Devotional Readings, M'Cheyne Bible Reading Notes

Genesis 13:18 – Verse of the Day

Genesis 13:18  Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.

Or rather the “word” of the day. I’ve been noticing the repeated use of the word “alter”. In Hebrew it’s:

H4196 (Strong)
מִזְבֵּח mizbêach miz-bay’-akh
From H2076; an altar: – altar.
Total KJV occurrences: 401

We first saw it just after the flood.

Genesis 8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Genesis 12:8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

Note later, these valid sacrifices in Biblical ways to the true God will get corupted…as we see here, where idols were set up, even in forbidden places in an attempt to worship either the true God (yet called gods, which leaves doubts their gods were really true ?) or to false gods taking the place of the true God.

Examples are:

Exo 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Exo 32:2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
Exo 32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
Exo 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Exo 32:5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.

Exo 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
Exo 32:7 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:

Exo 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Note how they try to identify this practice with the Lord, or the god(s) that brought them out if Egypt! Wrong!

1Ki 12:26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
1Ki 12:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

1Ki 12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

1Ki 12:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.

1Ki 12:30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

1Ki 12:31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
1Ki 12:32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.
1Ki 12:33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.

Even more Wrong!

It gets much worse almost a thousand years later…in the time of Ahab.

1Ki 16:31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.
1Ki 16:32 And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.
1Ki 16:33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.

The old Protestants had a description of how one properly deals with the correct way to worship the true God.

Quote, see below Chapter XXI of the Westminster Confession of Faith, “Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day,” describes how we are to worship God: “[T]he acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.” This rule of worship is called the regulative principle. It has always been the principle governing public worship within Reformed churches.

We may not see the Golden Calves of our day being worshiped, but in our post-modern, tolearate, eccumenical culture we might find quite a bit of “which he had devised of his own heart;”, in an effort to please our tastes, be attractive to the Culture, or other false purposes, beyond bringing glory to God in Biblically, sound ways. Which btw is the chief end of man. WSC Q1, which btw2 does purpose enjoying him too! Btw3 emphasis is on him, not us, though I dont think some enjoyment ourselves is prohibited, else it wouldn’t be described as enjoyment.

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

But needs to be done in a Biblically sound way, God’s way not man’s ways.

Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Isaiah 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

The last thing we need is another round of majority rule over Biblical commands: “the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us

For extra reading check these out:

For the purpose of our study, we shall focus on the phrase “singing of psalms with grace in the heart.” Did the Westminster Assembly restrict the church to the exclusive use of Psalms in public worship? Are those churches which practice the singing of hymns and spiritual songs with melody (or grace) in their hearts (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), whether of the inspired or uninspired (e.g., Amazing Grace, Holy, Holy, Holy) varieties, along with the Psalms, violating either the Confession or the Scriptures? That is the question before us.

Exclusive Psalmody

The exclusive Psalmodists reply in the affirmative. For example, G. I. Williamson, after admitting that “It cannot be argued that the exclusive use of the Psalms, in worship, was ever entirely universal in the Reformed churches. Some, including Calvin’s church in Geneva, sang at least a few other songs,” goes on to say: “This is a subject [exclusive Psalmody] that I began to study many years ago, and from my research two things have greatly impressed me: (1) I have never seen any exegetical proof that God wants us to produce our own hymns in order to sing them in worship instead of the inspired Psalms He has provided…; (2) In the second place it is simply an historical fact that the great change, in substituting uninspired hymns for the inspired Psalms, was not the result of new discoveries in the content of Scripture. It was not a reluctant change compelled by careful exegesis (at least this is true in the several instances of this innovation in the history of the Reformed churches known to the writer). No, the change came, rather, by way of giving in to increasing popular demand – it was a change made to please the people.

You can read the whole arguement here…but doesn’t that last sentence seem familiar?


Conclusion (quote)

The present writer (W. Gary Crampton) is very much in favor of the singing of the metrical psalms, in public (as well as private) worship. The church needs to return to this practice, as a part of the regulative principle. It is a rich privilege, yielding spiritual blessings, to be able to sing the inspired songs of Zion as found in the Psalter. If we wish to learn how to sing – and how to pray – well, we need to study the Psalms. Gordon Clark is correct when he says that “a hymn book without a good proportion of Psalms is not fit for a church service.” Yet, there seems to be no Biblical warrant for us to eliminate altogether the use of other hymns and songs, as long as they are theologically sound. Neither is it non-confessional to do so. The witness of church history is far from convincing us of exclusive Psalmody, and the Biblical evidence overwhelming supports the use of “hymns and spiritual songs,” both inspired and otherwise, along with the singing of Psalms.

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