Category Archives: Theological and Doxological Meditations

Theological & Doxological Meditation #48

Theology in the First Commandment

Q. 48. What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?

A. These words before me in the first commandment
teach us that God,
who seeth all things,
taketh notice of,
and is much displeased with,
the sin of having any other god (Deuteronomy 30:17-18; Psalm 44:20-21; Ezekiel 8:12) .

Jesus, Priceless Treasure
#656, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
Johann Franck, 1655
Tr. By Catherine Winkworth, 1863
JESU, MEINE FREUDE
Johann Crüger, 1649

Jesus, priceless treasure,
Source of purest pleasure,
Truest Friend to me:
Ah, how long in anguish
Shall my spirit languish,
Yearning, Lord, for thee?
Thine I am, O spotless Lamb!
I will suffer naught to hide thee,
Naught I ask beside thee.

In thine arms I rest me;
Foes who would molest me
Cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
Ev’ry heart be quaking,
Jesus calms my fear.
Lightnings flash and thunders crash;
Yet, though sin and hell assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.

Satan, I defy thee;
Death, I now decry thee;
Fear, I bid thee cease.
World, thou shalt not harm me
Nor thy threats alarm me while I sing of peace.
God’s great pow’r
Guards ev’ry hour;
Earth and all its depths adore him,
Silent bow before him.

Hence, with earthly treasure!
Thou art all my pleasure,
Jesus, all my choice.
Hence, thou empty glory!
Naught to me thy story,
Told with tempting voice.
Pain or loss or shame or cross
Shall not from my Savior move me,
Since he deigns to love me.

Hence, all fear and sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,
Still have peace within.
Yea, whate’er I here must bear,
Thou art still my purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure.

Theological & Doxological Meditations #48

Theology in the First Commandment

Q. What are we specially taught by these words, before me, in the first commandment?

 A. These words, before me, in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God (Deuteronomy 30:17-18; Psalm 44:20-21; Ezekiel 8:12)

Now Blessed Be the Lord Our God

#11, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)

Psalm 72:8,11,12,18,19

Scottish Psalter, 1650 Mod.

McKEE C.M.

Spiritual

Arr. By Harry T. Burleigh, 1939

Now blessed be the Lord our God,

The God of Israel,

For he alone does wondrous works

In glory that excel.

And blessed be his glorious name

To all eternity;

The whole earth let his glory fill.

Amen, so let it be.

His wide dominion shall extend

From sea to utmost sea,

And unto earth’s remotest bounds

His peaceful rule shall be.

Yea, all the kings shall bow to him,

His rule all nations hail;

He will regard the poor man’s cry

When other helpers fail.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #46

The First Requirement

 Q. What is required in the first commandment?

A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly (1 Chronicles 28:9; Isaiah 45:20-25; Matthew4:10).

O People Blest, Whose Sons in Youth

 (play file 362 in “T&D mp3″ sidebar widget)

 #362, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
From Psalm 144:12-15
The Psalter, 1912; alt. 1961
SHORTLE 8.8.6.D rep.
Charles G. Goodrich, 1905

O people blest, whose sons in youth,
in sturdy strength and noble truth,
Like plants in vigor spring;
Whose daughters fair, A queenly race,
are like the cornerstones that grace
the palace of a king, the palace of a king.

O people blest, when flock and field
Their rich, abundant increase yield,
And blessings multiply;
When plenty all thy children share,
And no invading foe is there,
And no distressful cry, and no distressful cry.

O happy people, favored land,
To whom the Lord with lib’ral hand
Has thus his goodness shown;
Yea, surely is that people blest
By whom Jehovah is confessed
To be their God alone, to be their God alone.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #45

The First Commandment: Worship the Right God

Q. Which is the first commandment?

A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7).

God Is Known Among His People
(play file 066 in “T&D mp3″ sidebar widget)
#66, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
From Psalm 76
The Psalter 1912; alt. 1990, mod.

God is known among his people,
every mouth his praises fill;
From of old he has established
his abode onZion’s hill;
There he broke the sword and arrow,
bade the noise of war be still.

Excellent and glorious are you,
With your trophies from the fray;
You have slain the mighty warriors,
Wrapped in sleep of death are they;
When your anger once is risen,
Who can stand in that dread day?

When from heav’n your sentence sounded,
All the earth in fear was still,
While to save the meek and lowly
God in judgment wrought his will;
e’en the wrath of man shall praise you,
your designs it shall fulfill.

Vow and pay unto Jehovah,
Him your God forever own;
All men, bring your gifts before him,
Worship him, and him alone;
Mighty kings obey and fear him,
Princes bow before his throne.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #44

Teaching of the Decalogue’s Preface

44. What doth the preface to the Ten Commandments teach us?

A. The preface to the Ten Commandments teacheth us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all of his commandments (Luke 1:74-75; 1 Peter1:14-19).

Blest Are the Undefiled

(play file 557 in “T&D mp3″ sidebar widget)

 #557, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
From Psalm 119
Isaac Watts, 1719; mod.
DOWNS C.M.
Lowell Mason, 1832

Blest are the undefiled in heart,
Whose ways are right and clean,
Who never from the law depart,
But fly from ev’ry sin.

Blest are the men who keep your word
And practice your commands;
With their whole heart they seek the Lord,
And serve you with their hands.

Great is their peace who love your law;
How firm their souls abide!
Nor can a bold temptation draw
Their steady feet aside.

Then shall my heart have inward joy,
And keep my face from shame,
When all your statutes I obey,
And honor all your name.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #43

The Decalogue’s Preface
 

Q. What is the preface to the ten commandments?
 

A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (Exodus 20:2).

O God, Most Holy Are Your Ways

(play file 039 in “T&D mp3” sidebar widget)

#39, The Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
Psalm 77:13-20
The Psalter, 1912; alt. 1990, mod.
VATER UNSER 8.8.8.8.8.8.
V. Schumann’s Geistliche Lider, 1539

O God, most holy are your ways,
and who like you deserves my praise?
You only do such wondrous things,
The whole wide world your glory sings;
Your outstretched arm your people saved,
Though sore distressed and long enslaved.

O God, from you the waters fled,
The depths were moved with mighty dread,
The swelling clouds their torments poured,
And o’er the earth the tempest roard;
‘mid lightning’s flash and thunder’s sound
great trembling shook the solid ground.

Your way was in the sea, O God,
Through mighty waters, deep and broad.
None understood but God alone,
To man your footsteps were unknown;
But safe your people you did keep,
Almighty Shepherd of your sheep.

New Page: “Theological & Doxological Meditations”

I’d like to direct your attention to the page links at the top of the page. There’s a new page. It’s actually an old page that’s been brought back. It’s the official devotional of this blog: “Theological & Doxological Meditations.” On this page, to which you may click above, there is a new introduction, featuring a quote from J.I. Packer which helps us understand the relationship between what we call “theology,” namely the truths of Scripture, and “doxology,” or the praise of God which ought to grow out of a personal understanding and appreciation for those truths. Not just truth for truth’s sake–the Lord Jesus put it best himself: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39).

I originally began these devotionals back when I first started this blog. As you’ll read in the intro on the page, each devotional is a question and answer from the Westminster Shorter Catechism accompanied by a hymn from the Trinity Hymnal (© 1990). I used to link to a MIDI file for each hymn from a site that was taken down some time after I became so dependent on it. I searched in vain for a suitable resource–the OPC site has the MIDI files for the older edition of the Trinity Hymnal, but not the more recent one. Largely because of this, I stopped posting the devotionals. But recently, I’ve managed to obtain permission from Great Commission Publications, the publisher of the Trinity Hymnal (©1990), to use their set of MIDI’s which are not offered publicly but as a resource to churches, and apparently, people like me who manage to persuade them that they have a valid use for them. I greatly appreciate their permission, and so I have started the new page which will link you to all the previously posted devotionals, and in the weeks to come as future devotionals begin to be posted.

Eventually, I may also provide an original commentary of my own, but I wouldn’t expect one every week, if I were you. I hope these devotionals are able to help you grow in the knowledge and grace of God in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Commentary on “The First Prohibition”

The following is an addendum to Theological & Doxological Meditation #47, containing commentary on thetheological-doxological-meditations-logo1 Scripture proofs which provide the basis for the answers to the questions of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. From now on, each Theological & Doxological Meditation will contain such commentary. They are offered with a view to the edification and instruction of believers and the calling of unbelievers to repentance and faith.

47. Q.    What is forbidden in the first commandment?

 A.    The first commandment forbids the denying (Psalm 14:1), or not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God (Romans 1:21), and our God (Psalm 81:10-11); and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone (Romans 1:25-26).

 

Question #47 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism focuses on the prohibitions implied by the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Here’s what answer #47 looks like when you break down the various concepts and pair them up with the Scripture proofs provided, on which the language is based:

 

1.       The first commandment forbids the denying . . . the true God . . . .  (Psalm 14:1);

2.       The first commandment forbids not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God (Romans 1:21);

3.       The first commandment forbids the denying, or not worshipping the true God as God, and our God (Psalm 81:10-11);

4.       The first commandment forbids . . . the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone (Romans 1:25-26)

 

Denying the True God

 

Psalm 14:1 – The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.”

 

The fool of verse one is the one who not only does not call upon the Lord (v.4), but he is also an “evildoer” who actively opposes those who do acknowledge the only true God. The fuller description of the fool of verse one is contained in verses two and three, which the Apostle Paul would quote in Romans 3 as a general description of all, whether Jew or Gentile, who are “under sin” (Romans 3:9), having not been justified by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone to the glory of God alone.

 

 

Not Worshiping and Glorifying the True God as God

 

Romans 1:21 – For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

 

Fools who deny and refuse to worship and glorify the true God know that he exists, and that they ought to worship and glorify him; but knowing this with futile minds and darkened hearts, they were unwilling and unable to express gratitude and honor to him. This is what happens when “head knowledge” and “heart knowledge” are not informed by, and obediently mindful of, God’s revelation. God reveals himself in the world and in his Word, and with darkened hearts and futile minds, Jew and Gentile alike does that which is prohibited by the first commandment—he does not worship and glorify the true God as God.

 

 

 

Our God

 

Psalm 81:10 – I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt . Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. 11 “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.”

 

As initiator of the covenant, God embraces the Israelites as “his people” and calls on them to “receive the covenant as an expression of his grace, believe in him and live as he directs (ESV Study Bible note on Ps. 81:8-10), embracing him as “our God.” This clearly implies the exclusivity which is so unpopular in pluralistic societies such as ours—such exclusivity is the solemn command of God. As Christians, if the Lord is our God, then the gods of non-Christian religions are to be excluded as “legitimate object(s) of worship” (Williamson, The Westminster Confession of Faith; Presbyterian & Reformed Publishers).

 

The Worship and Glory of Other Gods

 

Romans 1:25  – “because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;”

 

Finally, the crass outward exchanging of the only true God for false gods, or rather, in the terms of the catechism, “the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.” Each command of the Decalogue (the “Ten Words”, aka, Ten Commandments) is written in terms of the most harmful outward expression of a whole range of sins, all of which are violations of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Law. Such a range is partly what the Westminster Shorter Catechism seems intending to convey in its repeated examination (as we shall notice in the weeks to come)of that which each command prescribes and prohibits.

 

As our Lord  demonstrates in his commentary regarding some of God’s commands in the Sermon on the Mount, there are more ways than one to violate the commandments of God. Reformed theologians tend to categorize these ways in the following terms: each command implies the opposite prohibition, and vice versa (which the catechism expressly spells out); and every day we break God’s Law in thought, word and deed. Truly, God’s commands condemn us all in ways we will never be able to fully comprehend.

 

This is the reason it was necessary for God to take on a human nature untainted by the curse of original sin, that he might keep all of the commands and their implied prohibitions (and vice versa) in thought, word and deed perfectly every day of his life. This is called “the active obedience of Christ.” Christ obeyed the Law perfectly, which the first man, Adam, failed to do, and thus Christ earned eternal life by his flawless works. The righteousness accrued by the active obedience of Christ is freely available and offered to all who will believe, for when Christ was crucified, his unjust death was a sacrifice that propitiated, or turned away God’s furious wrath onto himself from the sins of all those God the Father gave to him before the world was made.

 

“So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). Trust Christ today, and be saved from God’s wrath against all sins, chief among them being the giving of worship and glory to any other, that is due to him alone!

Theological & Doxological Meditation #47

The First Prohibitiontheological-doxological-meditations-logo

 

Q.    What is forbidden in the first commandment?

 

A.    The first commandment forbids the denying (Psalm 14:1), or not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God (Romans 1:21), and our God (Psalm 81:10-11); and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone (Romans 1:25-26).

 

As With Gladness, Men Of Old

#226, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)

William C. Dix, 1860

DIX

As with gladness, men of old
Did the guiding star behold
As with joy they hailed its light
Leading onward, beaming bright
So, most glorious Lord, may we
Evermore be led to Thee.

As with joyful steps they sped
To that lowly manger bed
There to bend the knee before
Him Whom Heaven and earth adore;
So may we with willing feet
Ever seek Thy mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
At that manger rude and bare;
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King.

Holy Jesus, every day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright,
Need they no created light;
Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown,
Thou its Sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing
Alleluias to our King!

 

Theological & Doxological Meditation #46

First Requirement

 Q.    What is required in the first commandment?

 A.    The first commandment requires us to know and acknowledge God to be the holy true God, and our God (1 Chronicles 28:9; Deuteronomy 26:17); and to worship and glorify him accordingly (Matthew 4:10; Psalm 29:2).

 Gloria Patri

 #734, Trinity Hymnal/2nd cent.; tr./GLORIA PATRI (MEINEKE) Irreg./Charles Meineke, 1844 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;

as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,

world without end. Amen, amen.

 

 

 

Theological & Doxological Meditation #45

The First Commandment

Q.  Which is the first commandment?

A.  The first commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before [1] me.” (Exodus 20:3 ESV).

As Pants the Hart for Cooling Streams

#661, The Trinity Hymnal; From Psalm 42; Tate and Brady’s New Version, 1696, 1698; SPOHR C.M.; Louis Spohr, 1835; arr.

As pants the hart for cooling streams when heated in the chase, so longs my soul, O God, for thee, and thy refreshing grace.

For thee, my God, the living God, my thirsty soul doth pine; O when shall I behold thy face, thou Majesty divine!

Why restless, why cast down, my soul? Trust God, and he’ll employ his aid for thee, and change these sighs to thankful hymns of joy.

Why restless, why cast down, my soul? Hope still; and thou shalt sing the praise of him who is thy God, thy health’s eternal spring.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #45

Q.    Which is the first commandment?

 A.    The first commandment is, You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3).

Holy, Holy, Holy!

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.

Holy, Holy, holy! Merciful and mighty

God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

 

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,

casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,

who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

 

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,

though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,

only thou art holy; there is none beside thee

perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.

 

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

All thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea.

Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!

God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

#100 Trinity Hymnal; Reginald Heber, 1783-1826; NICEA 11.12.12.10.; John B. Dykes, 1861

Theological & Doxological Meditation #44

Luther-inspired Albrecht Durer\'s most famous image

Preface’s Teaching

Q.  What does the preface to the ten commandments teach us?

 A.  The preface to the ten commandments teaches us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments (Luke 1:74-75; 1 Peter 1:15-18).

What Shall I Render to My God

 What shall I render to my God for all his kindness shown? My feet shall visit thine abode, my songs address thy throne.

How much is mercy thy delight, thou ever-blessed God! How dear thy servants in thy sight! How precious is their blood!

How happy all thy servants are! How great thy grace to me! My life, which thou hast made thy care, Lord, I devote to thee.

Now I am thine, forever thine, nor shall my purpose move; thy hand hath loosed my bonds of pain, and bound me with thy love.

Here in thy courts I leave my vow, and thy rich grace record; witness, ye saints who hear me now, if I forsake the Lord.

 #637, Trinity Hymnal; from Psalm 116:12-19; Isaac Watts, 1719; DOWNS C.M.; Lowell Mason, 1832

 

Theological and Doxological Meditation #40

theological-doxological-meditations-logo.jpgGod’s First Revealed Rule

Q.  What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?

A.  The rule which God at first revealed to man for the rule of his obedience was the moral law (Romans 2:14-15)

Most Perfect is the Law of God

Most perfect is the law of God, restoring those that stray; his testimony is most sure, proclaiming wisdom’s way.

The precepts of the Lord are right; with joy they fill the heart; the Lord’s commandments all are pure, and clearest light impart.

The fear of God is undefiled and ever shall endure; the statutes of the Lord are truth and righteousness most pure.

They warn from ways of wickedness displeasing to the Lord, and in the keeping of his Word there is a great reward.

REFRAIN

O how love I thy law! O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. O how love I thy law! O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.

#153, The Trinity Hymnal (© 1990); from Psalm 19:7-11; 119:97; The Psalter, 1912; KINSMAN C.M. ref.; James McGranahan, 1840-1907; alt. 1990

Theological & Doxological Meditation #43

Work in Progress: I’ll come insert line spaces when I figure out how to work this thing!
theological-doxological-meditations-logo.jpgDecalogue’s Preface 
Q. What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (Exodus 20:2).
DENNIS S.M.
Hans Nageli, 1773-1836
Arr. by Lowell Mason, 1845
How gentle God’s commands, how kind his precepts are! Come cast your burdens on the Lord and trust his constant care.
While Providence supports, let saints securely dwell; that hand, which bears all nature up, shall guide his children will.
Why should this anxious land press down your weary mind? Haste to your heav’nly Father’s throne, and sweet refreshment find.
His goodness stands approved, down to the present day; I’ll drop my burden at his feet, and bear a song away.
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