Mere Mortals

“O Lord, what are human beings 
that You should notice them, 
mere mortals that You should think about them? 
For they are like a breath of air; 
their days are like a passing shadow.
Psalms‬ ‭144:3-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We try and get our minds around many questions in life. Scientific and technical advances have given us many answers to life’s questions, and where there is no answer, “learned” people stand up and provide their opinion as though it was fact. We human beings like to know all the answers. But there are some questions that, no matter how hard people try, we have no answers for. Like “Why am I here on this planet?” Or, “How many days do I have left in this life?” Philosophical questions that have no answers. Not even from our “learned” elite. We have a tendency to put aside such questions and blank them out of our thinking. This is especially true when our thoughts turn to God. We have no truly definitive answers to questions such as, “Who is God?” Or even “Is there a God?” And as a result, many choose to deny that God even exists. If there is no God then there are no questions, and no need for any answers.

David, the Psalmist in today’s verses, asks the question, “Why should God be even bothered about mankind?” After all, human beings are born, they die, and pass through life “like a breath of air”. But his thoughts are just transient, because we see from the rest of the Psalm, that there is no doubt about God’s existence, at least as far as he is concerned. Just a few verses on, he writes, “I will sing a new song to you, O God! I will sing your praises with a ten-stringed harp.” He already knows the answer to his question. He knows that all he can do is praise his Creator, because God loves him. David’s relationship with God was so personal and powerful, that he had no doubts. But in asking the question in today’s verses, he took a moment to meditate in wonder that his amazing Creator God intimately cares for him. I can just imagine him shaking his head in disbelief.

The question still hangs over us in 21st Century society today. Why should God care about us? In spite of all our sins, our bad behaviour, our rebellion. Our denial, our failures. Why? Thankfully, we don’t need to let that question hang over us – the answer is provided in the Bible. This Book is the story of God’s pursuit after human beings, His creation. God yearns for a loving relationship with His creation. To include all the relevant Bible verses in this blog is beyond WordPress’s storage capabilities. But let’s consider just one. John 3:16, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” We may not understand the why, but we know the facts. God loves everyone, past, present and future, who have lived and will live on this planet, and He demonstrated that love for us by sending His Son, Jesus, to engage with His creation, His people, and ultimately to die for them so that their sins would be forgiven. An eternal act by our eternal Heavenly Father. All we can do is shake our heads in amazement. In disbelief. And respond as David did, with a deeply thankful heart, full of praise to our amazing God.

Mere Mortals

I praise God for what He has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what He has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”
Psalms‬ ‭56:10-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Who hasn’t been concerned about what others think of them? So much of our societal life revolves around being accepted by others. In our families, our communities, our work places – in fact any place where we interface with others. Schools are terrible places for any child who dares to be different, whether they want to be or not. Conformity in dress code is mandated in most schools and non-conformity can lead to peer ridicule. The overweight or behaviourally different child can be cruelly mocked. In my school years I was a very sensitive child and that exposed me to mild bullying and other difficulties. And in our workplaces, the appraisal system demands that a senior person exposes what he or she thinks about a more junior member of their staff. In our communities, who hasn’t fallen into the trap of saying what they think of “the man down the road” or the lady two doors away?

David, though, is in a bubble, impervious to the thoughts and opinions of others. A bubble of trust in his loving God. He knows that God has made promises to him and his faith is such that he believes them all 100%. And that faith leads him to the astonishing statement that because of his trust in God he has no reason to be afraid. Of anything? I believe David totally trusted God with His life. Time and time again he had experienced God coming through for him, saving him in one calamity or another. He had reached the place where he could honestly say that his fellow human beings could not touch him in anything, not by any thought, word or deed. And his backstop, his bottom line, was the expectation that he would transition from this world to the next should his enemies overcome him, to be in God’s presence for ever.

So back to our question. Are we concerned about what others think of us? The First Century Roman church was counter-cultural in its day and suffered greatly from persecution because the early Christians dared to be different in following their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, gave some sound advice. Romans‬ ‭12:14-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬, “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” And by following Paul’s advice we can stand secure, having done our best to be acceptable to those around us. We can’t change what others think of us as we stand firm in God’s truths. In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus informed His followers that they were to be salt and light in their world. Being so will possibly give us hassles as we promote God’s counter-cultural truths. Regarding our standing in people’s thoughts, we must never lose sight of the reality that the only opinion that matters is what God thinks of us. Speaking of which, the Bible is packed full of wonderful truths. Here are two verses that never cease to bless me. Psalm 17:8, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings”. And Isaiah 49:16, “See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands…” Wow! God thinks so much of me that He has written my name on His hands. What love! What a Saviour!

So we trust in our God. We praise Him and thank Him at every opportunity. Like David, we each live in a bubble of His love,  where “mere mortals” cannot touch us.