Tuesday, January 17, 2012


    I do not remember what I dreamed last night (I am still adhering to the "no TV" Dreamer's Challenge!), but
this morning I read an interesting passage of Scripture that encouraged, awed, and disturbed all at the same time!

    If you read Psalm 50 for yourself, maybe you will see what I mean, but for those of you who do not have the time to do so, here is a summary of and few selections from the psalm:

    Psalm 50 begins with this awesome introduction of God's power:

1   The Mighty One, God the LORD,
Has spoken and called the earth
From the rising of the sun to its going down.

2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God will shine forth.
3 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent;
A fire shall devour before Him,
And it shall be very tempestuous all around Him. 

    The writer shifts gears and begins to document a "conversation" God has with his people, the Israelites.  He tells them that He has some complaints against them.  He starts out by clarifying that it is not His people's sacrifices that He is displeased with, for these are faithfully served at the appointed times.  He even says that the sacrifices are not the point, because what He really wants is for the Israelites to be THANKFUL, thus glorifying Him.  This proves to be His true complaint against them.  
    Next, He mentions what He wants to do for those who choose to be thankful to God:    

14 Offer to God thanksgiving,
And pay your vows to the Most High.
Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

He then rebukes the wicked:

But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to declare My statutes,
 Or take My covenant in your mouth,
Seeing you hate instruction
 And cast My words behind you?
When you saw a thief, you consented with him,
And have been a partaker with adulterers.
You give your mouth to evil,
And your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your brother;
You slander your own mother’s son.
These things you have done, and I kept silent;
You thought that I was altogether like you;
But I will rebuke you,
And set them in order before your eyes. 

God concludes Psalm 50 by warning His people:

22 “Now consider this, you who forget God,
Lest I tear you in pieces,
And there be none to deliver:
23 Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.”

My initial reaction was not PRAISE GOD, it was more like...

After all, the picture painted of God with "fire devouring before Him" and tempestuousness circling around His feet sounds pretty scary for the casual reader!  And what is with God's demand to be praised and thus glorified by His people under threat of being torn to pieces?  Isn't God supposed to be...loving?

My prayer after reading that passage was one of desperation and pained trust in God...I basically begged for God to reveal the truth of the unsettling passage to me as soon as possible!  My faith was wavering, my heart pounding in my ears.  How could one moment's worth of spiritual confusion so quickly reduce me to such a spiritually vulnerable state?  All I knew was that I didn't like it.  
Thankfully, God rescued me just in the nick of time from my pitiful bout of doubt through a wise word from my father, and an insightful book about Jesus (McDowell's More Than A Carpenter).  

    I knew I was missing something, and it bothered the heck out of me all morning until I was able to talk it out with my dad.  After talking with him, I realized that God's demand for praise from His people arose from a deep love and concern he harbored for the fate of all mankind.  He wanted His people to glorify Himself with their thankfulness so the surrounding nations would see God and commit their lives to Him.  God was trying to draw people to Himself, thus keeping as many people out of hell as He could.  When the Israelites became ungrateful and wicked, they were setting a bad example for the other nations!  That is why God was so adamant about their attitude towards Himself; it was not really for His own sake, but for His people's sake that He demanded His people's respect.  He was after all, their originator AND savior from the bondage of Egypt!  

    All in all, today proved to be a spiritually invigorating, long, good day.

    Oh, one more thing (that is a declaration, really):

    May we never shy away from verses that seem difficult or disturbing; instead, let us embrace them as spiritual exercises, strategically placed in His Word to not only cause us to grow in Biblical knowledge and wisdom, but to teach us to trust in God as well!

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