Friday, March 1, 2019

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 43

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“The Fact of Feeling Good”

          Have you ever met someone who’s always right?

          They remind me of the college sophomore who said, “I was the most conceited person on campus last year; but this year, you won’t find a nicer person around.”

          You know what I mean.

          What makes ‘em so infuriating is they’ll insist they’re right even when presented with facts proving ‘em wrong.

          They’re so exasperating because they’ll be at the meeting or in a class or around the dinner table or on Twitter or Facebook of wherever insisting they’re right no matter what anyone says or how many are saying it.

          “The Bob Rule” comes to mind.

          BTW, I did not come up with this rule; for if I did, you might have read one of my books and I wouldn’t be trailing the toothy guy in Texas by about a trillion to one in sales. 

          Be that as it is by the indisputable fact that I’ve never had a bestseller and even my family admits they don’t read what I write because they’re too busy with the more important things on Facebook, I’ve used “The Bob Rule” with some efficacy when counseling someone who’s always right.

          The rule goes like this: “If everyone disagrees with you and says you’re wrong, you may be right; but if everyone disagrees with you and says you’re wrong, you may want to consider the possibility that they’re right and you’re wrong.”

          It’s like I often repeat in marriage counseling: “There are three sides to every story – her side, his side, and the truth.”

          Of course, you know how that goes; which brings us back to “The Bob Rule.”

          It is a basic rule of parliamentary procedure.
          It’s how American representative democracy works; and don’t forget our republic’s governance came from presbyterianism or decision-making by majority rule in which ordered groups with the most votes win rather than some kinda monarchical dictatorship known as kings or state dictatorship known as socialism.

          Majority rules.

          Whoever gets the most votes wins; unless, of course, you’re voting for President in America.

          BTW, do you know why there is an electoral college in America that determines who becomes P rather than the popular vote as in, again, who gets the most votes wins? 

          While every other election is by popular vote because it’s local or regional, our founding mothers and fathers figured out national elections needed an electoral college or every P would be the favorite of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia because of voter, uh, density.  Weighted voting seemed reasonable or the cities would rule the country.

          Today, if we went by popular vote for P rather than the weighted voting of our electoral college, it means every P would be the darling of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, California, and…

          That’s pure democracy.

          But, again, that’s not the democracy established for this republic by our founding mothers and fathers. 

          We’re a republic patterned on presbyterian governance that is constitutional and representative in which decisions are made by ordered groups not individuals.

          Before we go too far down that rabbit hole, let’s get back to majority rule.

          For the most part, it’s excellent.

          For the most part, “The Bob Rule” makes sense.

          Pero God knows there are times when the majority is wrong.

          There are times when the most votes aren’t a measure of fidelity.

          Sometimes the majority elects the wrong people and puts ‘em in charge.

          That’s why we keep talking about the remnant in today’s America.

          The remnant in government that still sees the Constitution as the manual of operations.

          The remnant in churches that still sees Jesus as Master and the Bible as its manual of operations.

          There are times in history when the minority is right even though majority rules.

          Again, while it seems “majority rules” has worked best throughout most of history and especially in America for the health, welfare, life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all not just the few with the most money and power, there have been times when the minority was right despite majority rule.

          Moses, the prophets, and certainly Jesus come quickly to mind.

          David must have felt like that when inspired to write Psalm 43: “Vindicate me, God, and defend my cause against this unGodly nation…Clear my name and stick up for me against these loveless and immoral people.”

          David feels like a remnant of fidelity – vastly outnumbered by unbelievers who have seized control of church and state: “Get me out of here from these lying degenerates!  Rescue me!”

          Desperately, he turns to God while feeling abandoned by God and under the heel of those most opposed to Godliness: “You are my only refuge yet I feel rejected by You.  I count on You.  It seems like You’ve walked out on me.”

          Surely, David knows God wins in the end but, in the meantime, he feels like he’s on the losing side and under the heel of unGodlyness: “Why must I go about in sorrow because of the enemy’s oppression?  I am pacing the floor and wringing my hands over these unGodly people.”

          Anyone who loves God has felt that way.

          Anyone who loves God knows what it’s like to be in the minority in the courtroom, town council, school board, faculty lounge, bowling alley, locker room, 19th hole, and wherever two or three or more aren’t always gathered in His name.

          Anyone who loves God knows what it’s like to be hated for loving God.

          So, like David, we want God to expose ‘em: “Light up my life!  Light up the world!  Help me to overcome the darkness!”

          And, praise God, He has done that in Jesus!

          Jesus exposes the darkness!

          Jesus overcomes the darkness!

          And, praise God, we do too!

          And so, like David, we know our disappointments and depressions in the meantime, the feelings of failure and doom, are outmatched by the fact of His ultimate victory that sustains us til then.  The desired end for believers is certainly inevitable: “Let’s fix our eyes on God!  Let’s stop crying the blues!  We can get out of the dumps by depending upon Him who wins in the end!  We’re only depressed and in turmoil when we take our eyes off of Him!  Keep the big picture in mind!  See beyond the bounds of vision!  Consider heaven by grace through faith in Jesus!” 

          The fact that Jesus wins in the end and we win with Him puts an incorruptible and indestructible smile on our souls radiating from our faces.

          David’s soul brightened not because of his temporary feelings of loss and persecution but because he knew God writes the final chapter of life after life.

          When we believe that fact – trust Him through time to eternity – we always feel better than worse.

          It’s like that sobering song with the strength of faith by Katharina von Schlegel called “Be Still, My Soul.”

          Not much is known about the author who probably wrote this in the early 18th century.  Her name suggests some aristocratic link in Germany.  What is certain is she understood the feelings that David had about life not always being a hot fudge sundae and the fact that the end more than makes up for the meantime; or as Paul wrote, “I consider our present sufferings not worth comparing to the glory to come.”
          Parenthetically, this hymn is said to be the favorite of Eric Liddell who was immortalized in Chariots of Fire.  The 1924 Olympics champion who refused to run on Sunday and was a martyred missionary in China is said to have taught this hymn to other prisoners.

          The point is no one is immune to pain and suffering and disappointment in this life yet the Godly overcome the bad times with heads, hearts, and guts fixed on the One who guarantees the heavenly after the last breath through faith.

          That fact overcomes the negative feelings and inspires the good ones.

          Get out your hymnbook and sing it!

          Be still, my soul!  The Lord is on your side!
          Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain.
          Leave to your God to order and provide.
          In every change, God faithful will remain.

          Be still, my soul!  Your best, Your heavenly Friend
          through thorny ways leads to a joyful end!

          We don’t know much about the author of that hymn.

          Pero we know the Author of our lives.

          We know He loved us before the womb and will love us after the tomb.

          We know He’d just die to prove that love.

          He did.

          I think of the Scottish Protestant who figured out the meaning of the crucifix or version of the cross with the figure of Jesus on it; as he exclaimed, “Jesus loves you that much.”

          Through the cross to the crown.

          Through death in time to heavenly life forever.

          A bridge over troubled waters.

          The way through, over, and out.

          The truth overshadowing everything false, fragile, failing, falling, and fixed in time.

          The life to come so great that only one word approaches its inarticulate serenity – paradise.

          We don’t know much; but we know we love Him.

          And that’s all we need to know in the end.

          Yes, it’s lyrical – lifting the soul to get satisfaction.

          It’s so saving.

          It’s the fact of feeling good.

          Jesus loves you!

          Jesus loves the world!


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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