Thursday, December 28, 2006

Faith the desideratum

You may have heard the concept that salvation in Old Testament times was by works or by the law or something, whereas in the New Testament it's by faith. Today's reading from Psalm 147 indicates that this is not quite the case:
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse
nor his delight in the legs of a man;
the Lord favors those who fear him,
those who put their hope in his lovingkindness.
Psalm 147.10-11
What I see here is that the Lord delights in those who revere him and who put their hope in him. I don't see anything here about sacrifices, or the Law.

I think that in some sense, it's always been about faith, because if you didn't believe in the Lord, why would it make sense to make any of those sacrifices? Why would you deny yourself bacon with your eggs, barbecued pork ribs, tako-yaki, shrimp scampi and so on, if you didn't have a relationship with Someone eternal?

And for us today -- for the majority of us who have never believed in the Law anyway -- what does this mean for us? For one thing, it means that the Lord does not delight in the rich, the competent. He doesn't especially love the ones who sing better, who know more Scriptures and get more questions right in Sunday School. If somebody gives more or somebody's prayers sound better or they have more people come to their Bible study, that's not what delights him.

Nope. What delights him is when we put our hope in his unfailing love, when we trust him, when he is our highest joy.

Isn't that something, that the master of the universe cares whether we trust him and want to know him? What a wonderful thing, to know that we can bring delight to the Lord of heaven and earth, that by honoring him in our hearts we can bring delight to his!
posted 12/29

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