Saturday, February 18, 2012

Beyond a buddy God

 "Psalm 50 - The Lord Summons the Earth" by Moshe Tzvi HaLevi Berger
View the entire Psalm series by Berger

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 50:1-23

TO CHEW ON: "You sit and speak against your brother;
You slander your own mother's son.
These things you have done, and I kept silent;
You thought that I was altogether like you;
but I will rebuke you,
And set them in order before your eyes" - 50:20,21


We put ourselves in danger of making some of the most serious errors about God when we think of Him as being just like us.

How could a God who is all-loving and all-powerful allow evil, we ask,  and manufacture a God who is either not all-powerful or not love.

How can a God who tells us to be humble, demand that we praise Him, we wonder, and manufacture a God who is all ego or so meek and mild as to be of no consequence.

In Psalm 50, Asaph challenges the misconception that God is altogether like us. He points out that:
- God is the creator (Psalm 50:1,2).
- God's presence is mysterious and awe-inspiring (Psalm 50:3).
- He is an altogether capable, righteous judge (Psalm 50:4-6).
- He doesn't need us or our possessions (Psalm 50:7-13).
- Rather, we need Him (Psalm 50:14-15).
- His silence and lack of reaction to our rebellion don't mean that He doesn't see or care (Psalm 50:16-21).

Our human minds and imaginations, limited as they are by time and space, find it hard to conceive of a God who encompasses all the descriptions of Him in the Bible. There comes a time when we need to throw up the hands of our human understanding and opt for a different response. It is a response of faith. It expresses itself in an attitude of praise,  thanksgiving, and compliance to the rules and principles-of-living given to us by this God who is beyond our understanding. It's how Asaph responds in verse Psalm 50:23:


"Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God."

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that You are beyond my imagining. When I don't understand You, I choose faith. Help me to resist the temptation to keep You in the box of my human ability to figure You out. Amen.

MORE: More thoughts on Psalm 50

Our view of God affects how we live our whole lives. John Piper preached from Psalm 50 on October 15, 1989. Though his sermon was delivered to a specific congregation (Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minneapolis) to address a congregation-specific need, the insights he arrives at are relevant to us all. His message, "Call upon Me in the Day of Trouble and I Will Deliver You" begins:

"This psalm is a word from the Lord about a wrong view of God leading to a wrong way of sacrificing to God. It has something very crucial to say about how our view of God relates to our money and our giving to God's cause ....
"Beware of a mindset that belittles and insults God. God is an absolutely unstoppable, unfailing, constant, volcano of power and fire and joy and help. He never wearies in the slightest and is omnipotently enthusiastic about his gracious purposes in your life. Never let a weak or miserly or tightfisted or weary or boring God enter your mind. He owns all and loves to glorify his power and grace by delivering people who call on him. Keep God great in your eyes for the rest of this year.") By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org emphasis added.

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