Today’s reading of the Psalms is a bit of a potpourri: a cry for help, a praise for God’s generosity, and thanksgiving for answering prayer. So, no matter what kind of day you’re having, there’s a chance that there’s a psalm for your situation today. 🙂
Too deep for God? (Psalm 64:10) — The gist of this psalm is a cry for help against those who hatch plots secretly against the LORD’s anointed king. And for anyone who has watched the news about the intrigue of politics in the middle-east (or anywhere else on the globe, too), even today, you know that this was not mere paranoia speaking. The thing that I thought would be worthy of meditation today, however, is v.10, where the secret enemies of God’s anointed say to themselves that their well conceived plot will never be discovered because “…the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep.” And true, men don’t always know what plotters are thinking, some folks really do have a good “poker face”. But psalmist consoles himself with the knowledge that no thought is too “deep” for God to discover and foil on behalf of the righteous. Simon the sorcerer discovered how discerning God was in Acts 8:22, when Peter (through apparent inspiration of God) sternly warned Simon to repent of the intentions of his heart. Nothing is too deep for the LORD — no ulterior motive, no hidden intention, no plot, no plan. And is this not the very reason for the command to be pure in heart? God cares about our motives, our intentions, and our purposes. How many times have you heard someone tell “the truth” about someone that hurts and wounds for really no purpose other than to hurt and wound, only to hear the justification, “Well, I’m just telling the truth.” We can do good for evil purposes, but God will know and judge.
O You who hear prayer (Psalms 65) — The psalmist, in his thanksgiving to the LORD for the abundance that God has blessed him with makes mention of this significant (but easily overlooked) fact: God does hear prayer. This is in contrast to idols who do not hear and cannot answer. In the day of the psalmist we know there were multiple gods that one might make petition to; but things haven’t really changed all that much, even though we might claim something like “Christian nation” status. We still worship other gods: money, entertainment, sports, popularity, technology, and more. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with any of these things in and of themselves; the problem lies in obeying them rather than the real God of heaven and earth. And sometimes we do obey them over God: money can have rules (e.g., work before worship, hoard rather than share); entertainment can have rules (e.g., TV before service, shows instead of worship, fun before all); and the list could go on. But these “gods” cannot save us; their benefit is always short-lived; they will not hear prayer nor answer it. Only the eternal God, the Lord of heaven and earth can hear and answer prayer.
You have tried us, O God (Psalm 66:10-12) — Much is written, including by me, about the problems and struggles of suffering and challenges of life — almost to the point where it becomes “white noise”. This is a fallen world and life in this fallen world continues to have its thorns and troubles, but we never seem to get used to it nor do we weary of wondering why. This psalm doesn’t answer the question of why but rather where — where it lands us. “You have tried us… refined us… brought us into the net… laid an oppressive burden upon our loins… men ride over our heads… through fire and through water, yet…” And it is the yet that makes all the difference! The other side is abundance, blessing, sunshine, and more. To our own detriment, we often only look at the circumstance that we are suffering and not at the goal ahead; we look at the desert we cross rather than the destination. Paul urges us to “Set your mind of the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Col. 3:2). Good wisdom, if you’re heading to Heaven, if you intend to grow stronger, if you want to grow in wisdom, if you aim to be like Christ.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.