Worthless Idols

I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
    as for me, I trust in the Lord. Psalm 31:6

You might read this and think that David is being redundant because, after all, aren’t all idols worthless?

Well, think about what constitutes an idol in the West. Hint: What season of ‘American IDOL’ are we now in? Of course, this use of the term is its very generic word. You could probably interchange American Star and have the same meaning.

We’ve all heard the textbook definition of idol: ‘anything you put before God.’

Now it’s time to put that definition into practice. What, if anything are you putting before God?

Before you answer ‘nothing,’ think about your pursuits, hobbies, or passions. Think about your relationships and work.

Sometimes we just need to reset our priorities and re-engage with the things that matter.

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Refuge for the Ages

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
    come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. Psalm 31:1-5

King David was praying to God and acknowledging God as his his rock and fortress, a refuge. It seems as though every other psalm mentions this aspect of God. Bible teachers throughout the world state that if something’s in the Bible more than two or three times, it’s meant to teach us something important and that we should pay careful attention to it.

The simple truth of these passages that tell us about God’s refuge and fortress is this: God is the only possible stability we have in this life.

Money, fame, glamor, fortune, reputation, relationships, politics, world peace. All shifting sand. All doomed to fail.

The sooner we recognize that, the easier we’ll understand that God alone is sufficient.

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Clothed with Joy

You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever. Psalm 30:11-12

King David uses an interesting phrase to accentuate his turn of emotions: clothed with joy.

It’s interesting because we don’t normally think about putting on and taking off joy like we would a piece of clothing. It does require a removing of the old and putting on the new.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 1 Corinthians 5:17

Ecclesiastes also teaches us there is a time for mourning and a time for rejoicing. So when it’s time to rip off the “sackcloth”, do it quickly and put on those clothes of joy.

Perhaps it’s best to think of those clothes of joy as undergarments. Those clothes are always on you but there may be several layers on top of it! In other words, the joy will always be there but it may be a little bogged down with extra garments of mourning and wailing. Knowing when to shed the sackcloth/outer garments is important for our spiritual and emotional growth/stability.

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Job Security

To you, Lord, I called;
    to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
    if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
    Lord, be my help.” Psalm 30:8-10

In the midst of his cry for Mercy, King David asks two interesting but related questions: Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

The obvious answer is “not normally” unless it latches on to the rocks in Luke 19:40: “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

However, David is making the case that if he were no longer able to praise and worship, then the dust certainly doesn’t have that ability. He puts the onus on us.

His praise – and by extension our praise – is not useless and purposeless. It matters.

The choice to praise or not to praise are both choices we make. Which will it be?

Me? I’m not about to cede my responsibility over to the whims of dust.

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When I felt secure, I said,
    “I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favored me,
    you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
    I was dismayed. Psalm 30:6-7

Relying on nations and armies and treaties to keep people secure in this world is an illusion, even in the best of times. Let’s face it, nations and armies fall. Many people in the former Soviet Union saw that in the early 1990s. They went from doing fine to pawning their goods in the streets overnight. There was an illusion that they were strong and mighty.

Many are saying the West is in horrible shape, and their economies are built on a house of cards. When people rely on their wealth and even the finest security systems to protect and insulate them, they too fall.

These verses remind us that we have a rock to stand on. It’s firm and immovable. But admittedly there are times when we can’t see Him, when it seems like He hides.

Ever play peekaboo with a child? Does the grownup ever really leave the child to fend for himself? No, the adult knows at all times where the child is.

Sometimes it merely seems like He’s hiding, when He’s been there all along.

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