I have met so many people who have been through such difficult experiences (have experienced evil) that it has turned their hearts away from God. God is seen as the one inflicting the evil so we feel like he’s abandoned us or given up on us. The Psalms don’t answer the question of why there is evil in the world or how could a good God allow suffering. These questions are valid, but they don’t have any slam dunk answers, and the Psalms don’t try giving any. But what we see in Psalm 28 is in the midst of evil’s afflictions, the psalmist turns toward God not away from him. We are going to experience trouble, evil, pain, suffering, et al in this world. Jesus assures us of this in John 16:33. I’ve had my own doubts and wrestling with God about why he has allowed me to experience certain sufferings and evils and the conclusion I have drawn is two-fold:
Even when I am walking through the darkest valley…through despair…through depression…through death itself…even in these times…you make me lie down in green pastures. You lead me beside quiet waters. The dark valley of death and the green pastures and quiet water exist simultaneously.
Psalm 18 is God’s hype music. Hype music is what a sports team plays in the locker room before a game or what blares from the speakers as a fighter does his walk up to the ring. Hype music is loud, it gets you pumped up, and it has the air of victory to it. Psalm 18 is all of these things.
Sometimes I think it can’t get any worse than it is right now. Or that it’s never been this bad. Psalm 12:8 reminds me that it’s been this way for thousands of years. On one hand, that sure is a discouraging thought on its own. But despite humankind’s obsession with and acceptance of evil, hope and encouragement come from knowing God has remained faithful all this time. If the evil of the past hasn’t knocked God out, the evil of the present sure isn’t going to either. God has remained on the throne. God cares about the needy and the oppressed. God will judge the wicked. God is and always has been worthy of our praise, adoration, and obedience.
We often forget when we read the Psalms that these were written in a real time and a real place. That real time and real place was God’s Old Testament people of Israel that he had made a covenant with (which you can read more about here). They were an earthly nation chosen by God to shine his light to the rest of the world. Within this relationship, an agreement was made (the Mosaic Covenant or “old covenant”) where Israel was to obey God’s commands and if they did, their nation would prosper. But if they worshiped other gods (which they did often!), they would be under God’s judgment and the nation would falter. Most of the years of Israel that the Old Testament spans is of the faltering variety, not the prospering variety. In fact, with the exception of a very brief window of time (David and Solomon’s reign), Israel got its rear end repeatedly kicked by the neighboring nations and the regional superpowers. It’s important to keep this context in mind when we read the Psalms, especially one like Psalm 2.
In Episode 29, we tackle the age old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
And of course there’s a Noah’s Rant to lift your quarantined spirits!
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