Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 97. (MsgB)
All who serve handcrafted gods will be sorry—
And they were so proud of their ragamuffin gods!
On your knees, all you gods—worship Him!
And Zion, you listen and take heart!
Daughters of Zion, sing your hearts out:
God has done it all, has set everything right.
You, God, are High God of the cosmos,
Far, far higher than any of the gods.
One nice thing about being an earth dweller, there’s never a shortage of gods to choose from.
In high heaven, they know better. Much, much better! Up there, there’s no debate amongst the angels. No elections. No popularity contests. No handmade or handcrafted gods.
As the psalmist states in Psalm 97, “Only one King. The High God of the cosmos. Far, far higher than any of the gods.”
But down here, in the clouds and mist of human confusion, gods of all kinds, shapes and sizes are readily available to those looking for a nifty deity to worship.
One wise author once wrote that we human beings belong to the God of the Month Club. Why?
Because we humans get bored so easily with our gods.
I mean, who wants to worship the same boring God week after week, month and month, year after year. Yeah, yeah, I know. The Bible says that Yahweh is timeless, never-ending and never-fully-explored, but hey, isn’t it much more convenient (and easier!) for us to just create our own little gods? That way, we’re the ones who stay in control, don’t you know. I mean, who really wants an all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful God? Deities with slight flaws in them are so much easier to get along with. That way, I can say, “I told you so” when something down here goes awry!
As I see it, that approach to understanding heaven certainly worked for the Greeks. Having multiple gods, don’t you see, meant that if you didn’t like the way old Zeus was running the world, you could go over to the temples of Mars or Jupiter and pull on their robes for a while. Kinda like getting a second opinion when your sick, or appealing for a new court case when the judge finds you guilty as charged!
I guess the ancient mathematician-turned-Christian philosopher, Blaise Pascal was right.
“God created man in His own image…and then, man…returned the favor.”
But here’s the rub.
When I worship a god that’s made in my image, I tend to get a god who sides with me regardless of my rightness or wrongness in life. Now, if I were the only man on the planet, this ‘creating your own god’ thing might work, but when everyone in my town has their own god, made in their own image, it sure makes for one confusing mess, doesn’t it?
How many wars, for example, have been fought because two men thought God was on their side?
How many times have world religions bumped heads because stubborn men with their stubborn gods refuse to give grace where grace is needed?
Like it not, there is only one God. And quite honestly, he’s not my God, nor is He your God. He’s His own God. He’s the High King of the Universe. Bigger than any God that you or I can conjure up or any deity that could fit into my wallet!
Joshua, Moses’ successor, ran into this High and Mighty God-thing one day when he was out looking for a deity to side with him in an upcoming war. We find the story over in Joshua 5:
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” He replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked Him, “What message does my Lord have for His servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Maybe this idea of God being on my side or your side needs to go out the window? Maybe when asking the question, “Which God do you have in your wallet?” we might want to stop and re-ask that question, getting it in the right, biblically-based perspective?
So, what God has you in His wallet?
As for me and my household, I’m taking off my sandals and picking the High God of the Universe.
What about you?
My prayer: Father God, forgive me when my religiousness demands that You conform to my image of You. That’s heresy…straight out and simple. I repent for making You in my image and I choose to throw away a god that’s made by my own hands. Like Joshua, I want to learn to defer to You and Your sovereignty. I prefer Your will, Father, over mine. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So how have I made my Christianity into a religion that shapes God in my own image? Where am I mistakenly believing that Jesus of Nazareth must behave according to my rules and regulations versus me taking off my sandals, bowing before Him, and allowing Him to be the Captain of the Lord’s Army?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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