Today's Gospel passage is Luke 6:13: "At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names..."
RM: It was not until I learned to see the Covenant view of the Old Testament and the Covenant of Grace as the interpretive key to understand how the new is the fulfillment of the old, and with that then how to interpret the book of Revelation. And in the pictures you get in Revelation, if you understand it in the Amillennial way, the Reformed theological, Covenantal way, that's when you can appreciate the meaning of it in this way, and when you see the symmetry involved of having 12 representatives of people before Christ comes and then 12 continuing representatives of God's people after Christ comes. ...24 in all, which represents the totality of the fullness of the 12 before and the fullness of the 12 after which is the one full and complete story of Redemption.
That being the case, you have here in this recording of this setting and point in history, standing around without much awareness of their significance, 12 unsuspecting individuals who have just been chosen by this mysterious character, not realizing that they are indeed the twelve pillars upon which the rest of human history shall be represented, just as you had the 12 sons of Jacob before.
That's exciting because what it means is that Jesus very fully and totally understood the significance of the number of 12, that these 12 chosen by him were the symbolic 12 pillars and 12 representatives, of all of God's people from this point on until the end of time. Surely at this point they would not have understood the total significance of all that they were representing, in being 12 in number. They could not have fully appreciated that they were the fulfillment of the final age of God's people and the continuation of ALL that Israel was in the past and even more. That they were the headway and beginning of the last and greatest manifestation of Israel, the continuing Israel in the New Covenant era.
How exciting it could be if we could time travel back to this point knowing what we know now and could have been there with them, knowing the excitement and honor just bestowed on them, that they were the ones replacing the 12 tribes of Israel to become the new 12 tribes of Israel continuing in a more fulfilled, simpler version but a more final and universal version of Israel. How excited they would have been if only they could have known!
Psalm 97:7 says, “All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods!”
RM: Why does the Psalmist here tell the “gods” to worship God? Isn’t there only one God? Isn’t the Bible a monotheistic religion? What does he mean by gods? The Psalmist seems to be slightly ambiguous, in not clarifying whether he’s referring to angelic beings in whom there shines forth some small portion of divinity and who all rightly worship God even though they are themselves so majestic and powerful, or whether he’s referring to the fictitious false gods which we form in our hearts. It is as if he’s saying, whatever objects and hopes that we adore or hold as a god must quit their place and renounce their claims, that God alone may be exalted.
The author is drawing our minds to imagine the exalted worship which all the powerful angelic beings in heaven are giving directly and exclusively to God, as a way to highlight the point that only God deserves to be worshipped. This point is made right after it gives us a huge challenge, of turning anyway from our idols and not giving in to our tendency which is to find our happiness in things other than God.
After the fall of Adam, humanity’s basic orientation changed from naturally desiring God as preeminent to instead have the tendency to satisfy our deepest longings, not with the personal fellowship, love, and adoration of our Creator, but instead with ANY picture of the good life from this world we tend to think will give us the deep longing and satisfaction for which our souls are longing.
In my experience, both with myself and with others, I have come to realize that for us to “make our boast in worthless idols,” as this verse puts it, is the most natural and constant impulse of the human soul, whether we be believer or nonbeliever. Although as believers, by the aid of the Holy Spirit giving us the eyes to see it, we can now see this tendency of ours in action, it is nevertheless pulling us into it at all times, even in the believer.
Because of the fall, we are now so bent that we would prefer to find happiness from any situation that we believe can give us the blessings of this world, rather than from merely knowing and delighting ourselves in the personal presence of God himself.
This is why we are supposed to fight our souls regularly to keep letting go of these specific desires which we convince ourselves we desperately need, which are different for different people. Each person’s idol is specifically any reigning drive that happens to take hold in each person’s heart at any given moment. And God calls us regularly, daily, to kill these idols, and to replace our idol of the moment with the alternative belief, that to have only God as our possession, right now, would be the most satisfying of all possessions....even practically speaking, right now in this moment.
This is what this verse means and what our God is calling all human creatures to practice and fight in themselves, moment by moment in our lives, that we might keep turning away from the specific things to which our hearts keep wanting to turn, and in which we keep placing our trust.
We thank God for his grace, who relentlessly keeps forgiving us and letting us come back to him, “free of charge,” because of the finished work of Christ on our behalf.
Let’s all take the time, in prayer, to do this today, and every day. Amen.
Pastor Rusty Mosley