Where Could I Go But to the Lord?

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I’ve been journaling my meditations on the Psalms (in the wonderful journal from IJM we got from the Gettys’ Sing! conference), and Psalms 47-48 over the last two days have proven remarkably apt for current events.

On Psalm 47:

It is better—it is joy—to submit to Yahweh the Most High than to anyone or anything else. Every other king, every other candidate, every other official, every other party, everything else can and will fail and fall before Him.

It is better—it is wisdom—to submit to the Triune throne. It is wisdom if for nothing else than because it is true; wisdom accepts reality and lives accordingly. It is wise to see the reality of the greatness of God and praise Him for it. It is wise to see our own limitations and the frailties of our heroes and leaders, so that we may only stand on the Solid Rock.

Our allegiance must lie with the triune God over and above every other. Our other allegiances must be judged in light of our allegiance to Him: is His cause furthered? Is His name honored? Are His people protected? Are sinners welcomed to receive forgiveness?

On Psalm 48:

The result is joy and gladness (48:11), not fear or cowering. Zion’s inhabitants are not bunkered, shivering in dread of the carnage awaiting them. They’re celebrating the famed justice of God and their salvation consonant with it!

O that we would rest in the fortress of Zion, forsaking the vain hope of politicians and policies and armies and laws. Why rely on dust and drops when the Mountain-Weigher and Star-Surveyor [Isaiah 40:12] loves to redeem those who simply trust Him? Why let our joy dribble out of a rusty, clogged spicket when there is a river whose streams delight the city of God [Psalm 46:4]?

Where laws fail, His right hand is filled with justice.

Where princes fail, He is the great King known as a stronghold.

Where men fail, generations line up to witness and testify to His faithfulness.

“Do not trust in nobles,
in a son of man, who cannot save.
When his breath leaves him,
he returns to the ground;
on that day his plans die” (Psalm 146:3-4 CSB).

Or, to borrow from Luther’s musical exposition of Psalm 46,

That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them abideth.
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill,
God’s truth abideth still:
His Kingdom is forever.

Logs of sin are never made specks—or vice versa—because of (R) or (D) after someone’s name. If the letter after someone’s name is more important than the Name above all names, politics is the least of our worries and the least of our problems.

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To Bring Remembrance

The title to Psalm 70 includes the instruction (or explanation): “To bring remembrance.”

As is often the case with the Psalms, Psalm 70 is non-specific. It doesn’t give us background information for its inception like Psalms 51 and 52. There aren’t even any internal details like Psalm 45, which is the royal wedding Psalm. To be sure, David had something in mind when he wrote Psalm 70, but the Holy Spirit inspired him to write it generally enough that all of God’s people–even us believers 3,000 years later–could sing this song, too, importing our own circumstances into our understanding and use of the Psalm.

Whatever we’re in, wherever we are, Psalm 70 is a powerful weapon in the fight of faith. It’s a weapon of remembrance. This is what Jonah teaches us from his lectern between gills and…stern: “As my life was fading away, I remembered Yahweh. My prayer came to You, to Your holy temple” (Jonah 2:7 HCSB).

When surrounding by death-dealers–natural or supernatural–it’s too easy to forget the One who makes them tremble. I love the explanation of Zechariah’s vision of the four horns and four craftsmen. The horns are the oppressors of God’s people: the stock image for a Hebrew of strength and power. Four craftsmen–regular, blue-collar nobodies–come against those horns. When Zechariah asks what on earth they could possibly be coming to do, the answer is given: “These craftsmen have come to terrify them, to cut off the horns of the nations that raised their horns against the land of Judah to scatter it” (Zechariah 1:21 HCSB).

Those who sought the death and destruction of God’s people, those who wielded terror, would themselves be terrorized. It seemed impossible; even God acknowledged that the people didn’t think it possible: “Though it may seem incredible to the remnant of this people in those days”; but His answer was to bring remembrance to them: “should it also seem incredible to Me?” (Zechariah 8:6 HCSB).

The prayer of verse 4 is only possible because, as Jesus promised, seeking is never fruitless (Matthew 7:7). God has promised to never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:8), and He hears the cries for mercy (Jonah 2:2). When the death-dealers rain down the fiery darts of doubt, despair, affliction, and hopelessness, we need to hear the word of 1 John 3: God is greater. God is greater than our sin, and God is greater than our enemies. Satan wants us to see him as a fiery dragon; God wants you to see him as a dangerous dog on a leash. His leash.

We need to remember the gospel that is the power of salvation for all who believe.

We need to remember the joy and gladness found in seeking Jesus, knowing He will be found.

We desperately need to remember. Thank God for Psalm 70.