Posts Tagged ‘Living as a Christian in an unbelieving world’

Before the Doors and Wheels Fall off © created by Ross Cochrane as a 3d computer image using Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Psalm 10 – Psalm 10:4-6 – HUMAN HUNTING – Before the Doors and the Wheels fall off? – Part 4

Introduction: Australia burns. My heart is breaking for the country and the people I love.

In Psalm 10, David speaks of the spiritual fires of destruction that can also devastate a society. Although this is a sobering picture (Psalm 10 paints a gloomy picture), you will also find David holds on to something positive to offer us also by way of hope. I have sought to grapple with my own thoughts on how to apply this part of the Bible.

The Newspapers today reflect Psalm 10. 

  • Terrorists killing innocent people. 
  • A Politician doing the wrong thing gets away with it on a technicality, 
  • Teenagers at a train station beat up an old man. 
  • In the middle of huge bushfires, a man is accused of lighting a fire deliberately. It is believed many others are also lighting fires deliberately. Others are looting. 
  • Designer drugs at concerts are so commonplace there are more lenient laws introduced in the hope to regulate too many deaths. 
  • A young truck driver is arrested recently for human trafficking. 
  • Ivan Milat a mass murderer, goes to his grave recently but refuses even on his deathbed to let families know of where the bodies are. He is defiant until death, glorying in the power he has to withhold this information and unwilling to be constrained by authority. 
  • Governments make bad decisions, and protesters turn into lawless mobs who loot shops and other businesses, and destroy property. 
  • A Football player loses his career for quoting a verse in the Bible that speaks about being accountable to God. An article declares how Christians utter hate speech by expressing anything from the Bible that is confronting. 

HOW THEN WILL I LIVE AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST?

How then will I live as a follower of Christ? Like David, I find myself praying for God’s protection (Psalm 10:12). Like David, I know that God thinks that we matter (Psalm 10:14). I’m probably a little less passionate in describing how I would like God to deal with arrogant people who go out of their way to ridicule belief in God or with those who lack common decency in the way Christ followers are treated, or with those who are just plain wicked in their dealings with others in our world, but I do pray for God’s justice in our wayward world, (Psalm 10:15) and I do call upon God to intervene. 

I will continue to question God but hopefully it will be like David, without the pride of thinking I could do better or know all the answers. God is not accountable to me. He is not obliged to answer my prayers in my way. He does promise justice in His time, not mine. 

THE LOVE OF CHRIST

I am called to be an instrument of His love in an unloving world, not just someone who gripes about the world. Loving your enemies is not agreeing with their behaviour. Turning the other cheek is not being a doormat but taking a choice not to allow evil to think that it is winning. How do I intervene with God’s love in an evil world?

Psalm 10:3-4 (NLT) says, “For they brag about their evil desires; they praise the greedy and curse the Lord. The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.”

Is it pride and independence from God that feed evil desires? Why would you be too proud to even seek God? One man recently said to me, “I don’t need some divine spirit telling me what to do.” This, of course, is his choice. A commentary sums up this sentiment, however. “Pride says, “I don’t need God or anyone else. I know it all. I have arrived. Pride is impatient with a rival. It hates a superior and cannot endure a master. Pride spurns law and authority and seeks “self-authority.”” Accountability is a questionable concept apparently.

Isaiah 53:6 (NLT2) says, “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him (Jesus) the sins of us all.”

For David, there is a lawlessness in his society where open violence, robbery, and murder are all too common. Self-authority taken to its logical conclusion. David doesn’t over or under expose the photograph of his culture. Strange how it still looks so much like ours. 

Who are the victims? “the innocent”; “the helpless”; “the poor” (Psalm 10:2, 8 NLT). Certainly not the Wicked. David is all for breaking the arms of the wicked (Psalm 10:15). This of course is poetic language. He doesn’t ask the Lord to kill them, but he does want God to break their arms ie to render them powerless in carrying out their evil desires.

David says, “Let them be caught in their own traps” (Psalm 10:2 NLT). There are examples of this in the Bible. Haman tried to hang Mordecai on a gallows and Haman ended up being hung upon it. Those who  tried to destroy Daniel in the lion’s den ended up being thrown in the lion’s den themselves. 

HOW DOES EVIL PERPETRATE A SOCIETY.

It starts off as an evil desire, divorced from any authority but its own. Such desires once brought the judgment of God in the form of a world-wide Flood. Genesis 6:5-6 (NLT2) says, “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and He saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry He had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke His heart.” This verse helps us with anthropopathisms (ascribing human emotions to God) in order to understand as best we can about God’s response to wickedness. Notice that the best way to describe God’s response in human terms is a regret and a broken heart. But even a world-wide flood won’t do it. It merely stays the hand of God for another time when He came into the world as a human being to deal once and for all with our sin.

Romans chapter 1 speaks of the road to wickedness and once again God’s response:

… because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, … 

Does God get His revenge? Does God immediately judge? No. God still allows us to choose and to go our own way to give us time to repent. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” 

It’s easy to ascribe these characteristics to other countries but aren’t all these characteristics readily apparent in our own society where-ever you go, from domestic violence in the home, to abuse on the internet, to the glorification of human hunting in the movie theatres, to the millions of abortions in our world each year, people choosing who is qualified to live? 

A PERSON, NOT A SET OF RULES

All of this is very easily justified, but without an absolute gauge there is only Nihilism.  For a Christ follower the gauge is not a set of rules and regulations either, but a person. Jesus Christ.

David describes the wicked as predators; human hunters (Psalm 10:2). He speaks about how God’s warnings of judgment are ridiculed (Psalm 10:5-6, 11, 13,). How do I live as a Christian? Not sit around while the doors and wheels fall off? I can let God examine my own life for egotism and arrogance and conceit, pretentiousness, smugness and pride, insincerity, and deception. These things are not part of my relationship with Christ. They are throwbacks to “self-authority” that no longer has a place in my life. This year, this decade (2020) all I know is that I can trust God to work out His purposes in a sin-torn world, and the closer I am to Him, the more my life will align with His purposes for me and I will make a difference for Him, before the wheels fall off.

Philippians 1:20-26 (NLT) expresses it well for me. “For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better.” 

Pastor Ross