Tongues, cowsheds and my verse for 2016

…Escapist and troubling thoughts died away as I zoomed around the wet and windy country roads of Devon in my Renault Dad-mobile considering how ‘all my fountains were …      

but that’s to get to the end of this story. To tell it right I need to take you back to a cowshed in 1998.

cow_tongue

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR 

“All my fountains are in you” (Psalms 87:7). According to the Pulpit Commentary these words mean that ‘all my springs, all of my sources of life, and of joy, and of happiness are in God’. For me they are very personal.

Back in 1998 I was an enthusiastic member of New Frontiers International (later ‘newfrontiers’). That summer I stood with a couple of thousand youth in a smelly cowshed in the Midlands at Stoneleigh Bible Week. I had sat through countless liturgical NFI services but that stage each mimicking a tried and tested formula:

worship block. 40 minute preach. prophesy section. altar call.

One thing has really begun to annoy the 20 year old me. Occasionally someone would speak out in tongues (a human/angelic language that hadn’t been learnt). Then there would be a call from the front for an ‘interpretation’. [1 Corinthians 12-14 clearly teaches that tongues given in church as a prophetic utterance should be translated for the good of the whole church]. But what seemed to me to happen was that one of a handful of people, associated with the wider leadership (e.g. a spouse), would stand up and give a ‘blessed thought’ rather than an interpretation of what had been given. I always felt a bit robbed by this, and as if those in ‘control’ didn’t really trust the Spirit to speak through the wider body and say whatever he wanted to through a genuine interpretation of tongues.

So in 1998 in the cowshed I was surprised and deeply moved when revive stoneleighsomething happened to me after someone went up on stage at Stoneleigh, displaced celebrity worship leader Paul Oakley and ‘gave a tongue’ into the microphone. With my angst about the liturgical squashing I had witnessed prominent in my mind I was astonished to find I had an interpretation bubbling up inside me as they spoke. By the time they finished I couldn’t restrain myself but shouted out the interpretation. The key refrain of this:

‘All my fountains are in you’.

The guys on the stage really didn’t know what to do with this. Possibly they were searching for one of those they knew to give a blessed thought that would be the safe interpretation of this unexpected and only vaguely welcome prophetic tongues utterance. But for me this word went straight through me. I can still place myself in that cowshed, interpreting that strange tongue through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This one Bible verse has had a compounded power in my life ever since, and has rooted me deeply in the love of God who is interventionist, immanent and a provider of life, joy and happiness.

It’s like God stopped that entire meeting just for my benefit to show me

  1.  that he wanted me to know that He was truly the source of my identity.
  2.  he could speak to me and through me miraculously
  3. that (despite my angst at the NFI formula) interpretation of tongues was real, powerful and had a place even in big meetings

Tonight as I went for a drive seeking direction for a new year and battling some of my own demons, I paused to pray the subversive prayer that begins, “our Father, who art in heaven…’

My mind again turned to that verse which I now know comes from Psalm 87. Escapist and troubling thoughts died away as I zoomed around the wet and windy country roads of Devon in my Renault Dad-mobile considering how ‘all my fountains were in the Lord’. I remembered again that time in a cowshed where my identity became deeply rooted in the source of all life, joy and happiness. Once again it had a transforming power for me reminding me again of all the source of strength I needed for my various responsibilities and relationships.

So my verse for 2016: “all my fountains are in you”because when we get our identity right, and our source of affirmation right, everything else tends to flow as well.

 

———————————————————-

PSALM 87 – If you want to know a bit more: c/o Coffman Commentary

GLORIOUS THINGS OF THEE ARE SPOKEN is the most famous hymn founded upon this psalm.[1] It is set to the music of the Austrian National Hymn, composed by Franz Joseph Haydn, and the words are those of John Newman.

Glorious things of thee are spoken.Zion, City of our God!

He whose word cannot be broken

Formed thee for his own abode.

On the Rock of Ages founded,

What can shake thy sure repose?

With salvation’s walls surrounded,

Thou mayest smile at all thy foes.SIZE>

“This marvelous little psalm is a prophecy of the glorification of the Church universal, when all the nations of the world have come into it.”[2] “It is a Korahitic psalm; it is also prophetic of the time when God’s chosen and beloved city shall become the birthplace of all nations.”[3]

What a wonderful way of saying that “The word of the Lord shall go forth from Jerusalem,” and that souls of every nation under heaven will be born into the New Jerusalem of God’s Church. Born in Jerusalem? Indeed yes, by means of the New Birth.

There are only two divisions in the psalm: (1)  Psalms 87:1-3, and (2) Psalms 87:4-6, with a final exclamation in  Psalms 87:7.

The occasion for this psalm is unknown, but some have suggested that it might have been following the destruction of the Assyrian Army in the days of Hezekiah, following which, all the nations of the world of that era sent gifts and presents to Hezekiah in honor of the occasion.

Psalms 87:1-3

ZION IS GOD’S DWELLING PLACE

“His foundation is in the holy mountains.

Jehovah loveth the gates of Zion

More than all the dwellings of Jacob.

Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God.

(Selah)”

“In the holy mountains” (Psalms 87:1). God’s foundations are there in the holy mountains. Their holiness is due to God’s presence there, not the other way around. God is not there because the mountains are holy, but they are holy because God is there.

“God loveth the gates of Zion” (Psalms 87:2). This choice of Zion as God’s dwelling place on earth is as inscrutable as his choice of the “Seed of Abraham” through whom God would bring the Christ and salvation to all men.

“Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God” (Psalms 87:3). These words announce that God Himself is about to speak “glorious things of the city of God,” the wonderful words spoken in the next three verses.

Verse 4
THE GLORIOUS THINGS“I will make mention of Rahab andBabylon as among them that know me;Behold, Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia:

This one was born there.

Yea, of Zion it shall be said,

This one and that one was born in her;

And the Most High himself will establish her.

Jehovah will count, when he writeth up the peoples,

This one was born there. (Selah)”

“Rahab and Babylon” (Psalms 87:4). “Rahab” here is a poetic word for Egypt; and the thought is that God shall be worshipped even in the oldest nations of the world. These nations, of course, were among the bitterest enemies of Israel and of Israel’s God; and “The thought is that, Those who were once strangers and foreigners shall become fellow-citizens with the saints of God (Ephesians 2:19).”[4]

“This one was born there” (Psalms 87:4). This is not a reference to merely one, for it becomes, “This one and that one” in  Psalms 87:5; and in  Psalms 87:6, it is revealed that when God “writes up the peoples of the earth,” when he calculates the number of the redeemed, he shall count only those who indeed were “born in her.”

All of the other nations mentioned in the passage are merely representatives of “all nations,” harking back to God’s promise to Abraham, “in thee and in thy seed, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 28:14).

Thus what is prophesied here is the worldwide triumph of the gospel of Christ. All nations and all countries shall be represented in the roster of the redeemed.

“The Most High himself shall establish her” (Psalms 87:5). Christ established His Church upon the Rock, that Rock being Christ himself; and that foundation is the most sure of anything in heaven or upon earth.

Verse 7
“They that sing as well as they that dance shall say,All my fountains are in thee.”“All my fountains are in thee” (Psalms 87:7). “These words mean that all my springs, all of my sources of life, and of joy, and of happiness are in God.”[5] Apparently these are the words of the psalmist.Not only the glorious success of God’s kingdom is prophesied here; but the time of the true exaltation of Zion will come, and will be accomplished, “By the gathering of the Gentiles into Zion.”[6]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s