes 45:6-7 to prove Jesus’ essential superiority over mere angels. Only the Son is directly addressed as “God.” Why does the writer of Hebrews feel he can use Psalm 45 in this way? The surrounding verses show he has reflected long and hard on several passages and themes: 2 Samuel 7 (see vol. 1, meditation for September 12), which promises an eternal Davidic dynasty; several passages that link the Davidic king to God as his “son” (2 Sam. 7; Ps. 2—on which see meditation for August 4); an entire pattern or “typology” in which David is understood to be a shadow, a type, an adumbration of a still greater “David” to come. If Scripture (and thus God) addresses an early Davidic monarch as “God,” how much more deserving of this title is the ultimate David?
Abominations in the Temple
1 In the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, with the elders of Judah sitting before me, the hand of the Lord God fell upon me there. 2 Then I looked, and behold, a form that had the appearance of a man.[a] Below what appeared to be his waist was fire, and above his waist was something like the appearance of brightness, like gleaming metal.[b] 3 He put out the form of a hand and took me by a lock of my head, and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the gateway of the inner court that faces north, where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy. 4 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the valley.
5 Then he said to me, “Son of man, lift up your eyes now toward the north.” So I lifted up my eyes toward the north, and behold, north of the altar gate, in the entrance, was this image of jealousy. 6 And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see still greater abominations.”
7 And he brought me to the entrance of the court, and when I looked, behold, there was a hole in the wall. 8 Then he said to me, “Son of man, dig in the wall.” So I dug in the wall, and behold, there was an entrance. 9 And he said to me, “Go in, and see the vile abominations that they are committing here.” 10 So I went in and saw. And there, engraved on the wall all around, was every form of creeping things and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel. 11 And before them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them. Each had his censer in his hand, and the smoke of the cloud of incense went up. 12 Then he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’” 13 He said also to me, “You will see still greater abominations that they commit.”
14 Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. 15 Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? You will see still greater abominations than these.”
16 And he brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord. And behold, at the entrance of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east, worshiping the sun toward the east. 17 Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations that they commit here, that they should fill the land with violence and provoke me still further to anger? Behold, they put the branch to their[c] nose. 18 Therefore I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.”
God Is Our Fortress
To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth.[a] A Song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present[b] help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
God Is King over All the Earth
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.
1 Clap your hands, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
2 For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,
a great king over all the earth.
3 He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
4 He chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah
5 God has gone up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
7 For God is the King of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm![c]
8 God reigns over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.
9 The princes of the peoples gather
as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
he is highly exalted!
Ezekiel 8—11 constitutes one long vision.
The opening verse of Ezekiel 8 establishes the time at exactly fourteen
months after the prophet’s inaugural vision, and therefore after the 390 days when he was lying for some part of each day on his left side denouncing the northern tribes already taken into captivity, and during the 40 days when he was lying on his right side denouncing the sins of Judah and Jerusalem. By this point he has established his credentials as a prophet, so the elders of the exilic community come and consult him (8:1). Probably they are troubled by his symbol-laden actions, and are asking him what will happen to Jerusalem, and if and when they will get home.
Ezekiel does not respond off the top of his head. Rather, he waits, and is granted another vision, the content of which he ultimately transmits to the exiles (11:25). In this vision, he sees something of God in categories reminiscent of those in the inaugural vision (chap. 1). Within the visionary world, Ezekiel is transported by the Spirit to Jerusalem, near the north gate. He is shown several horrible examples of idolatry and syncretism.
First, he witnesses the idol that provokes God to jealousy (8:3-6). If it is by the north gate, it is by the gate the king and his retinue would use on their way to the temple. The king whose responsibility it is to lead the people in covenantal faithfulness is the leader in compromise and syncretism—and in line with his covenantal conditions, God is rightly jealous (see Ex. 20:1-17). Second, Ezekiel sees seventy elders actually worshiping creatures that were, according to the Mosaic covenant, unclean even for eating and touching (8:7-13). Third, he sees women profoundly engaged with Tammuz (8:14-15). The Tammuz cult was a fertility cult, ascribing agricultural bounty to a dying and rising god. Some of these cults were also terribly promiscuous. Finally, Ezekiel sees priests (for only they could be between the portico and the altar) with their backs to the temple, worshiping the sun—not only cherishing the created thing above the Creator (Rom. 1:25), but violating the covenant (Deut. 4:19), influenced perhaps by the Egyptian sun god Ra.
Modern forms of idolatry are different, of course. Most of us have not been caught mourning for Tammuz. But do our hearts pursue things that rightly make God jealous? Do we love dirty and forbidden things? Do we ascribe success to everything but God? We may not succumb to fertility cults, but doesn’t our culture make sex itself a god?
Corrupt worship invariably replaces and relativizes God and ends up dulling moral vision (8:17).
Praise God for the elders we have to lead and shepherd our faith family. Pray for wisdom and discernment for each of our elders as they strive to understand and follow God’s will for our church. Ask for the Spirit’s guidance to be clear for our elders, and for God to grow their trust in and reliance upon Him. Pray our elders will grow in love and compassion for our members and will care for us as an overflow of God’s love for them. Thank God for the gifts each of our elders possess and the unique role they play on our elder council, and ask Him to unite them together in service. Pray for each of us to support our elder council and to follow their leadership well.
Children in Our City
This week we are praying for the children in our city who are at higher risk of abuse, addiction, poverty, poor education, or delinquency due to the economic or environmental circumstances that surround them. We are also praying for ministries and partners dedicated to caring for the spiritual and physical well-being of these children. Additionally, we are praying for Valleydale Church and Jason Dees, Pastor.
Day 1: Pray for the children in our urban partner school, Oliver Elementary, who will participate in the Breakfast Club Mentoring Program. Pray for God to make a way for these children to know Him. Pray for 50 volunteers to be available once a week to encourage them.
Day 2: Praise God for the beautiful work He is doing among the children and teens in the Marks Village Bible Club every Sunday afternoon. Ask God to raise up more parent leaders from within the community to serve and for other volunteers to invest in the children who He is sending there.
Day 3: Pray for Oak Tree Ministries, a new non-profit being formed to serve the Marks Village community. Pray for the leadership team (Halie, Jesse, Dimity, and Alex) and for wisdom and perseverance as they work through final details and prepare for the launch of a tutoring ministry this Fall.
Day 4: Pray for the after-school Bible club (Discovery Club) that meets at many Birmingham area public schools. Pray for clear gospel presentations, as this club is the only exposure to God’s Word for many participating children.
Day 5: Pray for the fatherless in our city and around the world, to know the everlasting love of the Heavenly Father. Pray for more people to serve through adoption, foster parenting, or as a Brook Hills WRAP family.
Day 6: Pray for the ESL childcare workers, homework helpers, and international children under their care at Brook Hills on Thursday nights beginning September 10. Pray for bonds of trust to be quickly formed between the volunteers, children, and parents. Pray for guidance and discernment as they establish relationships and begin to share gospel truths.
Lifeline Children’s Services Kid's Camp
This week we are praying for Brook Hills Member Organization, Lifeline Children’s Services. Lifeline has been given the honor and privilege of hosting ten children from China for a 2-week Kid’s Camp here in Birmingham. The children range in age from four to eleven and will be visiting to go to camp with their orphanage representatives in September. Join us this week as we pray for Lifeline Children’s Services and the camp participants. For more information visit: lifelinechild.org/kidscamp.
Day 1: Pray for the leadership of Lifeline Children’s Services and for those leading the Kid’s Camp in September. Pray for wisdom to know how best to serve the children who are coming.
Day 2: Praise God for how He has provided in every situation to allow the children from China to attend camp here in Birmingham. Pray for the children as they prepare to arrive in the U.S. Pray for God to prepare their hearts for what will take place.
Day 3: Pray for the “work day” happening this Saturday to prepare the facility to host the Kid’s Camp. Pray for God to provide many volunteers to help get the rooms set-up to host each child.
Day 4: There will be translators, orphanage representatives, and government officials traveling with the children. Pray for opportunities to engage in gospel conversations. Pray for them to be able to see a biblical picture of how the church has been commanded to care for orphans.
Day 5: Pray for the children by name: Jack, Jacob, James, Jenny, Jessa, Jonah, Jordan, Joseph, Joy, and June. Pray for them to have an incredible time at the Kid’s Camp and to be filled with joy as they are hosted by the Lifeline staff.
Day 6: Pray for God to receive honor and glory through the camp. Pray for each child to see Christ and His love for them.
Water You turned into wine
Opened the eyes of the blind
There's no one like You
None like You
Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There's no one like You
None like You
Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is healer
Awesome in power our God our God
And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against
And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against
(Then) what could stand against
Bless the Lord O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
The sun comes up it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
You're rich in love and You're slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the name! I’m fixed upon it
Name of Thy redeeming love
Hitherto Thy love has blessed me
Thou hast brought me to this place
And I know Thy hand will bring me
Safely home by Thy good grace
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
Oh that day when freed from sinning
I shall see Thy lovely face
Full arrayed in blood-washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry
Bring Thy promises to pass
For I know Thy pow’r will keep me
Till I’m home with Thee at last