September 29, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His mercy endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods, His mercy endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords, His mercy endures forever.
The entire psalm, an invocation to worship, titled 136, is intended to be an antiphonal declaration between the worship leader and those being led in worship. Their worship, obviously, is of God- Yahweh Elohim, The God of all gods. It serves as an humbling reminder that God is God and no one else, not even ourselves, is God. We hear a similar sentiment from Psalm 100 where it declares “The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever.” And it is a good thing that it does and He is because there would be no hope for us in this world without it. And yes, I did not say “there would be little hope.” Without the goodness of God expressed in His immutable mercy over us, there would be NO hope for us in this world. By extension, then, there would be no hope for us anywhere, anytime, anyway nor anyhow. Our lives would be as rudderless boats in the calm or stormy waters. Our lives would be as treeless leaves with nothing to hold on to and draw nourishment from who are scattered by the winds of doctrine and the whims of humankind. Our lives would be fruitless branches ungrafted into the vine left to shrivel up, dry out and be cast into the fire. Disoriented, gaunt and fruitless are not descriptions we would like have applied to our lives. In reality, that is what we would be if not for the mercy of God. Even though we, in our penchant for sin and sinning, are deserving of such vocabulary applications, God’s nature and character of love stills sees hope in us and for us. Thus, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And the people ought well to respond, “And His mercy endures forever.” Amen? AMEN!
I am reflecting on this because of the statement which rose up in yesterday’s writing. In it I offered that it is better to be “good” than “great.” In Andy Stanley’s work “Not In It to Win It!” there is a similar theme. Our purpose on earth as a human being not focused on God and God’s will and therefore not experiencing nor expressing His righteousness (which also endures forever), is akin to Darwin’s “survival of the fittest.” In today’s narcissistic vocabulary it might be translated “survival of the greatest.” And there is no doubt that the pursuit of being “A Number 1, King of the hill and Top of the heap” is the mantra of modern society. So great is this desire that the world has adopted a sacrilegious image to heap on certain individuals who, in their eyes, are determined to be the “greatest of all time.” This is not the greatest in history up to this point. This is now the greatest of all time and even those in the future will never reach their full measure and stature. And the image of such declaration is “GOAT.” I have even heard a pastor teach that Jesus was a “GOAT” and the image of Jesus was superimposed on that of silhouette of a goat’s head. Really? The last time I saw a “divine” being with a goat’s head it was of one who has fallen far short of divine. So, I am curious as to why anyone would desire such a title and image put upon them when it stands in opposition to what is good, right and true. Trust me on this, scripture never proclaims Jesus as the Goat who was slain. Nor does scripture declare we are saved by the blood of the Goat. And those who are acclaimed as GOATs, Greatest of All Times, are only the “greatest” until a greater one comes along. The author of Hebrews draws such a comparison between the law of Moses and the law of Christ saying “As great as Moses was, one who was greater is here- Jesus Christ.” The author was not minimizing the work of Moses. He was God’s chosen to lead the slaves, the descendants of Jacob Israel, out of bondage in Egypt. But, he was not infallible. In fact, because of his contentiousness and pride, he disqualified himself from leading the people all the way into the Promised Land of God. No one is greater than the law, especially the Law of God. As great as he was and others have been, it is not their greatness which is the true determining factor of great. It is their goodness. And I will reflect on that aspect of the true understanding of our lives tomorrow. Until then, shalom; God is good and His righteousness endures forever.
Father, You are good and Your mercy has endured in the forever of our lives. It has offered us salvation through Jesus the Christ who humbled Himself on the cross that we might have forgiveness and eternal life. He has shown us the way, the truth and the life we are meant to live and by which we are to lead. We commit ourselves not to being the greatest of all time because we never will be. But, we set our sights on being the “goodness of all time” by trusting in You alone and worshiping You through our lives in spirit and in truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.