Ascribe to the Lord . . .

Today's Guest Blogger is Emily Duffey. Emily is Administrative Assistant at RGCC, and is currently a counselor in training. 

I’ve been reading my Bible for the better part of 17 years. I have read every one of the 66 books in the Bible. I can quote parts of it. I’m currently memorizing the book of James. I love the Word of God—it is a balm to my weary soul. It cuts me up. It lays my heart bear. Nothing else speaks to my heart the way God’s Word speaks. I love the book of James—it is the New Testament book of wisdom (like Proverbs in the Old Testament). One verse in particular, though, has been weighing heavily on my heart and mind as of late.

(James 3:1 NASB) - Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

This verse started running through my mind while I looked over the theological exam I am working on for certification as a biblical counselor. The exam itself is straightforward enough—yet still I paused. I picked up my Bible, and looked at it, and asked myself one question: Do I know this book? Can I teach the precepts of God to another person, counsel another believer in a way to help them see who God is? I used to teach in a formal classroom setting—I know what it takes to be a teacher. However, this kind of teaching isn’t the same as teaching a language, or history, or math. If you make a mistake in a translation for a foreign language, you lose a few points on your exam—no big deal, really. To apply this same kind of thinking to the very Word of God, however, is not only foolish—it is potentially damning. The consequences are eternal.

Martin Luther is one of my favorite historical figures. I cannot say I agree with his theology 100%, but the man had a reverence for God I have longed to have in my personal life. His initial interaction with God was based on law—fear of a vengeful God. Over time, he came to understand the grace of God. The grace of God, however, gave even more reverence in this man. He understood something about God that many of us miss. When you understand the wrath of God upon sin and the sinner (Psalm 7:11), the mercy and grace of God become so much sweeter. It should illicit a response of worship.

It should also give you pause to consider the God whom you serve. When you teach another about Him, are you careful to present and represent the God of Scripture? Would God recognize the counsel you are giving in His name as His truth? You are not there to merely dispense with pleasantries and feel good-isms. You are there to present His truth. God is the One who works on a person’s heart—make sure you are sharing His truth and not your opinion!

I read passages such as these from Psalm 8: “When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? . . . O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (vv. 3–4, 11) 

The same God who created the heavens and the earth created me, knows me by name, has searched me and known me, knows my thoughts, protects me, loves me-- Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it (Psalm 139:6)! This is the God you represent—the nations are as a drop in a bucket, yet He knows His own by name. He is just, righteous, and true. And we are here to worship. “The chief end of man is to worship God and enjoy Him forever.” (Westminster Catechism)

(1 Chronicles 16:25-34 NASB) - [25] For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods. [26] For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. [27] Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place. [28] Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. [29] Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the LORD in holy array. [30] Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. [31] Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns." [32] Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. [33] Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD; For He is coming to judge the earth. [34] O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

When you come face to face with God, what else CAN you do but tremble in holy fear and reverence? 

Spend some time reading through Psalm 139 and Isaiah 40—in these passages you read of the Majesty and greatness—and the compassion and mercy—of God. Truly, come before God—and tremble. It’s good for the soul.