Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When we ask why

Psalm 44 ends with three massive whys and three faulty assumptions about God. Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Ps. 44:23. Why do you hide your face? Ps. 44: 24; why do you forget our affliction and oppression? Ps. 44: 24

You see the three whys, but did you notice the three faulty assumptions about God?
The writer assumes God is sleeping because of the terrible conditions of his life and his people in Ps. 44:9-16.
God is hiding his face possibly out of fear or weakness (see Ps. 44:12-16)
Finally, God seems to forget the extent of their suffering (see Ps. 44:9)

Their sense of outrage stems from their assessment of themselves. In their eyes,they have been faithful. Ps. 44:17
They have never forgotten God; they have not been false to God's covenant; their heart and their way of life never veered from the Lord's paths. They are so confident in their own righteousness. Since God knows the secrets of their heart and they could never deceive God. Ps 44: 17-21.

This explains the why questions. Since they have kept God's way, why is God seemingly unfaithful and uncaring of what happens to his people? This outline rings with the reality of what I hear people saying today. This view of God is very common. If we are good, then God should most definitely reward us.

There is a big problem with this view. We reduce God to a simplistic formula. We place God into a box of our own making. Suddenly the clay can now dictate to the potter(Isaiah 29:16). God is now a puppet on a string whom we control. Who would want to worship, sacrifice and die for a God like this? This is classic religion on our terms.

The biblical view of God is on a grander scale. God is king over the universe. Ps. 47:7
God is in control and does all things according his wisdom and purpose Ps. 135:6
The truth is, God never sleeps; God does not hide his face; God does not forget (compare Is. 40: 28-31)
When life seems out of control, don't blame, doubt, or superficially explain God. Trust God. Submit your life into his goodness and grace. Remember his steadfast love. Ps. 44:26

Precious Lord, life is often so hard. Intellectually, we know that you are good; but sometimes our experiences push us to question your integrity. Thank you that you are big enough to handle our questions, our doubts and our anger. Helps us now to wait upon you until you show us your plan. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.