Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” That’s a question. What can we do when all seems to be going awry? When the wicked prosper and hate righteousness. When lies abound. You can fill in the blank for your life. What are the righteous to do? Keep reading. That’s the short answer. Keep reading. The answer cometh.
Dr. Feinberg, my friend, and OT professor, was fond of saying, “When the Bible doesn’t seem to make sense, just keep reading.”
It doesn’t make sense that we are left to bemoan the situation, foundations gone, now what? Cry? No!! Keep reading. Psalm 11:4, “The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” His eyelids! He doesn’t even need eyes to test and know them thoroughly and hate them. “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” God. He is God so we don’t have to be. Pretty great! There’s more in this Psalm. Just keep reading.
“On your walls, O Jerusalem I have set watchmen
All the day and all the night they shall never be silent
You who put the Lord in remembrance take no rest
And give him no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.” Isaiah 62:6-7
God puts those who pray on the walls of Jerusalem to pray continually.
To put God in remembrance and to give Him no rest. Until He brings blessing to His city.
This reminds me of Luke 18 and persistent widow, and the friend who comes at midnight in Luke 11.
Nothing fancy to interpret here. Pray. Pray continually. Put God in remembrance knowing that if you are praying, he has appointed you to do so.
Ever since I became aware of our corporate American addiction to outrage and tribalism, coupled with a lack of listening skills, my ears perk up when anything helpful appears. Our hubris about our opinions is a hard topic to address successfully. How do you convince someone to listen who believes that there is no more evidence to consider? The newsletter from CT helps. You may want to skip down to the article about queuing, but the whole thing is worth reading.
While I was reading the gospel of Mark this morning I noticed the various responses to Jesus’ teaching and deeds. Of course, seeing him in person must have been amazing, but hearing his voice in the Scripture is just as fabulous according to the Bible. In fact, reading about his deeds is equally magnificent as being there – check out Galatians 3:1. In Luke 16:31, Jesus indicated that if they wouldn’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they could not be persuaded if someone rose from the dead. There is power in the words of the Bible. They are the Words and thoughts of God!! The Bible contains supernatural words with supernatural power.
Here’s a sampling of Jesus’ words, assorted responses, and instruction on listening from Mark’s gospel.
Mark 12:17 – “they marveled”
Mark 12:37 – “the great throng heard him gladly”
Mark 1:38 – “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for.”
Mark 4:9 – “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”
Mark 4:24 – “pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.”
Mark 6:2 – “And on the Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished”
Mark 8:32 – Peter rebukes the Lord for his teaching about his death and resurrection. Not good Peter.
Mark 9:7 – the Father, says, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
Mark 9:32 – Jesus again predicts his death and resurrection and disciples did not understand and wer afraid to ask him.
There are more verses and three other gospels with responses and instruction on listening, but you get the point – what Jesus says should elicit a viceral response. God is speaking and what he says is more important than what anybody else is saying. It is more important than the evening news, Jordan Peterson, Rush Limbaugh, Saturday Night Live, any politician, Hollywood’s elite, every single musician, and the enumerable benign podcasts that afflict our commutes. God is the One who holds your future in his hands and he has some things to say that he thinks you need to know. Those things are found in the Bible. This may seem a trite exercise but take inventory of who you listen to and how much time you spend listening. Argghhh. Convicting. Now take inventory of how you listen to God. Do you revere his words? Do you desire them like a newborn baby desires her mother’s milk? If not, pray. Repent. Ask God to show himself to you in the Scriptures. Read. Pray.
And think hard and long and deeply and thoroughly about what God is saying. And pray about what you are reading. Pray to read rightly. Pray to be awestruck. Your life depends on it!
Deuteronomy 32:47 – “For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life.” ESV
1 Samuel 3:21 – “the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.” NASB