Friday, January 20, 2006

Are you more just than God?

In our Bible-reading, my wife and I read three psalms each week in order to be in the Psalms all year. So, at the end of three weeks, we've finished the first nine psalms. There are too many benefits to always reading the Psalms to list here, but one of them is that you start to pick up on themes. What was David consistently praying about? How did he pray? What are the images of God that he keeps coming back to over and over again. I don't think biblical worship ended at Psalm 150, but I do believe this helps us orient ourselves with God's desire for our worship.

One theme that I've noticed over and over again in the Psalms is that David is a man consumed with God: his causes and his glory. He loves his God more than he loves himself--even more than he loves other men! Sometimes I wonder if we haven't subconsciously inverted the greatest two commandments. It seems to me that's why so many Christians struggle with the problem of evil, or the concept of eternal punishment, or God's righteousness which involves him working all things to his own glory.

We don't see how that is God loving us or others, so we can't get by it. And we have Scripture to back us up: God is love, after all, and merciful and gracious. And we're commanded to love our neigbour as ourself, so we struggle with this tension in God.

The problem, as I've said, is that we invert the commandments. The first commandment is to love God. Above all else. That means that I love all that he loves. That means that I love to see his causes and his purposes accomplished. That means that I love to see his righteousness displayed. I love what he determines is best.

In short, it means I trust him. When he declares that he is doing something, I know that it must be good because he is good. When God says he will condemn the unjust and unbelieving, I rejoice, because that is his purpose and it is good. Because of his righteousness, he has said this will be, and that it will be to his glory.

I may not understand, but I trust... because I love him. To eternally lament over those lost to judgment is to mourn over something God has deemed righteous; my heart would not be in line with his eternal purposes. To secretly hope that God will do something other than what he has revealed in his word is to think that I am somehow more just than God and my desires are more righteous than his. That is not loving God first. That's loving me and my fellow man before God.

Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail;
Let the nations be judged before you!
Put them in fear, O LORD!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah

1 comment:

Dan McGowan said...

JL, yeah, I like this post a lot. And I like your commentary on how we tend to mix up those commandments (or even, dare I say it, forget the first one all together, or only until it is convenient for us!) Great admonition here for all to consider. Come visit me sometimes at: Blessings!!