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Portraits Of God

King David is not only remembered as a great king and mighty warrior, but also as the sweet psalmist of Israel. David was devoted to God and in the many psalms which he wrote he expressed his feelings about his Lord. In Psalm 61 David wrote in bold imagery painting beautiful portraits of God in words.

God is first pictured as a rock. “Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I ....” (Ps. 61:26) In our mind’s eye we might visualize a man shipwrecked and adrift on the waves. He sees a rock protruding from the water. If he can but make it to that rock he will be safe. If not, he will surely perish beneath the waves.

A rock is a place of safety and salvation. God, our Rock, is our salvation, our safe haven. A rock is a place of security for it is permanent and unchanging. Our God never changes. His Word and promises are constant. Surrounded by the waves of change and instability of this world God gives us peace and security.

St. Paul tells us that the Rock is Christ. “I want you to know brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same supernatural food and drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them and the Rock was Christ.” (I Cor. 10:1-4) With David we pray, “Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I ....”

David went on to portray God as a strong tower. He wrote, “... for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” (Ps. 61:3) David as a military man knew the advantage of having a strong fortification as a defense against the attacks of an enemy.

We Christians face a dreadful enemy. In speaking of our adversary St. Paul wrote, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12) In the face of such a foe we flee to Christ, our strong tower, for protection. Christ has defeated Satan and we are victorious through our faith union with Christ. Such was the inspiration for Martin Luther prompting him to write, “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; our helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing: for still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; his craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.” No we are not Satan’s equal, but we are safe in our mighty fortress, our strong tower.

David proceeds to paint a picture of God in His Tabernacle. “Let me dwell in thy tent for ever!” he prayed. David was quite familiar with the tabernacle. It was a tent made during the time of Moses which housed the altar and the ark of the covenant. The tabernacle represented the presence of God among His people. The Lord lived with them and they with Him. It was David’s desire to always be in the presence of his Lord.

Christ gave us a promise that David’s desire to dwell with God will be granted to all believers. Our Lord said, “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself. That where I am you may be also.” (St. John 14:1-3)

In his final portrait we see God with wings. David wrote, “Oh to be safe under the shelter of Thy wings!” (Ps. 61:46) This picture could be understood in two different ways. David could have been visualizing the outstretched wings of the cherubim above the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant. There the high priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people.

Jesus Christ is the perfect sacrifice and our permanent High Priest in heaven. It is through Christ alone that we have salvation. As the writer of Hebrews put it, “Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared, once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Heb. 9:23-26)

There is a second image of divine wings which comes to mind. It is based on something Christ said. As He approached Jerusalem for the final time Jesus lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (St. Mt. 23:37) As a mother hen protects and shelters her young so our God wishes to take His children under His wings.

David painted lovely portraits of God. The Lord is our Rock of salvation and a strong Tower of defense. And we look forward to dwelling with Him forever in His Tabernacle under the shadow of His Wings.

by Rev. F.M. Levi

Parish News
The 95th Synod of the Diocese of Mid-America was held at Providence Church, Corpus Christi, Texas on February 15 & 16, 2001. St. Andrew’s was ably represented by Grant and Fran Chessman.

Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 28, 2001. The dinners at 6:30 p.m. and services at 7:30 p.m. have continued through Lent. The final Wednesday evening gathering will be on April 4, 2001.

Missionary of The Month
Judy King, Brazil, kept super busy last year with village trips, Manaus work shop, MS checking, Bible school, and a literacy program. Teachers whom she and Cathie taught years ago want to progress, so advanced materials and classes must be prepared for them. Judy writes: “Before we finish here, we hope to do the Jesus film in Apurina. It would also be useful in Portugese. The film would help evangelize Apurina and the river people. The mission could produce it. A video projector, generator and covered canoe would be needed. We have local people who would like to be involved in this ministry. Pray. We are doing final checking of the NT translation. We hope to finish by Spring 2002. Since we want to leave the Indians with the tools to continue, we want to finish this phase of our work well. Cathie and I appreciate your loving support and care. Please stay with us through these final stages!” ( from “Resound” 2-`01 )

Domestic Missions
Pray for the Rev. and Mrs. Paul Howden (Beth) and their children, Malachai, Mark, Timothy, and Charissa. St. Luke’s Reformed Episcopal Church, Santa Ana, California.

Happy Birthday!
April 5 - Beth Levi
April 21 - Mark Levi

April 15, 2001
Breakfast - 9:00 a.m.
Preschool Children Sing - 9:45 a.m.
Holy Communion - 10:30 a.m.

“After The Winter ... God Sends The Spring”

Easter is a season
Of Hope and Joy and Cheer,
There’s beauty all around us
To see and touch and hear . . .
So, no matter how downhearted
And discouraged we may be,
New Hope is born when we behold
Leaves budding on a tree . . .
Or when we see a timid flower
Push through the frozen sod
And open wide in glad surprise
Its petaled eyes to God . . .
For this is just God saying -
“Lift up your eyes to Me,
And the bleakness of your spirit,
Like the budding springtime tree,
Will lose its wintery darkness
And your heavy heart will sing” -
For God never sends The Winter
Without the Joy Of Spring.

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