f The Wittenberg Door: My Strength and My Song

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Strength and My Song

From Great Commission Publications . . .

The Bible personalizes God. He is our God, the God of my salvation, the of his people. Philosophy defines him into abstraction; the world keeps him at arm’s length (except in an emergency). “Religion” makes him vague enough to be safe. The Bible presents an invitation to know him.

The Bible gives us grounds to stake a claim on God. Those grounds, however, originate solely with him. He initiates, we respond. He chooses; we are the choice. We are in bondage, he delivers us. He makes a people of those who were not a people, and he calls us his. Therefore we may call him ours. We are strong with his strength, wise with his wisdom. “The Lord is my strength and my song,” shouted Moses and the Israelites after God had hurled the Egyptian army into the sea, “and he has become my salvation” (Ex. 15:2). Our claim on God follows on his deliverance of us.

He is our strength. We have all the defense we need in him. The Israelites, said Calvin, “were strong in God, and had not conquered their enemies by their own bravery.” Therefore, “it is not lawful to glory save in God alone.”

He is our song. We know what it is to sing about God. But what is it for God himself to be the song? It means, among other things, that he is the object of praise—praise that comes from intimate, personal knowledge of him, through Jesus Christ. We do not chant an abstraction. What existentialist philosopher sings Sartre in the night? What song does the Aristotelian compose for the Ten Categories? Does a Platonist sing a hymn to the Big Idea? Eastern religions use chants to empty their minds; we fill our minds with the Scripture’s depictions of God in all his fullness, which then spill over into song.

He has become my salvation. That is another way of saying we are saved by God’s grace. All of our salvation is summed up in him. That was the Israelites’ experience. God himself, and God alone, brought them out of Egypt and through the sea, overthrowing their enemies in the process. Jesus likewise brought us out of bondage to sin. What greater proof could there be of God saying to us, “You are mine!” What greater reason could there be for us to say to God, “You are mine as well”?

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