csibiblestudy


A Psalm That Doesn’t Give Hope (Psalm 88)
May 20, 2017, 4:13 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

The fear that I had made a horrible life changing mistake gripped my heart, leaving a sense of hopelessness. The panic grew more intense and the failure seemed more final. My comfort zone had evaporated and my friends vanished like an early morning fog. I blew it and I would live with the consequences for the rest of my life in loneliness and utter despair.
Most of us probably have experienced this feeling. A new job with so much promise turns into a bust when the company is bought out. A friend or someone like family turned on us, throwing us under the bus as an act of self-promotion. A relationship that falls apart, a loved one who dies or maybe we experience a time in life were we doubt everything. A new friend turns all my friends against me. So, as a child of God, where do we turn for encouragement. If you’re like me, we turn to God. We open our Bible, seeking for comfort and support from the Almighty. His revelation is our strength. Many of us turn to the Psalms. In some of the Psalms, we can read of someone who in the midst of a difficult and trying situation turns their attention to God who delivers from the “pit of despair”. Except for Psalm 88. The Psalm starts and ends the same way, with the writer in despair. Most scholars place this lament as a single example of a Psalm that doesn’t end on a happy note. There seems to be no rescue. So what can we learn from this passage.
First, why is the writer in this place? Considering that the writer was a “holy man” inspired by the Holy Spirit, we are reading the writings of a believer.
Second, what led to this depth of gloom and loneliness? For a person who trusts in the Lord, the answers can be an attack by our enemy, a life lived as if God doesn’t exist so we are trying to live by our own strength, or a life of open rebellion and sin.. The author places the blame on God so Satan is not the cause, and trying to live in our strength is also eliminated. When we sin as a habitually thing, our despair and loneliness comes from being out of fellowship with God. Sin separates. We also see the author lists cause and effect brought about by a life filled with sin. The writer has lost everything, so where can he or she turn?
That brings us to the third point, the focus. Notice what the writer knows about God. He is my salvation, He hears my prayer, He works miracles or wonders, He shows lovingkindness and faithfulness, and God is righteous.
But the Psalmist also reveals that God is just. Sin’s consequence separates us from God. If and when God is separated from us, joy departs. If God is away, hope is gone. If embracing sin replaces embracing God, then loneliness and despair grows as the void left by God separating from being near us is filled with everything that God isn’t. We have no reason to rejoice at the end because nothing has changed.
I believe that his chapter is a picture of what happens when we refuse to repent and continue on in our rebellion. Joy vanishes, comfort flees, peace disappears.  But remember, this is the view of the psalmist, the rebel.  But what is the TRUTH?
God never leaves!  He is like the prodigal son’s father, waiting for the sinning son to come home. He rushes to protect the son from those who will destroy the wounded child, near destruction by sin’s consequences. But our Father also waits with GRACE. Wrapping GRACE around us, God doesn’t make us earn our place back, He restores back to where we were. Everything the son lost by sin, the father gave back. There is no lasting prohibition placed by the father, no conditions that have to be met. There is only GRACE. The son was altered by the experience. More humble, more thankful, and more loving of the father. Rebel, come home to the Father. Staying where you are deepens the scars of the experience. God is really for you to come home.



When the First Step Ends in Failure!
April 22, 2017, 6:24 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

“My little children” starts off 1 John 2:1. Many Bible scholars jump pass these words to “deeper” issues but how important are these words! When I read these words, I think of “toddlers”. With three children and nine grandchildren, dealing with these precious “gifts from God” create memories which God often uses to remind us of His eternal truth. How often we try to warn them against doing something that may hurt them or teach them a new and necessary skill only to see their actions bring the very thing we wanted them to avoid or their attempts to try to use a skill end in failure, and many times tears. Think about that dear child taking that first step with our encouragement and teaching. Do you remember how that first step was so celebrated because of all the times that precious child ended on the floor? What about the warnings not to do something that are ignored, only to end in the pain we tried to get our little child to avoid? The Holy Spirit gives John the knowledge that we are “little children” of God, and even though the path to living right before God in this world is simple, it is difficult because we are little children, with a tendency to fail and fall. But take heart little children as your eyes are dried and you receive a hug from your heavenly Father and the encouragement to try again. Failure is only the final part of our story when we give up. This message from John, given to him to share by the Holy Spirit when he was the elder saint, doesn’t end here. Read the rest of the story and see the great news that destroys our fear of failure! Get up and try again! God is on our side!