Friday, November 12, 2010

A Matter of Trust: Part 3

What gets answered in this passage?

So now you’re wondering where I am going with this, right. Of course, we all know to trust in our Lord, don’t we? We have read these verses and know what they mean, or do we? In a world that seems to be moving farther and farther away from God, who can we trust? Our own country, in my opinion, has entered into a post-Christian period where the number of people who claim to be Christian, about 130 million strong, but have little evidence of this alleged faith in Christ evident in their lives[1] grows each year. I could go on and on with study after study about what’s wrong with America and the world but I will refrain. In a lost and dying world, the afflictions of the world should come as no surprise. In fact, one could argue that things could and perhaps should be worse. It is my belief that the reason the world is not worse off now is due to the positive influence of Christians around the world who continue to carry out the Great Commission. Until our Savior returns, we too must continue to reach our communities for Christ!

What I want to talk about in this study is who can we trust? David was a Godly man and Psalm 62 was written in praise of God. But it serves as a warning as well. Who can we trust? We are told very clearly that we cannot trust in humans and it doesn’t matter if a person is of low or high position in society. Other translations use breath or vapor in place of vanity, which are both legitimate translations of the Hebrew word hebel (הֶבֶל). If both of these people are placed on a scale and weighed, they are nothing more than a breath! Think about that for a minute. Placing our trust in human beings, remember we are sinful creatures, is like placing your trust in a vapor. A vapor is gone in an instant! Does that sound like something worthy of devotion from children of God? One commentary goes so far as to say “one should not trust in the powerful advances of the wicked”[2].

I think most of us would agree that not trusting in wicked people goes without saying in our lives. Now the Scriptures go even further and warn against placing our trust in riches. Materialism is a big problem here in America. With the development of the financial crisis caused in my view by unchecked greed, this problem has a spot light trained squarely on the behavior of so many in our country and around the world. Bankers and financiers were making money hand over fist for years. So much so that many people thought they could do the same simply by playing the stock market. Add to that the problem of people using their homes as ATM machines and we had a crisis waiting to happen. All of the fancy investments that Wall Street could create did very well but like everything else on this earth, it was temporary. How many of those folks do you think are placing their trust in money now? How many of those people feel guilty about the strife they have caused for so many people across the globe who they will never meet? This is not the only place where God’s Word warns against this. For more in depth study on this very issue, see Proverbs 11:28; 23:5; and 27:4. And let me know if you are interested in additional Scripture references. The Bible has much to say on the subject of money!

Next David contrasts this with the fact that God has declared the power to be His. Mercy as well is the Lord’s to give as He will. Mercy, the Hebrew word hesed (חֶסֶד, חֶסֶד) is translated in other versions as lovingkindness. God is loving and slow to anger. His patience with His creation is amazing! Earlier in the psalm David describes God as his salvation and glory, the rock of his strength, and his refuge. David didn’t make a move without first seeking God’s will. David had strong feelings about who God was in his life and as I pointed out earlier, others around David knew this as well. I can’t resist asking a question at this point in my talk: when you’re not at church, do people know you are a Christian? I’m not looking for answers from you: I am just trying to get you thinking a bit about your own lives and what the people around you see when you’re not here.

Let’s keep moving. David says in verse 11 that God spoke once but “twice I have heard this; that power belongeth to God.” How can David say he heard God twice when he only spoke once? Great question! I think David is trying to tell us that though God only spoke once, David heard the Lord twice: once with his ears and once with his heart. Perhaps David meant that he heard God the first time and again as he contemplated what he had heard. That could be an entire lesson for another time by itself!

David then goes on to tell us that power, or strength, belongs to God. This we know for many reasons but it is reaffirmed throughout Scripture (e.g. Ex. 15:11-12; Deut. 3:24; Job 40:9; Ps. 89:8). The references to the power of God are far too many to list here. Next David states that mercy belongs to God as well. Why do you think that is? Power and mercy are linked here and throughout Scripture along with great and mighty and terrible! You see, these are attributes peculiar to God and God alone! How can one without power grant mercy? Correct, they can’t! Power and mercy are linked throughout Scripture for a very good reason: without power there can be no mercy!

Now, prior to the financial crisis, do you think folks were concerned about the power of God? How many have questioned that power since it began? How many have even thought about God’s power when lifting their concerns up to Him? They are seeking mercy in their situation without having given a thought to the power to grant that mercy.

[1] The Barna Group. The Barna Group: Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim At Christians. June 11, 2007. (accessed April 18, 2009). This study also revealed that despite the notion that Americans become more spiritual with age, the data indicates that notion to be false.

[2] Walvoord, John F., Roy B. Zuck, and Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985), 839.

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