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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Psalm 114 - God's Gracious Presence

The psalmist looks back to the first days of Israel as a liberated people in order to get encouragement for his present circumstances. He does not say what his situation is, but his method is one that we should all adopt because we are usually in need of divine encouragement many times a day. And one way to find encouragement is to meditate on some of God’s great victories, whether those recorded in the Bible or those we read about in church history. So what did the psalmist note about the Exodus?

One thing that he noticed was the language difference between the Egyptians and the Israelites. Although they had been slaves in Egypt for a long time, the Israelites had not picked up much of the Egyptian language. No doubt, this was arranged by the Lord in his providence in order to ensure that his people retained their distinctiveness and did not become merged with the culture and outlooks of Egypt. There is a lesson here for us. Our speech, and what we speak about, should be different.

Another feature mentioned by the psalmist is the unity that marked God’s people as they travelled together. Israel and Judah were journeying harmoniously and God was with them. There he was worshipped and served. We know that they did not maintain the harmony for long. It is usually the case that new converts have warm brotherly love, and Israel at its beginning illustrate this.

The psalmist records that when God was on the march with his people natural barriers, such as the Red Sea, mountains and the River Jordan, ceased to be a problem. These barriers are depicted as being frightened of the Lord’s presence and trembling before him. We too have divine help against powerful barriers against our spiritual progress.

Lastly, the psalmist recalled that the Lord had provided water for his people in the desert by a miracle. Provision had seemed impossible, yet they discovered that what was impossible for men to do, God could do in a surprising manner. This tells us that we should not imagine that the Lord cannot meet our needs in a difficult situation.

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