Asking God to Be God

Today’s reading is Psalm 35.

The first few verses of Psalm 35 seem odd to us. They picture God as lawyer and warrior. Someone is contending against me (and that is actually a legal term), contend against them for me. Someone is fighting against me, rise up and fight them for me. He really digs into the warrior metaphor in vss. 2-3, asking God to take up shields and weapons, and saying to David, “I will be your salvation!”

Then there are vss. 5-6 asking the Lord to have His angel chase the enemies away like chaff before the wind (yes, you should remember Psalm 1:4 here). What is going on here?

Let’s not read this in a vacuum. Look in Exodus 23:20-33. I’ll provide some excerpts.

Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared for you…But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries…I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you…

David didn’t just make up his prayer on the spot. He wasn’t just thinking of all the things he could say and created these ideas. David knew the Torah.

What is he doing in these prayers? He is asking God to be God. He is asking God to be for him, what He promised to be for Israel. He is asking God to be what God has already said He would be for His people.

Do you want to pray more effectively? Take a page out of David’s book and ask God to be in your life what God has declared He is.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 35.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post!

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Hey, God, Look at Me

Today’s reading is Luke 18.

Let’s make sure we always understand exactly why the tax collector was justified and the Pharisee was not. The Pharisee was not condemned because he avoided extortion, injustice, and adultery. He was not condemned because he fasted twice per week and gave tithes of all that he got. That is, the Pharisee was not condemned for thinking God’s law was important, for attempting to obey it, or for attempting to demonstrate his devotion by doing spiritual things above and beyond God’s law. He was supposed to be like this and so was the tax collector. Additionally, the tax collector was not justified because he was a sinner. He was supposed to avoid sin and needed to be rebuked for it. If we are not careful, we might get the idea that God doesn’t care if people obey His law and folks who dismiss His will are automatically justified. The Pharisee was humbled and condemned because of self-exaltation. The tax collector was exalted with justification because in humility he turned to the Lord. The Pharisee was not condemned for keeping God’s Law, but for thinking he was special, set apart, and deserving of praise because of the particular laws he kept instead of being humble regarding the ones he had not and seeking God’s mercy in that humility. The tax collector was not justified for dismissing God’s will, but for realizing how important God’s law is and knowing he could do absolutely nothing to make up for how badly he had broken it. Jesus is not saying, “If you want to be justified, ignore God’s law, just say the right prayer.” He is saying, “If you want to be justified don’t think the rules you’ve kept make up for the rules you’ve broken. Humble yourself before God, realizing only His mercy can justify you.”

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 18.

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Why Did Jesus Come?

Today’s reading is 1 Timothy 1.

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

Jesus did not come to save society. Jesus did not come to save the planet. Jesus did not come to save the whales. Jesus did not come to save America (or any other country). Jesus didn’t come to save marriages. Jesus didn’t come to save the socially oppressed. Jesus came to save sinners. We can trust that statement. We need to fully accept that statement. Paul himself is a great example of it. So am I. You can be too. If you are a sinner and want a Savior, leave a comment below so we can get in touch with you. I would love to introduce you to the Savior.

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Timothy 2.

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