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Saturday, January 16, 2016

PSALM 9


 
LOVE AND WAR

 
I found her.  It was by accident.  I was just strumming down through my ancestry, and there she was, Thankful.  We had found a relative named Rejoice a couple of weeks ago, and now we found a Thankful, Thankful Matthews, born in 1725 (a sibling of a 5th great grandparent).  How would you as a mother have liked to call her to the dinner table, yelling across the neighborhood at dusk, "Thankful!"  She could always answer when asked her name, "I'm Thankful." "No, I asked, what's your name?"  "I'm Thankful."  See how that merry go 'round would go?  I'm sure there were more than a few awkward moments, but what a pleasant name.  She would surely be invited to be first in line at Thanksgiving feasts, or at least asked to give the blessing or something. 
 
What's your name?  Could it ever be the nickname Thankful?   Would that be something people would automatically associate with you?  Nah, as for me, I doubt it.

 
This Psalm begins,
 "I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart."

Now that is a memory verse.  I think we could say that our whole lives for a mantra,
as long as we meant it.
 
  "It is only when the whole heart is employed in the work 
that God can look upon it with acceptance."
(Adam Clarke)

 
Hmm.  "Thanks," or as in the King James version, "praise," should be given with a whole heart, "all my heart" worthy.  As in the "Oklahoma" song goes, "It's all or nuthin' with me.  It can't be now and then; it c'aint be in between, it's all or nuthin' with me."  God will spit out any lukewarm thanks or praise.  The Psalmist knows God wants our whole heart.  That's why David was a man after God's own heart.  But even David certainly had his cringe worthy times of his heart being under examination.
 
This whole heart is laid on the examining table of the Great Physician...
 
""For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword,
and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit,
of both joints and marrow,
and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes
of Him with whom we have to do."
Hebrews 4:12-13
 
 
So, no faking pure love with any half-hearted wimpy kissy-up kind.  Rather, say, "I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart," and mean it.  Nothing else will do.  Then declare that kind of love for the whole world to know and sing His love songs!



"I will tell of all Thy wonders (miracles).
I will be glad and exult in Thee;
I will sing praise to Thy name,
O Most High."
 
Then there's the enemy, poor fellas.  They stumble and perish.(v. 3)
They are rebuked and destroyed, totally wiped out, blotted out. (v.5)
They have come to an end in perpetual ruins (v.6)
Oops.  Sorry, fellas, but everybody has forgotten you, wiped you from their memory. (v.6)

 
"For Thou hast maintained my just cause;
Thou dost sit on the throne judging righteously." (v.4)
"But the Lord abides forever;
He has established His throne for judgment,
And He will judge the world in righteousness;
He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity."(v. 7-8)
 
Right now there is a U.S. citizen folk singer who wants to gather Christians and Jews together to go sing 'Kumbayah' to ISIS wanting just to sing and hold hands to bring about world peace.  Sorry, but I don't have much confidence in such an approach.  We just happen to be in a battle of good versus evil, and they have chosen to not be on the good side, thus that makes them...ahem, well you know, evil.

 
"For He who requires blood (avenges bloodshed) remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the afflicted." (v.12)  Oh, how many cries of the afflicted God has heard, the displaced, the raped, the tortured, the imprisoned, the inhuman sufferings humanity has put upon humanity.  God remembers.  He avenges.  He judges and will execute judgment.  "'Vengence is Mine,' sayeth the Lord." (Deuteronomy 32:35) 
 
 "For the Lord will be a stronghold for the oppressed, 
 A stronghold in times of trouble, 
 And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee;
For Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee."
(Ps. 9:9-10)



But I thought we were talking about being thankful, you might say.  But there is no thankfulness without a redeemer, the Lord of hosts, the Most High, the one who maintains our just cause, one who sits on the throne to judge righteously.

 
David had a little struggle here himself...
"Be gracious to me, O Lord;
Behold my affliction from those who hate me,
Thou who dost lift me up from the gates of death;
That I may tell of all Thy praises,
That in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in Thy salvation."
 
David takes it from the hypothetical to the experiential, a testimony from his life.  As Jesus says in John 15, there will be haters, we will be hated, if not in a personal, even familial way, at least by the enemy nations...


 
"The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made;
In the net which they hid,
their own foot as been caught.
The Lord has made Himself known;
He has executed judgment.
In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared.
The wicked will turn to Sheol (the nether world),
Even all the nations who forget God."

 
 
We just are living in a bizarre time in our own country when the powers that be refuse to call the enemy the enemy.  It hampers the efforts to defeat an enemy.  In fact, the doors are open which might otherwise, keep out the enemy.

 
WWI Wedding

But the Psalmist closes this song of "Thanksgiving for God's Justice" by saying...
 
"For the needy will not always be forgotten,
Nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.
Arise, O Lord, do not let man prevail;
Let the nations be judged before Thee.
Put them in fear, O Lord;
Let the nations know that they are but men."
 
 
 
Hmm.  Is that a timely word for our time?  Isn't that a Scripture we can pray over our nation and its leaders, for those need to know that "they are but men."  "Arise, O, Lord, do not let man prevail."  Lordy, Lordy, Lordy and Amen!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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