Hoot’s Musings

Our world is a mess! Unbelief, sin, terrorism, corruption, sickness, pain, disease — they are all running rampant. In the Spiritual war that is taking place, it would seem that the devil has the upper hand right at the moment. That really should not surprise us, since I John 5:19 tells us (that until Jesus comes) “…that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.” So even though we know that, even recognizing that ultimately God is over everything, we don’t have to like it. In fact, we should not like it!

 Our country is split, almost right down the middle, over the direction we are going. The division seems larger now that I can ever remember in my lifetime — civil rights era, Vietnam war, etc. This old country preacher believes that the division is more between rural and urban than anything. What has happened in the cities since the election, has done nothing but make the division more intense. I don’t know about you, but I am not real fond of the condition of our country. Last night, in our prayer meeting, I prayed for President Obama, and President-elect Trump, that they could put behind them the rhetoric of the campaign; that they could work together peacefully, and lead the country through a smooth transition of power. I don’t think what is happening is good, and I don’t like it.

 Let me ask you a question — have you complained about it to God? Does that question surprise you? Was your reaction, complain — who am I to complain to God? One of the recurring themes of our Tuesday morning Bible class, is the astonishment at the way the psalmists (particularly David) talk to God. You see one of the unique characteristics of the Psalms is that not only do we have the words of God to man, we have the words of men to God. And, sometimes, they say exactly what they are thinking!

 A verse this morning caught my attention:

 “O God, listen to my complaint. …”

(Psalm 64:1, NLT)

 Would you be comfortable saying that to God, the one that created everything? If not, why not? Let me remind you: if you have thought it, you might as well say it, because He already knows! Is there anyone, that you have a really close relationship with, that you can hide your feelings? My wife knows when I am not happy, even when I don’t vocalize it. She can tell by the tone of my voice, my body language, the shortness of what I say, and my actions. The same is true of me being able to tell about her feelings.

 I firmly believe that God wants us to come to grips with our feelings, and we can’t, until we address them. “Lord, I’m not happy about the condition of our world!” “Lord, are watching what is happening in our country?” “Lord, I want to complain about the attitudes that people, even people that call themselves Christians are manifesting toward others.” “Lord, you need to wake up (Psalm 35:22-23) and watch what is happening!” If (?) we have thought anything like this, don’t be ashamed of it — vocalize it, and tell God why you are not happy.

 BUT, that is not the end of the story in the Psalms. Most of the time, the psalmist continues his “prayer-song” by remembering what God has done, and confidently praising Him for what He will do now.

 Lord, help me to have the confident trust in You, to tell You how I feel. Bless me with a willing spirit to know that You have this, because of what I know that You have done in the past. Most of all Father, help me to develop the faith that will know, and praise You, that You will do the right thing now. Lord, I believe, help me when I struggle with that.


Hoot’s Musings

Every Tuesday morning at 10, about 15 to 18 of us, gather at the church building for our Tuesday morning Bible class (no, it is not a Ladies’ Bible class). The title of the class is “Wallowing in the Psalms”, and it may not be like any Bible class you have ever attended. You see, we are not studying for affirmation (prove what we already believe), or even information (the who, how, when, why and what of the text); but we are studying for “formation”. We want to learn more about God, improve our relationship with Him, and learn to praise Him more — and our reading and discussion, move along those lines. I heard one speaker say (talking about this kind of study) allow the Scripture to “wash” over you, and immerse you in God’s words. One of the ladies in the class told me that she didn’t think she was going to like the class, but she has — and that it has been really good for her.

 As you might imagine, King David has been mentioned a time or two, seeing as how he wrote so many of the psalms. David has always been a little bit of enigma for us. One lady remarked in one of the latest classes, that she didn’t think she “liked” David in that chapter. I think that part of our problem with David, is that we have trouble reconciling the information that we have. We are told that David was “a man after God’s own heart” (I Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), and yet we know of some of his horrific sins (II Samuel 11). Most of us have struggled with all of that in our study of Scripture.

 Then you read a passage, like the one from my reading this morning:

 “The Lord rewarded me for doing right;

he restored me because of my innocence.

For I have kept the ways of the Lord;

I have not turned away from my God to follow evil.

I have followed all his regulations;

I have never abandoned his decrees.

I am blameless before God;

I have kept myself from sin.

The Lord rewarded me for doing right.

He has seen my innocence.”

(Psalm 18:20-24, NLT)

 ????????? How in the world can the David that I read about, even begin to write something like that? It almost offends me, how about you? I know my sin, and while they may not be the same sins: I would not begin to talk about myself that way. Would you?

 Then look at what he says in the next chapter:

 “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?

Cleanse me from all these hidden faults.

Keep your servant from deliberate sins!

Don’t let them control me.

Then I will be free of guilt

and innocent of great sin.”

(Psalm 19:12-13, NLT)

 Could it be that David was a “man after God’s heart”, because he was always “seeking” God and His presence; and every time he fell, he got up and started that pursuit again. Could it be, that even with the blood of Jesus, I don’t understand “cleanse”, “free from guilt”, and “innocent” as well as David did? Could it be that I am still thinking that God has “perfect” expectations for me, and that I can’t forgive myself for the wrong that I do? Could it be that I am not “seeking” God, that I know that He is not my priority?

 What do you think?