June 15, 2017
Having read this Psalm several dozen times, I tend to fly overhead at 20,000 feet, with a breezy internal affirmation: “of course, that’s right”. This morning I came in for a landing, taxied to a side lane, and actually reflected on the reading.
This should happen more often.
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” – Psalm 119:71-72
Sure. I believe that.
Intellectually I know it’s true. Even in real life testing it rings true. Why wouldn’t it be true? But that’s my immediate, superficial, conditioned response.
It’s easy to read through breezily – familiar territory after all – without reflection and examination. But do I really believe it?
What would it be like if I had enough money to live aloof from any sense of earthly need? Wouldn’t it be ducky to have life cushioned from deprivation until the day of death, with my wife having no fiscal foreboding? Resources for 100 years of living for my remaining two or three decades?
It sounds so good.
What if the cost of this, though, was to possess no idea who God is and not know His Words? How would that feel? Would that be a shipshape situation?
I broach here a question of reality – of things that matter much. Have you experienced affliction, opposition or illness, with the results being your deeper knowledge and appreciation of God? On the other side of it did you find you knew His Words better? (If you have no idea what this paragraph means, please contact me. I’ll explain.)
Imagining a life with no knowledge of the Holy One, and no knowledge of His Words, leaves me empty. We weren’t made for such sterility. We weren’t made to be vision-less, left to ourselves.
The fundamental premise of this blog is that everyone has a worldview. If my worldview excludes the existence of the Almighty God, I am left to myself – a ship with no engine, no propeller, no sails, no rudder.
Possibly no water.
Anything would be permissible. Presumably. But this would not be serene, well-satisfied living. Rather, hollow, puzzling, barren, desolate and despoiled would be key descriptions of my journey on earth.
- Nothing would be right.
- Nothing would be wrong.
- “Do as you will” would be the overriding vibe.
People who believe this can happen make wrong assumptions about the human heart. We are not “basically good”.
Made in God’s image, yes, but the heart is damaged. You do not have to teach anyone to do evil, to express anger selfishly, to lust, or any other thing that debilitates the worth of life. It all comes “naturally”. (But it’s actually unnatural compared to what we were made to be. The Imago Dei is smeared.)
Do you really believe the law from the mouth of the Holy One is better than a monumental mass of cash, even real money like gold or silver?
Believing this may be tested more severely one day, but I do believe this. Nothing lasts but the Words of the Holy One. Why would I put all my hope in something that will reduce to blight, corrosion, and disintegration?
The one can let me have it easy for awhile. The other is infinitely unimpeachable.
Is it time to take a long look at your life’s foundation? Are there cracks?