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Saturday, January 30, 2016

PSALM 20
 
"Let's go to war, shall we?"
The Opera
 
This psalm was a back and forth kind of opera between the priest, David, and the people, singing as David left the tent of the tabernacle to go fight probably the Ammonites and the Syrians (Those were the guys with lots of horses and chariots as we'll see later).  Hmm.  Can you imagine our leader, our president, leaving church and singing with the preacher, the generals, and us in the chorus?  The only similarity is that we are still fighting Syria, yes even after all these years.


 
 
"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob
set you securely on high!"
 
I'll take that when I go out to fight my battles, even if it's in Walmart or the Hwy 20 into Yuba City or political posts on Facebook.  The name of the God of Jacob refers to Jacob wrestling the Angel, who was the Angel of the Covenant, Christ Himself.  Of course, back then they didn't realize it was Jesus.  Sometimes it's like that for me.  I don't realize who was back there, that it was Jesus wrestling me, working things out even when I resisted Him. 
 
 

 
Wrestling with God.  This takes us back to Jacob, Genesis 23:24ff.  "Then Jacob was left alone.  Oh no!  How scary to be left alone with God!..."and a man wrestled with him until daybreak."  Sometimes the night time wrestling matches are the most difficult.  That's when you can't see what's in front of your face, what's ahead of you, only what's behind you that you wish you could wipe from your memory.  "Then (H)e said, 'Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.'"  Then there was the weird thing of the thigh socket being dislocated.  Now if my thigh socket got dislocated in a wrestling match, the first thing I wouldn't think of was asking, "I won't let you go unless you bless me."  Hmm.  "So (H)e said to him, 'What is your name?'  And he said, 'Jacob.'  He said, 'Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel (He who strives with God); for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.'"  Then (H)e went ahead and blessed Jacob/Israel anyway.  "Jacob/Israel named the Peniel (the face of God), for he said, 'I have seen God face to face, yet my life (soul) has been preserved' and he was limping..." 
 

 
Ooo, Ooo, I want to be set securely on high!!!   Sometimes we might get there limping along.  It might take a little striving with God and with men.  Remember they were singing this little bit of opera as David was going to battle.  Nevertheless, I do want to be set securely, on high.  That's in relationship with God, actually.  In right relationship with the One who is on high. 
 
 
 
David had just left the tabernacle offering the sacrifices, and the priests and people sing," May He send you help from the sanctuary and support you from Zion! May He remember all you...offerings, and find your burnt offering acceptable!"  Sometimes a little backup from the choir hymns sung on the Sabbath are a nice way to go out and fight the battles.  Lord, please find all those things I left back there on the altar acceptable so I can go forth to victory.
 

 
Now we're getting to the God part!  "May He grant you your heart's desire And fulfill all your counsel (purpose)!  Hmm.  It makes me think of course of Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord, And He will give you the desires of your heart."  This is not genie talk here.  But if you are dealing, even wrestling with God, it is so that He can put the right desires in your heart, that "He may grant you," give you "your heart's desire," to put the right ones right there in your heart bank.  If we wrestle with God, we better hope that we come out with His desires becoming our desires.  This is how we fulfill our purpose.  Isn't our heart's desire to fulfill the purpose God put us on this green and smoggy planet?  Sometimes, like David, you have to go to battle to get there, but God goes before us.  He knows how it is going to end, who wins, it is Him.  That's why they could sing,
 
 
"We will sing for joy over your victory,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners...
Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.
Some boast in chariots
and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name
of the Lord, our God."
(verses 5-7)
 
 

 
Psalm 33:7 says,
"A horse is a false hope for victory;"
Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength."
 
While writing, I got a robo-phone call about threats in a nearby high school that is also making my son's middle school be on lockdown.  Yesterday, there were perceived threats against the community's other high school which proved to be false.  Yet, today's threat is at a school that did suffer a terrible shooting years back, before Columbine.  So it must be taken seriously, even if it is a copycat threat.  It supposedly was because of gang violence and threats of shooting.  The same day two young men in Sacramento were arrested for making online violence school threats in their area.
 
Also yesterday, my son and his friend were brave enough to call the police about kids smoking pot waiting for the school bus.  The school dealt with one, evidently kicking him out while disciplining the other.  Since my boy and his friend waited for the police to make their report and missed the bus, I took him to school but had to warn them that there might be threats against them because of their actions.  So it was a little disconcerting for him to go to school with police everywhere, the swat team with the armored car, the Humvees, etc.  Do you want to go to battle out there on the school grounds nowadays?  We don't trust in horses.  That sounds silly now, but it just means that even when an enemy appears bigger and stronger, we don't have to be like them to be strong.  We don't have a false hope for victory.   Our one true hope is in the Lord.  Our children must be brave, facing battles we don't.
 

 
"They have bowed down and fallen ,
But we have risen and stood upright.
Save, O Lord;
May the King answer us in the day we call."
 
 
 
Don't be like the bowed down and the fallen.
Be like the one who has risen and stood upright.
We know who answers when we call.
(verses 8-9)

So ends the opera, "Save, O Lord,
May the King answer us
in the day we call."

Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us.
He says, "Excuse me, but I need to take that call."
Perhaps the opera will be our ring tone
that He hears when we call. 
                 
 
 

PSALM 19
An Observation Tower




My junior high aspiration for a career choice was to man a forest service lookout tower.  Thus, I enjoyed living vicariously through Becky's son Ray Carey's book of his musings while being on forest fire watch from his tower in the Mendocino National Forest with a view of Clear Lake, "Easy Days & Mellow Nights: Adventures from My Life As a Fire Lookout."  I could have handled sitting in a tower looking out across the trees.  I used to love heights.  I could have handled being by myself for long periods of time.  I could have soaked up the quiet.  I could have weathered the thunder and lightning storms.  I could have read a lot in my spare time.  But that didn't happen when I married as soon as I turned 19, finished my college degree, followed my husband as he pastored, had three children, adopted three more, and then we were blessed with oodles of grandbabies.  No regrets.

 

But as life has  s l o w d e d  down for me, I sit in my chosen place and look out over the land of Facebook, e-books (which don't cost any trees their lives), with my Bible and with a view of the sky above the green of my yard, cloudy, rainy, stormy, and sometimes am on tornado watch.  The only fire I see is in my gas fireplace.  I soak up time alone.  I lap up the quiet preferring to limit music mostly for car time.  I suddenly realized, I am in my tower. 

But from where I sit, I am responsible to scrutinize myself.  We spend a lot of our lives looking out at others, some are hotspots.  I've been guilty of crying "Fire!" over some who have had the flames of the other place licking at their heels.  I come running with the water of the Word.  However, when Psalm 19 speaks of the law of the Lord, "Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned (sees everything clearly,)" that servant is me, personally.  We have to answer only in the end for ourselves.




 
"Who can discern his errors
Acquit me of hidden faults
Also keep back Thy servant
from presumptuous sins.
Let them not rule over me;
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted
of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth
and the mediation of my heart
Be acceptable in Thy sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer."
 
Psalm 19:11-14

Wait, who hid those faults anyway?
Presumptuous?  Who me?
That means "audacious."

Some sins are easier to hide than others.
Help me discern when I'm keeping something under cover.
But Lord help me when I am audaciously, presumptuously sinning.
Don't let it rule me.  I want You to rule so that I can be blameless.
Acquit me of my guilt, sinning against You.

 
"Let the words...and meditations"
mouth and heart

In the last verse,
the Psalmist "has prayed against the practical sin,
the sins of the body; now, against the sins of the mouth
and of the heart."
(Adam Clarke)
 
 
"O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer"
 
My Redeemer, "'my kinsman,'
he whose right it is to redeem the forfeited inheritance."
Think of Boaz redeeming the heritage of Ruth and Naomi,
think of Christ, our Redeemer, our Kinsman.

This is the view I want to see from my observation tower.

 
 
 
 


Friday, January 29, 2016

PSALM 19 continued...
 


Here Comes the Groom
The Groomal March
(Dum, dum, de dum...)
 
 
"In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
His going forth is from the end of the heaven,
and his circuit unto the ends of it:
and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof."
(KJV verses 4-6)
 


It is an outside wedding. 
 The white canopied tents are set up.
The groom is seen coming out, handsome, strong,
while inwardly he is excitedly rejoicing.
He is on his toes ready to go down the aisle to claim his bride.
It is a race for the strong, to win the prize,
the heart of his beloved in a lasting covenant
due to his faithful appearance
day after day,
 expressing the heat of his love and care.
Such is the Lover of our soul.


 
"The sun is compared to a bridegroom in his ornaments,
because of the glory and splendor of his rays;
And to a giant or strong man running a race,
because of the power of his light and heat."
(Adam Clarke)

 
 
So what are the terms of endearment that He speaks to us?


 
"The law of the Lord is perfect,
restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right
rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true;
they are righteous altogether."
(NASV verses 7-9)
 
 
"'The law of the Lord.'  And here are two books of divine revelation:
1.  the visible heavens, and the works of creation in general;
2.   the Bible, or divinely inspired writings
contained in the Old and New Testaments...
these instruct, direct, put straight, guide. 
'Is perfect'...Temimah, it is perfection;
it is perfect in itself as a law,
and requires perfection in the hearts
 and lives of (his bride) men.
'Converting the soul.'  Turning it back to God.
'The testimony of the Lord'...'beyond, forward.'
These ...refer to something beyond themselves,
and point forward to the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sin of the world.
'is sure'.  'Neemanah' are 'faithful';
they point out the things beyond them fairly, truly, and fully.
They all bear testimony to the great atonement.
...the simple is he who has but one end in view,
who is concerned about his soul."
(Adam Clarke)
 

  
The words from His mouth are perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true.
Who wouldn't fall in love with a groom like that?
These words from our Groom restore the soul, make one wise, causes the heart to  rejoice,
enlightens the eyes, endure forever since no death do thee part.

 
What token does the Groom have?
What  does He slip on the finger?
"They are more desirable than gold,
yes, than much fine gold;
 
 
You may kiss your bride...
"Sweeter also than honey and
the drippings of the honeycomb."
 
(NASV verse10)

 
Ahh, who doesn't love a wedding?

Our season of family weddings has come to a pause.
Perhaps it will not be until our grandchildren grow up,
and fall in love before we enjoy more of these weddings.
  But as a very dear friend always calls his wife his bride,
so we too have a Bridegroom for always and forever.
Perhaps you wonder why I write romance stories!
Romance is written in the very fabric of creation.
E're since God made a helpmate for Adam,
inexplicably, couples have paired off
with some mysterious drawing
of souls one to another.
Sometimes I think
God winks,
smiles:
love.


February 1,
 will begin with a fun fiction and then another for Valentine's Day:
"A New Heart" and "A Runaway Bride"
Coming soon to a blog page near you.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

PSALM 19

One of our pastorates was in a farming community.
A favorite saying of one of our ranching families was,
"My stars!"
If it was truly astounding it was,
"My stars and garters!"
Well, this passage is truly worthy of
"My stars and garters!"



"The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse (the firmament)
Tis declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world."
(verses 1-4)

 
Shut your mouth and listen up.  Look up. In cities and even towns, the artificial light of men dims the true light of God.  Sometimes we need to get away and look up into a night sky to marvel.  They speak for themselves.  Their expanse declares what the finger of God has done by the work of His hands.  The natural world of His creation pours forth speech.  "'The firmament.'  The whole visible expanse; not only containing the celestial bodies above referred to, but also the air, light, rains, dews."

 
 
I never was one who wanted to learn the names of the constellations.  It is a science, I know.  I know such knowledge has guided ships and wanderers upon this earth.  I admire those who do study them and have listened to marvelous explanations of the concert of the ages of the understanding of those constellations which all miraculously point to God.  I have been to the observatory in the mountains above Pasadena as a class field trip as a child.  But I just want to look up and see God, not a name man put upon the stars.  I want to say, "Look, there's God, and over there, see God!"

 
Have you seen pictures of birds sitting on wires, like musical notes?  So, the stars are like the notes of the music of the heavens.  Stars are like the glory of God peeking through.  Sometimes just a whiff of air can bring back memories of happy days of camping, sparks flying upward to join the stars up above.  Back to nature simply means back to the knowledge that there is someone greater than the speck that is us. 
 
The heavens have been there through all time since Creation.  Under heaven has occurred every act of love and every atrocity of man.  That's why we need to look up.   It's all really about the glory of God.  Declaring the glory, day to day speech pours out about the glory of God; night after night, the knowledge of the glory of God.  We need perspective, a constant reminder.  God has made sure that it is always available in the heavens above.

 
Did you realize that the whole of the passion behind evolution is the denial of a Supreme Being?  Man has always desired to get God off his back.  To be like God.  To be god.  To deny God and His glory.  Yet, here we are hurtling through space, spinning on earth's axis, with the whole atmosphere charged with the testimony that God is higher, God is bigger, God is greater, yet God is love.  That is His beauty.

 
No speech, no words, their voice without hearing.  What?  "Into all the earth hath gone out their sound; and to the extremity of the habitable world, their eloquence."  "In Romans 10:18 is asked, 'surely they have never heard, have they?  Indeed they have..." "for God designed that the light of the gospel should be diffused wheresoever the light of the celestial luminaries shone."(Adam Clarke)

 
 "The hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven..." (Colossians 1:23) "because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." (Romans 1:19-20)  The preachers could all be silent and still the presence of the living God fills all the world enough to condemn those who deny truth. 

 
We can sing in harmony with the heavens,
the glorious symphony of creation,
or in discord of denial
sitting under the heavens
with our eyes closed
and our ears plugged
like a petulant child.

 
 


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

PSALM 18 continued...


 
Them thar are fightn' words.  I will leave many of them for a later time when under attack, you know, like in one of those glass cases, "In case of emergency, break glass."  Instead  I will take to heart the beautiful words, David's thoughts toward God and God's thoughts toward us...




 
"He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me."
(verse 19)
 
Once again we see God delighting in us.  What a thought! (Prov. 8:31)  A broad place is a place of rest.  You can't safely go out into a broad field if you are under a threat of attack.  Can't you almost see David laying down his weapons momentarily, stretching out upon the ground and looking up into an azure sky sighing with total gratitude? 
 
The next few verses are about how we can come before God, not of our own effort, but because He has given us the victory...


 
"The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all His ordinances were before me,
And I did not put away His statutes from me.
I was also blameless with Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.
Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes."
(verses 20-24) 

 
Later David writes in Psalm 24:3-4
"Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
And who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart..."
 
Once again in Psalm 51:5-7
"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow....
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Thy presence,
And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me."


 
What makes our theology, our ideas about God, is that He can truly bring about this clean heart, and not just put on dark glasses to avoid seeing out sin.  The difference Christ came to make was that He broke the power of sin, as well as death, that He can truly give us a clean heart and purify us, make us pure.  Since the Garden, we were all born with the sin nature, but God in His infinite goodness gave us a second Adam whose death on the cross broke that power.  Yes, all are born with the sin nature, but are not condemned to a life lived under it.  We can have victory, not just against the giants, the real enemies David faced in battle, but against the forces of evil, the enemy of our soul who wants to deny that we are washed clean.  He wants us to remain tainted, to remain impure, dirty, full of shame, wounded.  But God delights in us, enough to have sent His Son to make clean hands and a clean heart possible.
 
"With the kind Thou dost show Thyself kind;
With the blameless Thou dost show Thyself blameless;
With the pure thou dost show Thyself pure;
And with the crooked Thou dost show Thyself astute...
For Thou dost light my lamp;
(KJV, Thou dost light my candle)
The Lord my God illumines my darkness."

 
This is David's testimony about his relationship with God.  I love the part about God lighting his candle to illuminate the darkness.  He says, "The Lord MY God."  The greatest darkness is what is in the heart, but God can bring light even there.  This light brings kindness, blamelessness, and purity.  Then, as in the next verses, we can run, we can leap, and...




 
"As for God, His way is blameless;
The word of the Lord is tried (by fire);
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him,


 
 

 
For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God,
The God who girds me with strength,
And makes my way blameless?
He makes my feet like hinds' feet,
And sets me upon my high places...
Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation,
And Thy right hand upholds me;
And Thy gentleness makes me great.
Thou dost enlarge my steps under me,
And my feet have not slipped."
(verses 33-36)


 
I love the part that says, "Thy gentleness makes me great."  This means meekness, humility.  What kind of a great God is this, so great that He can be humble?  Be meek?  Oh my!  Pick that cherry to relish today.  Or do you need to reach up and pick the fruit of strength for yourself today, or blamelessness, or His hand to uphold you, or His rock, or the swiftness of hinds feet to climb to high places with God, or enlarged places to keep you from slipping, from falling?  What is your need today?

 
 
Finally, David closes his Psalm with what is prophetic words about the strangers falling away like leaves from the trees before winter for a kingdom at rest (verse 45), but as quoted in the New Testament (Romans 15:9), he proclaims about the Gentiles, the heathen...
 
 "Therefore I will give thanks to Thee among the nations, O Lord,
And I will sing praises (this Psalm) to Thy name.
He gives great deliverance (victories, salvations) to His king,
And shows lovingkindness
(hesed, all the inward churnings of love)
to His anointed,
To David and his descendants (seed) forever."
(verses 49-50)


 
This is a Messianic prophecy "for from the family of David came the man Christ Jesus; His posterity are genuine Christians; His kingdom, in which they are subjects, is spiritual.  This government will last through all time."  "For evermore, through all duration of created worlds.
And more--the eternity that is beyond time.  This shows that another David is meant, with another posterity, another sort of kingdom." (Adam Clarke)


 
As my friend said about her daughter who slipped away to heaven, she said, "You were never really meant for this world...you were otherworldly...I saw your guardian angel when you were born...he was huge and had wings that reached from one edge of the atmosphere to the other...he stood by your incubator as you struggled to breathe...you were never meant for this world...but I am so glad I had you for the time I did."  We are meant for the "evermore."


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

 
PSALM 18
 
 
 
I am going cherry picking, plucking only the low hanging fruit.  Well, maybe I did climb up into the branches a little.   Have you ever walked through a cherry orchard like that?  One of life's best simple pleasures, this is one of my ripest memories.  It's not that some fruit are better than others, just that some of the jucies are easier in reach, a grab for some out of the plenty.  Psalm 18 is a long psalm, so without climbing every tree, I will just grab here and there. 
 
 
It was a long night, Sunday night as I waited for word on my friend's daughters fight for her life.  In the gloaming hours, God chose to pluck her up right out of the ripe young age of 28 to take her unto Himself.  So, my view of this psalm is slanted through a veil of tears today.  The family lives in Virginia and had become snowed in over the weekend.  The door was snowed shut, so her husband climbed out the window.  I told my friend that it was like that: Jori did not leave in the expected way, but that she climbed out the window into the blindingly pure white of heaven. 
 

 
Babette and I, along with my daughter Robin, all taught preschool together.  Her little girls were often there too.  Then, we all became foster parents.  When we were overwhelmed with little ones with major problems, Babette and her husband took our older foster daughter in her teens for a while until later we were able to have her back and adopted her.  So we shared a child together. Her daughter was our daughter's foster sister.  Oh, what tangled lives we live, but isn't this how we get through this life, being bound together, gnarly interwoven limbs where one tree reaches weaves into
another?



But do you know that God showed me how much He was in charge even as that grief was taking place clear across the nation?  I found a book to read while I waited for news, a book by Karen Kingsbury called "Shades of Blue."  I didn't know before, but she raises money for charity by auctioning off a chance to be "Forever in Fiction," the candidates being those who are facing severe medical challenges.  One of the characters in this book is a young woman with Myocarditis, a heart problem so similar to Jori's.  Chance?  I don't think so.  God knows.  God hears.  While reading He was telling me He was going to call His sweet one home. 

 
So, Psalm 18 begins with a valentine...
 
"I love Thee, O Lord,
 my strength.
The Lord is my rock (crag)
and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock (my strength), in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold."
(verses 1-2)
 
 
I like how the King James is phrased, "I will love Thee."  It is a determination.  "The verb racham' signifies to 'love with all the tender feelings of nature.'  Why should he love Jehovah?  Not merely because He was infinitely great and good, possessed of all possible perfections, but because He was good to him; and he here enumerates some of the many blessings he received from Him." "How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways..." 
 
 
David had to climb to find God's strength while hiding in the craggy precipices.  His fortresses were in raw nature.  The last Indian battle in California was in Modoc County at Captain Jack's stronghold.  This is a natural fortress of rocks, as if Stonehenge squeezed closely together to create an impenetrable hiding place.  The Indian Captain Jack took his last stand there.  Even Captain Jack needed a deliverer, though no help came for him.  But God is our stronghold, our refuge, our deliverer, our place of strength and safety.
 
 
He is his strength. This second use of the word "strength," (NASV is rock while KJV is strength,) is a different word than what was used in the earlier verse.  It has the connotation of "not only the Object of my adoration, but He who puts strength in my soul...when applied to God, signifies 'fountain, source, origin...an eternal and inexhaustible Fountain of goodness."  This is the no- running-out-of-er strength, but the ongoing, unfailing strength, the inexhaustible when you are exhausted kind of strength.  Does somebody need that about now, strength of the soul?  David did.  My friend does. 
 
"His shield (KJV, my buckler) and the horn of salvation,
my stronghold (KJV, my high tower).
 

 
"He who covers my head and my heart, so that I am neither slain nor wounded by the darts of my adversaries."  Hmm.  The head and the heart are the vital places not only in life, but in our approach to our God.  Jori's heart gave out.  Yet, the horn of God called her forward into the beyond.  The horn is an emblem of power.  To me it symbolizes the signal to go forth.  (My friend's last name is Horn.)
 
"I call upon the Lord,
who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.
The cords of death encompassed me,
And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.
The cords of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears."
(verses 3-4)
 
 
Death.  We are death-defying in our culture.  With the miracles of modern medicine, it is almost as if we believe that death should never occur.  It is unacceptable.  I certainly don't want to accept it right now for any of my loved ones.  Yet there it is.  We are universally faced with it.  All of life is in this long dance with death.  It steps on my toes betimes.  Pretty soon he will fill up my dance card, and I will have no one else until God taps on his shoulder and says, "May I have this dance?"  Then He will sweep me away.  God is worthy though we may be terrified, cords surround (those that lower us into the grave), snares confront, distress results in calling out, cries for help.  He hears.  His temple is throbbing, His blood is coursing for me.  Just watch how He comes...
 
 
"Then the earth shook and quaked;
And the foundations of the mountains were trembling
And were shaken...
Smoke went up out of His nostrils,
And fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With thick darkness under His feet.
And He rode upon a cherub and flew;
And He sped upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness His hiding place,
His canopy around Him,
 
 
Darkness of waters,
thick clouds of the skies.
From the brightness before Him
passed His thick clouds,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
And He sent out His arrows (lightning),
and scattered them,
And lightning flashes in abundance,
and routed them.
Then the channels of water appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare
At Thy rebuke, O Lord,
At the blast of the breath of Thy nostrils.
He sent from on high,
He took me;
He drew me out of many waters...
(the ark of salvation?)"
(verses 7-16)
 
 
Pretty dark poetry, I'd say, but fascinating.  Sometimes, one can better see something like this by pulling at the corners of the eyes, blurring out the vision.  As an artist, I would turn and look at my piece upside down or do this to see my picture in a different light.  Thus, in a fanciful way of thinking, I see this as God's thundering down when Jesus was on the cross to finish death once and for all.  There was great darkness.  The earth shook.  The curtain in the temple was ripped.  Jesus had come in the mysterious arrival with the cherubim singing, flying down from the mercy seat, God's throne.  (KJV "He rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.") making the darkness of the womb His hiding place, until into the brightness,the flash of lightning, He came forth to rout sin and death.  I told you it was fanciful, but Jesus viewed death, as something to conquer.  It rocked the world when it entered through the first Adam, and it rocked the world when the second Adam, God's own Son from on high, came to conquer it once and for all time.  We are merely in the fierce wind of the battle.  "He delivered me from my strong enemy," death itself. (verse 17)  Our deliverance won't always be to stay on this earth, but to be lifted up into His arms.  "It is finished," He said.

 
I don't know about you, but I think that's all I can handle for now.  Psalm 18's cherry picking will be continued...