Song of the Drunkards


JESUS FACED A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF OPPOSITION FOR HIS HARD WORDS AND UNFLINCHING DEVOTION TO YAHWEH. NO SURPRISE THEN IF WE FIND OUR NAME FESTOONED IN BARROOM BALLADS (CF. PS 69:12).


Walking in Wisdom

January 1, 2023 in Bible - NT - Colossians, Meditations

Colossians 4:5-6 (NKJV)

5Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

In closing his letter to the Colossians, Paul urges a number of common graces upon the believers in Colossae. He knew that they would be tempted in the cosmopolitan and corrupt city of Colossae to retreat into a holy huddle and be cranky and uptight. Hence, he imparts to them, and to us, some closing words of counsel, that guide both our actions and our speech.

Regarding our actions, Paul urges us to “walk in wisdom toward those who are outside” and to “redeem the time.” In other words, Paul commands us to follow the exhortations to wisdom found in Proverbs and other books, particularly in light of our calling to be witnesses for Christ and of the brevity of time that the Lord has allotted to each of us on earth. We are to use the gifts and talents that the Lord has given us for the advance of His kingdom and the good of our neighbors.

This other oriented focus continues in Paul’s exhortation regarding our speech. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Elsewhere he urges us to speak in such a way that it “gives grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29). Our speech, Paul tells us, is not primarily to serve ourselves but others.

And so, what do these exhortations mean for us? First, they remind us that Paul saw no contrast between the Proverbs of Solomon and the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So let us be diligent to have these Proverbs dwell in our hearts and minds. Let us teach them to our children and grandchildren that they might learn what it means to walk in wisdom toward those who are outside and to redeem the time.

Second, Paul is validating the old-fashioned concept of good manners. Manners are simply patterns of behavior that attempt to put others at ease by considering their interests as more important than our own. Opening the doors for ladies, making eye contact, saying hello and goodbye, saying thank you and you’re welcome – we should view all these things as attempts to apply Paul’s admonition to let our conduct be characterized by wisdom and our speech be seasoned with salt.

So consider some practical implications of Paul’s admonitions. Today we find ourselves in a new facility that, Lord willing, we will be able to enjoy for a couple months. As guests in this facility, we need to demonstrate good manners. And so, children, you shouldn’t be climbing on the furniture, snooping in spaces that are off limits, or running wild around the hallways. Don’t touch things that aren’t yours and be careful to treat everything as though it were quite precious. We are being given the privilege of meeting here and need to exercise good manners in the way we use the facility.

And you, parents, take responsibility for your children. Watch over them with all diligence and teach them the importance of manifesting good manners in their treatment of this place. Fathers, in particular, be engaged with your children. But don’t do this in such a way that you too violate the stricture to have your speech seasoned with grace. Don’t yell and scream at your children because you have failed to train them in good manners. Instilling manners into our children is not done primarily on Sunday morning – it must be happening all week. And so the exhortation to you parents is to impart the grace of good manners to your children – don’t rob them. “He also who is slack in his work,” Solomon writes, “Is brother to him who destroys” (Prov 18:9). So take the time to impart these courtesies to your kids.

Walk in wisdom, redeem the time, speak with grace – these are the reminders that Paul gives to the Colossians and to us. So reminded how we as a people have failed to fulfill these things, let us kneel and confess our sin and weakness to our Father seeking His forgiveness.

You Shall Call His Name JESUS

December 25, 2022 in Bible - NT - Matthew, Christmas, Meditations

Matthew 1:20–21 (NKJV)

20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Today is not just Sunday; it is Christmas Sunday – a glorious high feast day in which we celebrate the incarnation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Only rarely does Christmas fall on a Sunday – so today is doubly blessed. I hope and pray that your day will be filled with celebration.

As we consider the birth of our Christ, it is fitting that we read the angel’s words to Joseph. The angel explains the mystery of Christ’s incarnation – He has been conceived by the Holy Ghost – and instructs Joseph to name this Child “Jesus.” The name “Jesus” means “Savior” and so the angel explains the significance of the name: you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins. He saves us from our stubborn refusal to do what is pleasing to God and to instead follow our own path. The Child born to Mary not only reveals the wonder of infancy and the glory of children – He does of course do those things – but this Child reveals God’s determination to deliver us from our sin. He was born to rescue us for we were lost and estranged from God. And so He came to offer Himself in our place so that we might be forgiven and restored to fellowship with our Creator.

As we enter into the presence of our Lord on this Day, therefore, it is fitting that we bow before Him to confess our sins. So let us confess our sin to the Lord, seeking His forgiveness through the death of Christ, rejoicing in God’s salvation. We will have a time of silent confession, followed by the corporate confession found in your bulletin. As you are able, let us kneel together as we confess.

The Eternal Appetite of Infancy

December 18, 2022 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations

Proverbs 8:30–32 (NKJV)

30 Then I [Wisdom] was beside [the Creator] as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, 31 Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men. 32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways.”

As we anticipate the arrival of Christmas, I doubt that I have to remind you that children love these times of festivity. While we adults often grow tired, kids never tire; they long for the celebration. “When are we going to get the tree? When are we going to put up the lights? When are we going to open stockings and presents? When is everyone coming over?”

We see in our text from Proverbs today that the delight and energy and joy of children reveals God’s own delight in all His work. Wisdom was daily God’s delight and rejoiced in His presence, rejoicing in God’s creative genius, and delighting in the sons of men. So who is the blessed one? What does Wisdom speak to you children? “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways.” The blessed one is the one who keeps and observes the way of wisdom – and the chief of wisdom’s ways is to delight in God and to rejoice in His works. The blessed man or woman or child is he who looks upon the world with wide-eyed wonder at God’s creativity and genius and generosity; who marvels at the intricacy of the human cell; who laughs at the gangliness of a giraffe; who delights in the companionship of a friend. The cursed man is the one who has grown too dull to perceive the wonder of the world and those who dwell therein.

Just a few weeks ago Pastor Chase quoted G.K. Chesterton who explains all this in his inimitable way in his book Orthodoxy. He writes:

Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

So what of you? Have you sinned and grown old? Have you ceased to look in wide-eyed wonder at the world? You teens, have you become too insecure, too self-important, or too distant to rejoice with joy? You young adults, have you become too self-absorbed or too ambitious to slow down and enjoy family and friends? You adults, have you become too tired or too lazy to celebrate with joy? Or perhaps too greedy to enjoy the simple delights of friendship? Or too distracted.

Reminded that we often sin in various ways and that our sin causes us to “grow old”, that we become bored and complacent with God our Creator and Redeemer and with the world in which He has placed us, that we complain and mutter rather than overflow with thanksgiving, let us kneel as we are able and confess our sin to the Lord.