home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > April 5th > 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!




Your Executive Pastor,



Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

1 Comment

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing FruitThe Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing Fruit

Jesus’ allegory in John 15:1-17 of the vine and the branches provides a beautiful picture of the intimate and living relationship available to those who would abide in Him, the true Vine; and it illustrates how naturally the Holy Spirit is able to produce fruit in the lives of those who are willing to be branches abiding in the vine.

Knowing God Through The Fruit Of The Spirit

I’m sure you can picture an occasion where food delicacies are served and someone is there who has lost all sense of decorum to the point of being rude to get to the food before others and is unable or unwilling to engage in any level of conversation for the sake of finding the choicest of foods. Maybe that was you or me on occasions. Or an All You Can Eat challenge restaurant. It is a picture of complete lack of self-restraint (especially if Homer Simpson is involved). Whilst we are away, I am looking forward to visiting a town (Kenilworth) with a bakery tourist attraction that sells 1kg doughnuts. I’m not sure what will happen there, but I can imagine many have risen to a challenge.


Australia is now grappling with a national crisis — the violent abuse of women by men. Every four days in Australia a woman is being murdered [Source]. The sad probability is that she was murdered by “a current or former intimate partner” [Source]. But added to this alarming statistic is the even greater and more horrifying statistic of number of women who are experiencing abuse – physical; sexual; verbal; financial; psychological – daily. In fact, it is so prevalent that most people working in this arena know that most domestic abuse incidents in Australia are not reported. Abuse is oppression. And since the Bible is so clear and consistent in its condemnation of oppression of the vulnerable you would naturally assume that this national crisis was being thundered and denounced as a great evil from the majority of pulpits around our country at the moment. This assumption is further reinforced by the guesstimate that one-in-four women in every Australian church is regularly abused in some way by a man. But I suspect that it is not.


My cat, Lola, had a beautiful, fluffy, soft coat. I had her for 13 years so I knew her very well. She loved a cuddle and snuggling at night sleeping in the crook of my arm. She loved me but with others she could be a rascal, hissing or swiping her claws. She never scoffed her food but was a grazer. It was common to hear her crunching her biscuits for a midnight snack and she loved ice cream. She loved hiding in cardboard boxes or in the pantry. She particularly hated the car evidenced by her continual mournful meowing til she got out. As I knew her, she also knew me. She knew I would feed her and give her pats or cuddles. When I called her she knew my soft voice, my touch, my smell. She knew my growly voice when she had done the wrong thing. When I’d take her to the vet she would be still in my arms as the vet examined her and vaccinated her. If she was injured or sick I would look after her.


The Bible is an amazing book. As we look through the book of Psalms we can so unbelievably clearly see God at work. And also most poignantly, this Psalm – Psalm 22 – prophetically points to, and closely mirrors Jesus and the events of the cross mentioned in the New Testament. This Psalm is well over 1000 years prior to Jesus.There are some well known passages of Scripture that stand out as being prophetic promises of the Messiah. These prophetic words show us that God is Omniscient; He knows everything. The first Messianic prophecy shows that the seed of the woman would eventually defeat the devil.


home > Pastor's Desk > 2024 > April 12th > THIS IS HOW AN EXPERT SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT SPIRITUAL WARSThe distance between the spiritual dimension and our earthly-material dimension is a lot thinner than most people realise! This means that there is a direct...


home > Pastor's Desk > 2024 > 30th March > THE NOTHING OF EASTER SATURDAY‘Nothing’ is often something. How many times has God been accused of “doing nothing”? Even Christ’s disciples seemed to accuse Jesus of this when He was asleep in the boat in the...


home > Pastor's Desk > 2024 > March 22ndr > He was a kind and charitable man.WHO WAS KENNETH TYNAN? You’ve probably never heard of Kenneth Tynan. I hadn’t. I was introduced to him while conducting some research for my current PhD program on C.S. Lewis. In...


The first time I heard the song “From Little Things, Big Things Grow” was in early 2008. I was trying to get my head around superannuation funds. I never knew of its writers – Paul Kelly and Carmody. Neither did I know it was originally a protest song. In my opinion, the original lyrics and melody bears no semblance to what we may consider protest today. Many will agree with me that it is now synonymous with Industry Super Funds. But its principles remain true in nearly every aspect of life.


For several reasons I am qualified to help people deal with acute and chronic pain. Some acute and chronic pain can be resolved medically. Some pains can go a long way to being resolved with the help of a psychologist. Some pains can be resolved with a hug from mum. But there is a pain that a doctor cannot cure, a psychologist cannot counsel, a mother’s hug cannot alleviate. It is a pain that goes deep – beyond the defences of our integumentary system, our neurological system (including our para-sympathetic nervous system), our muscular system, our skeletal system, our lymphatic system, our renal system, gastro-intestinal system, our respiratory system, our cardio-vascular system, our hormonal system, and our half-share of a reproductive system. It is a pain that wounds: our memory, our sense of self, our estimation of our worth, our confidence, and our ability to connect meaningfully with others (our ability to love and be loved). It is the pain of rejection. It not only effects who we are (our identity) but it also leaches symptomatically into each of these ten-and-a-half biological systems which every human being possesses. I am going to offer all those who have experienced the pain of rejection how they can be healed from its wound, and actually become stronger, wiser, more confident, as a result.