Bread – Ignore

November 4, 2016


Psalm 39

“For I am a sojourner with You, a guest, like all my fathers.  Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more!” Ps. 39:12b-13

David ends this Psalm with a request to God – “Leave me alone!”

Aren’t we a strange bunch of people?  We like the peace of God, but we do not like the yoke of God.  We like God to be around when He is friendly, but we do not like Him around when He is judging.  We like the freedom of God, but not His commands.  We like God’s mercy, but not His chastisement.

If there are going to be rules, we want to make them…not have to follow them.

There were three tee-shirts I saw the other day.  One said, “I am the oldest child.  I make the rules.”  The second said “I am the middle child.  I am the reason there are rules.”  The third said “I am the youngest child.  The rules do not apply to me.”

All three are about children making the rules, causing the rules, and ignoring the rules.  But what happens when we become of age as Christians, when we become adults, when we eat meat and not just milk, we come to realize that God makes the rules and we ignore them at our peril.

But perhaps David wanted to become a child again for a moment.  Lord, go away and take Your rules and Your love with you “that I may smile again.”

Smile at what?  Reveling in sin?  Wallowing in our own selfishness?  Idly wasting our time on the foolishness of the world.

We may very well be like David and want to push God away, but we are unwise to do so.

Why would David do this?  Perhaps the answer is in the preceding sentence – “For I am a sojourner…”

With God we are sojourners in the world.  We are in the world, but we are not of the world.  We wander through the world pursuing the path God has laid out for us, but there is no place for us to rest in the world, only in the arms of God.  The world despises and distrusts the sojourner because he or she is not a citizen of the place they are, but of the place where they are going.  The world despised Jesus; why should it behave any differently because of us.

There is a real danger for us in the world as sojourners, and that is that we want to belong.  We want to be part of the world.  We want to enjoy worldly things and have the company and approval of worldly people.  As long as God is around, He reminds us that we are His citizens and not the world’s.  He reminds us that we are to behave differently than the world, seeking His glory and not our own or the glory of other people.  He reminds us to aggregate the wealth of heaven and not the wealth of the world.

In other words, He reminds us that we do not ultimately belong where we are.  And sometimes we want to belong where we are … and so we tell the Lord “Go away!”

But although we may behave like the Lord has obeyed us and left, He has not.  Oh He may let us go for a period, following our own foolish ways, but sooner or later He will appear on scene again, reminding us of who we are and whose we are.

So David says and we say “Look away from me, that I may smile again…”  And the Lord, to His children, responds “No.”

And we will smile again, not because the Lord has ignored us like we asked, but because He has not.

But God has ignored something.  He has ignored our request that He ignore us.  He has ignored our sins and instead gone to the cross to die for our sins.  He has ignored His just wrath which we deserve and has replaced it with love and mercy which we do not deserve.

Ignore that at your peril.

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© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

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Bread – Tent

April 11, 2016


Psalm 15

“O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent?”  Ps. 15:1

While I write this, I am in a hotel room in California, far away from my home in Texas.  The people here are just like me, but not.  They have a different outlook on life, live and let live is more the motto here than live according to the Word.

And it struck me in this land, while I read Psalm 14, that I was a sojourner here, a traveler, a temporary resident, going from point A to point B with a stopover in my life in this place, perhaps to return.

As representatives of the kingdom of God, we are fellow travelers here on earth, sojourners on the way to figuring out ourselves, the meaning of life, the existence and reality of God, our purpose on earth, and the kind of people we will be and who and what we will follow.

So where are we sojourning?

God is present in His sanctuary, and for the longest His sanctuary, His place of meeting on earth, was a tent.  The tent of meeting.  And the predominant feature of a tent is that it is portable, it is capable of travelling as well.  And for those of us who have climbed mountains, it is quite customary for us to carry our tent, our place of rest, with us on our back.  So a tent not only suggests portability, it suggests a place of rest, of sanctuary, and of meeting.

In this one sentence is a deep question.  When we go about our daily ways, our jobs, playing with our children, our life … do we carry God with us?  Do we seek sanctuary on a regular basis with Him?  Do we rest in His tent?

If you think about it, it is a remarkable thing to be able to say that, where I am, God is also.  In fact, it may seem presumptuous except for the fact that God has given us that promise when we are His.

On a broader scale, we could say that we always travel in God’s tent, because His tent is the creation, and we walk on earth.  But I don’t think that is what is meant here.  Instead, I think what is meant is that man has the opportunity to have God with him wherever he is, if he will but make sure that he is sojourning in His tent, with Him, in Him, and through Him.

“O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent?”  Your children, O Lord.  For wherever they are, wherever you are, wherever I am, You are also.

Amen.

_________

© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

 

 

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