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Showing posts from February, 2011

Pointing the Finger

But let all who take refuge in you be glad
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.Psalm 5 v11Psalm 5 is curious. In Psalms 1,2 and 3 we are told of God's faithfulness and how he rewards those who seek him. Little demand is made on God to meet the needs of his people, the reciprical relationship is simply stated. In Psalm 4 David is finding that the promises of the first three psalms cannot be assumed. Sometimes God witholds his blessing for reasons known only to him. That doesn't mean that he is fickle or capricious - its because we are presumptious and shallow; as the saying goes: "easy come, easy go". In Psalm 5 David is in distress like in Psalm 4 but this time he doesn't demand an answer or an action, only that God listens. "In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." I wonder if, in the depths of despair and fully conscious of his own sinfulness - in no d…

Promises Promises

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.Psalm 23 vv5&6Its clear from Psalms that David sees God as a king like himself. Just as the kings of his day had vassal kings under them so David recognises himself as a subject king before the LORD. If David has been called to the table of the King of kings his enemies had better not touch him. That God should then anoint him and fill his cup to overflowing should fill the hearts of his enemies with terror for in opposing God's Anointed, the one God has favoured, they oppose God himself.'Follow' in 'will follow me' literally means to pursue. While his enemies flee, the blessings of God which 'surely' follow on from his anointing will not only be available for him but will pester him till he receives them. But this is far more than a promi…

Call Out the Plumber

Answer me when I call to you
O my righteous God.Psalm 4 v1When you go to the doctor with an ailment you should not expect to walk out of the surgery cured. He will more than likely give you a prescription for a course of tablets and ask you to come back if it doesn't clear up. He may refer you to someone more qualified to treat your complaint. On the other hand, if you had a burst pipe in your house you would not expect the plumber to refer you to a specialist or give you a series of instructions, asking you to call back if the problem persists. You wouldn't expect to do anything yourself, other than to call him out and be there when he calls.When David asks God for an answer he's expecting a plumber. "Give me relief from my distress" he says - stop the leak. "How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false Gods?" David has placed his hope in the LORD but his people are trusting in false Gods to meet th…

No Smoke

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD delivers me.Psalm 3 v5Smoke might continue to rise long after the fire is put out and, innocent or not, one embroiled in a scandal will always have that whiff of burning around them. It seems unfair that despite the principle of innocent until proven guilty, once tarred, the accused will always be conscious of a mark even if the stain is removed. You can rewrite history but the rubbings out remain. It's as if we imagine the perfect life to be one of continuous success without regret but the truth is: those that are most successful are often those that make the most mistakes on the way. Strength comes from persevering even when falsely accused, not blaming your situation on circumstances but triumphing over adversity.Psalm 3 is King David's cry to God when he has been hounded out of Jerusalem by Absalom, his own son. Looking back, David would see a chain of events leading up to this treachery beginning with his own sinful acti…

Fatherhood of Kings

Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance
the ends of the earth your possessionPsalm 2 v8Psalm 2 was written to inaugurate a new king. "Why do the nations conspire", asks the psalmist. The obvious answer is: with a new untested king with no accomplishments under his belt, what better time to revolt. However, the question is rhetorical because the "one enthroned in heaven laughs". "The rulers gather together against ... his Anointed One". "You are my son", says the King of kings, "today I have become your Father". Apparently the relationship of father and son was not unusually declared between a high ruler and his subject king. In this we see the father-son relationship as much more than a biological bond. It's a relationship of respect and trust that is more than simply sharing DNA. There appears to be a simple message. What God has ordained, tamper with at your peril. The one God has anointed stands not on his or her o…

Not So the Wicked

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff that the wind blows away.Psalm 1 v4Early Psalters have Psalm one as a prologue to the books of Psalms, there being five in all. In this respect there is a striking similarity between the beginning of Psalms and Proverbs. Both present the principle that the one who follows the way of righteousness will prosper while the wicked will perish in their folly. The Bible could never claim to be concise and to the point - that's why so many books are written on biblical themes, collecting the pieces together into a coherent block of understanding. We need square shaped instructions to fit our square shaped faith. The first nine chapters of Proverbs and Psalm one provide that for us so that when we are handed a round block we instinctively know it won't fit and there's no point in trying.However we all know that life is never actually that straight forward. There are no perfectly square pegs or perfectly round holes, just as we know that the wic…