My social media feeds and news sites are aflame with "bad news" of all kinds, and all kinds of people are worried and upset. The latest trigger is the Roe v. Wade decision which some deem a dreaded reversal, while others celebrate it as long overdue. Whatever your pain point perspective, the list of threats is long and getting longer. There's something for everyone. The very foundation of society seems increasingly unsteady. In Psalm 11, David wonders what we'll do "if the foundations are destroyed." The simple answer David offers is this: "God is in His temple" and "God is on His throne." Indeed, even now. And He's watching. He sees, gaze steady.
God sees and tests.
Verses 4 and 5 speak of God "testing," which translates more accurately, "examines." As a God who sees and knows everything, He's examining our very hearts. The actual language suggests squinting, like my peering into my son's eyes when he insists he studied for that test or cleaned up his room.
The passage goes on to tell us that those found righteous will be protected and spared destruction, ultimately to "behold His face." On the other hand, the passage warns the unrighteous will face fire and brimstone of the Biblical variety. Total destruction.
Good golly! Will I be counted among the righteous? Can my life and inner world stand up to such scrutiny? Sadly, no.
I want so much to be 100% good, for my every motive to be pure, for my every sentiment to be lovely, for my every act to be above reproach. They’re not. Thankfully, in Christ, God sees me as righteous and perfect even as He's transforming me into Christ's image.
In God's economy, righteousness is not an accounting of "good" people or "bad" people. It's not an Excel spreadsheet of good deeds, weighed against no-no's, scales tipping in your favor (or not), Santa list-style.
No, God's righteousness is perfection.
Romans 3:10 puts it plainly:
as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
So, if nobody's righteous and the unrighteous are destined for destruction by downright downpour of hot coals...Figurative or literal, it's not good!
What is good is the Good News!
The Good News.
David actually begins and ends Psalm 11 with good news, remembering our Safe Place. The only truly Safe Place. After worried wondering for a short spell as he has before and will again, David circles back to the truth that no matter what's happening around us or even inside us, our safe refuge is Christ and Christ alone. (Thanks, Dave, for the reassurance that this mad cycle of concern and confidence is not uncommon.)
I know, I know, the exclusivity of this claim is off-putting, even outrageous. Unless it's absolutely true, that is. Among many other exclusive claims of supreme Deity, Jesus said this:
Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Matthew 12:30 (ESV)
Jesus never presented Himself as one of many good God options. He said He's the only way. One common refrain among those who respect Jesus but reject His exclusive claim is that His disciples, the patriarchal establishment, Machiavellian Bible authors, or somebody else came up with the notion.
Well, that sure would open up a whole big can of worms we cannot wrangle here and now, but if you want me to explore that in a future blog, will you please let me know?
Because there is an answer. A logical answer.
Regardless, of all the beautiful and compelling deities, it's the only name under which any of us can be saved.
The very good news is the price of admission to this very exclusive--actually, totally inclusive--club has already been paid in full. All you have to do is name drop the name above all names, Jesus.
Now more than ever, that truly is good news.
Grace, peace, joy & love in Christ,
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