God’s world in this world. Psalm 131

Psalm 131:
O Lord,
my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

How can we be content when evil surrounds us? How can we be content when the evil of temptations and old ways want to bring us back to the “when” we want to leave behind us?

Evil sucks hope out of life. It points toward a hopelessness that life just doesn’t really matter in the end. God points to eternal hope, and that while what happens to us here doesn’t matter, what we do here does. Hope is eternal life in His presence. That hope gives us strength to pray to God, to seek His will for us, to know Him deeply, to live to His calling for us.

Evil proves the existence of God because without a higher standard, we wouldn’t know what bad is. Is a shark bad because it feeds off of other animals? No, that’s just the way it is. In a natural world, there is a hierarchy, a chain of strong to weak. The shark is at the top (well, except for orcas, but sharks are close) of the chain. Everything else is subject to their appetite. There is no compassion for the animals the shark is eating. The shark is totally of the world it lives in. The shark though is not created in God’s image.

The world shows no compassion or true love. Shark week has run for 31 years. I haven’t watched any of the shows, but have seen a few clips on YouTube. I haven’t seen a shark have sympathy for any of the animals they eat. It’s the food chain. If we’re like sharks and are at the top of the food chain, we really shouldn’t care about anything other than what’s ours. It’s survival of the fittest. It points away from sacrifice and towards self preservation. That is an evolutionary truth – there’s nothing that would even suggest that compassion and sacrifice would be something to attain in the natural world. There’s nothing that points to more than a tribal dependence against other tribes. That’s what life is when we go rogue against the plan of God because He created us in his image. We were, not the other animals. That matters.

There is no more hope in the natural world scenario than a seal has shark infested waters – it’s all a numbers game. You survive by feeding off of others.

Contrast that with God’s plan.

Matthew 25:35-36 New Living Translation (NLT)
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

This is not survival of the fittest, but survival of us all. This is God’s plan.

Mark 12:30-31 New Living Translation (NLT)
30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

This is not survival of the fittest, this is survival of the least through the love and works of the fittest. This is God’s plan. This is His vision. This is His way.

When we see evil at work through violence, hatred, pain, suffering, self-centered actions we know they are wrong because we have stamped on our hearts what is right. We might be muting it, but it still resonates and let’s us know it’s there.

This is the battle between God and the world, between good and evil. And we play a critical part in the battle, either for God or against Him. There’s no middle ground, no fence post straddling. We’re either with Him or against Him.

How do we come to peace with the challenges to our peace? How do we move to a Christ centered life when the world around us is chaos? How can we be happy and at ease, contented, when we have so many bindings to our past?

Psalm 131:
O Lord,
my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

This is where we are when we’re with God, when we’ve accepted the death of Christ for the atonement of our sins, when the Holy Spirit dwells in our heart and leads our feet down the narrow road.

However, we’re more likely to be headed the other way – as in the anit-Psalm below.

Here’s Anti-Psalm 131 by David Powlison
Self,
my heart is proud (I’m absorbed in myself), and my eyes are haughty (I look down on other people), and I chase after things too great and too difficult for me.
So of course I’m noisy and restless inside, it comes naturally,
like a hungry infant fussing on his mother’s lap, like a hungry infant, I’m restless with my demands and worries. I scatter my hopes onto anything and everybody all the time.

We need to make sure that we’ve weaned ourselves from the ways of the world, that we can be contented with God’s will for us, that we can strive to be the men and women that God created us to be, to do the things that bring God’s world to this world. A world where evil can be vanquished because we have a higher good.

Evil does exist. It’s Satan’s playground. He sucks hope from us, makes us questions God. But, we know that there is good that doesn’t come from us, it comes from the creator. Good is not natural to us, but it is natural to God. It’s who he is.

Evil, in big doses or small, is our opportunity to show God’s love through how we react. Whether it’s in our family, or in our community, or in our community of people we do not know, we are called to show God’s love in all we do. We’re called to make a difference in the lives of others and glorify God through our love, faith and works, allowing God to work through us. We’re called to serve those who are in need. We’re called to give selflessly in love to ensure God’s world has a place in this world.

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