Daily devotional, 5th of July 2013.
Psalm 78, 79 and Ecclesiastes 2
I’m finding this exercise a great opportunity to learn more. For some reason, it feels like when you’re commited to share what you have learned when spending your time with God, it flows better.
I had some amazing revelations today, so here they are. First, Psalm 78.
After a great deal of inspiration from Psalm 77, where I learned that God is our ultimate pastors and every leader is one sheep of the pen, I was relieved, I was comforted. It felt like the responsibility was taken out of my shoulders (Yeah, i did think I could save the world, haven’t you ever???)
As you might have noticed, the Bible is so alive, that it doesn’t follow a human logic. Psalm 78 is like a short movie of the story of Israel, from Exodus all the way up to David. There is so much to be learned there. The reason why God gave them the commandments, the reason why it all happened, but I picked up on verses 31-35. It talks about the part in Exodus where God killed a lot of young people, It’s in chapter 32 of Exodus. When I read that verse alone, the first thing that came to my mind was: How can I link a loving God to this genocide? It’s impossible, God must be a very angry God. And the matter of fact was that He was angry at them. If you read the whole story and if you place yourself in God’s shoes, you would have finished the story much earlier, I’m sure. I know I would’ve.
But the beautiful thing is in Exodus 32: 33. That answers my sinful question. Why did God kill all those people? Why did he make the Levites execute their own people? It feels a little bit extravagant for a loving God… But He knew (as always) what He was doing. He said in verse 33 of Exodus 32 that He only erased from His book the people that sinned against Him. And that is a back up to the affirmation made in verse 34 of Psalm 78. The reason all of that happened was that the ones God had chosen would repent and follow Him forever. As it says in Psalms 78, they came back running for God. WOW. God is so wise in his own wisdom that it is difficult to understand. No innocent people ever died, because there are no innocent people… And that leads me to the lesson I learned from Psalm 79.
We could have expanded so much more on Psalm 78 and Exodus 32, but I’ll leave you on your own to do your reading and learn by yourself and from God.
Psalm 79 brings (at least to me) a deep confirmation about our salvation by grace alone. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, and we were all destined to be prisoners of sin and condemned to death, but for us, the one God has chosen to save according to His perfect will, it’s a joy to be grateful for our salvation. This might be a little bit out of context when it comes to exegesis but like I said before, I don’t write to please you, this is an exercise for me to reflect on what God is showing me, and if you happen to be in a similar situation, there is something in it for you too.
Look at verse 11: “Listen to the sad cries of the prisoners! Use your great power to free those who are sentenced to death”
Again, this might be out of context and in a deep exegesis, be referring to their contextual reality, but when I was reading, something clicked! We are prisoners… Of sin. There is a bondage in our lives to sin, because we are all born of sin, and if the wages of sin is death, we’re all sentenced to death. I would recommend you to read the book “the bondage of the will” by Martin Luther, 1525. But I haven’t read the whole thing myself, so I could be making a mistake. However, anything you read in these terms will be good for your growth, so go ahead and grab it, and if you happen to finish before me, teach me what you learned.
But on that verse, it clicked on me that we are all destined to eternal death, because of our sinful nature, our sins and the original sin. However, God used his great power to rescue us from that prison and to pay for our sentence, so we could be free, through the blood of Christ, shed on the cross as a atonement, as a sacrifice that had to be made for us, because we couldn’t pay on our own. WOW, that’s a relief! So trust Him, trust that He has rescued you, is rescuing you form your own nature and will rescue you when it comes to the final hour.
Now, to Ecclesiastes 2. What can I say? Somolon was really depressed! If we read chapters on their own, we will only perceive a sad and depressed, confused person. In this chapter, he explains that he tried everything to be happy. He was the richest, the most famous, he had everything he could possibly wish for… Still, he was not happy.
He repeats several times that there is nothing to gain from this life.
Then he discusses wisdom and I thought he would say: “Ok, wisdom is what you need to work for in life…” but no, that is also useless, because ultimately, wise and fools die the same way and everything we worked for will remain here for someone else who might not be as wise as we would like them to be. That brings me to the first thing I learned here: Even though all this is foolishness, one thing we can do to guarantee our life will not be in vain is to train and teach the next generation to take over what we did and make it even better. That’s a key fact that we seem to ignore. I see churches where some times the leadership is away for 2 or 3 weeks and the church goes dead… We must remember that church is not a one man show and we should be able to continue the work God started amongst us regardless of who is leading. Remember: He (God) is the ultimate pastor.
Lastly he says something inspiring: “The best thing people can do is to eat, drink and enjoy the works of their hands”. Ok, it’s not like the movie eat, love and pray, but it’s almost there right??? Jokes aside, I loved this, because today, once more, I realized that trading my time for a pay check is useless, it’s foolishness, because at the end, we all die and we will regret in the end of those 30 years wasted working a job we hated.
So, in a month time I’m taking a vacation (that was already scheduled) and I’ll be 3 months off. When I come back to New Zealand for the next year or so, I will make a commitment to find something I can do that matters. Like my friend Jon Acuff says, “doing work that matters”, something that inspires me to wake up in the morning. Something with a deepest meaning, so that I will at least rejoice in it, because that’s the best thing we can do: Eat, drink and enjoy the works of our hands…”
Thank you God, another great revelation.
PS: A lot of people will say that you have to drive your readers, fans and followers to action so you can get better results… In saying that, I should encourage you to share this with your friends so we can grow a base of followers. Oh well, honestly? Naaa, do whatever you want with it, just make sure you listen to the direction God gives you and I’ll be happy with that.