Hello again on this Sunday morning, 9 August 2020. I’d like to share a message of faith with all of you.
I suspect most of us by now have felt it. After a discussion last night, a friend of mine said, “There is just so much BS out there.” Everywhere we look, powerful voices are competing for truth. It is a common occurrence when there is uncertainty. For a while it slowed down, but now with the onset of schools being open, the triumvirate of fear, doubt, and anger are at a fever pitch. Everyone with a megaphone is vying for our loyalties, trying to convince us that they are the only guides out of the storm.
But it’s not free. The seeds of fear and anger must be paid for, and their fruit demands further compensation. Followers imitate leaders, and the more they do, the less aware they can become of where the leader is actually taking them. So believers are instructed to be vigilant, critical of ideas, watchful for tricks and deceptions. I wish I saw more of that today, because many of those leading have become blissfully ignorant of their responsibilities to those who follow. They are more concerned with being heard than being right, more concerned with coercion than guidance, more enamored with power than with peace.
My musings brought me to the 55th Psalm. King David found himself surrounded by those who would harm him, most notably a son who conspired against him. Absalom would manipulate the people for his own glory, portraying himself as a leader while guiding them down a path of ruin. And paths of ruin inevitably end in death.
When I read this psalm, I see a lot of what is happening today, right now. Put yourself in David’s shoes as you read – we may not be kings, but we all have people in our lives that want to gain our loyalty, win our favor, and convince us that they will lead us by dangling our values before us like carrots on a stick. The commentator Matthew Henry says it this way:
“See how David was weary of the treachery and ingratitude of men, and the cares and disappointments of his high station: he longed to hide himself in some desert from the fury and fickleness of his people. He aimed not at victory, but rest; a barren wilderness, so that he might be quiet. The wisest and best of men most earnestly covet peace and quietness, and the more when vexed and wearied with noise and clamor.”
Have a blessed Sunday.
“Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me.
“My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger. My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.
“I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”
“Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words, for I see violence and strife in the city. Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it. Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.
“If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers.
“Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the realm of the dead, for evil finds lodging among them.
“As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change— he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God.
“My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. But you, God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay; the bloodthirsty and deceitful will not live out half their days.
“But as for me, I trust in you.”