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Showing posts from 2016
The Literary Lamp-October 2016 Reflections on the Old Testament: Ecclesiastes
In Ecclesiastes chapter two, and, indeed, all throughout this book, the Preacher is searching for happiness and the meaning of life. His conclusion, that “all is vanity,” seems morbid, and has, unfortunately, repelled many Christian from a proper study of Ecclesiastes.
As it turns out, a proper study of Ecclesiastes reveals the Preacher’s ultimate conclusion, which is considerably brighter. Observe some key phrases in Eccl. 2, as the Preacher “tests his heart with pleasure” and seeks to “gratify his flesh”—one predominant phrase is “I made myself…” and various forms thereof. The result of these “tests” is summarized in verses 10-11:
“Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed…
The Literary Lamp-September 2016
Reflections on the Old Testament: Psalms and Proverbs
“To Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn, for His mercy endures forever; and brought out Israel from among them, for His mercy endures forever; with a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, for His mercy endures forever; to Him who divided the Red Sea in two, for His mercy endures forever; and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for His mercy endures forever; but overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, for His mercy endures forever; to Him who led His people through the wilderness, for His mercy endures forever; to Him who struck down great kings, for His mercy endures forever; and slew famous kings, for His mercy endures forever—Sihon king of the Amorites, for His mercy endures forever; and Og king of Bashan, for His mercy endures forever—and gave their land as a heritage, for His mercy endures forever; a heritage to Israel His servant, for His mercy endures forever. Who remembere…
The Literary Lamp-September 2016
Reflections on the Old Testament: Psalms and Proverbs
“To Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn, for His mercy endures forever; and brought out Israel from among them, for His mercy endures forever; with a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, for His mercy endures forever; to Him who divided the Red Sea in two, for His mercy endures forever; and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for His mercy endures forever; but overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, for His mercy endures forever; to Him who led His people through the wilderness, for His mercy endures forever; to Him who struck down great kings, for His mercy endures forever; and slew famous kings, for His mercy endures forever—Sihon king of the Amorites, for His mercy endures forever; and Og king of Bashan, for His mercy endures forever—and gave their land as a heritage, for His mercy endures forever; a heritage to Israel His servant, for His mercy endures forever. Who remembere…
-The Literary Lamp-AUGUST 2016 FALL AND WINTER ARE RAPIDLY rushing toward us, as August draws to a close and many of us return to school. I believe I speak for the majority of my readers when I say that the turning of the season will not be unwelcome. For my part, I have never relished the summer heat and am always glad to see it replaced by milder temperatures. Moreover, the changes in schedule and habits which take place around this time of year are not altogether unpleasant, as we humans, so quickly bored with regularity, must always have something “new” and “different.” God caters to this folly of ours by giving us the four seasons and, indeed, each distinct season of our lives, but on one point He commands complete solidity: our walk with Him. The only change which should take place in this area is maturity—and that in His own time and way.
Reflections on the Old Testament: Psalms
Psalm 101, “a psalm of David,” appears to be David’s vow to judge and guide Israel as king: but, upon c…
Reflection on the Old Testament: Psalms

“For the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever—that he should continue to live eternally, and not see the Pit,”—Ps. 49:8-9, NKJV
“A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, is like the beasts that perish,”—Ps. 49:20, NKJV
In Psalm 49, the psalmist reminds man of their mortality and the fact that, though they may amass great wealth and become prosperous on earth, they will eventually die and their prosperity will be left to others. The psalmist encourages us to consider our eternity and to remember that, though we may live our lives in honor and prosperity, neither our morality nor our wealth will save us from “the Pit.” “For the redemption of their souls is costly”—too costly for us to purchase. “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me,”—Ps. 49:15. Only God is able to redeem our souls, through Christ crucified. Men may attempt to redeem their own souls, through their own morali…
Reflections on the Old Testament: Job and Psalms

“The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.”—Psalm 18:20-24, NKJV
In the above verses, the psalmist seems to be boasting of his own righteousness, and “the cleanness of his hands,” saying, essentially, that God delivered him because of his purity.
But before we denounce this as pride, let’s take a look at Psalm 16:2, where David says: “O my soul, you have said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You.’” This verse provides an extremely direct answer to the puzzlement over Ps. 18:20-24. If we …
Reflections on the Old Testament: Job and Psalms

“Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, that my Prosecutor had written a book! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, and bind it on me like a crown; I would declare to Him the number of my steps; like a prince I would approach Him.”—Job 31:35-37, NKJV
Again, Job illustrates the importance of Christ and the gospel in our lives, as he yearns for an intermediary between him and God. Prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God appeared to man in a harsher light. Rigorous laws were written, severe judgement was erected, and in general there was a sense of fear associated with God.
This may seem strange to us, who are used to viewing God as our Heavenly Father and Jesus, His Son, as a gentle Friend. But before Christ came and gave us the gospel, God was more or less a mystery. The pervading theme of Job seems to be the frustration and misery of feeling cut off from God: time and time again, Job yearns to speak with God, to demand …
Reflections on the Old Testament: The Book of Job
In Job chapter thirteen, Job places His trust in God in spite of his belief that God is afflicting him for no apparent reason: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him,” (Job 13:15, NKJV).
But in verse 20-21, sets parameters for this trust, saying: “Only two things do not do to me, then I will not hide myself from You: withdraw Your hand far from me, and let not the dread of You make me afraid.”
If we look at this from Job’s perspective, the great faith with which he was endowed becomes strikingly evident. Job believes that God is severely afflicting him without cause. He has expressed, in previous chapters, his terror of God and his utter confusion regarding his predicament. He believes God is the inflictor of his misery—but clings to Him as his only hope.
Many modern Christians, when facing various trials, will become (unjustly) angry at God for allowing their suffering. Job essentially believed that God was not just allowing his sufferi…
EASTER IS A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY. What greater reason to celebrate than the glorious death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! Consider, for a moment, how hopeless the human race would be without this most blessed—but most painful—transaction. And then consider the vast wealth of hope we now have because of it—because of Christ—and rejoice all the more!

But it is not just something to be celebrated. Let Easter be a joyful reminder of the task Christ has laid before us; let it buoy us upward from the depressing chaos of the world by reminding us of the awesome power and love of our Savior. By all means, let us celebrate Easter with all joy and heartiness, but let us then proceed to share the good news with those to whom Easter is only a celebration of springtime, and let us cultivate the Holy Spirit that has so graciously been placed in us by a most benevolent God.
The utter dependence that mankind has upon Christ inadvertently became the theme of my longest and most noteworthy “Ref…
On Love: The World’s Definition vs. God’s
By Ruth Verrinder
I WAS INSPIRED TO WRITE AN article on the subject of love from a Biblical viewpoint some months ago, but waited until now for two reasons: one, because I was not, at the time, ready, and two, because the month of Valentine’s Day seemed appropriate for such a subject. At any rate, much thought and preparation has gone into this, and it is my ardent prayer that it will prove enlightening and beneficial to some, if not all, my readers. I have no doubt that it will, if indeed it is all from the Lord, for we know that His Word “does not return void.”
Love is a wildly misunderstood concept. To the world, it is often synonymous with passion, desire, or sentiment. It is commonly accepted to be merely an emotion springing from the heart—the heart, which is “wicked and deceitful above all things,” according to Scripture. It is sad to think how the world takes a great and admirable thing like love, and entrusts it to the keeping of the mos…