Friday, March 19, 2010

Messianic Prophecy Hidden in Psalm 107

The other night, as I was reading and praying through some of the Psalms, something jumped out at me that I hadn't particularly noticed before: Psalm 107 contains a foreshadowing of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee. In context, Psalm 107 is re-capping the inglorious history of Israel, and God's repeated rescue and healing of their nation after periods of backsliding. When we reach verse 23, the psalmist uses maritime imagery and attributes the power of the seas and "...tempest, that lifted high the waves" to the works of the Lord.

Verses 28-30 are where it gets really interesting:

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.

29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.

30 They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.

Does this remind you of a certain scene from the Gospels? Matthew's account in chapter 8 reads:

23Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

26He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"

(The other Gospel accounts are in Mark 4 and Luke 8, but I'll assume you're all familiar with the story). Not an earth-shaking revelation or new-fangled doctrine by any means, but just a point of interest that caught my attention. While none of the accounts cross-reference Psalm 107 in my study Bible, I can't help but speculating that the Messiah "stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed" in fulfillment of Scripture that day out on the lake. The disciples in the boat with Him most definitely were glad when it grew calm, and they wondered aloud who Christ was as He guided them to their desired haven. Reflecting on His life and ministry later on, I wonder if they saw Jesus in the Psalm - which specifically credits God with these wonders (thereby again affirming Christ's deity).

Admittedly, I have never seen the events of Psalm 107 in the account of Jesus calming the storm before. However, every time I read the account in one of the Gospels, a certain detail distracts me: I hope that someone in the boat had the good sense to cover Jesus with a blanket when He fell asleep. I can't help it; that is always the first thing that comes to mind (maybe because I am a mom)? You can catch a terrible cold out on the water that way, and when you fall asleep your body temperature drops. The hypostatic union in no way negates that fact. The One Who stilled the storm and calmed the waves still allowed Himself to be susceptible to our infirmities - presumably including catching chills. I will give those rugged fishermen the benefit of the doubt.

Interesting parallel to the Psalm of thanksgiving, in any event.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Heralds of the Truth" by Pastor Hristo Kulichev - now available in English

It's finally done...the book project I have been working with my former pastor to complete for over a year:

Now in English, this is the first comprehensive history of the Christian Church in Bulgaria. Kulichev discusses three main phases in her history: during the Ottoman Empire; during the oppression of the Communist era; and in the post-1989 period of "wild capitalism". I worked my tail off on editing the translation, re-translating parts of it, formatting and imputing photos, writing editorial descriptions, and finally uploading .pdf files to create a finished product. We are very, VERY happy with the results (so much so that if the Bulgarian team were on this side of the pond, I'd consider cracking open a bottle of champagne, if we weren't all tee-totalers).

I hope all you Church history buffs and theo-geeks enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed working on it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

WWJMD? (What Would John Macarthur Do?)

Well, he wouldn't shop at the Stuff Mart. I have that on authority, for all you who are interested.

Have you visited the "People of Walmart" gallery yet? This is the funniest (and most accurate) skewering of redneckiness gone amok I've seen yet:
The thought crossed my mind, "I bet John Macarthur is someone you'd never bump into in a Walmart". I checked with his editor and associate pastor, Phil Johnson, who was speaking at the Shepherd's Conference at the very moment I was engaged in such banal humor.

Here's his response:

Apparently he enjoys shopping about as much as I do, which isn't a whole lot - I'd rather be home reading one of his books. I bet Dr. Macarthur would laugh at People of Walmart, too, if only he used a computer.


Since we're talking about Macarthur and Phil Johnson, here's a great excerpt from his address last night at the Shepherd's Conference (presumably before he responded to my query on Facebook):

Pulpit Highlights - Phil Johnson from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.