Thursday, September 19, 2019
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms 67
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms
“America, Bless God!”
David’s Psalm 67 is an invitational, inclusive, and welcoming call to worship God for everyone regardless of color, class, or culture.
It reminds us of the many times that Paul says God shows no socioeconomic favoritism that will be evident to all at history’s conclusion: “Every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of Father God.”
When all is said and done, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of Father God.
David calls everyone to worship: “Let all the peoples praise You, God! Let all nations rejoice and shout for joy!”
David says worship is the most important and only indispensable activity of God’s family: “People show respectful gratitude to God in worship! People become happy and shout their happiness in worship!”
David says everyone is ultimately accountable to God: “You judge people with fairness!”
David says it is the responsibility of people that know God to make Him known: “May God be gracious to us and bless us; look on us with favor so that His favor may be known on earth and His salvation be known among all people everywhere!”
It brings our Lord’s great commission to mind: “You will be my witnesses everywhere with everyone to the ends of the earth!..Preach, teach, baptize, and save!”
Our Lord’s great commission is the practical implication of His great commandment: “Love the Lord your God with your head and heart and gut; and love every member of His family because that proves you love God!”
Jesus also put it this way, “Love each other just as much as I have loved you.”
That means gifting grace, mercy, and forgiveness wrapped in love to everyone no matter who, what, where, when, or why.
It doesn’t mean liking them.
It means loving them.
It doesn’t mean liking their behaviors.
It means agape loving them which is praying and working for their highest good regardless of who, what, where, when, or why without the need or expectation for response, regard, or reward.
Again, like Jesus loves us.
The greatest expression of God’s love for us is confident living in the assurance of eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus which means the greatest expression of love for others that expresses our love for God is to point them to God for that confident living in the assurance of eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus.
Like David sang and prayed in Psalm 67, it means those who know God’s love climaxing in existential serenity because of eternal security aka salvation in heaven make Him known to everyone so they may experience and express the same.
Dan Pope, the faithful pastor of Belvidere’s Open Bible Church, let me read his copy of the 2019 Barna Group report on the realities of sharing faith titled Reviving Evangelism.
It confirmed my suspicion, to paraphrase Gandhi, that lots of folks might become Christians if it weren’t for Christians; which is why I often tell the unchurched not to blame Jesus for Christians that need more Jesus in their lives.
While the Korean and WWII generation remains the most faithful in America (age 73+), churches really have their work cut for them when it comes to baby boomers (ages 54 to 72), Generation X (ages 35-53), Millennials (ages 20-34), and Generation Z (younger than 20).
Still, despite the challenges and causes for the challenges that the book outlines so well with the inauthenticity of too many pewsitters and pulpiteers being the greatest turn-off to people that might be interested in Jesus but can’t get to Him through those posers, those who know Jesus have an opportunity to save people for confident living in the assurance of eternal life by taking up their responsibility of making Jesus known.
I like how the book heralds that opportunity and responsibility: “The Church’s mission is to spread the mission of saving, sacrificial love and ultimate hope that Jesus commissioned His followers to proclaim.”
In other words, people that know Jesus make Him known.
Christians aren’t supposed to keep Jesus to themselves.
The loving thing to do is to share Him.
Of course, if people don’t share Jesus with others, it means they either don’t think others need Him or don’t really know Him themselves; or as somebody said, “You can’t give away what you ain’t got for yourself.”
The Barna book betrays that fact: “If you go to a fantastic restaurant or watch an unforgettable movie, what’s the first thing you want to do after you savor the moment? Share it!”
Speculations abound when we hear people talking so much about the Yankees, Cubs, Bears, Packers, and maybe even White Sox and see ‘em wearing all of those trinkets blaring their loyalties; yet, when it comes to Jesus,…crickets.
Back on August 25, 2019, I began preparing people that say they’re Christians for November 3, 2020 by saying it’s easy to figure out who should get the votes of people that say they’re Christians.
All ya gotta do is take each candidate’s platforms, pontifications, and previous practices and put ‘em side by side with what we know about Jesus by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit that never contradicts Jesus by the book.
If you’re an authentic Christians, that’s what you’ll do.
If you’re a poser and not really that devoted to Jesus, you’ll come up with another formula.
Pero, again, if you’re a Christian, you’ll want to honor Jesus by your vote; or as my friend Cliff blurted out during a big church meeting in Pittsburgh many years ago before a big ballot on something, “Vote for Jesus!”
Believe Him, how we vote says a lot about who Jesus is to us.
Is He our Lord or not?
If He is our Lord, we want our votes to reflect His values.
If so, so.
If not, not.
Faith-sharing is for all people in all places at all times.
We are not Christians some of the time or when it’s convenient or popular.
Being a Christian in time has eternal consequences; or as Samuel noted the difference between people like Saul and people like David, “God honors those who honor Him.”
That’s good to remember when singing, “God, bless America!”
We can’t expect God to bless America if we’re not trying to bless God in America.
David’s Psalm 67 calls people who know God to worship Him and make Him known as the only key to unlocking confident living in the assurance of eternal life.
So vote for Jesus!
He’s good for the country.
He’s good for the soul.
And souls last forever.