Posts Tagged ‘Tremper Longman III’
A search for a quotation reference today hooked me back into the best book I ever read on emotions and God. My copy of Cry of the Soul, by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III, which I first purchased at a conference in 1997, bears the tattering and teeth marks left by a chocolate lab named Gracie. Somehow that seems appropriate for a work that invites us to take the tears and tears of our soul to the Lord and shows us how that’s exactly what many of the Psalmists do. Listen to this small portion on fear:
“The Psalms, and the Bible generally, extol a type of fear that God greatly desires to instill in us. It is the fear of the Lord. ‘The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in nothing but his unfailing love” (Psalm 147:11).
What are some Psalms you turn to to express emotion or when you are dealing with fear?
Fear distorts our perception of ourselves so that we seem weaker than we really are. It distorts the size of our problems so that they seem huge and undefeatable. But perhaps most significantly, fear distorts our picture of God. God seems weak, uninvolved, or uncaring in the midst of our troubles. After all, we think, if he were strong and concerned, he would not leave us in this mess.
Fear reverses reality by making evil seem all-conquering, and God impotent. But God is not impotent. The psalms bombard us with images of his power. He is a king (Psalm 47), a warrior (18:7–15), a rock (31:2), and a fortress (46:7, 11). They also fill our minds with pictures of his goodness, compassion, and mercy. He is the shepherd (Psalm 23) and a loving mother (Psalm 131).
“In the first year of Darius, son of Xerxes…I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed…” (Daniel 9:1-4)
Why is THE STORY, the grand and true narrative of Scripture, so important? Does it even matter? Is it outdated, irrelevant? Is there even such a thing as one universal story? Since the nineteenth century, people have been asking these questions. I’ve been reviewing Daniel as I finish a study based on Scotty Smith’s recent sermon series, and today I came on Daniel 9 and these words about the radical nature of what God does through Scripture. My suggestion is — read all of Daniel 9 to see what comes out of Daniel’s reading of Scripture, and then read these words by Tremper Longman III:
“How do human beings communicate with God? Daniel 9 provides an illustration. God speaks to us through the words of his representatives, the prophets…Though dead and gone by this time, Jeremiah’s written word still speaks God’s word to his people. Daniel hears God’s words in Jeremiah and responds through prayer….
God speaks to his people in his written and spoken Word. This principle is simple on the surface, but is really at the heart of biblical religion and contrasts with the modern ideas of Christianity. Since the nineteenth century philosophers Feuerbach and Nietzsche, it has commonly been believed that the God of Christianity is the product of human imagination. Human beings desire a God, so they have constructed him in their own image. The Bible, however, claims to be the revelation of God to human beings. God uses human language to make his existence and nature known to us. In the Bible, he makes his will known to his people.” Tremper Longman III, NIV Application Commentary: Daniel.
It’s pretty radical stuff when you think about it.
Read Daniel 9 aloud. Join with Daniel in the prayer of confession and repentance he prays.
Yesterday, I mentioned the Redeeming Sexuality conference taking place Friday and Saturday at Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN, with Dan Allender and Scotty Smith. Both remarkable teachers who understand the interweaving of sexuality and the gospel, they will engage myths, shame, and struggles authentically and compassionately. Today I offer you a little foretaste of what you are likely to hear, this from Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III’s book, The Intimate Mystery.
“The most crucial theological truth about sexuality is that God loves sex and evil hates it. God made us sexual, and he glories in his plan for our union and joy. Evil hates what God loves, and it has found that more harm can be done through sex than perhaps any other means. Often the chief battleground for the human soul is the terrain of sexuality….”
“Sex changes when it is seen as a gift from God. As a gift, it is to be honored and cherished as bearing the glory of the One who gave it. Many times even expensive gifts are tucked away in an attic because the gift or the person who gave it is not valued. Yet an inexpensive photograph, if it was given to us by an extraordinary person, like the president of the United States, is framed and set in a prominent place. And if a gift is priceless AND the giver highly prized, its mere presence brings delight and it is carefully protected. One simply wouldn’t toss around a Stradivarius or let a neighbor’s son take it to show and tell.” Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III, The Intimate Mystery
The question is, what do we do with and about our sexuality? What does it mean for a single person to live with this “gift” when it may not feel like a gift? What do we do with brokenness and shame resulting in abuse? Difficult questions abound. These questions will be engaged with the “crucial theological truth about sexuality.” To sign up, go to Redeeming Sexuality.