Sunday, June 2, 2019
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms 54
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms
“Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place”
It’s a common idiom to indicate the stress of decision-making.
Commonly, it means we have to choose between two equally unappealing options; kinda like the last race for governor in Illinois.
Practically, when we choose the lesser of the unappealing options, it becomes the more positive action over the more pejorative one; kinda like going to the dentist instead of living with a toothache.
When it comes to living confidently with strong calm sanity because we know we’re going to live forever by grace through faith in Jesus, there is a really, really, really bad eternal option and a really, really, really excellent eternal one.
Know Jesus or No Jesus.
No Jesus means a life of doubt, stress, fear, an unquenchable quest for the extended life warranty of a Timex to keep on ticking when everybody knows everybody will return home from the graveside but…uh, oh…you or me or…sooner or later.
What a way not to live.
That’s what No Jesus means.
Uh, no trip.
Know Jesus means life with wholeness, happiness, joy, and eternal security.
Jesus said life with Him is “joy-filled” and “abundant” or “overflowing” with blessings.
Instead of feeling flushed, rushed, and razzle-dazzled by every trip to the doctor and every threat of life in an increasingly dangerous-to-our-health-and-wellness world, we have that strong calm sanity generated by knowing Jesus and the paradise to come a nano-second après the last breath by grace through faith in Jesus.
It’s the only way to go.
If not, get Him in any local church with a pastor that loves Jesus by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit that never contradicts Jesus by the book.
Everybody feels caught between a rock and a hard place every now and then; and knowing Jesus is the only sure solid foundation to endure, overcome, and live triumphantly in time and forever.
Remember, Jesus is the solid rock foundation of life and eternity; and knowing Him guarantees safety and security: “A wise man builds his house on rock…[Jesus!]…so that when the inevitable rains and winds and disasters of life in time come, the house doesn’t collapse.”
That’s why Jesus looked at Peter and said to him, “Peter, you are a rock; and on this rock…[referring to Himself]…, I will build My Church and no one nor no thing will be able to destroy it.”
Peter was emphatic: “Jesus is the chief cornerstone!
Whoever believes in Him will never be put to shame!”
No Jesus is no way to live.
Know Jesus is the only way to live here and now and forever with serenity in time and certainty about eternity.
David knew all about being between a rock and a hard place.
He was surrounded my enemies.
Yet, the saving grace in his life was knowing God who said from the beginning, “Let us make man in Our image” which means Father God, saving Son, and Sustaining Spirit predestined our present, perpetual, and permanent relationship with our triune God.
Knowing his need for God, David prayed, “Save me, God! I’m desperate for your help! Outlaws are out to get me! They want to kill me! They don’t acknowledge You or know You or fear You!”
When David begs God for deliverance from evil, he reminds God that God’s reputation is at stake: “Save me by Your name!”
It’s reminiscent of Psalm 23’s plea, “He leads me…He restores me…for His name’s sake.” God’s saving graces prove He takes care of His family.
Like every child of God that knows to thank God in advance for the eventual victory over dangers, discouragements, and death, David praises the salvific incarnations of God: “God is my helper! God’s on my side! He is the Good Shepherd who beats away the bad guys! God finishes them off!”
When I was in seminary, Dr. Macleod often said, “God acts for our salvation in Jesus by grace through faith and we respond in grateful worship.”
Or as John explained, “We love because He first loved us.”
God acts on our behalf as Father God, Saving Son Jesus, and encouraging and enlightening Holy Spirit; and we respond in faith-filled-and-overflowing worship, service of loving Him back by loving like He has loved us, and sharing His gospel that we are not supposed to keep to ourselves.
I moderate a lot of church meetings on the corner of Lincoln and Main and lots of other places as a presbyter.
One early morning after a particularly laborious, painstaking, befuddling, and irritating meeting the night before, I was walking as I always do for physical exercise and early prayer; and as I kept going over how I could have been more helpful in that awful meeting, God seemed to say, “You are trying too hard. It’s not that difficult. Just do what I have already revealed to you.”
Immediately, I realized we have a tendency to complicate our lives; thinking we’re always between a rock and hard place.
If we do this, somebody’s gonna be mad and maybe divorce themselves from us.
If we do that, somebody’s gonna be mad and maybe divorce themselves from us.
I realized, again, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
If we’re gonna catch everything but heaven for anything we say and do, let’s just do the right thing as revealed to us in Jesus by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit that never contradicts Jesus by the book.
It’s not that complicated.
Just trust Him as Savior and obey Him as Lord and we’ll live happily ever after and escape the captivities of being caught between a rock and a hard place.
When Jesus is our rock/cornerstone/keystone, we are unstoppable, irrepressible, and undeniably whole, happy, joyful, and secure with a strong calm sanity that is compelling, convincing, and contagious.
Trust and obey seems like fidelity’s formula.
It’s not that complicated.
I think of desert father Poemen who said, “I will explain why we must struggle so desperately. It is because we do not love others as the Scripture teaches.”
Indeed, if we loved each other like Jesus loves us, our nation, churches, families, and every relationship would be laced with grace, mercy, and forgiveness wrapped together by agape.
Then and only then, we would be able to live well together.
We wouldn’t be caught between a rock and a hard place.
It’s the difference between those who Know Jesus and those with No Jesus.
It’s that simple.
Know Jesus or No Jesus.
Only One is comfortable…instantaneously…and infinitely.
Blessings and Love!