home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > April 5th > Knowing God Through The Psalms

KNOWING GOD THROUGH THE PSALMS

So many thriller movies are just funny. Of course they are not meant to be and many people would find them more like nightmare material. The producers would be horrified to see me giggling at some of their ‘scary’ bits, but it’s just the way I’m wired. I see more of the special effects than the story line and I see the absurdity of the scenes that lack the necessary rules of consistency instead of the fear factor they hope. I once watched a movie where the victim lay dead bleeding from the mouth but the make-up blood had not dripped to the ground with gravity, but rather, accidentally dripped up. The whole movie just became hilarious from that point on.

 

Thriller movies often focus on the supernatural and you see angry people in the afterlife interacting with the living until justice is achieved.

As Bible believing Christians though, we know about ‘dead men walking’, and that is actually really scary and lacks no credibility nor rules of consistency. When Adam and Eve fell into sin, God told them that the day they sinned they would die, yet they go on living for quite a long time. We have a physical life and a spiritual life. When Adam and Eve sinned, they felt that separation from God. What pain they must have had – knowing, from their creation, a security, peace, love and relationship with the Creator of everything and then irreconcilably destroying the best thing they could know. That would have felt like a huge loss – dying spiritually. There was no going back.

We are focussing on ‘Knowing God Through the Psalms’ this month and I love the ‘BUT God’ statements where suddenly everything changes. There is a form of humour, called a paraprosdokian where an unexpected ending changes everything, also often using the word ‘but’. For example ‘We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, only after they have exhausted all other possibilities’ (Winston Churchill) or I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it! (Groucho Marx).

So, paraphrasing and simplifying Psalm 49, we see a ‘but God’. It starts by saying, hey everyone, listen to me I’ve got a really, really important announcement.

Hear this, all peoples!
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
both low and high,
rich and poor together!
My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.
Ps 49:1-4

It continues on to say that I don’t need to be so fearful of any person nor circumstance that seems to envelop me. The proud and the foolish trust in themselves. There is no ransom that can save them from death despite how much approval they get from others. Everyone will go to the place of the dead in the end.

Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,
those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches?
Ps. 49:5-6

It repeats this same idea again in vs 16-18, and then vs 8-13 concepts are repeated in 19 and 20.

for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice,
that he should live on forever and never see the pit.
For he sees that even the wise die;
the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others.
Their graves are their homes forever,
their dwelling places to all generations,
though they called lands by their own names.
Man in his pomp will not remain;
he is like the beasts that perish.
This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah
Ps 49:8-13

BUT God in verse 15 shows total and utter power, justice and undeserved love. The very essence of Christianity is summed up in the one verse. We are born into this world unlike Adam and Eve, where we do not know Spiritual life. We start from the place of loss and have to find the life. But it’s not that easy. Jesus actually had to do a lot for us to be able to ‘find life’. Our sin is bigger and worse than we imagine. It is the cause of our spiritual death and cannot be fixed by ANY human effort or gifts. We have no chance of ever ‘living’. BUT Jesus took the weight, penalty and cost of our sin – a completely innocent life is the only one that can enter Heaven. He gave up His physical life as a payment for our sin, if we choose to accept. As He gives this penalty, we are snatched from the grip of the devil and the afterlife we deserve. We are ransomed. Then we are strangely guaranteed that Jesus WILL accept us and love us with a love we really can’t imagine. He loves even me, who spent years sinning and not even caring. What an amazing concept.

When we trust in Jesus the Bible says we are born again (spiritually) and what a wonderful difference that is. Whilst we don’t acknowledge Him we ARE just dead men walking.

The completely unexpected, undeserved and amazing ‘BUT God’:

But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
for He
will receive me. Selah
Ps 49:15

This is our God. My life is forever beautifully changed. I am alive and fulfilled with a life of service to the creator of all things. I now know love, peace, forgiveness and I am an alien in this world awaiting my after-life.

Scholars think ‘Selah’ either means ‘think on this’, or ‘raise your voices in praise’! Either definition works. Praise God!

Amen.

 

 

Your Executive Pastor,

 

Kim

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