Archive for the ‘Interlude (Psalms)’ Category

I love Matt Chandler. In a weird way, I sort of consider him a pastor to me. I’ve followed his preaching ministry for over a year now, and I recently had the privilege of listening to him at a conference. While he was there, he told us of an interview that he was given and of a question that has haunted him since. The question was this: “If Matt Chandler now at thirty-eight years old could go back in time and talk to Matt Chandler at twelve, what would you tell him?”

After sharing a little of his painful background, he told us that knowing what he knows, he just wants to grab that little boy by the face and tell him “Rescue’s coming. Rescue’s coming.”

I thought about that this morning as David’s words rang out in Psalm twenty-seven: “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

I could write a little more, but I think instead I’ll just link in Chandler’s sermon from that day. It’s a life changer.

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I have to say, I think that David’s theology is often better than that of most Christians. Or at least, most Christians that I’m familiar with. Let’s take a two-question quiz to see which side of the fence you’re on. Question one is this: Do we have to confess our sins to God in order to have His forgiveness of them? Question two is this: Is God displeased by our sinful actions?

I used to answer both questions with a hearty “yes” with accompanying verses. If I had to guess, you just did too.

But let’s talk about the cross for a second. Let’s talk about what Jesus meant when He said “It is finished.”

When Jesus was on the cross bearing His Father’s wrath against sin, when He was subjecting Himself to the punishment that I myself deserved, He took the cup of God’s wrath and drank it all on my behalf- on behalf of anyone who would trust Him as their Savior. So now as we unite to Him by faith, the benefits of His atoning work are applied to us, Jesus imputes His own righteousness to us, and “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ,” as Paul tells us in Romans eight.

And so what that means is this: God no longer sees His children as sinners. That’s how David could say “Do not sweep my soul away with sinners.” He knew that God no longer saw him as one. Think about that. Your failures yesterday? Forgiven and forgotten at the cross. Same deal with today’s failures and shortcomings. And tomorrow’s. Can we please God any more than what He is? No- He sees His Son in us; we can’t possibly improve upon that.

Should we confess our sins? Absolutely, to clear the air between us and God. But don’t forget that Jesus’ work removed God’s wrath on all your sins. They are all forgiven. Quit trying to get back on God’s good side; it’s impossible for His children to leave it in the first place.

The dynamic between the sovereignty of God and the synergistic nature of sanctification still baffles me. Yet it seems clear to me that God will, to an extent, allow us a degree of autonomy in the strides we make towards being more like Jesus. Our attitudes are important and can make or break us. I think David knew this, probably from personal experience. As David is urging God to lead and guide him, he mentions in verse nine, “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.”

But what about the arrogant? What about those so full of pride that they’re convinced they’re on the right track when in actuality they’re spinning their wheels and going nowhere?

I think God’s plan is to allow them to keep on spinning, keep missing turns, keep getting misplaced, until they (and by “they” I mean “we”) realize that left alone they stink as drivers. Humility is vital to growth in our Christian walk. We can drive alone and go nowhere, or we can realize that God is a far better driver than we are, and give Him the keys.

I have writer’s block this morning. This doesn’t happen often. I know what I want to get to- I’m just struggling to get there. In the meantime, I’m enjoying listening to Third Day’s “King of Glory.”

 

Many of us think of this king as a babe in a manger, perhaps a boy teaching in the temple. Some think of him as a young man, wandering around Galilee and calling a band of followers to himself. Others think of the condemned rebel hanging on the cross, forsaken by God.

He is all that..but so much more. Chew on this description:

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Rev. 19:11-16

That is our King of Glory- His name is Jesus!

There are schools of thought swimming around in some Christian streams that teach the idea that a child of God, a Spirit-indwelt, regenerated, follower of Christ is responsible for maintaining their salvation. Failure to do so will result in their “falling from grace,” or “ship-wrecking their faith.” To be fair, their theology is based upon Scripture…just not properly interpreted Scripture. The reality is that those whom God saves, He saves eternally.

But man…not only does God save us, He really spoils us. He delights in us. He cares for us. Look at what David says of God in this Psalm:

1. Because God is my shepherd, I will never have a genuine need for anything.

2. God makes me lie down in green pastures, not areas of dryness.

3. God leads me beside peaceful waters that I can drink from, not rushing waters that scare me and prevent me from drinking.

4. God restores my soul, He doesn’t leave it languishing.

5. For the holiness of His name, God leads me in a life of righteousness, not hellaciousness.

6. In the worst of times possible, I will not fear because God is with me protecting and comforting me.

7. God has my back and will protect me from my enemies.

8. God anoints my head with oil, blessing me beyond imagination.

9. Goodness and mercy will never leave me.

10. When it’s all said and done, I will be with my God forever.

 

Don’t know about you, but if that’s what comes with being a smelly, lazy, stupid sheep…I’ll take it!

 

The Holy Spirit, through the misery of David, brings us in this chapter a brief glimpse of the suffering that was to be endured by Jesus on behalf of His people, beginning with “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Christ echos this lament from the cross in Matthew 27:46. Look at the descriptor verses  throughout the psalm:

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people.All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads…I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws…a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feetI can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me;they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

If you’re familiar with the crucifixion of Jesus, you’ll recall that all of these details come to life during His execution. Here’s the intriguing part, though…not only was this psalm written a thousand years before the cross, but it was written before the concept of crucifixion even existed. It wasn’t invented yet. I have to wonder if the Pharisees responsible for His death were recalling this prophetic psalm as they saw it in action.

David also tells us what was to come of this suffering. Check out verse twenty-seven: “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.” Being forsaken by His Father, tortured by men, tasting death- it was so that Christ could redeem for Himself a bride, a people who would be reconciled to God, to delight in Him for all eternity. That’s you, if you’re trusting Christ as your only hope of salvation. That price was for you.

Ever notice how sometimes mercy and justice are pitted against each other? For example, you’re driving down the road and your foot gets a little heavy on the gas, next thing you know the ole’ five-o is hitting the lights, busting a “U” on the highway, and catching up to you in like, ten seconds flat. Now be honest- do you want mercy, or do you want justice? If you said “mercy,” welcome to my club!

David strikes me as one of those “justice” guys. I mean, he seems to revel in the fact that God is going to shoot a bunch of dudes in the face with arrows. Now compare that with Paul’s cry in Romans nine that he would revoke his own salvation and spend eternity in Hell if it led to the salvation of his kinsmen Jews. Big difference there. I wonder if it’s not because Paul knew very well who he was, and David is kinda self-righteous? Not sure.

But I want to be like Paul.