Tag Archives: Glory

Singing with the King (78) – An Awful Waste of Space

An Awful Waste of Space

night sky

 

From Contact (1997)
Young Ellie:  Dad, do you think there’s people on other planets?
Ted Arroway:  I don’t know, Sparks. But I guess I’d say if it is just us… seems like an awful waste of space.

Well, I got to admit, this is different for me. Starting with a quote from a movie rather than one from the Bible. But, it’s a great way to illustrate how small our thinking really is.

You see, the purpose of the universe is not some place for countless numbers of creatures to hang their hats and call home. No, the purpose of the universe is to declare the glory of God.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. (Psalm 19:1)

Current speculation on the size of the observable universe is some 91 billion light years. As far as what’s beyond, best guess.

But God…

He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. He is Everlasting, without beginning or end. That pretty much makes Him beyond even the unseen stretches of the universe.

One might think those sort of attributes put Him beyond our finite experience and understanding. But that is not the case, for at least two reasons (there are countless more but I desire to keep this short).

We have been made in His image (Imago Dei) we have also been given the ability to know Him.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. (Genesis 1:26)

And Christ came to show us that what God looks like up close and personal; and that we can not only know Him, but have a relationship with Him.

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11)

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.(John 10:27-30)

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.  Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. (John 14:9-11)

So, God is big, and God is close. The universe is there to show how great His glory is; and we are here to show how close His love is.

 

Singing with the King (60) – Be Exalted #2

Be exalted above the heavens, O God; let Your glory be above all the earth. (Psalm 57:5)

Last week I mentioned how context is critical to understanding and applying Scripture. I then showed the what the above verse was sandwiched in between:

viet nam battle sceneMy soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongue a sharp sword. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; let Your glory be above all the earth. They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down; They dug a pit before me. (vs. 4-6)

Now how is it that David could exalt the LORD in the midst of a dangerous and desperate position? The words of another Psalm give us some insight:

I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 56:11-12)

If we truly do trust the LORD, then hopefully we can say along with David, “What can man do to me?” But I also said the last time, I wanted to go a little further—and I meant that literally. Here’s more context to the “exalted” passage.

They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down; they dug a pit before me; they themselves have fallen into the midst of it.(vs. 6)

And what did we learn from the additional context? Deliverance! And David goes further:

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens and Your truth to the clouds. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth
. (vs. 7-11)

David recaps this verse at the end of the Psalm (there is no more) because he has been delivered; those who thought to do ill to him, fell into their own traps. He then breaks out into full-tilt praise to the LORD, all the way to the end. He sings praise because God answered His prayer; he sings praise because He is thankful.Man prays to God

The story ends well here, and David sings the Lord’s praise. But don’t forget, when he exalted the Lord the first time, he was still in the middle of it. So regardless of the context, of what’s going on around you, exalt the LORD. And should He deliver you, remember to be thankful. Job had it right as well, even when He was in the middle of it:

Then Job got up and tore his clothes in grief. He shaved his head and threw himself face downward on the ground. He said, “I was born with nothing, and I will die with nothing. The Lord gave, and now he has taken away. May his name be praised!” In spite of everything that had happened, Job did not sin by blaming God. (Job 1:20-22)

Singing with the King (37) – Context (1)

Be exalted above the heavens, O God; let Your glory be above all the earth. (Psalm 57:5)

sunrise earth2

Context is critical when it comes to discerning the actual meaning of the Scriptural passage, and how we are to apply it to our lives. I love getting wrapped up in individual words with their meanings, definitions, and nuances; and sometimes, if I lose sight of the context, then I have committed a grave error as described in the idiom: “Can’t see the forest for the trees”, which reminds us that we need perspective, we need context.

So here is David crying out a reality about God’s existence, His presence and His glory. He IS exalted above the heavens; and His glory IS above all the earth. That is His nature, and David is sharing with us, that he gets it. But what is interesting about this Psalm, is what this verse is sandwiched in between.

My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongue a sharp sword. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; let Your glory be above all the earth. They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down; They dug a pit before me.

David is a dangerous place, surrounded by lions and dragons; and men whose teeth are like spears and arrows, and their tongues like sharp swords. And in the midst of this dangerous and even deadly place, David exalts the Lord. So an obvious question here would be, is there ever a time when it is NOT appropriate to worship the Lord? Oh by the way, David is weighed down, bent down, making it difficult to navigate around nets and pits, as well as lions, dragons and scary men.

Are you surrounded by enemies, by sickness, by loss, by sin? In the midst of all that, take David’s example to heart, and exalt the LORD.

Next time, we go a little further.

Singing with the King (11) – Where Now is Their God?

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. Why should the nations say, “Where, now, is their God?” (Psalm 115:1-2)

angry mob

That’s an interesting question to follow a verse that talks about giving God glory.

When you read this question, you probably have an idea of how they asked it (sarcastic…duh yeah!) But the definitions of this word makes the mood clear: to boast, to act proudly. Remember, we’re not talking about nations that give God glory; they give themselves glory.

So, are the nations asking that question because they’ve seen us give God glory? Or are they asking because they haven’t seen us giving God glory, and since we are inactive, then God is inactive. Or maybe they’ve seen us God glorify God, but that doesn’t square with the circumstances.

Perhaps they’ve seen the walls torn down, and cities lying and ruin, and yet there is a people who continue to glorify God.

Perhaps they’ve seen someone dying of cancer, a family who has been split apart because of divorce, or a church fall apart because of what the pastor did, and still there are those worshiping in the ashes, glorifying God.

The nations see these kinds of situations, but they cannot reconcile the actions of those in the midst of these painful situations.

But that is what we are called to do: to give God glory in the midst of pain, trial, devastation; in the midst of whatever doesn’t make any sense to those who are watching. And because of the disconnect, they cry: Where, now, is their God?

Shouldn’t people who are giving God glory be in the midst of prosperity, or blessing, or good things? This would make sense to the nations; and to those who are watching. But giving God glory in hard times does not align with the world’s worldview; and it has nothing to do with their understanding (or lack thereof). We give God glory because we must. We give God the glory because our love for Him, compels us to do so.