14 July 2007

Psalm 138

" . . . great is the glory of the LORD. For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar."

A reminder to me that God's glory is not bound up so much in his greatness--omnipotence, infinitude, etenality--but in the fact that, being these things, he deigns to shower his silly creatures with grace upon grace.

At a recent Christian event I heard a wonderful message by a well-known evangelical speaker on the greatness of God, in consideration of the stars and galaxies and the size of God and his universe. An awesome reminder of an important and awe-inspiring truth! But it was a decapitated message, because God is not glorious mainly because he is great but because in that greatness he is good, when he has every reason to turn the shoulder and vaporize us.

I have learned this mainly from Jonathan Edwards. He wrote of this in many places, such as:

"But especially are the beams of Christ's glory infinitely softened and sweetened by his love to men, the love that passeth knowledge. The glory of his person consists, pre-eminently, in that infinite goodness and grace, of which he made so wonderful a manifestation in his love to us." (Hickman's ed. of Works: I, clxxxii, in a letter to a bereaved woman)

Elsewhere he writes: "When infinite goodness is joined with greatness, it renders it a glorious and adorable greatness. ("The Excellency of Christ," Works: I, 688).

Last summer in Switzerland I discovered that Calvin agreed: "There is no honoring of God unless his mercy be acknowledged, upon which alone it is founded and established." (Institutes: 3.16.3)

Let us humbly acknowledge the unsurpassed glory of the Lord today, wherever we may be, "founded and established" on his inexplicable mercy to wretches like you and like me.


Anonymous said...

As I was cruising The Gospel Coalition site, I couldn't help but think, "Holy cow, all those Ortlund's looked exactly alike".

I am almost in tears reading your posts. My husband and I are enjoying these latter years - growing in delight and joy and worship over the richness and glory of the gospel. And I'll tell you what, right now it seems all the richer and more powerful - something about seeing all this happen in someone outside my current circle, to see it all in "an old friend". I am actually surprised at how powerful this moment is.

And I'm also almost in tears over your post about the triplets found in NYC...

Nicole (Heidkamp) Tantillo

Dane Ortlund said...

Fun to hear from you Nicole! Hope you are well. As you say, may Jesus himself increasingly be our food and drink. Blessings to you--