Write it Down

“Let this be recorded for future generations,
    so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord.
Tell them the Lord looked down
    from his heavenly sanctuary.
He looked down to earth from heaven
   to hear the groans of the prisoners,
   to release those condemned to die.
And so the Lord’s fame will be celebrated in Zion,
    his praises in Jerusalem,
when multitudes gather together
    and kingdoms come to worship the Lord.”
Psalm 102:18-22 NLT

Psalm 102 details the troubles the poor Psalmist is enduring. But through it all he never lost his faith in God. And he appeals to his readers to make sure they record the Lord’s goodness for future generations. He highlights information about where God lives, and how He interacts with human beings, looking down, hearing and releasing. He looks down to see what is going on and straight away the injustice of those being imprisoned gets His attention. He hears their “groans” and he “releases those condemned to die“. And as a consequence the Psalmist points out that one day, at the end of the age, Jerusalem will see the congregation of all the world’s nations coming “to worship the Lord“.

But who are these prisoners? Those condemned to die? In the UK we have prisons bursting at the seams, full of people incarcerated for doing wrong. And I know in some countries, there are people languishing in death rows. Waiting for their end. But why would God single these people out for “hearing” and “releasing”? God is interested in all people. He loves them all. No, more likely, the Psalmist is referring to people who are prisoners because of their sins, and who are condemned to die as a consequence. God looks down from Heaven with a breaking heart, yearning for His people to understand that the prison doors are open. That their choices are keeping them there and, worse, keeping them on death row as well. The Apostle Paul wrote in his epistle to the Galatians that, “But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.” That’s the open door, folks. 

Those of us who have embraced God’s gift of freedom, who are no longer locked in a prison of sin, need to write down our stories. Write down our testimonies of how God’s grace and mercy opened our prison doors. Because the generations coming behind us need to know too about our wonderful Creator God. About His love and compassion. About what He has done for us. 

If there is anyone reading this blog today, and feel as though they are locked in a prison cell, unable to escape. Oppressed by the enemy. Blighted by negative thoughts of how bad they are. Their self image plumbing depths of despair. Then reach out to the only One who can set us free. The only key to our prison cells is soaked in the blood of Jesus, our wonderful Saviour, our wonderful Releaser, our wonderful Lord.

Being a Fool

“Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!” Psalms‬ ‭53:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

David, the Psalmist, is again in contemplative mode. In a zone of musings, as he thinks about what is going on about him. He is obviously much influenced by people around him, and he sees their hypocrisy, their lip service to God but in reality they deny Him, even His existence, with their thoughts and actions. And he concludes that they are “fools”. But if he is right, there are an awful lot of fools around us today. Nothing has changed from David’s day. Worse, though, there are many more who openly declare that there is no God. That everything happened by chance. Chemical reactions brought about carbon-based life. A Big Bang caused the universe to appear. And these people then sit back in a self-satisfied state of “knowledge”, not realising that they have talked themselves into being fully paid up members of the Society of Fools.

David draws the conclusion that without an open acceptance of God and His ways, the God-deniers, the atheists and agnostics of his day, are corrupt and evil in all they think and do. They adopt a life that is biased towards their own personal gain, selfishness being fuelled by an evil desire not held in check by the thought there is a God in Heaven looking on. Deep within us is a God-shaped hole that yearns and aches for Him to fill it. And today there will be those who, in spite of their God-denying, will try to fill their internal ache by doing good things for their society, perhaps helping out at a fund raising function, putting out their neighbour’s bins, visiting sick in hospital, or donating to a charity somewhere. 

But David’s musings remain in the zone of the foolishness of denying God, and the impact such denial will have on thoughts and actions, extending as they do into evil, and general corruption. Worldliness on a global scale.

So what about us. Christians can’t sit back and believe they have nothing to fear from Psalm 53. To the contrary, perhaps there is a wake up call here, for us to review and examine our hearts, bringing to the surface all that is God-denying. All that is evil and corrupt. And then bring it under the Blood of Jesus, in sorrowful and heart-felt repentance. Then the grace of God will flood over us once again. Praise His Name!