Friday, June 24, 2011
How Long? - Psalms 13 & 14
When we ask this, when we feel forgotten by God, we remember God's past mercy (חֶסֶד). And this gives us joy and confidence since we know that through it all, God's accomplishing his purposes. Think of David's hardships during the conspiracies of Absalom and Adonijah. It corrected David, showed him the consequence for sin, and prepared the throne to be passed on to Solomon who completed the construction of the temple. This Psalm is a prayer for patience and trust.
And now, the infamous Psalm 14 with the infamous line, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Now, this word for "fool" is a strong negative term that implies not someone who's lacking intelligence, but someone who stubbornly continues to make wrong and evil choices. The "atheistic" sense probably isn't an intellectual one, but someone who lives and acts "as if" there is no God who works to save his people and establish peace and justice.
In Romans 3:10-18, Paul quotes this Psalm in a barrage of passages to show how all people by nature are foolish since all fall short of God's glory. Violent people lived in defiance of God ago until a flood swept them away. Later prideful people in defiance of God tried to build a tower to centralize their power and lord it over others, but God scattered them. Today people live in defiance of God, many as if the point of life to accumulate the most possessions (akin to Luke 12:20), or "live large" and be tough till you get knocked down. Sometimes God vindicates his people during their lifetime, but all of his saints will be vindicated and their glory restored when Jesus comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. This is our hope, our Zion.