Daily devotional, 5th of July 2013.
Psalm 82, 83 and Ecclesiastes 3, 4
Wow, what a weekend it has been. I’m not even sure where to start. I see a lot of great things happening where I only expect bad things happening and where I assume great things would take place I find myself being disappointed over and over again. But I guess that’s where we’re heading in the future.
This blog today might be a little bit all over the place as I had a mix of experiences on this past weekend. I’ll share a little bit about them and then talk about the verses. I hope you stick around.
On Saturday I spent almost the whole day with my baby daughter, as usual, our daughter daddy day. She is now learning to say three words in the same sentence and her communications skills are sparkling something new every day. It’s a great experience! I can’t wait to see her playing with her grandparents! 1 month to go.
On Sunday we went visiting a church we had never been in. It was an interesting experience. Overall, the visit was pleasant. My critical eyes are always putting me in that bad place but apart from that, everything was fine.
One of the worshippers sang a song that touched my wife and I. For a long time we had not seen anything like it. It had been a while since we cried, touched by a song. I was thankful for being there. The message was great too, it was all about forgiving others. I wish we had more messages like that every day. I met two or three different people, and I purposefully behaved as a visitor. No one knew who I was there and that made me realize that in most cases, people have the best intentions in welcoming visitors, but are clueless about how to interact with strangers…
A piece of advise: If I met you on the supermarket would you talk about the growth program you have starting in 2 months time??? Probably not, so don’t do that in church… (I thought that was funny). And lastly, PEOPLE!!! drop the acting, just be yourself. I think we’ve had enough of the perfect make up, impeccable shirt, super polite pastor’s family, VIP room for guests. Just be normal people! Just be yourself… You’ll be fine! That’s who God created you to be. no one can be a better you than yourself.
Now the devotional. I think you’ve been waiting for this! Who cares about my opinions and experiences in the first place anyway??? Here we go.
I’m not sure where we stopped on Friday, but Saturday I didn’t read anything (yeah, I’m human too), on Sunday, believe me, we went to church (hate the expression) but there was no Bible reading.
Hold your horses before you say that!!!
There was preaching, and like I said, it was some good preaching! I could see all references the preacher was using. Traditional people would crucify the preacher for not “opening the word of God”, but I think he did a great job… So as he didn’t “officially” read any verse, I might add that on Sunday (at least in church) we didn’t have any Bible. Then I read in the afternoon bits and pieces all over the place. From Genesis to Revelation, very broad, but good. Then on Monday, I picked up on Psalm 82 (a very short one, only 8 verses), 83 and Ecclesiastes 3 and 4. I will focus on Psalm 82 for today if that’s ok for you. Here we go:
Some of you will read verse 1 and will get confused, because it says “God sits with gods…” Oh the precious mysteries of the Bible! The word god (with lower case) in this case, was used for “judges” or “powerful rulers” of that time, so there it is, don’t go around thinking there are many gods. There is only one, and He is our God, YAHWEH (if you don’t know what that is, don’t panic, it’s His original name, or at least the one we see thousands of years ago identifying Him).
On verses 3 and 4, I had one of those personal, out of the context, my-own-interpretation, revelation types. When it says, “protect the poor and the orphans, save them from those who are evil…” I could only remember of one time when someone was describing the job of a leader to me. He said: “the job of a leader is to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves”. I think I stole that from Rick Warren, but I’m not sure, sorry. That’s a solid statement and I think I can stick with that.
Then it goes on to say that “they don’t know what’s going on, they don’t know what they’re doing, the world is falling apart around them…” Now, this might not be a reality for you and me, but turn on your TV and watch the world news. Around the world, the world is indeed falling apart. I don’t know about you, but I was in shock this weekend watching the news (because I rarely turn on the TV for the news, I normally get it in my RSS reading every morning). Here is what I saw: A train derailed in Canada, A Police officer shot a dog in front of the owner for nothing in the USA (pure brutality), a plane crashed on landing and apparently for no reason (luckily most of people got out safely… My heart goes to the families who lost loved ones in the accident), Egypt is in Crisis, North Korea is still obscure, thousands of people were burned alive for being Christians in countries in Africa, Muslims shot Muslims in Egypt over a silly thing, in Syria, nothing is getting better, in Brazil, my home country, the greatest entrepreneur of the last 50 years is found to be corrupted (at least that’s what the media said so far) and is declaring bankruptcy of billions of dollars that were taken from government funds with no perspective of paying back, and no jail time for him. The former president of Brazil is found to be sending money overseas illegally, There was something about Cuba but I forgot what it was…
Now the worst of all (maybe not the worst compared to tragic events, but pretty bad). In a soccer match, an amateur one, in Brazil, the referee showed a red card to a player who didn’t accept the charges and refused to leave the field. The referee probably thought through in his brilliant mind all alternatives and came to the conclusion that the best one was to stab the player to death in front of hundreds, if not thousands of people watching the match. WOW! If this is not non-sense I don’t know what it is…
Not satisfied with that, instead of the police making an intervention, they thought it would be better to wait and see how the public would react. Granted, they did. They overtook the field, grabbed a hold of the referee and beat him up to death, sliced him up and beheaded him and to finish the show, put his head on a plate in the middle of the field!
Now hold your thoughts for a second: Are you reading the same thing I wrote? People killing people, ferociously, for a soccer match and proudly displaying someone’s head on a plate!!! Practically animals, savage, horrendous… Sounds barbaric! And it is.
That for me was my revelation about Psalm 82: 5. The world is falling apart and these people can’t even see it, they think it’s normal!!! Wake up people!
What gave me a great comfort (if that state of mind exists in this midst) was that I know that this is nothing new. Like the preacher says in Ecclesiastes: “there is nothing new under the sun“. It’s almost like life goes on in a cycle and it keeps coming back tot he same place, atrocity after atrocity. For example: John the Baptist was beheaded for no reason, around 2000 years ago. And his head was literally, displayed in a plate. I wonder how people dare to say we have developed! Over the course of history as we know, atrocities are not the exception to the rule, it’s almost like they are the rule. If we look closely, it feels like we’re worse than wild animals!
I wish we could really focus on learning from God and look into our world through God’s eyes and be humble enough to say: enough is enough, God, take your place and rule over us.. Like the Psalmist says: ” Get up God. You be the judge. you be the leader of our nations!”
Ecclesiastes 3 is a beautiful piece of writing: There is time for everything. Even for hate. That might explain why we humans put ourselves through stuff like we just spoke about in the lines above. I can’t understand it yet, but I’m not God, so I’ll leave it for now…
Ecclesiastes 4 talks a good deal about selfishness and working too hard, but honestly, I think we’ve had enough lessons in one very short Psalm. Oh the riches of God’s word! Meditate on it, read it again, think about your own world and life. Hopefully you will be shocked as I was and will be a catalyst for change. That’s my prayers for today, that you will be a catalyst, for change, for good! So help us God!
Have a great day.