Monday, April 29, 2019

Reassurance for a Time When We Need It Most

Whenever I hear people assess the Bible as being ancient, archaic, outdated, irrelevant, or any of the numerous other negative terms used, I shake my head in amazement. Because in studying the Scriptures, I realize with wonder how contemporary and down to earth its truths are.

With unvarnished candor, the Bible exposes the common flaws of humanity. Its stories recount murders, adultery, lying, stealing and every type of malice we can imagine. The destructive emotions of lust, envy, deceit, jealousy, hatred and greed are found on full display. Despite modern-day advances in technology, communications and various forms of scientific discovery, little has changed. By nature, we’re not much different than people were thousands of years ago.

But what sets the Scriptures apart from the holy books of every other religion is its overarching message of hope, mercy, grace and love extended from God to His creation. In troubled, divisive times such as we’re in today, we desperately need assurances that no matter how bad things seem to be – or how much worse they threaten to get – God is still present, sovereign, and ultimately His good will prevail.

I was reminded of this while reading my favorite psalm, Psalm 37. As we peruse the newspaper, watch the day’s news or spend more than a few minutes on social media, we can easily conclude Chicken Little was right – the sky is falling. But the opening verses of this great psalm declare that even though the world may seem upside-down and out of control, God guarantees, “Do not fear. I’ve got this!” Here’s the passage:

“Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath, do not fret – it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land” (Psalm 37:1-9).

The rest of this psalm’s 40 verses are just as powerful and reassuring. Originally written by King David under God’s inspiration during a time of great opposition, it would not be a stretch to believe the crises are just as dire in our times today. Every word of this passage is infused with hope and confidence in God’s great compassion, love and mercy for His people.

There’s much we could say about each of these verses. They are worthy of much meditation and reflection. But I think it suffices to sum them up with words of assurance and promise that appear later in the psalm: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread…. Wait for the Lord and keep his way” (Psalm 37:25-26,34).

We can rest assured that no, the sky’s not falling. And even if it does, it’s all part of God’s plan.

No comments: