Thursday, March 7, 2019

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 44

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“Picking Relatives”

          While she meant well - noting my daddy always said the road to hell is paved with good intentions – a lot of parents were offended by a rather enthusiastic high school football fan who wore a sweatshirt to games with an emblazoned boast or invitation or both on it: “Mother of All ___s!”

          The blank is for the nickname of the team.

          The blank is also for some of the parents who were really, really, really offended.

          Again, I trusted her intentions.

          She just wanted everybody to know how much she loved the players.

          I think of Aunt Gen; or, at least, that’s what she wanted me to call her.

          I didn’t.

          When I got to the church in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, she introduced herself to me as “Aunt Gen” and said she was everybody’s “Aunt Gen” and now mine.

          Well, I never called her “Aunt Gen” and she confronted me about it after a few years: “Why don’t you call me Aunt Gen?”

          I said, “Because you aren’t my Aunt Gen. I love you as a sister in the Lord; but you’re just not my Aunt Gen. I already have lots of aunts and uncles and you’re not one of them.”

          She bought it…reluctantly…with a snarky grunt.

          Confessionally, I’ve always been suspicious of folks who want to be called my or your or anybody’s mom or dad or aunt or uncle when they’re not really.

          There are exceptions; but most of ‘em seem to have some kinda need left for the shrink.

          Maybe they weren’t that hot to their own relatives and trying to make up for it or have some kinda control need or have some kinda ego need or…

          I don’t know; but it just doesn’t seem right.

          Maybe I’m reading too much into it; but it comes close to my shared disdain with God’s Decalogue , the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles against idolatry or the detouring and distracting of the affection, allegiance, and affirmation due God alone.

          Our real relatives deserve real recognition for their place in our lives and there’s just something not totally right about people who infringe on what’s real.

          Besides, only our real moms and dads at His best are always there to change our diapers and pick up after us and come through for us and love us no matter who, what, where, when, or why when others bail because they’re not really related to us and don’t really care for us and aren’t really prepared to love us…to death.

          O.K., if I were convinced the mother of all ___s and Aunt Gen were gonna do that, then maybe…

          Getting back to God which is always best, God is our most reliable relative from here to eternity.

          He has loved us to death.

          Get it/Him?

          David understood that.

          While even our closest relatives disappoint us on occasion, we still trust them more than less.

          That’s how David felt about God.

          He sang about it in Psalm 44.

          David esteemed God for history being His story; praising God’s past favors as an assurance of future favors: “Our forefathers have told us all about You, O God, and how You always came through for them sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end.”

          God’s previous reliability fueled David’s present trust: “You’re my King, O God!…You will give victory to us!”

          Pero David also admits some disappointments in the meantime: “Where are you now?  Have you rejected us?  We’re being humiliated by our enemies that are Your enemies.  We feel like sheep before the butcher.  Aren’t you going to deliver us from the evil one and its accomplices?  If You love us so much, help us right now!”

          David’s ultimate trust in God coming through for him sooner than later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end is not shaken by disappointments in the meantime: “All of this has happened to us, but we have not forgotten You or betrayed Your covenant.  Our hearts have not turned away from You.  Our steps have not strayed from Your path.  We trust You.  We believe You will wake up to our plight and save us.”

          Most expositors assume David wrote this after losing a particular battle.

          He was disappointed that God did not help him to win.

          Yet, he still kept the faith that God always takes His people from the agony of defeat to the thrill of victory, again, sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end.

          That is the sustaining hope/expectation of belief.

          God delivers.

          Jesus saves.

          He is our most reliable relative.

          Father God.

          Saving Son.

          Sustaining Spirit.

          I go back to Psalm 37 that I often repeat and repeat and repeat when the storms of life threaten to overwhelm me: “I was young.  But having been around as long as I’ve been, I know God comes through sooner or later, usually sooner or later, and definitely in the end if we stick with Him.”

          Like you and all believers, I can say that about Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
          None of us can really say that about folks posing to be our moms or dads or aunts or uncles or…

          The real family by grace through faith in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit knows who can be counted on right now and forever.

          To keep that trust fueled, we must stay close to Him.

          I think of the first real Bible that was given to me: “To Bobby Kopp from the Junior Fellowship of the First Presbyterian Church of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania on May 18, 1964.”

          I’ll never forget these lines from the back of it about reading the Bible: “Butterflies cover more ground, but bees gather more honey…Do not read too fast…It takes time and labor to secure it…Learn to feed yourself…Read the Bible!”

          Then there’s this summary in one sentence: “The key to the whole Bible is Jesus Christ.”

          Now here are the lines that have really stayed with me for almost six decades: “Do not expect ever to exhaust the full meaning of Scripture.  A supernatural God must have a supernatural book.  Finite minds cannot grasp the infinite.  That is one reason why men who know the Bible best find it ever new.”

          Then I read and have often read again to remind myself, “George Muller wrote that he had read the Bible through a hundred times in order, and every time with increasing joy.”

          Not too long ago, I came across this conclusion from Muller: “Great has been the blessing from consecutive, diligent, daily study.  I look upon it as a lost day when I have not had a good time over the Word of God.”

          While I have no doubts about God’s providence in my life, I have many regrets about how I have squandered so many opportunities to honor Him with my greatest regret in life being spending more time in books about the Bible than spending time in devotional reading of the Bible itself.

          I know I would have been a much better husband, father, son, brother, uncle, pastor, presbyter, and person if I had spent more time reading the Bible than reading books about the Bible.

          Fortunately, I’m still breathing and can make up for wasted time.

          Here’s the point.
          Trust in God increases as we stay in touch with God.

          There is no better way to stay in touch with God than in the worship generated by intimacy with the Word in Jesus by the book.

          That’s the message of Psalm 44 as reiterated throughout Holy Scripture and testimonies of the faithful.

          Only by staying in touch with God through intimacy with the Word enfleshed in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture can we make it from here to eternity or through the meantime to heavenly glory.


Blessings and Love!


Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt! Shine! Leavenate!





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