Today we start an incredible month of music. For the next several weeks we will be embarking on a journey through the majority of the book of Psalms. The Psalms are wonderful and beautiful works of poetry, songs and prayer that are packed full of theological depth and emotion. I am very excited for these next few weeks and hope that you are as well. Like spring bursting forth from the long and cold night of winter, there is something that begins to come alive in us when we listen to, or engage in/with music. Music moves us. It engages us emotionally and often helps us to articulate what we are feeling or express the emotions that we are dealing with deep within the recesses of our soul. When we are happy and things are going great we want to listen to up beat, fun, energetic music. If we have had a long day, often we want something mellow, smooth, or calming so we listen to something a bit slower like maybe some classical or jazz or some worship music. When we are really angry or are needing to get pumped up we put on something that is high high energy and agressive sounding. We often will choose the music we are listening to based on the mood we are in at that moment.
These next six days of our reading this year will take us through the Psalms of the troubled soul. They will be highly emotional and full of situations where there is a great need for God and his intervention into the situation at hand. Like today the people who are writing these psalms are facing real life issues and need the help and faithfulness of a real life God. They understand that they cannot do it on their own. They ask questions like: "where does my help come from?" and answer with "My help comes from the Lord"
They learned to find their hope in the Lord, no matter the circumstances. This week we will read the beloved and cherished 23rd Psalm. This Psalm has comforted many people during difficult times in their life.
Today though, I would like to look at Psalm 10 from todays reading. Quoting Martin Luther about this Psalm: "There is not, in my judgement, a Psalm which describes the mind, the manners, the works, the words, the feelings, and the fate of the ungodly with so much propriety, fulness, and light, as this Psalm....we may here find a perfect image and representation of iniquity. This Psalm, therefore, is a type, form, and description of that man, who, though he may be in the sight of himself and of men more excellent than Peter himself, is detestable in the eyes of God."
In fact, it was not only Martin Luther who found great profoundness in this particular Psalm, Augustine also was moved by this Psalm. He and those who followed him took this psalm without a title and called it the Psalm of the Antichrist.
This Psalm indeed is a frightening one. There are so many lines in this Psalm that should cause us to shudder a little bit because if we are not careful we could find ourselves living this. One verse in particular, V. 11 - "The wicked say to themselves, 'God isn't watching! He will never notice.'" Another way to say it would be, "I know God may have said...but he really didn't mean this/that." or "whats the big deal, it's only one verse" or "It's not like I do "x" all the time, just every once in awhile." or "How could a loving God get mad at me for this?" or "Really God just wants me to be happy so he will overlook that. When we make rationalizations like this, we are basically determining what is right and what is wrong by our own standards and whims. Self-centeredness wins the day with the wicked. Narcissistic behavior is king.
But no matter what we may think about God and his ability to just overlook, or not even notice, what we say, do and think, Scripture is very clear that these things are not going unnoticed. vv.14 - "But you see the trouble and grief that they cause. You take not of it and punish them. The helpless put their trust in you. You are the defender of orphans."
God is not asleep, God is not blind, God is not on vacation. We sometimes look up and ask God where are you. How could you let the wicked win the day? How could you..? These are tough times in our life when we are faced with this question in our hearts and minds. But God is the same today, yesterday, and forever. He is not a far off God but THE God who is there. He is our prince of peace and the comfort and joy of our salvation. He is God and He doesn't answer to us.
I love how this Psalm ends because it is a reminder that even when the world is spinning out of control we can find peace and comfort in the arms of Christ and a God who calls us his children. Look at vv.17 - "Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will listen to their cries and comfort them." He doesn't promise that in that immediate moment, that all the problems or wicked men and the chaos they are bringing will disappear. He instead is the one who will come in and comfort us. He will listen to us. He is the God who is our ever present help in times of need. He has not forgotten us.
I have heard it said that sometimes when the stoms of life are raging all around us God will come in and calm the storm. Other times he comes and calms his child, while the storm rages on.
You may be in the middle of some very difficult situations. I want you to know that God knows where you are and he knows your situation. He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. God is for you and loves you no matter what the world does around us and to us. Our hope is in God not the things and situations of this world. So during this time of trial, fatigue, frustration, sorrow or pain, look to Christ and ask that he would come in and calm your spirit. Spend some time in prayer tonight asking that the Prince of Peace would come and give you that peace that passes all understanding.
I will be praying with you and for you that God would come into the situations that you are facing and that he would make his presence known. That he would come in and bring a supernatural comfort to you soul tonight and that whatever lies on the road ahead that you would find your strength in the one who author and finisher of our faith; Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Blessings to you all, I can't wait to see you and worship with you all on Sunday.