Blogging Through the Psalms: What to do when you meet with an unexpected obstacle.

Psalm 60

This Psalm seems to be a commentary on a battle or series of battles that David and his generals fought. Apparently things did not at first go well for them. They were off fighting in the north when Israel was unexpectedly attacked by Edom in the south. Initially David and the people believed that the Lord was displeased and was chastising them for their sins. They saw that they had been defeated and this to them was sure sign that God was not with them. They saw their nation ripped apart as if the land itself was torn apart by an earthquake. Yet it is not clear that the Lord was displeased. What is clear is that David knew who to call on for help. He knew that the Lord would give them the ultimate victory for deliverance by the schemes and strength of man was pointless.

When we are faced with tragic and upsetting circumstances, we too must realize that the Lord is there for us to call upon. Our human means of achieving stability, victory or happiness in times of trouble do not work. Only the Lord can give us the victory. Perhaps we in the United States should pray to the Lord for victory in the fight we have undertaken against terrorism. There is no way to be entirely sure that human plans and systems of defense and detection will work perfectly. So deceitful is the heart of man that terrorists can devise schemes and plots that thwart them all. Yet not even the most cunning and bold terrorist can fool the Lord our God or stand against Him.

So on this day when we celebrate America’s independence, we would be wise to remember  that the government cannot protect, enrich or fulfill us in any way as God Himself can. He is the one we must always seek FIRST in times of trouble.

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Blogging Through the Psalms: What is in store for those who try to oppose God.

Psalm 59

It is obvious that this is another Psalm David penned while on the run from Saul. This one seems to have been written after he had been attacked while living with his first wife Michal, the daughter of Saul. At that time she loved him and helped him escape. David knew that he was innocent of all sin and never did anything to deliberately threaten Saul. Yet Saul was still out to kill him. Thus David was justified in petitioning the Lord to bring his attackers to confusion. He knew that the Lord was able to protect him just as He had when he fought the giant Goliath. The haughty Goliath had opposed God, secure in his strength and boasting in his ability to inflict terror yet he was brought down by the Lord.

Often Christians today are accused and attacked without cause. Sometimes we resent it or are troubled by it. After all, we have tried to live in righteousness and to be at peace with all people. Nevertheless others (even fellow Christians) often come against us and make false accusations because they are jealous of us or just because they hate Jesus and those who believe in Him or just want to make themselves feel superior and self-confident.

Yet those who attack the children of the Kingdom of God are really attacking and opposing God. They see only the frail human beings who represent Him and think we are easy targets. What they fail to realize is that they are really facing a formidable and invincible warrior who is invincible. The Lord who fights for us may extend mercy to the humble and meek but He will enforce justice against those who oppress them.

Blogging Through the Psalms: Wicked people.

Psalm 58

David opens the Psalm by addressing tyrants, that is, those who hold political and military power yet use it for selfish and wicked purposes. David describes them as evil from the womb. All humans are sinners by nature so it is no surprise that those in power are corrupt for they were formed in corruption and have grown up by feeding on wickedness. David compares them to the cobra which is an aggressive snake which defends itself with venomous poison. Like cobras, the wicked tyrants will tolerate no opposition or complaint. They are deaf to the Lord’s loving calls and ignore all cries for mercy.

David prays a rather harsh and violent prayer to the Lord that He would take down these evil people. His pleas are somewhat bloodthirsty for he wants the wicked tyrants to be torn apart and scattered. And yet that is what the end will be for all the wicked. We may pray for them now that they would repent of their sin and turn to the Lord for mercy for we do not know that they are irretrievably lost. Yet too often those who are so filled with violence and malice are lost. They, like Pharaoh, have hardened their hearts against the Lord. They are deaf to cries for mercy and use every opportunity to take advantage of the compassion that is extended towards them. In the interests of peace, the allies capitulated to Hitler in the 1930s and failed to implement strict sanctions to stop him. Hitler took advantage of their desire to avoid war by enslaving millions. The result was that millions were slaughtered in a horrid war. Evil people may be indulged but they will always be true to their nature.

One of the goals of God’s people is to fight injustice in the world. We can do this by giving to the poor and needy and advocating on their behalf. We also do this by presenting them to gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus. It does not help them in the long run if we meet their present physical and emotional needs yet ignore their eternal destiny.

Blogging Through the Psalms: Finding freedom from fear.

Psalm 56-57

These 2 Psalms were composed by David when he was fleeing from King Saul. At this time he was without allies and feeling lonely and afraid. He countered his fear by meditating on the Lord and His word. He then finds cause to praise the Lord. David recalled that because the Lord God is true to His word, He will fulfill all that He has promised. He had promised David that he would be King. Thus David had no reason to fear for his life for the Lord would protect him and keep him safe. As David was lifted up he pledged himself to honor God. He will fulfill his vows because the Lord blessed him by fulfilling His.

Today, we may feel that we are surrounded by enemies as was David. And indeed we are, but not just those terrorists and sociopaths who seek to kill us. We are also threatened by others who are opposed to Christianity. These are among our own cultural organizations: the media, the arts and educational institutions. These seek to dominate culture with politically correct attitudes which forbid the labeling of certain lifestyles as sinful and immoral. Although tolerance for all is encouraged, the cultural elite do not tolerate Christianity, but want to silence it. This is because they do not want anyone to feel guilty about their lifestyle choices and so want to suppress the Holy Spirit who convicts the world of sin. He convicts through the Church but only as the Church preaches the gospel of salvation in the name of Jesus alone. The culture at times seems to overwhelm the Kingdom of God, but we know that this is impossible, because the Lord is with us. The danger comes when so-called Christian institutions and churches circumvent that work of conviction by denying the reality of sin.