Since the beginning of our existence, mankind has fought continuously over natural resources. Water, fertile soil, forests, oil, gold, and a great deal of other items have been the centerpiece of death and destruction as greed has driven various cultures at different time periods to attempt to control access to these things. With all of that violence we may have forgotten an important fact, we don’t actually own anything. We can’t own anything. All the world belongs to God, including humanity. If we belong to God, and the world belongs to God, then how can we own anything?
What can mankind do that will be eternal? Will our monuments last through the ages? Will our great deeds be remembered in perpetuity? Is there anything in this life which we can accumulate as a payment to God for the redemption of our souls? If there is nothing we can do, nothing that we can accumulate, that will last through the ages, what then is the purpose of our insignificant lives?
On my journey with Christ, there have been quite a few things I have given up, and frankly, there have been times when I miss those things. While we should not be envious of one another, sometimes it is difficult to see a world that can be so unrepentantly carefree. The temptations of the flesh do effect us all equally, after all. However, Psalm 37 addresses these feelings, and in the process it challenges what is considered to be the traditional Christian view of Hell. Is there any reason that we should envy those who will be rewarded with destruction?
What is our conscience? We all understand how to express what a conscience is; it is a sort of inner voice that we use to determine what is good or bad, but what is it really? While that is a question science struggles to answer, one theory is that it is the emotional response created when we think about our future/past actions. This allows us to reflect on the consequences of our previous actions in order to determine whether our future actions are good or bad. But there is another inner voice, one which contests the verdict of our conscience. A voice with only our self interests at heart.
Evil will slay the wicked. This is such an interesting thought from Psalm 34, it honestly sounds like an oxymoron. Why would evil slay itself? Shouldn't it be focused on stopping the good in the world? Ultimately, this psalm is about God's good and loving nature, but a true definition of evil is required in order to fully praise Him. How can we understand evil? Only by truly understanding what is good. Let’s read through the psalm and explore this concept some more.
This psalm opens by setting the stage for why the rest of the psalm is important. We are blessed because the Lord will forgive our sins, and for those that seek forgiveness, there is nothing that will provide more joy. Have you ever asked for forgiveness from someone in your life? If you were truly sorry, do you remember the wave of relief that came once you were forgiven? This is a feeling that cannot be replicated, it is a feeling of relief like no other, and when the Lord grants us forgiveness, this feeling of relief comes with an intensity that cannot be forgotten.
Have you ever found yourself staring at an orange sunset, or looking up at the starry night sky and thinking that God simply had to have made this? I know I certainly have. Psalm 19 captures this moment, and transitions to a train of thought that sometimes follows it.
Psalm 15 takes on the task of summarizing the righteous, who are allowed to dwell with God, as opposed to the fool, covered in Psalm 14. The general message of the psalm is one of love, which should be of no surprise to those who follow the words of Jesus. Although it should be noted that the Old Testament is often unfairly ridiculed for its violence, while portions like this are easily forgotten by those who do not study fervently. If the path of the righteous can be summarized in love, why is this passage referred to as a wisdom psalm? Perhaps, loving one another is not as easy at it may seem.
There is no doubt that the doctrine of creation is one of the most disputed aspects of Christianity today, particularly among Christians. This debate drives division among Christian culture, and has even elevated to the point of hostility on occasion, while terms like "heretic" are loosely thrown around in anger. As Christians, can we seriously justify this level of divisiveness over the details of such a doctrine?
Psalm 14 is unique in that it is the first time we are introduced to the biblical definition of the word fool. The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." This Psalm goes on to speak about the results of rampant disbelief and laments those that have rejected God. This is the basic impression that one gets from a casual reading of the text, but there is far more laying beneath the surface here.