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Thursday, June 23, 2016

PSALM 94


 
On Fathers Day, we went out to lunch after church with our son and his family.  As I sat next to five year old Addie, she began tipping in her chair pushing off the leg under the table.  As I saw her going down, I screamed--right there in Casa Carlos--and simultaneously caught the seat of her chair pushing her back upright just in the nick of time.  If I can do that, God can catch us with His swift arm just as quickly saving us from disaster, without the scream of course.  That's what this Psalm 94 is kinda-sorta about.
 

 
I feel like I'm a lookie-loo driving past the wreck the world is in which causes me to have my own fender-benders against wrong-doers right here in our own land.  The world is a wreck, is it not?  Isn't it getting more and more dangerous in our own land to proclaim and live by truth?  Aren't there more who would deny us our faith and seek to take away our freedom to live by that faith? 




Did you grow up like I did with the little statue of the three monkeys, one covering its eyes, one its, ears and one its mouth.  How's that working out for you?   Me either.  Even if you don't watch the news, it's still posted on the internet as seen on our laptops and phones.  It doesn't do any good to pretend to be the monkey who sees no evil. We're swamped in it.  It doesn't do any good to pretend we don't hear of any evil.  It's pounding in our ears.  Shouldn't we uncover our mouths to speak against such evils, such as the four year old who was beheaded by ISIS this week or last week the Islamic Terrorist who shot and killed 49 Americans (whether or not we condone their lifestyle, an attack against them is an attack against us all.)? 

 

 
"O Lord, God of vengeance;
God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O Judge of the earth;
Render recompense to the proud."
(verses 1-2)
 
"Never take your own revenge, beloved,
but leave room for the wrath of God,
for it is written,
'VENGEANCE IS MINE,
I WILL REPAY,'
says the Lord.
(Romans 12:19)
(Deuteronomy 32:35)


 
Vengeance is "not an emotional rage an excitement of angry passions, in order to gratify a vindictive spirit, which suppose itself to have received some real injury whereas, what is here referred to is the simple act of justice, that gives to all their due." (Adam Clarke)  It is not that God is dispassionate: He hates sin, shall we say, with a vengeance!  Yet, He is the ultimate judge and the gavel will fall.  This is what is meant perhaps to "leave room for the wrath of God."  He has promised, "I will repay."  He does have wrath against sin, so much so that He provided the ultimate pounding of the gavel against sin because Jesus conquered not only sin, but death. 

 
What the psalmist is asking then is, "How long?
 
"How long shall the wicked, O  Lord,
How long shall the wicked exult?
They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly;
All who do wickedness vaunt themselves."
(verses 3-4)

 
I just noticed that the word he is asking is 'long,' which is close to 'longs.' 
He longs as he asks how long, as he longs for justice.
 
This is no small longing while "They crush Thy people, O Lord,
And afflict Thy heritage.  They slay the widow and the stranger,
And murder the orphans." (verses 5-6)


 
"Nebuchadnezzer carried on his wars with great cruelty...spared neither age, sex, nor condition."
This same cruelty is called for in the Koran for those who practice Sharia Law and become extremists such as their leader Mohammed.  It is no longer across the ocean, but is plainly evident in attacks here at home.  It is no less vile or dangerous than the alligator that crept up undetected and attacked the innocent little boy in the same week, in the same city. 
 




 "Yet, they say, 'The Lord shall not see neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. 
Understand, ye brutish among the people and ye fools, when will ye be wise?
He that planted the ear, shall He not hear?
He that formed the eye, shall He not see?"
(verses 7-9)


 
They have confidence to say 'He will not only wink at small faults, but shut his eyes at great ones too'...He that says either that Jehovah the living God shall not see or that the God of Jacob does not regard the injuries done to His people, Nabal is his name and folly is with him, 'Understand, you brutish among the people.'" (Adam Clarke)   Nabal means fool and was the name of Abigail's husband whom God struck down with a stone-like stroke then died after denying the help David requested.   To be a brute, to give over human compassions to animal impulses whereas. God who created us in His image, Himself has the attributes of seeing and hearing.  God is not a brute, neither is He a fool.  He will act with the one and only right as the Supreme Judge of the universe.  Evil will not go unanswered. 

 
This also is their attempt to put God in the category of wooden idols who cannot see nor hear.  I've told the story before of the missionaries' son who grew up to be a pastor who shared an incident of his boyhood.  He and a friend climbed up inside  a giant Buddha idol and threw lemons out the huge nostrils at the worshippers below.  He was not struck dead because the idol was just a statue created by man's hands.  He might have escaped punishment by his parents as well since he did not tell anyone until he was past the spanking age.  Whenever I see or hear about an idol, I think of lemons coming out its nostrils.  It reminds me of Isaiah 44 which in part says...


 
"They do not know, nor do they understand,
 for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see
and their hearts so they cannot comprehend. 
And no one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understand to say,
'I have burned half of it in the fire, and also have baked bread over its coals. 
I roast meat and eat it.  Then make the rest of it into an abomination. 
I fall down before a block of wood.' 
He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. 
And he cannot deliver himself."
(verses 18-20)



 
God is not a sleeping giant which has tiny bonds to tie him down.  He is awake and sees and hears.  He will arise and unleash His justice.


 
"The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, O Lord,
and teachest him out of Thy law
That Thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity,
until the pit be digged for the wicked.
For the Lord will not cast off His people,
neither will He forsake His inheritance."
(verses 11-14)
 
The pit is being "digged."
We will not be cast off nor forsaken.
God is not an idol nor is He idle.
He can reach out and save us when we are tipping backward about to fall.
 
 
 
 
 


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