I found a surprise this morning.
I was reading Psalm 36, and it sounded very familiar:
1 The God-rebel tunes in to sedition–all ears, eager to sin.
He has no regard for God,
he stands insolent before him.
2 He has smooth-talked himself
into believing That his evil
will never be noticed.
3 Words gutter from his mouth,
Can’t remember when he
did anything decent.
4 Every time he goes to bed,
he fathers another evil plot.
When he’s loose on the streets,
He plays with fire
and doesn’t care who gets burned.
Rebellion against God, sedition, no regard for decency or wholesome words, evil plots loose on the streets, complete disregard for consequences. Most of us have a deepening sense of unease about how the world is doing right now. It isn’t just our country; the whole planet looks to be unraveling. EVERYBODY is in an economic mess. Rebellion against God is growing exponentially. Think about it; in the past 40 years the Christian religion has been pushed to the margins of the Western world. For the first time since the year 315, when Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion, Christianity is no longer central to the culture.
Fire in the streets of London, young people pillaging, without any clear reason; rumors that people from the outside with agendas of sedition seeking to spur the rioters even further. How about the series of random violence being committed by teens in downtown Philadelphia – some of them “good” kids? Do they lie in bed at night thinking about how to do it?
Certainly our politicians lie awake at night plotting how to grow their power, with careless disregard for the people they allegedly serve, or the negative consequences! Right? Although we disagree over who is the more devious and at fault, most of us are alarmed about our leaders’ breath taking arrogance and their refusal to make the difficult decisions; they disturb me more than the circumstances themselves.
I have lived longer than some, not as long as others. But I have never seen such a boiling mess: Mothers drowning children – not a shock; Children murdering their parents, no longer unheard of; Children plotting to blow up schools or murder teachers is sad, but not horrifying; Another politician under indicted? Who can keep up with the backlog of the ethics committee? The catalog of corruption, sedition, graft, violence, and evil of all kinds is inexhaustible.
So what happens to the godless person in Psalm 36? That was the surprise! The next verses begin like this:
5 God’s love is meteoric,
his loyalty astronomic,
6 His purpose titanic,
his verdicts oceanic.
Surprise! The evil nasty person just disappears! God shines so bright, evil isn’t noticeable, not an issue. I will admit that I was expecting a more definitive promise of doom and judgment on these people. You know … cursed to be chained to Lady Gaga for all eternity at a really bad polka concert; or having all their investments suddenly convert to Greek government bonds.
So, the evil nasty person disappears, but does not become misplaced. According to the Psalm, while evil is indiscernible in the brightness of God’s glory, “Yet in (God’s) largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks”. Interesting. While the darkest part of human nature is insignificant compared to who God is, even though it ultimately has no true meaning, there is this small, indirect assurance that God has it covered. Evil and evil people cannot get lost in the dance of human history and the divine.
After spending time with Psalm 36 today, it occurs to me that there is no meaning to continue to catalog the advancing tide of evil that God-rebels are strategizing and accomplishing in the world. Not when God is here. Rather than being consumed with the wrong, Psalm 36 says, addressing God, that it is better “to run under your wings to eat our fill at the banquet you spread as you fill our tankards with Eden spring water. You’re a fountain of cascading light, and you open our eyes to light.”
Times are bad. The difference between the words and actions of our leaders suggest they lie awake at night viciously plotting for themselves rather than the greater good, and it’s getting worse. But. Psalm 36 boldly proclaims that God always has been, is now, always will be, the Biggest and Best Deal Around. Therefore, God the meteoric, astronomic, titanic, and oceanic will always the issue, the “one thing”, no matter what the God-rebels are up to.
I need to spend more time under those wings, and that is no surprise.