Wednesday, January 2, 2013

EJ100 #8 Psalm 14:1-7

Today's Essential Jesus reading: Psalm 14:1-7.

This psalm, "of David", is found in the first book of psalms, and is repeated in the second book of psalms, as Psalm 53.

Psalm 14 is a wisdom psalm in four parts:

  1. 14:1 expresses condemnation of the foolish, corrupt evildoers who deny God.
  2. 14:2-3 describes God's judgement of mankind, finding "there is no one who does good".
  3. 14:4 again describes the evildoers; they devour David's people and never call on the LORD.
  4. 14:5-7 despite the work of the evildoer, these verses express confidence in God's presence, his refuge and his salvation and restoration.
This psalm was quoted by Paul in his letter to the Romans [3:10-12]. Paul used it to justify his claim that "Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin." God's law has power only to reveal and expose our foolish, evil, corruption. The law has no power to save sinners such as are described in this psalm.

However, Christians have something that David only looked forward to in this psalm. Salvation has come for Israel (the people of God, aka the church). Salvation did come to us from Zion, when salvation was granted to us by the work of Jesus Christ. The LORD has restored his people, by sending the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts. Let us rejoice and be glad!

It is easy, sometimes, when reading Scripture, to say to yourself, "I'm not like that person" or "I would never have done that." On first reading this psalm, it is very easy to think, "I'm glad I'm not a fool/evildoer/corrupt person." But that's not entirely true.

Now, I'm certainly not an atheist, but this psalm is challenging me to determine whether there are any area(s) of my life from which I exclude God, and live as if there was no God.

  • Are my eating and exercise under his dominion or controlled by my whims and fleshly appetites?
  • Are my reading and watching selections worthy of a pure child of God or are they opening the door to temper (that's crime) and temptation (that's romance)?
  • Does the way I use my time match with God's priorities for my life (where my relationship with him comes first and foremost) or am I suffering from God-avoidance and spiritual laziness?
  • Do the mothering choices I make reflect my desire for my children to know and love and serve God, or are they driven by expediency, by my personality quirks, or by my emotions?

> Over what part of your life do you say, "There is no God here in this area of my life so I will live according to my own desires" ?

Why do I love and worship Jesus?
Even though I am a fool at times, Jesus Christ is present with me by his Spirit; he provides refuge to me from my enemies (even when the enemy is myself); he grants me salvation; and has restored me unto fellowship with himself.

LORD God Almighty,
No matter how many times my own actions
frustrate my plans and hopes,
you are my refuge, my strength,
my deliverer, in whom I can trust.
Help me, LORD, to live each day
restored to fullness of life in you,
rather than living a half-life
ignoring you and your Life-giving son.

Tomorrow's reading: Isaiah 59:1-21.

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