Friday, August 31, 2018

Doxology

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Many of my readers are familiar with this ancient doxology or praise of God. Did you know that there are many doxologies in the Bible? Perhaps the most read or recited one in the Aaronic Prayer in Numbers 6:24, “The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-25)

This blessing from Aaron, the first high priest, seems quite personal in how God watches over us. It was said in preparation for worship. It seems to build in crescendo to a very personal offering of peace to everyone. This peace is brought by the light of the face of God Himself shining upon us. What an incredible image filled with a personal God’s shepherd-like interest in caring for each of us. I am most affected by the image of God’s light. This is a topic of Scripture throughout. John particularly says, “God is light and in Him there is not darkness at all” (I John 1:5). He goes on to say that we are to walk in the light as He is in the light and have fellowship with one another and God cleanses us of all sin through His blood or death. Light is healing and makes all things new visible. It brings life. In the Message paraphrase it speaks of God’s gift to prosper us. Yes, I believe that it is a gift of God, the peace that is beyond all of our understanding.

One other doxology that I find very moving is in Jude 24-25.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling (falling), and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

This doxology praises God for His preserving us until we stand before Him at His throne in heaven.  It says that we will not fall or stumble in a way that will keep us from Him. We may be crushed or persecuted but not destroyed as 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 tells us. Like the soaring language of Isaiah 6, God is lifted up in His glory, dominion, majesty and authority forever. God is in the praises of His people Psalm 22 tells us. That’s why we praise Him, because He first loved us we can love one another with the love He has given to us.

These doxologies are often sung like the psalms, which are hymns. David, “the sweet musician of Israel” sang all of the psalms. Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, sang psalms in the upper room with His disciples. There were the psalms of praise. The “Psalms of Ascent,” psalms 120-134 were sung by pilgrims on the way to the temple in Jerusalem to worship. Each formed a doxology-like praise to God.

I have chosen these two doxologies near the beginning of the Old Testament and just before the Revelation or revealing of at the end of the New Testament to speak of a theology of the eternal presence in God. God is always with us, Immanuel. The triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit has always existed and created. He has given us the Word of God, the Bible to tell us what we need to know of Him. This word is made alive or illuminated by the Holy Spirit.  The Gospel of John begins by telling us, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.”  It is written that we might better know the God of the universe more intimately. It is why we can sin a new song, because God puts it in our mouths, a song of praise. Perhaps you are hurting today. Try singing a doxology, maybe one that you write.




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