Psalms…And A Prayer For This Day

Sweden’s Dag Hammarskjold, who traveled the world as Secretary -General of the United Nations always took these three items with him as he traveled. A copy of the New Testament, a copy of the Psalms and a copy of The United Nations Charter. Psalms presents to us God’s claim upon the whole world and speaks to God’s will that there be justice, righteousness and peace for all peoples and nations. In the twentieth century the predominate approach to Psalms has been historical but we are reminded by the writings of J Clinton McCann JR. that there is also a theological side to the Psalms. It is not my intent at this time to delve into a study of Psalms but some background information is always good. Sometime in future blogs I will return to this rich source of God’s will for his people.

My concern this day is the evil that hides no more but instead challenges the good of this life and leads to the loss of hope in better days to come. It is the evil of the hate of a few toward the good of many. Jesus turned the world upside down while the evil of this day turns it inside out. In considering the theology of Psalms we must start with the very first verse, of the very first Psalm, whose very first word of consideration of these powerful writings, a word that sets the standard definition of human happiness as one of being thoroughly God centered, Happy…

Psalm 1: 1-2

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,

or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;

2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord,

Best translated people’s happiness comes from their complete orientation of living their lives for God and are always open to God’s instruction.

Psalm 12 speaks to us across all this time as the very foundations of our nation are under attack and the prevalence of wickedness is at the forefront of the behavior of many. There is the plea for help amid this human corruption, the deceptive speech, and actions that hurt the poor and the needy. There is a lack of good people who are now being marginalized by the lies and false claims of others, claiming to care, while all the while their evil continues to destroy all that is around them. It is a plea for God to deal with the evil that surrounds us and those who would exalt such vile behavior. But as we read this Psalm verse five leaps off the page…There is the assurance that God has heard the plea of his people and he will lift up and protect his people.

  (NRSV)Psalm 12   Plea for Help in Evil Times

1 Help, O Lord, for there is no longer anyone who is godly;
the faithful have disappeared from humankind.

2 They utter lies to each other;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
the tongue that makes great boasts,

4 those who say, “With our tongues we will prevail;
our lips are our own—who is our master?”

5 “Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,
I will now rise up,” says the Lord;
“I will place them in the safety for which they long.”

6 The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

7 You, O Lord, will protect us;
you will guard us from this generation forever.

8 On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among humankind.

Life is Good

Jk

Sources : New Interpreter’s Bible Volume IV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ecclesiastes….Reflections Of Qohelet…Teacher…Preacher

I was drawn to this Book which resulted in this weeks blog because of the obvious human sorrow of the writer. We today are in a time of great vexation and now more than ever we need God in our lives. jk

The last few weeks we have dealt with some books of contentious thought and this week is no different. Ecclesiastes is a book that is many things too many different people but seems to hold a majority of thought, or consensus that most believers find to be baffling and to some even wrongheaded. From the get-go there were strong efforts to exclude it from the list of sacred books and even now it has a very small place in liturgical practice. In Jewish liturgical practice it is of greater use only because it is one of the five scrolls that are read at the festivals. It is said that this book encourages conversation because of its grasp of the truth. That, however is quickly walked back by those who say its value is it serves as a dark background against the shining light of the gospel. There is a wealth of information available about the book of Ecclesiastes, extensive and easily available. The one question that is asked in most commentaries….Who wrote Ecclesiastes or better yet who is Qohelet in Ecclesiastes? This question after all this time has not gained a solid acknowledgement that it was Solomon. Is he Qoheleth, the teacher and in turn the Preacher. The following is from gotquestions.org  :  All in all, there seems to be no solid evidence against Solomon’s identity as the Qoheleth, and a fair amount of circumstantial evidence supporting it. The most common conclusion, therefore, is that the Preacher of Ecclesiastes is Solomon, the son of David. There is no end to the uniqueness of these writings. Qohelet speaks of toil and life as practically one and the same. People find themselves in a world devoid of the presence and friendship of God, leaving them to fend for themselves on hard ground, living a life in constant toil that only ends in death. The name of this book signifies “The Preacher.” (Matthew Henry) …So let’s begin here. The wisdom of God comes to us through the words of Solomon. Some write that here close to the end of his life he recognizes his sins and follies, perhaps we might think of these writings as the book of his repentance. Whatever the view we choose it is painfully clear that the vanity of the world cannot make us happy and the vileness of sin is sure to make us miserable. All that we consider or have created cannot satisfy our souls. Our happiness will be found only in God. Those teachings and doctrine that come from God and lead to the heart of Christ, they alone matter. Follow now as we break down this 1st Chapter.

In Ecclesiastes 1: 1-3,  Solomon shows that all human things are vain. Solomon returns from a broken and empty world and begins to address his bitterness and disappointment, along with the lessons he has learned. ‘If there is any value in my words let those who accept this warning turn and live and go on to warn others’. I think here I might inject the fact that most of us value our stuff too much.We are vain in our attempts to accumulate. We labour hard for this stuff and fail to realize that all the wealth this world has to offer will never be enough to make us happy, our vanity will never allow that.We never seem to know when enough is enough. The lesson the Teacher imparts to us is that it cannot satisfy our soul, nor can it atone for the sins of our soul. The wealth of the world will be of no use in death and the judgement of the soul that is to come. As we move to vv. 4-8 we are told that all things never cease to change. Just as there is never any rest for the sun, the wind or the flow of a river, the soul of man will find no rest if is not from God. We are a sorry lot. Even as we grow weary we still seek that which we have not yet attained. In vv. 9-11 The Teacher laments that men’s hearts are as corrupted as they were in days past. Their desires, pursuits and complaints remain the same as in years gone by. We might have expected them and even ourselves today, given the state we find ourselves in, to seek happiness in the eternal blessings. It is even noted here that the things and the people who were thought to be great are remembered no more. We close out this chapter vv. 12-18 noting this quote from Matthew Henry’s commentary, “Solomon tried all things, and found them vanity.” He, Solomon, is weary in mind and body. He could get no satisfaction from his sins and past follies and found them no good to others. As he pursued knowledge and wisdom he began to see the wickedness and misery men inflicted on each other. These revelations only served to increase the lament and mourning that tortured his soul.

We would do well to hate and fear sin, which has been the source  of our vanity and misery. We must learn to seek and value a relationship with Christ. It is here we will find rest, knowledge and love in the service of our Savior.

 Please read Ecclesiastes Chapter 1 and thank you for coming by the Pew this week.

Life is Good

jk

Source Material: NIB Volume 5.    Matthew Henry Commentary 

Proverbs..Wisdom… The Upside of Knowledge

In biblical studies wisdom literature designates certain books of the OT and NT as well as selected books from the Apocrypha as being under this umbrella. With this in mind and with the situation we face as to the virus and racial unrest in our world, one would hope and I recommend a good dose of wisdom, lots of it. The wisdom I speak of is the wisdom of God. Wisdom is a good thing, it is found throughout all the ages and comes from all races and ethnicities and because it is of God it is available to all. I repeat myself but it is worth the time and space….Knowledge is an acquired value that comes with study, experience and time. The Wisdom of God has no boundaries and is a gift of God.

Biblical wisdom is a tradition that raises questions of values, moral behavior, the meaning of human life, and the right conduct. From a theological perspective for some it could represent the fear of God but again the reasoning could be in a willingness to  submit to the will of God, such action being the beginning of wisdom. Through wisdom God gave order to chaos; and since humans have life and prosperity by conforming to the order of creation, seeking wisdom is a wise path to take for a successful Christian life.

Wisdom cannot be described in a single brief definition there are other aspects to be considered. Having knowledge is a practical way of understanding how the world works, made even better by having the wisdom of how and when to apply wisdom.The French have a term for wisdom…savoir-faire. It is important to know how to act or do, rather than to know. This is a hard one for us of ordinary thought but consider it this way. There are a lot of things we know even when divorced from the action itself. Practical knowledge comes from involvement and that involvement creates a wisdom gained of experience. We must consider that human wisdom has limits. The book of wisdom focuses on divine wisdom which, Solomon intensely prayed that it be given to him. Wisdom as a human task and a divine gift is reconciled when acquired through experience and obedience and given by God. God’s wisdom is an object of constant reflection in the Bible.  There is  intimacy between wisdom and God to be found in Proverbs 8: 22-36. 

I could have just given you the scripture reference but I wanted to be sure you were able to read it.

Proverbs 3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Trust and Honor God

My child, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments;

for length of days and years of life
and abundant welfare they will give you.

Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

So you will find favor and good repute
in the sight of God and of people.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.

In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body.

Honor the Lord with your substance
and with the first fruits of all your produce;

10 

then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.

11 

My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,

12 

for the Lord reproves the one he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.

Despite the fact that by all standards we are perhaps the best educated people to inhabit this earth we lack the most important and freely given gift that our creator has for us. Wisdom…The Wisdom that comes from God, the true wisdom that comes with the humble recognition of our limits and of God’s transcendence that makes all life fuller. Even in today’s turmoil, life can have a clear direction and goal that a Godly person can attain. There is a divine energy that occurs between people when they are in tune with God and with God’s purposes. Earnestly and prayerfully seek that great gift of wisdom….God’s Wisdom.

God Bless..Life is Good

jk

Resource Material: The New Interpreter’s Bible Volume 5

Church Matters

I am not sure how long it has been but it would be safe to say it has been a few “Months of Sundays.” The new slogan of note is followed by the word Matters. Society in general is big on slogans and often short on substance. We get into debates over the content or context of the slogan, and heaven help you if you do not get the context correct in which it is used. Example…Black Lives Matter…All Lives Matter, both convey a message of affirmation of worth. But even these have at times become embroiled in the issue of race. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a clarion call to Life, all life. It is important that people of the faith community fellowship among one another and with God as his people in Holy Unity. We should strive to come together through a closer bond with God and one another. The Church must foster love for one another and love for God. One important role of the Church should be to recognize that many people carry burdens from life due to the changes and chances of life itself. As a Christian it is our duty to get them on their feet again.

Those who would find fellowship with God are committed to a life of goodness which reflects God’s goodness. The New Testament scholar C. H. Dodd writes: ‘The Church is a society of people who, believing in a God of pure goodness, accept the obligation to be good like him.’  None of us are perfect and never will be but it is of good and sound practice to aspire to a life that seeks to make us aware of our obligations, work to fulfill them and seek penitence when we fail. We will soon realize that the closer to God we come, the terrible reality of sin is clearer to us. Ephesians  5: 15-21 we learn some things about the early church and its gatherings. It was a happy church, a singing church, whose love of God was put forth in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. The joy and happiness within the church brought people together. Church is a place of thankfulness. Here among believers we are encouraged to give thanks for all things that God has done for his people. It is here that we come to know the wonder of God’s love for all and are aware of the joy of fellowship in his name.

People of the early church honored and respected each other because they saw others through Christ’s eyes and recognized the dignity of everyone. Home life in the early church was heavily influenced by Christianity. These verses from Colossians 3: 16-17 suggests the way to remain in the love of Christ is to allow him to be a part of our emotions, by accepting his leading we cannot go wrong.

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Church Matters, more now than ever, the coming together to praise and glorify God as many but of one mind and spirit is a powerful part of who we are. Even in the times before the early church Jews who could not muster the number needed to have a Synagogue where they were living, would seek out a place where they could come together even in a small number. Even the early church, who were at the start largely populated by Jews who had accepted Christ’s call with the added number of Gentiles who had heard the word and accepted Jesus Christ, sought places to come together and worship and fellowship.

Consider this…The many ways we have to do church in these days of digital aids can and never will be as powerful as the in person fellowship that can only happen when two or more, come together face to face in unity to praise Jesus Christ and worship our God, our creator and salvation.

Life is Good

jk

What Can We Do?…. The Answer My Friends Lies In A Prayer…

A Christian Perspective

A short blog this week. Too many words are being written and too much being said. We all need time for quiet reflection that we might seek the peace that only comes from God. As we search for ways to come together as a nation I offer these words for your consideration. We will find no peace or justice in this world when every conversation begins with condemnation and is preceded by a long list of injustices to race or ethnicity. We must learn to value people. How do we do that? You may find it hard to believe but the first thing we have to do is accept the premise that if our conversations begin with the usual notation of race or gender, we are confronted by what is and we need to move on to what can be. Where there is true peace we will find love, pardon, faith, hope, light and joy. I have had a hard time this week finding the right words to express my feelings, finding my faith being tested and trying not to become discouraged. There are several of you from different parts of the world who stop by the Pew every now and then. I want you to know how much I appreciate the vastness of our faith community. I fear for my country and for her people, I see the freedom we have slowly slipping away and even more disturbing the evil that destroys the goodness of people through fear and intimidation. I share this with you because you and the faith communities within your countries have seen destruction and persecution and yet have prevailed in the faith. Please pray for the USA, its people and for our faith to prevail and continue to praise God as a nation of believers who serve the better good. 

I shall pray this prayer every day and find strength and comfort in these words.

The Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

God’s Justice…Equally Applied, Divinely Given

No Justice, No Peace, once again we hear the Battle Cry of those who would use an injustice to others to further their evil actions. This is the cry of the looters and arsonists and those sometimes referred to as Social Justice Warriors. This week the Pew enters into an area we try to avoid but the state of the union and the lack of Godly behavior beckons us to this weeks blog topic. Now we are going to get into a web of conflicting opinions but in this day and time that is the new norm. What is Justice? How is justice distributed and applied in a fair way?   It is reasonable to expect that Justice and the laws that define it should be fair, equal and balanced for everyone. Let’s look at some varying degrees of justice. Sometime there are decisions made that elicit a response of the cliche, “ It’s all about the principles involved here.” There is always the expectation of consideration of the morals involved in a fair and just dealing between two competing claims. Are they linked to fairness, entitlement and equality? Many view justice as an exercise of three main principles. Are they allocated in such a manner that they fairly allow an equality that meet the needs of those involved? If you are still with me you may have noticed that there is a great deal of repetition and more questions than answers and clarity of thought. Justice is important to almost everyone but it is a fact that it means different things to different groups. The best way I can explain this is that those who strive for social justice are looking to make sure all people have equal economic, political, and social opportunities regardless of race, gender, or religion. The other side of justice is the legal application of the law to a situation. Justice is never black and white and justice applied without moral principles, compassion, and in support of those weaker than others is usually agenda driven and does not build the confidence of people. Justice is not an easy thing to define and even harder to apply fairly.

I will conclude this weeks blog by asserting that the only real and true justice is God’s Justice and for most all of us it is even harder to understand. From a Christian concept justice is to each what is due. The Christian view of justice encompasses all moral, political, and philosophical concepts which can be supported by a belief in and a profession of faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We find Biblical references to the word justice to be simply “make it right”. The God we serve is a just and loving God and we are called to be just and loving in our judgements of others.

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” (Psalm 89:14). 

“`Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. “`Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “`Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:15)

There is no justice in this world without God. This is difficult to understand but I do believe that George Floyd did not receive justice in this world. I do believe that what is being done in his name does him even more injustice.

May you rest in peace George Floyd, in God you will have your justice.

Life is Good

jk

A Godly Gift

I was reading through some scripture from Luke 2 and I found myself lingering for a moment, even going back a second time to read these certain verses again. Luke2: 29-32 

29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

These few short verses brought about the Song of Simeon or the Canticle of Simeon. The Canticle of Simeon, is a canticle taken from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, verses 29 through 32. There is a rich tradition herein but I will not drag you through that right now. You can google it, it makes a good read.( a hymn or chant, typically with a biblical text, forming a regular part of a church service.)

Simeon was a righteous and devout man living in Jerusalem and was at the Temple when the parents of Jesus brought him there as was Jewish law for every newborn male. Simeon was looking forward to the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit rested on him. The Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. Simeon was able to hold the baby Jesus, looking upon him he raised his eyes and voice to praise God, uttering the verses above. Here is one of the wonders of the faith….all things happen in God’s time. There was of course the journey made necessary by the decree of  Caesar Augustus that a census should be taken. Because he belonged to the house and the line of David, he and Mary who was betrothed to him, she with child, had to also make this journey. So Joseph went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judaea, to David’s town, which is called Bethlehem, from Nazareth to Bethlehem was eighty miles. Here in time Jesus was born, All in God’s time. In Luke 2:21-24 in the Temple, Jesus undergoes three ancient ceremonies every Jewish  boy must undergo.

(I) Circumcision.

(2) The Redemption of the First-born.

(3) The Purification after Childbirth.

It is here that the dream is realized and Simeon sees God’s instrument of salvation. (vv. 25-35)

There is a back story here we need to know so that all this fits into place. Simeon is present and sees God’s revelation to the world. In the last few verses of this passage lies the back story.

‘His father and mother were amazed at what was said about him. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Look you, this child is appointed to be the cause whereby many in Israel will fall and many rise and for a sign which will meet with much opposition. As for you – a sword will pierce your soul – and all this will happen that the inner thoughts of many hearts may be revealed to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (NRSV)

While the Jewish people regraded their nation as that of the chosen people, they still were able to recognize that they could never rise in the world to the greatness which they believed to be their destiny on their own. They believed that because the Jews were the chosen people they were bound someday to become masters of the world and lords of all the nations. There were some who believed there would be another like King David or someone of celestial origin would come down and the glories of earlier days would reappear again. Then there were those that waited quietly and patiently upon God. They did so in prayer, in worship and with humble and faithful expectation. They waited upon the Lord for the day he would comfort his people, enter Simeon. God had promised Simeon through the Holy Spirit that before he died he would see God’s anointed king. His earlier words in vv. 29-32 would later become one of the great hymns of the Church. We then find in 34 a summery of the work and fate of Jesus.

(1) He will be the cause whereby many will fall. 

(2) He will be the cause whereby many people rise. 

(3) He will meet with much opposition. 

What about that Godly Gift? We find it in verse 32…..

32 

a light for revelation to the Gentiles

 and for glory to your people Israel.”

So long ago, so meaningful today all in ‘God’s Time.’

Be patient and wait upon the Lord in faith, better days are ahead.

Life is Good

jk

One-fifty-one / Outside The Number / Supernumerary

We are going to explore some biblical writings that are not considered to be Canonical, those books which are declared by the canons of the church to be of divine inspiration; – called collectively the canon. The Roman Catholic Church holds as canonical several books which Protestants reject as apocryphal. Believers consider these books to be inspired by God or an accurate history of the relationship between God and his people. Here is the best explanation of Apocrypha, the other book on the shelf in today’s blog.

Apocrypha” was also applied to writings that were hidden not because of their divinity but because of their questionable value to the church. Many in Protestant traditions cite Revelation 22:18–19 as a potential curse for those who attach any canonical authority to extra-biblical writings such as the Apocrypha. (wikipedia)

This week we expand our View From The Pew, leave the familiar and travel on new ground for many of us. This week we go to some writings that are of a biblical nature but not accepted by bible scholars. Apocrypha are works, that were written having at least two points of contention, that of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin. Biblical apocrypha are a set of texts included in the Septuagint and Latin Vulgate but not in the Hebrew Bible. The Septuagint is a Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament), including the Apocrypha, made for Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt in the 3rd and 2nd centuries bc and adopted by the early Christian Churches. The Old Testament Apocrypha, was simply known as “the Apocrypha,” a collection of Jewish books that were included in the Old Testament canons of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians, but not of Protestants. There is much more here to be learned but to keep it simple at this time, they are a collection of books composed in Hebrew and  never were accepted by the Jews as part of the Hebrew canon. They were bounced around and used by Christians as early as the first century a.d. They made it into Christian copies of the Greek Old Testament and, later, the Latin Vulgate. Protestant Reformers viewed these books as having a unique authority within the Hebrew canon and agreed they were useful reading, however after a period of time they fell into disuse among Protestants. Psalm 151 is a short psalm found in most copies of the Septuagint but not in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible. The title given to this psalm in the Septuagint indicates that it is supernumerary, and no number is affixed to it: “This Psalm is ascribed to David and is outside the number.” (Wikipedia) The word  supernumerary refers to a normal or requisite numbering not wanted or needed. The traditional Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible contain only 150 psalms.

We should take a moment to read this Psalm 151…….

Psalm 151 [Greek]

This additional psalm is said to have been written by David when he fought Goliath in single combat.

I was small among my brothers,
and the youngest of my father’s sons.
I was shepherd of my father’s sheep.

My hands made a musical instrument;
my fingers strung a lap harp.

Who will tell my Lord?
The Lord himself, the Lord hears me.

The Lord himself sent his messenger,
and took me away
from my father’s sheep.
He put special oil on my forehead
to anoint me.

My brothers were good-looking and tall,
but the Lord didn’t take
special pleasure in them.

I went out to meet the Philistine,
who cursed me by his idols.

But I took his own sword out of its sheath
and cut off his head.
So I removed the shame
from the Israelites.

I love the simplicity of the words, imagine sitting on a hill overlooking the gentle rolling pastures dotted by sheep and David telling you what had happen that day. It happened quite naturally, this look at the Psalm 151 led me to the books of the Apocrypha. One of the comments in reference to the books was that they were a bridge between the Old and New Testaments. There are 14 books of the Apocrypha and each adds to our knowledge around the history and culture of God’s people. They are often referred to as “the hidden or secret books of the Bible. I encourage you to explore these hidden books that are so rich in complementing the bible as we know it. You can google Apocrypha and start your journey there. One good book about this subject can be found at this URL listed below. Funny how one road can take you to another but all roads lead to God…He is ever present…yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Life is Good

jk

Book URL

https://www.ebay.com/i/352942742704?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-0&mkcid=2&itemid=352942742704&targetid=882887725827&device=c&mktype=pla&googleloc=1026044&poi=&campaignid=6469750705&mkgroupid=89041169916&rlsatarget=pla-882887725827&abcId=1141176&merchantid=7867094&gclid=Cj0KCQjwnv71BRCOARIsAIkxW9EdNjJcSqfkVrnJBEbQbywrdOe_Zsz9d9nMF9nJ-9n1hePI6zwIalEaAi4yEALw_wcB

Psalm 31

We find ourselves in a time of turmoil and uncertainty in these days and the days ahead are of concern for all of us. The writer of this psalm finds himself in a time of severity. This psalm begins (v. 1a) and ends (vv. 19-24) with expressions of trust in God throughout. There is the frequency of alternation between petition and trust which in some ways mirrors our own uncertainty amid this virus pandemic. Some credit David as being the author of this psalm but others point out the possibility that it was Jeremiah who proclaimed in his book that much of his faithful proclaiming of God’s word has disrupted his life. The writer asks God for deliverance and guidance. (vv. 1-5) Declares himself to be against idolatry, and confides in God, who has given him liberty, security and stability. (vv. 6-8) The anguish of his soul, aggravated by opposition from his enemies, is matched by his physical ailments. (vv.9-13) He affirms his trust in God and in God’s timing. He asks God to deliver him from shame. (vv. 14-18) In vv. 19-22, he reminds himself of who God is and how good He is. He reflects on what He has done for him before in answer to his prayer. In the final verses, 19-24 he arrives at a place of personal confidence in God and encourages other saints of God to love the Lord. He is encouraged and knows that God will give him strength.

We find many things in this psalm that we as Christians can take comfort in. We can go to God and ask his help and guidance whatever our situation might be. Praising God and giving Him credit, remembering all he has done for us gives us confidence in our ability to be secure and stable in an uncertain world. We are free to express our anguish at the troubles of this life trusting in God to deliver us. We can give thanks for the assurance of the goodness of God in our life, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Lastly there is the joy of sharing these things with others of the faith. God will prevail, His will be done. We can repeat the last two verses of this psalm with conviction of faith and trust:

23 Love the Lord, all you his saints.The Lord preserves the faithful, but abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily. 24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.

Consider this….The psalmist knew that the real meaning of the gospel is in constant conflict with most of the customs and attitudes of his day. For those of the faith today it is no different. Part of the excitement of living a Christian life is that there is an adventure and challenge in every day because we never know what, when and how our faith will be challenged. As an added note God’s faithfulness and steadfast love enables us to be strong, have courage, which enables those around us to keep the faith and wait for the Lord.

God Bless, Happy Mother’s Day

Life is Good

jk

Resource Materials:  The Bible Panorama / New Interpreter’s Bible Volume IV

Trials and Tribulations… A Cliche ….A Model of Redundancy … God’s Word

Interesting play on words, trial here means trouble or misfortune , which in this case means tribulation. It actually became a cliche in the nineteenth century. In today’s world it is used more lightly than in the past. What is the difference between trials and tribulations from a faith based assessment?  “A tribulation is defined as a distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution.  … A trial is a test of the performance, qualities, or suitability of someone or something. In the sense of faith, God tests as individuals.”( www.quora.com )

On the other hand test means a critical examination, observation, or evaluation, which could then be described as a trial , of which this definition is given from a faith view; it then becomes a test of faith, patience, or stamina through subjection to suffering or temptation. Here where I live we have been under quarantine for forty days and forty nights. This weeks blog is very simple. In times of trials and tribulations we of the faith turn to God. There are many ways to do that in this digital world we live in but for me “The Word” is the best in times such as these. I also think that it could be a thing of comfort even for the non-believers. That is right, scripture contains words of comfort, direction and hope, simple things anyone is looking for in these times of uncertainty. To the unbeliever I encourage you to read the Bible. You are not required to believe to read. The God I serve loves you and in turn I do too.  So here are a few words from God’s book.

Psalm 27 1The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.

What God says about overcoming obstacles?

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Deuteronomy 31:6,8 Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.

What God says about never giving up?

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

What’s a good scripture for comfort?

Psalm 27:13-14 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. 

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

I hope you find comfort in these words and explore other scriptures as you seek some respite from the pressures of this life. I want to mention that I am very aware of the number of visitors to “The Pew” from other countries around the world. I want you to know how grateful I am for your visits to the Pew. Each day I pray for the community of faith all over the world, for the peace and understanding of God’s grace and the salvation of our souls through the blood of Jesus Christ. Thank you for being here in faith.

Life is Good

jk

Resources:

 The Free Dictionary 

Bible Money Matters 

Merriam Webster