When you hear the noise of wars nearby and the news of wars far off, don’t become frightened. Such things must happen, but the end is yet to come. Mk. 13:7 CJB
And when you hear of wars and revolutions, don’t panic. For these things must happen first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Lk. 21:9 CJB
Presently in our land, there is more and more evidence of a ‘me, myself, and I’ mentality that wants to throw away and lessons learned from history or any kind of view or idea that is contrary to what is now considered the truth. Pilate asked Jesus one day, “What is truth?” (Jn. 18:38), and that question seems more and more a puzzle today as differing opinions thrust themselves forward as THE truth that overrides any and all put forward before it. People who have sought to speak up for the oppressed or injustices in our land have been hijacked with others whose agenda seems more in keeping with anarchy and destruction. A virus haunts our world that some feel is incredibly lethal to all, while others dismiss it as more of the same regular virus we see every year. Where is the truth in all of this, and why do so many feel the need to express themselves through violence?
So, with thoughts and emotions in turmoil, I awoke from a dark dream at 1 this morning, unwilling to return to sleep lest those dreams return, yet also with my thoughts so filled with angst that my heart cry to God seemed to echo repeatedly…why?
As when I was in prison with no likelihood of ever being released, the Psalms called to me to walk through that portrayal of all that is human, and yet to be reminded that there is a God who sees. He is not some impotent deity who must be assuaged with sacrifices (as the ancient Greeks and Romans, all but putting a bribe before your god(s) to get them to do what you want, or at least to leave you out of their quarrels). No, Yhwh is not like that, and this morning walk through the Psalms has, if not quieted my heart, at least reminded me of Whose I am and that God holds me in His palm.
In Psalm 10, the writer seems to be screaming to God for an answer to all that he sees. The heavens seem as brass as wickedness runs rampant without any consequence and nothing seems to change despite the psalmists cry to God. As with my old friend Job, life seems to spin out of control for no rhyme or reason, and God seemingly ignores this patriarch and his cries for understanding. The psalmist concludes with an affirmation of how God is, “…king forever and ever…” (vs. 16), and on that truth, he concludes his cry to God.
It’s amazing how I always find myself coming to Psalm 73 when my thoughts are troubled; here is my heart’s cry and a reminder as well that what is seen now is not all that is or will be. The psalmist begins with an affirmation of how God is good to Israel, but he cannot still his pen with that. Asaf proceeds to give God a list of the wickedness and evil that have overtaken the land and seems at a loss to explain or understand what is happening. Then we come to verse 16 and the following:
I found it too hard for me --
17 until I went into the sanctuaries of God
and grasped what their destiny would be.
18 Indeed, you place them on a slippery slope
and make them fall to their ruin.
19 How suddenly they are destroyed,
swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakens;
Adonai, when you rouse yourself,
you will despise their phantoms.
21 When I had a sour attitude
and felt stung by pained emotions,
22 I was too stupid to understand;
I was like a brute beast with you.
23 Nevertheless, I am always with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You will guide me with your advice;
and afterwards, you will receive me with honor.
25 Whom do I have in heaven but you?
And with you, I lack nothing on earth.
26 My mind and body may fail; but God
is the rock for my mind and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who adulterously leave you.
28 But for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made Adonai Elohim my refuge,
so that I can tell of all your works. Psalm 73:16-28 CJB (emphasis added)