Daily devotional, 10th of July 2013.
Psalm 84, 85 and 86 and Ecclesiastes 5
Granted, this thing is addicting. I almost started writing this blog last night in bed… But then I had to withhold myself and relax, so I left it for this morning. I couldn’t write yesterday, got too busy, but I had an amazing time on my readings. In fact, I told one of my friends yesterday that this blog post would have so much in it that I would scare people away. With that in mind, I will purposefully shorten my intentions and stick to the most important things I found. Ready? Let’s go…
In Psalms, as always, we can find inspiration for our days… I thought it was really interesting how in Psalm 86 David prays to God with such a humble but at the same time, demanding confidence. For example, on verse 2, he says: “I’m your servant, so please protect me”. He repeats this structure in a few verses along the Psalm. I thought he was humble by including the word “please” in it, but the demanding part came with that small word “so“. When I read it I felt like he was implying that God had this obligation to protect him. Surely, it was a promise, and because God can’t lie, He will hold His part of the deal, but it’s not like we pray with that in mind. Specially because He is God, we’re not. Oh, that reminds me my latter part of my reading, when I was reading Ecclesiastes 5, specifically on verse 2. That verse was probably the inspiration for a song that says:
You are God in heaven
And here am I on earth,
So I’ll let my words be few-
Jesus I am so in love with You.
Oh well, I’m all over the place. Back to Psalm 86. On verse 9, David says this: “I wish they all would come worship you and honor your name“. Recently, a friend of mine was found by God and included in the family, she has been so joyful about it that it is contagious… She was telling me the other day that she finds amazing how people don’t get it, it feels like they are blinded by something, because it is so obvious…
Do you remember when you were like that? Fresh out of the oven? A new baby born from the Spirit? Oh, How I wish we wouldn’t lose that first love (So did John, oh well, I should say God actually, when he wrote the book of Revelations, see it by yourself on Rev: 2:4). Well, it is people like this friend of mine that keep me up at night and inspired to wake up on the next day.
I was so immersed in her enthusiasm that when I read Psalm 84: 10 I could only have her picture in my mind! “Better is one day in the house of the Lord than 1000 elsewhere. I would rather be a door keeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked”. That sums it all up doesn’t it?
I had a great time in Psalms yesterday, I’m sure you can see that too! Now let’s jump to Ecclesiastes shall we?
I’ve been reading Ecclesiastes like this is my fundamental internal debate for life. I got some really interesting questions I’m asking myself now and I think they will play over and over again in my mind for the next 10 or 20 years. I may even write a book, who knows? That would be fun… (If you agree with me, you must be the first one to buy it ok??? Naaa, just kidding)
Ecclesiastes 5: 1 Be very careful when you go to worship God. It’s better to listen to God than to offer sacrifices like fools.
Wow, this guy had it all sussed (excuse me the kiwi/ New Zealander jargon) for him thousands of years ago. He understood that God is not concerned about what we can offer him. In reality, what can we offer to him really? Ops, hold on a second, that’s another Psalm isn’t it? Psalm 116:12… Well, it is true, the Bible explains the Bible. It might be redundant, but it’s good enough to me anyway…
Back to the point. So many people have the wrong idea about worshiping God. They’re focused on what THEY can do instead of WHO God really is. What we have nowadays is a man centered theology where it’s all about me and we portrait God as this miserable being who needs us to supply his needs… We have turned the whole thing upside down. God doesn’t need us, we need Him. So, next time you think about “going to” church, think again. Jesus never said: Go to church every Sunday. He said (or at least implied it), BE the church everyday. The great commission is about making disciples and not erecting buildings that costs the people money that go wasted, because we use the building for 5 or 6 hours per week and pay for 30 days a month. Everything must change and it starts with us.
It’s better to listen to God… Than to offer sacrifices. Listen, listen…. Again, LISTEN!!!!
Another part that really caught my attention was the part from verse 8-9. Recently I’ve been confronting the atrocities I see happening in the world and asking myself: How can a human rational being be so cruel to their fellow human beings? How can the things that happened in history and the ones that happen in our present days be even thinkable? Torture, hunger, poverty, abuse, rape, orphans, suicide, crime, violence, wars, racism… This is not rational, this is irrational! Anyone with any sort of rational brain understands this. But then when I read these verses, it gave me an idea.
Bear in mind that in this case I’m not trying to provide you with an answer for evil in the world. There is a whole faculty that studies this subject, it’s called theodicy, or if you don’t believe God and are looking for scientific reasoning behind evil (which will probably lead you to search for God anyway) you can look up the term Ponerology.
I just had this indication, this little hint in my mind that maybe, the people responsible for such atrocities are either not in their right mind, or maybe they are not entirely responsible for it, maybe they’re being forced to do those things or act in a certain way by someone.
Put it this way: If you’re a father, and someone puts you against the wall saying you have to kill someone, otherwise, they will kill your daughter or son. What would you do?
I know, terrible example and I wish I didn’t have to do that. I’m sorry. I wish no one would ever have to go through such a decision. But taking all Spirituality aside, taking all faith aside, relying on our history and human behavioral patterns, I assure you that more than 95% of the people facing this decision will choose to kill a stranger (which will cause an immeasurable pain to another family) instead of taking the pain and to a certain degree, the blame, guilt and charge of losing their daughter. Ask any father, and you will see that I am right.
That’s why in these verses, the preacher says that the ruler also has a ruler forcing him to do those things. If you read really deep into it, I think you will find that Satan is behind the whole evil situation forcing people to do and act strangely. That’s what I got anyway. But again, This is only the tip of the iceberg.
Going back to the last paragraph, where I said that any father would chose to kill someone one else instead of having their daughter killed, or their son killed… There is one exception.
Look at what God did, look at the life and death of Jesus. It’s all through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. God didn’t choose to kill you, or anyone else, a stranger per say, in exchange for his son’s life, his only son. In fact, He made a conscious choice to offer his own son’s life in exchange for yours, a complete stranger, an enemy of God, a sinner, someone who has done absolutely nothing to earn any favor from this almighty God. But His love was so much greater than we could ever imagine, So far beyond what we could ever understand that He killed His own son on that cross to set you free, to bring you close to Him, to save you. It might be the most cliché of the Bible verses, but read John 3:16 and the entire history of salvation is summarized there. Beautiful verse!
And the reason why we can be so confident in this Almighty God is that not only He was so good and kind to us to pay the price of our sins for us, to set us free through the death of his son, but He brought His son back to life to prove that He is God and that this life is only a temporary test, to defeat death and its power once and for all and to show that He is waiting for us in heaven, to live the rest of eternity (I know, that’s awesome!!!) and that we can have this certainty that He saved us once and for all.
WOW! I feel like church now! If I had the power to make some music play in your mind right now I would play some slow piano, very nice melody and ask you to come walking down this imaginary isle and pray with you!!! (Funny). But I can’t, so I will leave this extra-sensory exercise for you to complete by yourself.
The rest of Ecclesiastes 5 is awesome, dealing with the fact that people work hard to save money and in the end, they take nothing out of this world. It reminds me of the story about Alexander the Great when he died. It is believed that he asked to have his hands out of the coffin to show that he was taking nothing to the next life… Read it by yourself, interesting story…
And finally, after saying that working hard for money and material things and taking nothing with you after you die is a very sad thing, the preacher says that the best thing he has seen someone doing is “eating, drinking and enjoying the work of their hands”…
He repeats this way too much, it must be important, so again, I am saying to myself: From now on, I will strive to wake up every day to a purposeful life, something that gives me joy and expands beyond my existence. Something that empowers others to find what they’ve been looking for.
I’m actually rediscovering my life mission. It’s so exciting! I wrote it down yesterday, but it’s so amazing that I couldn’t finish yet, so I’ll give it some days, maybe months, to let it sink in.
Living life with a purpose might not bring the best financial rewards, who cares? what I know is that I’m not going to trade my precious time on this earth for money anymore, neither should you, but that’s your decision, not mine.
Ok, that’s it! You have an amazing day ahead of you, go enjoy it! I’m looking forward to the next posts.
Feel free to comment, leave questions, email me or whatever.
PS: Just for clarification purposes, the posts on this blog relating to these daily devotionals are not an attempt in any way to be a theological, exegetical, hermeneutical explanation for any scripture, rather, they are an expression of my own personal daily reading and how it relates to day to day situations in my own life.
I do have dozens of Bibles at home, in several languages, including Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, several study Bibles and many resources I use for more serious content, such as preaching or teaching.
With that said, please feel free to leave your comments in any posts you feel are not correctly, but don’t expect me to be always right. No one can do that. Everyone has the right to be wrong, and that includes you and me.