Saturday, June 9, 2018
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms
David got it before Paul even wrote it: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
If we’re on God’s side, He’s on our side; and when we’re on God’s side, the other side doesn’t stand a shot in Sheol.
Even as a scrawny little shepherd boy who hadn’t even been to boot camp, David knew Goliath was going down for the count because God doesn’t lose the big games.
I like how Frederick Buechner described the championship bout: “Goliath stood ten feet tall in his stocking feet, wore a size 20 collar, a 9½ hat, and a 52-inch belt. When he put his full armor on, he not only looked like a Sherman tank but weighed like one.”
He was the heavyweight champion of the world with “the burdensome business of having to defend his title against all comers…[and there]…were the mangled remains of the runners-up.”
David was a prohibitive long shot in all of the betting parlors; but when we’re on God’s side, the other side doesn’t stand a shot in Sheol: “The stone from David’s slingshot caught him between the eyes, and when he hit the dirt, windows rattled…[then David]…straddled Goliath with Goliath’s sword…[and David along with everyone else got it before Paul even wrote it]…”
Psalm 9 may have been inspired by David’s big win over Goliath.
Certainly, it celebrates Godly triumphs over the dark side in time and the ultimate victory of the Godly for all time; or as Tony likes to say, “I’ve peeked at the end of the book to see how it ends. God wins! And we win with Him!”
While Psalm 8 concentrated on the beauty and splendor of God’s creation and our enjoyable role at the top of the food chain, Psalm 9’s excitement focuses on God’s victory over His enemies which are our enemies and our enemies which are His enemies because we’re family.
David sounds like a faithful athlete who’s just won the Super Bowl or World Series: “I thank the Lord with all my heart! All glory to God for this great victory! “
This celebration far exceeds the excitement of winning a game because it’s the Godly victory over the dark side: “The day my enemies turned tail and ran, they stumbled on You and fell on their faces. You took over and set everything right; when I needed You, You were there, taking charge.”
It was no contest because God is the unmatched, unparalleled, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and almighty sovereign over everyone and everything: “You blow the whistle on the Godless. You are the only enthroned One. Your enemies disappear from the sidelines. Their names are erased from the halls of fame.”
David esteems God as the undisputed victor and Lord of all: “The Lord sits enthroned forever. God alone decides. God alone judges. “
David assures the Godly of their share in the triumph: “God is a safe place for everyone who trusts Him and joins His team. “
In short, we win sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end because He can’t lose.
It’s impossible for God to lose.
Psalm 9 concludes with a prayer praising God’s continuing graces for the Godly and a witness to God’s undefeated record as a warning to anyone contemplating an assault on Him and those faithful to Him: “Continue to grace me so I may continue to sing Your praises of providing for the faithful. You will destroy those who seek to destroy Your family.”
Psalm 9 is another testimony to God taking care of anyone who is on His side.
History shows anyone who fights with God’s people is fighting God and destined for defeat.
Egyptian Empire? Gone!
Persian Empire? Gone!
Greek Empire? Gone!
Roman Empire? Gone!
Byzantine Empire? Gone!
Ottoman Turkish Empire? Gone!
Nazi Germany? Gone!
Soviet Union? Gone!
History is His story and His story is punctuated by victory!
Because of the fidelity of an elder in our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main – we’ll call her Katie because that’s her name – a baccalaureate service was held at Belvidere North High School on May 8, 2018.
Because I’ve been reading about Winston Churchill who said we must have the courage to be candid within a collaborative context to advance civilization, I am compelled to say there would not have been a baccalaureate service for the Class of 2018 to honor God if it were not for Katie and her supporting cast.
The inspiration and perspiration were 99% hers; and that doesn’t speak well for our…
Catch the drift?
Parenthetically, I was ordained on May 8, 1977.
So as I prayed and asked God to inspire something about Someone to honor Him and maybe even inspire the faithful remnant of Blue Thunder to wake up, look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus before it’s too late for America.
Anyway, here’s how I started.
I went to high school.
Graduated before a lot of your teachers were born.
You know, we’re the ones who’ve messed up what you’re inheriting.
Do they still teach history in high school?
Is so, you may have heard about Will and Ariel Durant’s The Story of Civilization.
As I was reading through those volumes for the first time about 45 years ago, I was fascinated by this irrefutable historical fact.
Every civilization has a shelf life.
Historically, repetitively, without much deviation, empires last around 200 years or so.
Do they still teach math in high school?
I was awful at it.
Really, no matter what Miss Egan said back then, I still haven’t found any reason for taking Trig or solid or whatever geometry; though I’m glad I memorized the multiplication tables.
Pero let’s do the math.
Then I went on to talk about America’s greatness in its Christocentrically Biblical roots and how America will not be renewed apart from a rededication to its heritage.
Then I talked about millennials and how their music may be a little off from my classic rock perspective yet I’ve learned some things about millennials that may help turn things around.
As I talked about the positively redemptive qualities of their generation and how America needs their best, I reminded the Blue Thunder of Belvidere North High School that thunder is strong, compelling, passionate, persistent, persuasive, and never inhibited, detoured, deterred, or controlled by lesser elements.
I said thunder reminds me of the salt (stinging to heal with zest and flavor as it preserves the good and purifies the bad), light (being a photograph and pattern and guiding radiance to Someone better), and leaven (mixing in to make better) that Jesus said we are in/through/for Him.
I esteemed millennials for being collaborative, not hierarchical.
I esteemed millennials for choosing family and fun over more money and overtime.
I said Jesus likes millennials for not being as judgmental as baby boomers and the Korean and WWII generations.
I said millennials know Jesus doesn’t want Christianity left in the sanctuaries. He wants them to take Him out into the streets. Christians are supposed to be the same on Sundays and every day of the week.
Millennials are tired of hypocrisy in the church and want to be a part of churches that talk more about what they’re for than against.
Millennials could care less about denominations and institutions and religions about Jesus because they want a relationship with Jesus reflected in all of their relationships because relationships matter more to them than anything else.
In short, Millennials are a big part of the present and future remnant – women, and men who are authentically Christian by the book with unbridled enthusiasm and without equivocation.
I closed like this.
We can sum it up like Paul did in a life’s text for anyone who really wants to follow Jesus: “Seek the things above, where Christ is! Set your sights on the things above where Christ is…not on the things of the earth.”
Historians report empires fall.
Lots of doomsayers are saying America’s best days are over.
Lots of cynics are saying your millennial generation ain’t up to the task of turning things around.
I am convinced that Christians like you who want to follow Him by the book are the answer to what’s ailing America; and if you can help heal America, the globe will also prosper.
So wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
You will be glad you did.
And you will help Jesus save America.
Then I ended: “I have a friend who likes to say, ‘I’ve peeked at the end of the book to see how it ends. God wins! And we win with Him!’”
That’s Psalm 9’s message.
It applies to everyone who loves Jesus by the book.
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!