The Westminster Confession of Funk

Talking about theology, but keeping it funky

I am a husband and father and pastor of Trinity Covenant Church and teacher as St. Abraham’s Classical Christian Academy in Santa Cruz, CA.

I married my Indian Princess just before Y2K. I am an old fashioned Protestant Christian Humanist who lives where people vacation. I love music, love to surf, coach soccer for a hoard of minions, play the drums, and read actual flesh and blood books. I enjoy theology and literature and history and philosophy (if Sophie is serving beer) and Anglo-Saxon Poetry.

If I could have lunch with any three living people, I would have buffalo ribs with a butter, mushroom, cream sauce, Roxy Ray would be singing with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and I’d be at table with Tom Wolfe, ?uestlove, and Adam Schlesinger (and Brad Bird, because it’s my fantasy, and no one can count in my fantasy).

If I could have dinner with any three dead people (and the TARDIS was there with its universal language translation circuit) I’d have slow smoked dry ribs with the author of Beowulf, Herodotus, Martin Bucer, and Polycarp (see the previous paragraph if you have questions about my ability to count). And Janis Joplin would be singing with Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars backed up by Parliament Funkadelic of course.

My carefully crafted internet persona is also much cooler than my actual person, but I can live with that.

Blessed with Obedience - Psalm 119:5

O that my ways were directed; to keep thy statutes! (Ps. 119:5)

We all have those keys that we keep because we don't remember what they go too. And it is too risky to just toss them. Because when you find the lock and go looking for the key, it will be the one that you tossed. 

For many Christian's, obedience to the law is that lonely key, that we know that we shouldn't throw out, because we are sure that it goes to something. We just can't remember what it unlocks.  But the author of the 119th psalm comes to our rescue and reminds us that obedience to the law is a key that unlocks many of the gifts and blessings that God has hidden for us in the world. But the key that unlocks, the obedience itself, is also a gift. 

The psalmist has established that God’s blessings begin by training us to keep God’s commands (vv. 1). God commands are in themselves blessings (vv. 2).  So he cries out to the Lord for the blessing of obedience.

He asks specifically that his ways be directed. He has already discussed how the ways in which the Lord lives are spelled out in God’s testimonies (vv. 3). The law of the Lord is a description of the way that God lives, and the psalmist begs that God would direct his own ways so that he would keep God’s statutes. The Psalmist wants the law to be his path.

He wants blessings, but unless the first blessing of obedience comes he will never reach the blessings that are further down the road

The life of God is true life. Those that are made in the image of God find life when their life is directed after the life of God. The law of God is like food. We cannot live without it. That is why Asaph writes “I am the Lord thy God, Which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10). He quotes the opening statement of the ten commandments, and then writes, now open up, because you are about to be fed.

The Psalmist cries out to the Lord for the blessing of being able to follow after God, knowing what he has already told us. God’s pattern is to bless us with obedience. Whereas disobedience to God’s law is death-shaped, obedience is itself life-shaped. But then, through the obedience, more blessings come. So he is praying, Lord bless me with a way of living that leads to more blessings.

He is embracing the way of God, which is the way of building blessings over time. Everyone is either moving towards the fullness of blessings, or a fullness of cursing. Pleading for the blessing of obedience is pleading to be put on the path that leads to the fullness of blessings, all of the way into the resurrection.

Too often, we look to get the blessings directly without first looking for the gift of obedience. But God’s blessings are given in history, and the key that unlocks the blessings of the earth is obedience to God’s law. It is still all grace, we still have to say thank you for all of it as a gift, because the obedience was given as a gift in the first place, but one of the primary ways that the Lord God pours his blessings upon us is by means of obedience. So look to leave behind your sin, and ask the Lord that he would direct your ways to keep his statutes.