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“Your Face, O LORD, I Will Seek” (Ps. 27:8, MT): Figures Of Speech and Our Conduct

Our scriptural journey toward knowing the Lord better has taken us along a biblical information highway lined by “houses” (texts) where figures of speech reside. We have stopped and knocked on many of their “doors”—passages in which God is spoken of as having human characteristics. We saw that technically these particular figures of speech are called “anthropomorphisms”—an attempt to understand God in accordance with human terms. As mere mortals it is simply true that we assimilate and apply abstract ideas more easily through figurative speech. We have noticed many of these figures of speech that are so common to our English language at the beginning of each chapter. Perhaps the need for figurative language is the reason why God saw to it that his Word, the Bible, was communicated in a myriad of such figures. Because this is so, the Bible becomes alive and real to those of us who read and profit by its pages.

We have noted that each of the figurative descriptions of God’s bodily parts tells us something special and important concerning the person, character, and work of God. We saw as well that by learning about them we gained insight as to how man is expected to conduct himself. We remind ourselves first of all of some of the many things we have explored in the preceding pages. So, what have we learned in all of this?

In chapter two we saw that the figure of God’s feet spoke of his sovereignty and claim upon our lives—a fact that calls us to live in accordance with the high standards he has set. In chapter three we became acquainted with passages that tell of God’s hands, arms, and finger. Here we noted that these figures remind us of God’s authority, power, and mighty deeds—work that will find their completion through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. We saw also that through God’s working through us that we can accomplish the work, which he entrusts us to do.

In chapters four and five we examined the many facets of God’s face. We learned that by “face” is often intended God’s active presence in the world of mankind. His nose or nostrils reminded us that man’s very life is by the breath of God and that Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross for us was a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Because of all of this, believers are called upon to live their lives in God’s presence and in accordance with his good pleasure. From the human side this means a life that is filled with all the potential and pleasure, which only God can give. We also noted that several other features of the face, namely the mouth, lips, and tongue were used of God’s revelation, whether in God’s own speeches or through those who were inspired to deliver his message. Since this is true, God’s Word is to serve as man’s guidebook for successful living. Through its teachings people learn of the high standards of God in order that they may receive instruction as to successful living both now and forever.

We also saw that the Bible warns of God’s severe judgment for sin. We learned as well God’s remedy for man’s sin problem in the salvation that is available only through the finished work of Christ on the cross and the resurrection. We were reminded of the need to let our mouths, lips, and tongue proclaim that message to a lost and needy world.

In chapter six we were confronted with God’s eyes. We saw that this figure reminded us that God sees all that happens. We noted as well that in his great love he intervenes on behalf of his own. Therefore, as believers we should humbly conduct ourselves in accordance with his righteousness, avoiding all sinful practices.

In chapter seven we heard of the ear of God. Here again we were reminded that God is aware of all that takes place. As a God of absolute pure holiness he acts in love to provide for the needs of his own and protect them. Particularly meaningful is the realization that his ear is open to mankind’s cries, petitions, and prayers. Believers are especially to hear God’s demand for absolute devotion and are to “listen” to his instruction in his revealed Word, the Bible. As well, they have the high privilege of praying, knowing that a loving and merciful Lord is ever open to their needs, whether in confession of sin or in concerned prayer on behalf of others.

In chapter eight we came to the very heart of God. Here we learned that God is faithful to his word and his promises. He is faithful to his people. We learned as well that God alone knows the future and that his plans for his people’s future are good for them. Believers’ hearts are important too, for the heart is the seat of all that is important in us—our thoughts, emotions, and will. Sin originates in the human heart (Matt. 15:19), as does repentance (Matt. 5:3). When the human heart responds in repentance and faith to God’s heart, a sinner is saved; when believers submit their wills to God to do his will, they bring glory to God and good to themselves. Nothing is more important in life than the issues of the heart.

Although all of this is richly rewarding in itself, there is another dimension to consider before concluding our study of God’s “bodily parts.” We have seen through the figurative language that God chose to reveal to us something of the nature of God, his person, and his work. We learned of their importance to us as believers living in his presence. And all of this is well. But are these merely idealized portraits designed for devotional response? We have hinted that there is more.

Perhaps it is because as human beings we identify more with information that is gained via figurative expressions. It may be that this is why God did not choose to reveal a distinct treatise of systematic theology through his human authors of the Scriptures. Although the truths concerning God’s person and work are stated in various literary settings throughout the Bible, no formal theology per se is found within its pages. Thus Ralph Smith wisely points out that “no inherent or ‘natural’ method [of theology] is suggested in the Old Testament itself.”190 The same may be observed with regard to the New Testament, although obviously its theological perspective centers in the culmination of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ. Yet here too it can be said that “we are bound to understand as best we can what God has communicated to his people through its pages.”191 For within the pages of the New Testament we find that God has revealed himself in writings whose contents, purposes, and forms are quite varied.192

Indeed, a mere perusal of the varied and conflicting results achieved by the authors of systematic and biblical theology provides ample proof that the absolute truths concerning God are too immense to be encapsulated by any one person.193 All of these present various approaches and viewpoints, some of which are more helpful than others. None of these authors, however, can claim to be the authoritative and final source of knowledge concerning God. To the contrary, the variety of theological approaches illustrates the fact that God has revealed himself, accommodated himself if you please, in different ways that communicate effectively to different peoples, cultures, and educational levels.

And in the end all of us can at best only apprehend what God comprehends concerning the true reality of things. Mankind’s finitude and diversity of make-up render this certain. As Gibson points out, it’s just the nature of things; we are shut-up to human experience and thinking. Therefore, of necessity our descriptions of God remain metaphorical at best.194 It is for all the above reasons that the figures of God that we have examined are so helpful to us. “Apart from his self-disclosures to mankind, God is transcendent (the term itself is a figure) and therefore ultimately beyond all human comprehension. In one sense, then, all language about God must be analogical and metaphorical because ‘God is so far above us that we can only approximate his glory.’”195 Nevertheless, the literary figures concerning God help us in finite proportion to grasp something of the infinite glory of his character and work.

When it comes to defining just who God is, among the many suggested definitions perhaps that of Augustus H. Strong, despite its limitations, is still as good as any: “God is the infinite and perfect Spirit in whom all things have their source, support, and end.”196 Although the definition lacks a Trinitarian component and could founder on the problem of evil among other matters, it does provide a good working basis from which we can categorize the biblical truths, which lie behind the figures of God that we have been examining.

Surely God has revealed himself as an infinite being. He is bound neither by time (Ps. 90:2) nor space (1 Kings 8:27), though he can enter, and has entered, the world that he created (Pss. 104; 113:4-6). Indeed, the Bible reveals that he is an omnipresent God (Ps. 139:7-9). Interestingly enough, the figures we have studied underscore this very truth, the figures making this abstract truth more vivid to us as human beings.

Something of the infinite nature of God was seen as we studied the figures of God’s feet, hand, arms, and finger. We saw that although God walks on the “vault of heaven” (Job 22:14) and that the clouds are like dust under his feet (Nah. 1:3), he also is present on earth (Lev. 26:12; Deut. 23:14) in mighty power, directing its affairs (Jer. 27:5). These facts are in harmony with the truth that although God transcends the universe he created, he is also immanent in its activities (Ps. 113:4-6).

As well, the Lord is an omnipresent God, a truth that is often expressed in the Scriptures. For example, the psalmist says,

Where can I go to escape your Spirit?

Where can I flee to escape your presence?

If I were to ascend to heaven, you would be there.

If I were to sprawl out in Sheol, there you would be (Ps. 139:7-8).

Paul tells the Athenians that God “is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). He goes on to point out that this truth accounts for our very lives (v. 28). The truth concerning the omnipresence of God contains both a warning and a blessing. For the unbeliever, it is a reminder that there is no place he can go to escape or hide. The all-seeing God is everywhere present (Heb. 4:13). For the believer, God’s omnipresence is an assurance that he is available to him in his everyday activities. Such should serve as a source of encouragement to walk carefully before the Lord (Gen. 17:1; Deut. 8:6; 10:12), mindful that whatever happens and wherever he goes, God is present with him (Pss. 66:8-12; 91:5-16).

Several of the figures relative to God’s “bodily parts” are linked to the truth of his eternity. Such is the case with the figure of God’s arms sustaining the believer, for it is linked to the truth of his eternity (Ps. 90:2). Accordingly, Moses blessed Israel saying, “The eternal God is a refuge, and underneath you are his eternal arms” (Deut. 33:27). We are also reminded that God has “set eternity in the human heart” (Eccl. 3:11).197 Thus mortal man has a capacity for understanding the concept of eternity and has a longing for it even though he cannot fully grasp the truth of it in the way that the Eternal One does. Yet it is the Lord who has made provision for a believing mankind to spend eternity with him (Jn. 3:16). The truth contained in this most familiar biblical text indicates that those who truly believe in Christ will never perish spiritually but will have eternal life. This means that not only in the ages to come but already he enjoys that quality of life that flows from it (Jn. 5:24; 6:40; 10:28). Throughout his pilgrim walk, then, the believer may open his mouth and let his tongue declare, “His right hand and his holy mighty arm accomplish deliverance” (Ps. 98:1).

Moreover, the fact that God has set a capacity and longing for eternity in man should provide a stimulus for all those who have entered into a believing relationship with God. There should be a desire to exercise “beautiful feet” (Rom. 10:13-15) in telling unbelievers of God’s plan of salvation in order that all people may come to know Christ and enjoy everlasting life with him (Jn. 17:3).

Our study of the figures relative to God’s “bodily parts” also taught us to view some of the elements of God’s perfection. In our examination of the figure of God’s eyes and ear we noted that a holy God sees all that happens on earth. As well, his ear is open to the prayers of the penitent. Because he is a holy God (Lev. 11:44-45; 19:1-2), he demands a holy walk in his sight: “Remove your sinful deeds from my sight. Stop sinning! Learn to do what is right!” (Isa. 1:16-17). The Lord also hears the prayer of those who in true repentance confess their sin (1 Jn. 1:18-19). Those who maintain a holy lifestyle may with confidence call upon the Lord and expect his answer (Ps. 17:1-6).

An important element of God’s holiness is his righteousness. The Bible clearly proclaims that God is essentially a righteous person (Ps. 11:7; Dan. 9:14). All that he does reflects that righteousness: “His work is majestic and glorious, and his faithfulness (or righteousness) endures forever” (Ps. 111:3).

A related element of God’s holiness is found in his administrative (Lev. 19:1-37) and judicial (Neh. 9:33; 2 Tim. 4:8) holiness, or his justice. Righteousness and justice serve as the twin foundations of his throne (Ps. 89:14). God judges the world in righteousness (Ps. 96:10). So it is that by these he both administers events of earth’s history and is its only Lord and Savior (Isa. 45:21). The classic text that expresses all of this is found in Deuteronomy 32:4:

As for the Rock, his work is perfect,

for all his ways are just.

He is a reliable God who is never unjust,

he is fair and upright.

We have seen these expressions of God’s attribute of holiness in several of the figures that we have considered. We noted that because believers have been made a living spiritual temple built of living stones (1 Pet. 2:5), holiness should pervade the church’s atmosphere. When this is so, God will walk in its midst and enter into fellowship with the believers. But such a promise demands a proper response in lifestyle and conduct. Thus Paul delivers the Lord’s message saying,

Therefore, “come out from their midst, and be separate,” says the Lord,

and touch no unclean thing,

and I will welcome you,

and I will be a father to you,

and you will be my sons and daughters,”

says the All-Powerful Lord (2 Cor. 6:17-18).

So it is that the believer should “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4) in accordance with the way that Jesus walked (1 Jn. 2:6). One distinct path to doing so is by studying God’s Word and making its precepts a veritable road map to the pathway of life. By doing so the believer may proclaim with Job of old, “My feet have followed his steps closely; I have kept to his way and have not turned aside” (Job 23:11).

We noted as well that God’s judgment must come when sin has violated his holy and righteous standards. Thus the Lord warned Jerusalem that he would in complete justice “set his face” against it (Jer. 21:10, MT ) and “turn his face” away while foreign nations despoiling it (Ezek. 7:21-22). Those nations that God uses to chastise his people should in turn realize that the Lord is righteous (Ps. 7:9). Should they not meet the revealed holy standards of God (Prov. 14:34; cf. Jer. 25:31), they will also face God’s punishment (Ps. 9:15-19; Isa. 45:5-9). In the day of their judgment they will see the severity of his justice, for he will come against them with “lips full of anger” and a tongue that is “like consuming fire” (Isa. 30:27, MT).

The Apostle John describes that day when the Lord Jesus will come with his holy angels to judge the heathen: “From his mouth extends a sharp sword, so that with it he can strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he stomps the winepress of the furious wrath of God, the All-Powerful” (Rev. 19:15). How much better, then, for people to let God’s holiness and righteous standards guide their lives. As did Peter, the wise person will heed the psalmist’s (Ps. 34:12-16) advice:

The one who wants to love life and see

good days must keep his tongue from

evil and his lips from uttering deceit.

And he must turn from evil and do good;

he must seek peace and pursue it.

For the eyes of the Lord are upon

the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer.

But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil (1 Pet. 3:10-12).

Our study has also touched on figures that underscore God’s love. Love is that attribute of God’s perfection whereby he is moved to communicate himself toward mankind. The Scriptures repeatedly affirm that God’s very nature is love (e.g., Ps. 89:2; 2 Cor. 13:11; 1 Jn. 4:8). As we have seen, the Bible records God’s love for Israel, his covenant people: “I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you” (Jer. 31:3). The word translated “faithful” (lit., with loving-kindness) here is the same one that was discussed at length in chapters six and seven in connection with the figures of God’s eyes and ears: Hebrew hesed. It is used of God’s “loyal love” (Ps. 36:7), a love that is better than life itself (Ps. 63:3).

As we noted, this word has been translated variously but it is especially significant as God’s covenant love toward his people Israel. It was on the basis of God’s love that he redeemed his people, bringing Israel out of Egypt (Ps. 136:10-22). Then he guided them into the Promised Land. Israel was his special treasured possession (Ex. 19:15; Deut. 7:6; 14:1-2; 26:16-19; Ps. 135:4). So it was that the psalmist could pray, “Your love is before me (lit., my eyes), and I walk continually in your faithfulness” (Ps. 26:3. MT). On another occasion the psalmist petitioned the Lord, “Listen (lit., incline your ear), O LORD! Answer me!” For the Lord is one who is “kind and forgiving,” and shows “great faithfulness (hesed) to all who cry out to you” (Ps. 86:1, 5). It is no surprise, therefore, that the Lord cries out to all, “Turn to me so you can be delivered, all you who live in earth’s remote regions. For I am God, and I have no peer” (Isa. 45:22).

In the New Testament God’s great love for all is attested, as we have seen, in the well-known John 3:16. The unique Greek construction in this text emphasizes that God gave because he loved. By its use John lays stress on both the cause and results of God’s love: God gave because he loved. John’s construction suggests that the giving is equally as important as the loving. This is of vital importance. It immediately draws our attention not only to the kind of God the Lord is, a God of love, but to the actual fact of the incarnation of the Son. In that act God in love gave the Savior.

Paul points out that for those who believe they, like Israel of old, experience God’s great kindness (Eph. 2:7; Titus 3:4-7). New Testament believers also become part of God’s family with all the privileges granted to his Old Testament people (cf. Gen. 12:1-3 with Gal. 3:26-29), including being his precious people (cf. Ex. 19:5-6 with 1 Pet. 2:5, 9-10).

How great, then, is God’s loving-kindness! It makes all who are the recipients of his grace his earthly family. It is interesting to note further how appropriate this is, for the English adjective “kind” is related to a root that has also produced our English noun “kin.” Both words are ultimately linked to a root meaning, “to produce,” as well as the German word “kind” (child). God’s love for a needy world truly is wondrous.

God’s love, its from eternity;

so great was God’s love, Jesus went to Calvary.

God’s love it reaches to you and me;

by knowing God’s love, it makes us family.

Therefore, when we contemplate the ears and eyes of God, let us remember that among the several truths concerning the nature of God it points to, it also demonstrates his holiness, righteousness, justice, and love. Well did the psalmist proclaim:

O LORD, your loyal love reaches to the sky;

your faithfulness to the clouds.

Your justice is like the mighty mountains,

your fairness like the deepest sea;

you preserve mankind and the animal kingdom.

How precious is your loyal love, O God! (Ps. 36:5-7).

Our figures also provide a guide to God’s mercy and grace, grand elements of his love. So it is that the psalmist declares, “I love the LORD because he has heard my plea for mercy” (Ps. 116:1). Here the outcry of the psalmist catches the “ear” (MT) of God (v. 2). That is because, “The LORD is merciful and fair; our God is compassionate” (v. 5).

The preceding discussion makes it abundantly clear that God is a person with an emotional make-up: God loves, is gracious, merciful, kind, and compassionate. The verses we have just considered also provide an entrance into two more aspects of God’s personality: his intellect and his will. These are traditionally designated omniscience and omnipotence. As we consider each of these we must keep in mind that although we can contemplate the various attributes of God in distinction from one another, yet as a perfect being all of God’s nature works in perfect harmony. Yes, even God’s love is more than an emotion; it is a reasoned and self-determined love, his whole personality working in perfect symmetry: intellect, emotions, and will.

The Scriptures clearly reveal that God is omniscient. He has perfect and complete knowledge and wisdom. He knows all things. Even the thoughts (Pss. 44:21; 94:11; Isa. 66:18; Lk. 11:17), desires (Ps. 38:9), and motives (Pss. 7:9; 139:2; Prov. 16:1-2) of man are open and known to the Lord. He sees all that happens (Prov. 15:3), every single act (Ps. 139:1-4; Mt. 10:30). He even knows the end from the beginning (Ps. 139:16; Isa. 45:21; 46:10; Rev. 22:12-13). We have seen something of God’s omniscience in the study of the eye and the ear. We noted the psalmist’s rhetorical question that implied, “Yes, God hears and sees everything” (Ps. 94:9). We saw in our discussion that the eyes of God point to a great truth: “No creature is hidden from God’s sight, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account” (Heb. 4:13).

Likewise we noted that the figurative use of the ear speaks of his awareness of all things everywhere. He heard the groaning of his people in Egypt (Ex. 2:24; 6:5) and their complaints on their journey to the Promised Land (Ex. 16:1-5; cf. Ex. 14:13). He heard the boasts of King Sennacherib when he came against Jerusalem (Isa. 37:24-25) as well as the prayer of Hezekiah with regard to the problem (2 Kings 19:20). We saw that David understood that God could know and hear his thoughts even before they were formed on his tongue (Ps. 139:2).

The realization that God knows our desires and needs and will hear our prayer provides a great stimulus for us as believers to spend time in prayer communing with the Lord. For he knows what is best for us (1 Jn. 5:14-15). Therefore, as the Scripture declares, believers ought to always to pray (1 Thess. 3:10; 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:8), for God’s ear is always open to them. Employing the well-known call-answer motif, the Lord invites his people to commune with him: “Call in prayer to me and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things you do not know about” (Jer. 33:3).

The third component of God’s personality is God’s omnipotent will. By his omnipotence, we understand that God is all-powerful in all things. We have noted repeatedly in looking at the various figures relative to God’s “bodily parts” that he is the sovereign Lord of the universe. He directs all things everywhere, including planet earth, in accordance with his own will. This means that he has the authority and power to do whatever is consistent with his perfectly wise and holy nature.

God’s feet reminded us of the truth that he is the Creator and Controller of the universe, and that he directs all things according to his divine purpose. God’s hands picture his omnipotence not only in creation but his providential control of all his own people. The figure of God’s face tells of his glory and majesty as well as his active presence in the world. God’s mouth, lips, and tongue declare his sovereign authority and will in all things. God’s eye points to his authority and directing of the affairs on earth in connection with his divine government. God’s ear gives assurance that the Lord has the power to provide for the protection and needs of all creation, particularly his own.

How wonderful and rewarding to know that God has revealed himself in this fashion. The study of the figures of speech relative to God’s “bodily parts” yields not only a description of God’s power and activity but points us to deeper truths concerning his character and attributes. The texts that contain these figures may not be formed as propositional statements but they nevertheless convey theological information. They do convey truth about God.198 Moreover, the information gathered from our examination of such figures is in harmony with theological truth presented elsewhere in other literary settings.

All of this makes us realize more clearly that the imagery that portrays God’s infinity, perfection, personality, and spiritual nature makes understandable that which is beyond our human capacity to understand fully (cf. Ps. 92:5; Isa. 55:8-9). These figures help us to appreciate that God is a real person who is both knowable and longs to have fellowship with a believing mankind, even though God’s people have not always responded properly to him or to his messengers (Jer. 7:25; 11:7-8; 25:3-4; 26:5; 29:19; 32:33; 35:14-15; 44:4-5).

Thus far from being merely another study of scriptural topics, the contemplation of figurative speech concerning God’s person and walk gives us better insight into how we should conduct our lives. By knowing what God is like we understand what he expects us to be and what possibilities a life lived on the highest plain can provide both now and forever. Such is only natural since God created us in his own image to be moral, rational, spiritual beings capable of fellowship with him (Gen. 1:26-27; 5:3; 1 Cor. 15:49).

Although it is true that as a finite being man can know God, yet at the same time he cannot know God exhaustively or comprehend God fully. We can only apprehend what he comprehends. As we have seen in the opening chapter, this is especially true of man in his fallen state. Nevertheless, God has provided a means for man to know him in a fresh and exciting way. Through the finished work of Christ man’s sin-darkened mind becomes enlightened, his degraded emotions uplifted, and his once sin-dominated will freed to worship God and serve him. Although the believer has not yet attained spiritual perfection (cf. Phil. 3:12), in a large measure God’s original purpose for man’s creation can now be experienced with new vitality and renewed intimacy of fellowship.

Herein our study of the various idioms and figures relative to God and the believer proves to be a tremendous aid. As we studied the various figures of speech relative to God we also noticed that much of the same imagery was used of Jesus Christ, God’s unique Son. It is instructive to note therefore that Christ is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15; cf. 2 Cor. 4:4; Heb. 1:3) and that as believers taken into an indissoluble spiritual union with the risen Christ (Gal. 2:20), we are being conformed to his very image (Col. 3:10). In this spiritual reality Christ and the believer exist in vital union with each other (Eph. 5:29-30), the believer receiving his life only in Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:3-4).

As we are being conformed to our Lord’s image, we grow in grace and knowledge before him (2 Pet. 3:18). We learn to walk in purity and wisdom before the Lord (Gen. 17:1; Prov. 28:26) and to have our hands full in faithful service for him. We are challenged to commit ourselves daily into the hands of Christ and God the Father (Jn. 10:28-29). As believers we should “seek his presence (lit., face) always” (Ps. 105:4), live our lives in purity and reverential fear in his presence (2 Cor. 2:17; 1 Pet. 1:17), and let our mouths, lips, and tongue declare his praise (Pss. 22:22, 25; 51:14-15). As those who are God’s people, let us look unto the Lord (Heb. 12:1-2), keeping our eye fixed on “Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2), and our ear attentive to his Word (Isa. 1:10; 50:4-5; Rev. 2:7). And such we can do if we follow the Lord’s command, “Love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being and all your strength” (Deut. 6:5 cf. Mt. 22:37).

We took note of Frances Havergal’s poem “Take My Life and Let It Be” at the close of our discussion on the foot (Chapter 2). Having considered the truths relative to the description of God as having bodily parts and their implications for our lives, it seems only fitting to conclude with another look at her grand confession of consecration. Often referred to as “the consecration poet,” the words to this poem came to Havergal on a final night of her visit to a home where she was sharing her faith with many unconverted.199 Her expression of an unfeigned desire to give herself “ever, only, all for Thee” encourages us to do no less.

Truly, Havergal’s timeless words, now set in the familiar hymn tune by Cesar Malan and available in most every hymnbook, remind us that our very lives and all that we are belong to the Lord. For she speaks of the exercise of our bodily parts as empowered by God: hands and feet, voice and lips, together with our total personality: intellect, emotions (heart), and will—all of it poured out in loving service to the Lord. Surely Havergal has written in practical terms the outworking of what our study has shown us. All that we are—body, soul, and spirit—it’s all for him! And when this is real and true in our lives, we may with joy look forward to that day when we shall stand in his presence and hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful slave … Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21, cf. 2 Tim. 4:7-8). We close with a similar sentiment from Sylvanus Phelps:

All that I am and have, Thy gifts so free,

In joy, in grief, thro’ life, Dear Lord for Thee!

And when Thy face I see, My ransom’d soul shall be,

Thro’ all eternity, Something for Thee.200


190 Ralph L. Smith, Old Testament Theology (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1993), 80.

191 William W. Klein, “Exegetical Rigor with Hermeneutical Humility: The Calvinist-Arminian Debate and the New Testament,” in New Testament Greek and Exegesis, eds., Amy M. Donaldson and Timothy B. Sailors (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 36.

192 See Gerhard Hasel, New Testament Theology: Basic Issues in the Current Debate (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978).

193 In addition to the standard systematic and biblical theologies, note the varied conclusions found in The Flowering of Old Testament Theology, eds., Ben C. Ollenburger, Elmer A. Martens, and Gerhard Hasel; (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1992).

194 See the informative discussion in J. C. L. Gibson, Language and Imagery in the Old Testament (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1998), 22-33.

195 Michael E. Travers, “Imagination as a Principle of Truth in the Bible,” paper read at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November, 2004. The enclosed citation is from Travers’ book, Encountering God in the Psalms (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2003), 40.

196 Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1907), 52.

197 See the discussion in the NET text note.

198 See the informative discussion by James Barr, “The Liturgical, the Allegorical, and Modern Scholarship,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 44 (1989).

199 For details, see Kenneth W. Osbeck, 101 Hymn Stories (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1982), 239-41.

200 Sylvanus D. Phelps, “Something For Thee.”

Related Topics: Theology Proper (God)