Monday, April 16, 2018
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 2
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms
“The Difference Between Smart and Stupid People”
Winning the most important Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor in 1995, Forrest Gump is one of those movies that we watch over and over and over again because of the uncommon wisdom in a gentle soul played so exquisitely by Tom Hanks.
“Do you ever dream, Forrest,” asks his beloved Jenny, “about who you’re gonna be?” Forrest answers, “Aren’t I going to be me?”
He asks his mother, “What’s my destiny, Mama?” She answers, “You’re gonna have to figure that out for yourself.”
“My Mama always said,” he accepted as a positive way to approach the future without being chained to the past, “you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.”
Though Christians like us see the last breath as a nano-second from paradise, we also know this life can be very, very, very good if we don’t mess it up because that’s how God designed it; and Forrest echoed that truth: “Mama always said, dying was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t.”
There were so many funny moments in the movie; like when Lieutenant Dan asked, “Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?” With that special look on his face that we all recall, he says, “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir.”
And lots of us could benefit by confessing with him: “And that’s all I have to say about that.”
Certainly, he captures the romance, opportunities, challenges, and wisdom of relying on God for existential as well as eternal salvation in this line: “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’”
Sadly, as I look around at our world, nation, schools, marriages, families, and even too many churches, I’ve reached his conclusion, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
I think of Kurt Vonnegut who wrote in Palm Sunday, “An Indianapolis cousin of mine, who was also a high school classmate did very badly at the University of Michigan while I did badly at Cornell. His father asked him what the trouble was, and he made what I consider an admirable reply: ‘Don’t you know, Father? I’m dumb!’ It was the truth.”
I also think of Dalton Trumbo - and folks who are drinking the Kool-Aid from the far left that’s going to kill the Bill of Rights if we’re not careful may want to check out his defense of the 1st Amendment that’s under such assault these days – who said, “There are many ignorant, angry people in the world. And they appear to be breeding in record numbers. All we can do is stay together and remain vigilant.”
Though saddened to admit it, I agree with Winston Churchill: “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”
Yes, we know some people don’t like to use the word stupid to describe some people; but, well, uh, geez, sigh, gasp, uh,…some people are just plain old stupid.
Stupid beliefs and behaviors come from, uh, well, uh, geez, sigh, gasp, uh,…just plain old stupid people.
Gump is right: “Stupid is as stupid does.”
Psalm 2 is about the difference between smart and stupid people.
Simply, smart people know God is smarter than they are and pay attention to Him in all things at all times in all places with all people while stupid people think they are smarter than God and don’t pay attention to Him in all things at all times in all places with all people.
Let’s take a closer look at the difference.
●Stupid people are arrogant; thinking what they think somehow matters when it comes to what God commands: “Why do the nations rebel against God? They conspire against God. They want to be free from God’s law and order…Earth-leaders push for position. Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks. The God-deniers and the Messiah-defiers say, ‘Let’s get free of God! Cast loose from Messiah!’”
●God laughs at the arrogance of stupid people: “God laughs at them. God ridicules them. God mocks them…He’s amused at their presumption.”
Jesus calls them fools at the end of His greatest sermon; building their lives and destinies on sinkable sand. Actually, Jesus uses a Greek word that transliterates as morons. Morons go around saying, “I know that’s what God says, but we think we know better than God and act like it!”
Some people are so…stupid.
●God’s laughter turns to anger against those who are so stupidly arrogant: “Then He speaks to them in anger…Furiously, He shuts them up: ‘Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion?’”
God tolerates no rivals to His sovereignty.
Check out the first table of the law in Exodus 20.
●God has appointed Himself as Messiah in Jesus with the continuing witness of the Holy Spirit as sovereign: “I have consecrated my King on Zion…He said to Me, ‘You are My Son; today I have become Your Father. Ask of Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance and the ends of the earth Your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron. You will shatter them like pottery.”
His message is clear.
Don’t mess with the anointed; and if we do, we will pay for it sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end.
Anyone who has ever messed with God’s anointed – individually, corporately, ecclesiastically, nationally, or socioeconomically – has suffered terrible consequences.
People who pick on God’s family have short shelf lives.
Their gains and fames have a shorter eternal and usually existential life span than Jimmy Kimmel ratings.
●Yet, still, amazingly, God wants to save everybody; including stupid people: “So now, kings, be wise; receive instruction, you judges on the earth. Serve the Lord with reverential awe…Pay homage to the Son, or He will be angry and you will perish in your rebellion…Use your heads…Your very lives are in danger…His anger is about to explode…But if you make a run for God, you won’t regret it!…All those who turn to Him and take refuge in Him are happy!”
Paul often wrote, “God wants everybody to be saved!”
The most memorized verse in Holy Scripture is John 3:16.
Pero, it’s a choice.
God knocks on the door of our hearts.
We open our heads, hearts, and guts to Him and live here and now and forever or not.
Paul explained, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved…No one who believes on Him will be put to shame…No one who trusts God will ever regret it…Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Jesus promised and warned, “Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.”
Pero, again, it’s a choice.
We choose to be happy here and now and forever or not.
Jesus was candid about the choice before everyone: “This is the judgment. Light has come into the world. Too many people love darkness more than light…Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.”
That’s why Psalm 2 appeals to our intelligence: “Be wise! Be smart! Don’t be so stupid! Choose God!”
The difference between smart and stupid people is smart people choose God and stupid people don’t.
It’s like that banner that pops up around Christmas every year: “Wise men still seek Him!”
Gump is right: “Stupid is as stupid does.”
It’s so stupid to try to live without God; and only really, really, really stupid people do that.
It’s so smart to live in/through/for God; and all really, really, really saved people do that.
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!