Monthly Archives: September 2010
JUST A FEW words in this note concerning Psalms 73 – 76 which I’ll let speak for themselves. As I was perusing through them this morning, I could see so clearly how they carry a great weight of relation to our day, philosophy and culture – to the world and the Church in which she finds herself in. When I make that distinction – the Church and the world – I am in no way implying that members of the body of Christ (the Church) are deserving of the mercy, grace and love of God anymore than individuals who openly and rebelliously defy Him – calling evil good and good evil; we live in a day when hardly anyone knows right from wrong, and as Judges 2 states, “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”
Everyone of us are deserving of God’s wrath and eternal punishment, that goes for the Christian as well; Christians will eternally stand in the state and need of God’s unmerited grace and mercy – even their best days would never atone for their sin and escape of hell – only Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death has perfectly atoned for our sinfulness and depravity and will always be our grounding and solid foundation. So we as Christians say that we are no better than the heathen or pagans as in meriting God’s goodness because of our ‘righteousness’ or high ethics and morality. I confess, as a Christian, that I stand amazed in knowing and experiencing God’s saving grace in my own life when I am so conscious of my failings; whatever godliness comes about in my own life is not by my sheer efforts but God’s grace that works mightily in me as with every other believer in Christ.
These Psalms written by Asaph have a flow from one into the other; a great concern over the lack of desire for God and His glory, man in his greed who couldn’t care less about his immoral ways and unjust gains (accurate depiction of today)… But God sees everything and takes all things into account; God’s judgment will surely follow for each person according to their ways – from the simple and poor to world governing leaders.
The Church at times, through her disobedience, will come under God’s discipline and in many circles that is so evident. There is a stirring taking place in the hearts of many who profess faith in Christ, longing and praying for the honor of God’s name to be restored, the sound of His name uttered from the mouths of many whose hearts have been changed, and that in wrath He will indeed remember mercy, revealing His awe, beauty and majesty once again.
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Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms. When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture? Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage! Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt. Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins; the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!
Your foes have roared in the midst of your meeting place; they set up their own signs for signs. They were like those who swing axes in a forest of trees. And all its carved wood they broke down with hatchets and hammers. They set your sanctuary on fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground. They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”; they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet, and there is none among us who knows how long. How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever? Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the fold of your garment and destroy them! Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams. Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.
Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs, and a foolish people reviles your name. Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild beasts; do not forget the life of your poor forever.
Have regard for the covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence. Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame; let the poor and needy praise your name.
Arise, O God, defend your cause; remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day! Do not forget the clamor of your foes, the uproar of those who rise against you, which goes up continually!
We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.
“At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars. I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn; do not lift up your horn on high, or speak with haughty neck.’”
For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.
But I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. All the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.
In Judah God is known; his name is great in Israel. His abode has been established in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion. There he broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.
Glorious are you, more majestic than the mountains of prey. The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil; they sank into sleep; all the men of war were unable to use their hands. At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both rider and horse lay stunned.
But you, you are to be feared! Who can stand before you when once your anger is roused? From the heavens you uttered judgment; the earth feared and was still, when God arose to establish judgment, to save all the humble of the earth.
Surely the wrath of man shall praise you; the remnant of wrath you will put on like a belt. Make your vows to the Lord your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared, who cuts off the spirit of princes, who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.