One thing I love about the Bible is how God can speak to you over and over again using the same passage and yet showing you how it applies to your life in a new way. Psalm 37 is a favorite psalm of mine…..I find myself coming to it whenever I seek encouragement because it speaks of the things we see on a daily basis that make us wonder; What the heck?????
It seems to me that lately, there’s a lot going on that merits that question…to make a point, let’s sample the headlines for today’s NYTimes;
I see 3 back-to-back WTH headlines…and there’s a lot of reason for hopelessness and frustration.
My initial thought when I see the absurdity of some things that take place in this planet is to try to do whatever I can to make this existence a little bit better for myself and for anyone I encounter…I feel this is my calling, as a Christian and frankly, as a thinking and feeling human being. I feel a sense of urgency about this…and there’s a tendency to accompany that sense of urgency with action.
I have a busy day and was not planning to start my day with Psalm 37…but I’m glad I took the time to meditate before my day got started. For some reason the saying “too busy not to pray” came to mind when I thought of my long to do list and the looming deadlines…and I took the time to read the bible and pray.
I came across Psalm 37 and as I was reading through it for the nth time…the following bible verses stood out to me:
Psalm 37:18 which says; “The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever”.
Psalm 37:23-24 which say; The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
For some reason, the image of the “hand of God” stood out to me…I did some research and saw that the word for hand in this passage in the original Hebrew is a noun used to describe direction, authority, and power. This brought a new light into the verse because it moved the meaning of the sentence from an abstract figure of speech to a concrete directive of how God intervenes for his children..to think that God will uphold us by providing us his direction, with his power and authority…I would liken it to the ultimate TED talk; inspiring, enlightening, encouraging and empowering…inspiring us to continue to try to make a difference, to take risks, to be bold.
The image of “inheritance” also stood out to me…that is the subject of dreams and novels; the long lost relative who leaves behind a sizable estate that propels the heir into new heights of wealth and status (and puts them on equal footing with their former nemesis who can no longer take advantage of them)….but I digress. What does inheritance mean in this context? There are two very powerful applications for this noun in Hebrew; the first one denotes the promised land…the second one denotes God Himself -as He called himself the inheritance for the priests in Israel. This idea of inheritance being access to God and his promises brought to mind Paul’s words about Jesus and the setbacks that we encounter in life in Romans 8:
37 …in all these things [in previous passages Paul refers to opposition encountered and the pains of this world] we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God has given himself as an inheritance and we have the promise of his enduring love through Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, even with our best efforts…things can still devolve into chaos..and then again we go to the good ole question: WTH???? However, the love, acceptance, empowering guidance from God makes all the difference when WTH happens.
I am amazed at how new aspects of God’s word come to light, and how their application is hope-inducing, energizing and faith-building.
My faith in humanity might not be restored…but my faith in the calling of God empowering people to make a difference for good is.