Monday, October 1, 2018
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 26
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms
Ever hear of Dr. Ford?
She’s famous because of Judge Kavanaugh.
Ever hear of Maria Reynolds?
If it weren’t for her, Alexander Hamilton may have become President.
When paging through history, there seems to be many women who became really famous because of many famous men for the wrong reasons and their names will always be linked.
Bathsheba, Marilyn, Anita, Monica, and Stormy will be on the tip of the tongues of Jerry Springer nation whenever names like David, JFK, Judge Thomas, President Clinton, and President Trump are invoked.
That’s the very, very, very short list.
Deep down - let’s admit it - too many Americans like dirt.
We roll around in it whether it’s a sleazy tabloid or raunchy television talk show or social networking posting.
Deeper down - though we try not to admit it - too many Americans really like it; and among the reasons is some people feel really good about what’s really rotten in the lives of others.
More than misery liking company, some people really like bad things happening to other people because it makes them feel…something…not remotely related to Jesus.
Somebody’s paying for those papers, links, cables, commercials, and other channeling cesspools proving there’s nothing original about sin.
Getting back to Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, somebody’s lying.
I know that’s a harsh word.
Pero, uh, whoever’s not telling the truth is, uh, lying.
One of them is breaking the 9th.
While Joy and Sean claim to know who’s telling the truth along with the most despicable collective cast of elected dolts in American history – Talk about a swamp! – most reasonable people wouldn’t bet the farm on either.
Pero, again, one of ‘em is lying.
One of ‘em is telling such a whopper that the other’s life will be permanently tainted and possibly ruined.
Thank God that never happens In churches.
I’m not sure sarcasm is a gift of the Holy Spirit buuuuuuut, sometimes, it helps to make the point in a humorous way; or as I often told homiletics students, “Get ‘em laughing and then stick in the double-edged knife of truth.”
Anyway, a doubles tennis tournament many years ago comes to mind.
It was a friendly club tournament; and in the first rounds, the calls were made by the players.
You know, an honors system.
Well, I hit an ace right down the middle on the line and one of the guys on the other side yelled, “Out!”
I started running toward the net in a Christian kinda way to argue the call but my partner stopped me, calmed me, and whispered into my ear, “God knows.”
God knows who is telling the truth and who is not.
Alexander Hamilton, David, and many other believers have told the truth when caught with their pants down.
Others have not.
Others have lied.
Some accusers are liars.
Some defendants are liars.
One of the painful things that I’ve learned over the years is people lie when the truth doesn’t help them to get what they don’t deserve.
Thank God that never happens in Springfield, DC, newspapers, talk shows, or, uh, gulp, sigh, geez…churches.
Sarcasm can be salty after that first humorous lick.
And while some folks like Joy and Sean and the swamp-dwellers in DC and their kin in entertainment, education, ecclesiastics, and fakes news from left and right pontificate on their discernments for social, political, and personal advantages, no one except God really, really, really knows.
That’s a big part of Psalm 26.
While we can only speculate on the particulars, David is really, really, really bummed out by false accusations against him: “Clear my name, God! They’re saying I hang out with hypocrites, evildoers, tricksters, thugs, gangsters, and double-dealers.”
Reminiscent of Psalm 17, David appeals to the better parts of his character or those times when he hasn’t been a jerk: “Examine me. You know I’ve always been on Your side. I’ve done my best to be Yours in all things at all times in all places with all people. I’m washed up. I’ve cleaned up. I’m not on the dark side.”
Knowing God knows and will vindicate him in the end while knowing he’s still gonna catch anything but heaven in time because people have been lying since the first family got kicked out of the garden, David concludes, as one of our Sunday School classes on the corner of Lincoln and Main assures with a poster, “You Are Safe” with God and the truly, authentically, consistently, and not 9th-breaking Godly.
With a stabilizing strength sadly spiced with the reality of living in a world filled with too many lying haters, David concludes there is really only One who provides a really serenely safe place: “Lord, I love the house where You dwell, the place where Your glory dwells. I love life with You. Yours is the real safe house.
I think that’s why the risen Lord told John the Revelator that God is worshipped 24/7/365 in heaven.
It’s heavenly to be safe.
It’s heavenly when the lies and other bad stuff of time end.
Believers know that’s why we are at His best in worship.
That’s why people who worship are strong, calm, safe, and secure in a world that’s increasingly maddening.
Truth is everything’s been going to everywhere but heaven since the garden.
It’s been downhill ever since God created the “good” and we turned it into less than His best intentions.
The good news in our world of so much bad news is we can still be safely loved by taking His extended hand and walking with Him from here to eternity.
That’s when the good outweighs the bad in time as the preface to the good having no room for the bad in heaven.
The only way to overcome the meantime when people are lying and hitting and hurting so savagely is to hang with God.
That’s David’s urging in this psalm.
Hang with God or get hung up by the meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance of life in the modern world.
Or as some of our friends say so aptly, “Let go and let God!…Do your best and leave the rest to God!”
Or as preaching professor Bert Atwood urged seminarians so many years ago, “Trust Jesus and, in everything else, hang loose!”
God knows who’s not lying.
God knows who’s on His side.
Seeing that big picture doesn’t ease all of the pain.
Just ask Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, Maria, Alexander, David, Bathsheba, Anita, Clarence, Bill, Monica, Donald, Stormy,…you…me…everyone.
Yet seeing the big picture – God knowing and guaranteeing the wiping away of every tear and pain and disappointment of life in the end – provides a strength, calm, sanity, and irrepressible optimism of inevitable victory.
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!