Friday, November 30, 2012

The Isle of Fear- Unintended Impact of Mass Communication Technology

Be not afeard, the isle is full of noisesSounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices, That if I then had wak'd after long sleep, Will make me sleep again, and then in dreaming, The clouds methought would open, and show riches Ready to drop upon me, that when I wak'd I cried to dream again. (The Tempest, Shakespeare - III.ii.135-143) 

MEDIAMANIA- Attitudes, Signs, and Self-fulfilling Prophecy

In 2008 I read an incredible book entitled “Endurance- Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Albert Lansing. It is the true story of survival in Antarctica during the years of 1914 and 1915.

Amazing read! There are great quotes in the book and Shackleton’s undefeatable will is inspirational!-But I was also struck with a quote by one of the crew in his journal.

While the men were locked on an ice flo- they began to exhibit an unhealthy obsession with the wind reports. They were dependent on the wind to move their flo closer to land. If the wind went in one direction they were closer to freedom, if it changed, they were pressed hard to hold on to hope.

This obsession with the wind was labeled ‘amenomania’ – literally, ‘wind madness’- The crewman commented “ This disease may be exhibited in two forms: Either one morbidly anxious about the wind direction and gibbers continually about it, or else a sort of lunacy is produced by listening to the other amenomaniacs.

As I read this, I couldn’t help to think of our modern disease of ‘mediamania’ where we are constantly bombarded with 24 hour cable news about the state of the world and nation. Talking heads wasting hours gibbering about their worldviews and pre-suppositions.

The constant drumbeat of the messages has produced division and cynicism in our world today. Our extreme negative views are supported and encouraged in the news desire to sell the things that make us watch. We are disturbingly drawn to the tragedies and bloodbaths.
I’m getting closer to believing that we may need a media-fast to pull down this influential and destructive idol in our society. 

Can anyone doubt the influence of the media on the masses? Though it seems to be a “no-brainer”, the Civil Libertarians and Media Moguls always are quick to side with celebrities and loudly proclaim that art imitates, not shapes the world we live in. 

I am so tired of the bogus, politically correct wimpyness that infects us. We have had our sense of reality so numbed by the constant flicker of fantasy, that we have educated all common sense, moral sense, and passion completely out of modern life. 

The 51/49 split

The latest election definitely shows our division. Is there an explanation? I find it interesting that TV portrays debates with an even 50/50 split. Take any news program and watch the screen. Usually there are the same experts on each side, handling the questions, splitting time. Even if there is a public opinion of 70/30 – it will be handled in the media 50/50. Has the “balance” of news caused a “balance” of views? 


I grew to love television very early. Saturday morning cartoons held me spellbound. I especially loved Scooby Doo. We started early on Saturday (around 7) and usually finished about 11:30. I also remember watching Star Trek on Sunday evenings. I have never doubted television’s power. 

But I was blessed. We only had 3 channels until I was 14 years old. It was a snow blizzard from midnight to 5:00 A.M. when Country Boy Eddie started the day. I really did not watch that much TV, because it wasn’t on that much. 

So I read. Comic books and Hardy Boys were my favorite. I played outside. We loved Indian Baseball, Nerf football, garage basketball, riding bikes, and spotlight in the early evening. 

Is television, the kingpin of mass brainwashing, the evil culprit in this destruction of American character? Absolutely not! 

Media is neutral, the human heart is evil. But the flicker rate has helped our enemy forge his grandest attack. 

God has communicated in a WRITTEN form- and if we can't or don't read... we have no weapon!

I used to tell my students- practice and develop the reading muscle.


I remember comprehending what I read very early. There was a voice inside my head that seemed to be telling me the story and I followed it. When I lost the voice, I stopped and retraced where it stopped and picked it back up. I can’t prove it, but I believe TV minimizes that voice of imagination and comprehension. Its flickering array of pixels, colors, sounds, and dynamic movement, and rapid scene changes damages that ability to comprehend reading- that is my theory. 

When children see those images over and over, it pre-wires the brain and hinders the development of the mind. 

I know the argument. I am lumping together thousands of ordinary people who are actors, writer, producers and accusing them of a mass conspiracy. No, I am saying that somehow they are being used as pawns of the Prince of this World. Satan has orchestrated this culture of fantasy with all the expertise of an artist! 

Does this mean I want to rid the world of TV? No Do I let my children watch? Yes 

But we need to plan what to watch. We turn it off if it is not planned to do so. We need to pick and choose. We need to control it. The development of the DVR does help this!

All TV carries a world view. Most of it is hostile to Biblical values.

A quick example: CSI is a great show- well made- etc. However, there is a subtle message there. The only “truth” is scientific evidence. Eyewitness testimony is unreliable. Is this a problem? It is a huge problem. If historical evidence becomes a matter of perception, then the foundations of the credibility of our faith is weakened. 

I asked a student one day about Christ and he said he doubted that Jesus really lived, and that it was just a story. I countered and asked if he believed the Abraham Lincoln lived. 

He answered, “I cannot know for sure. I guess they can dig him up and do a DNA test, but outside of that you can’t know.” CSI supplements this view. 

I am not saying to boycott CSI. Watch it, enjoy the quality; rejoice in the truths that the show portrays (all truth is God’s truth)- but be careful, and keep God’s word as the filter. Don’t disengage the mind…stay alert! 
Please do not let TV shape your world-view. If you become its servant- it will tell you how to think, speak, live, evaluate, and vote. And that is a scary thought. 


Lately, I have become concerned about how media is training us to laugh. Current trends of sit-coms, comedy channel programming, and popular comics is a biting, sarcastic, mockery of anything and everything. This has spilled over into some of our students. Much of what is being laughed at is sexual, racial, or demeaning. The targets of this humor are institutions, virtue, leaders, and sadly, the weak and downcast.

It has always been like this in some way, but it appears more sadistic and dark. I recently went to an eagle scout ceremony. There were too many of the teens in attendance who were there to mock it and marginalize it.

In their minds they meant no harm. I was the bad guy for correcting them. But I said to more than one- "Do you feel like you have to mock or make fun everything? Don't ruin it for these guys families!" They just stared at me.  I wouldn't be surprised if later I was mocked for saying so.


A few years ago, I went to workout one night and happened to be right in front of a TV tuned to Olberman and Rachel Maddow.

I leaned to the Fox News kool-aid then and frequently watched Bill O'Reily. I am fully aware of the slugfest that goes on between the two. The NY Times is also frequently a target of attack.

Did I agree 100% will Bill O? No, not at all.

But that night, I was surprised to find the MSNBC mantra much worse than imagined.

I need to be honest- I don't think the news commentators are good for the unity of our country and I am beginning to believe the damage is irreparable. The viciousness and venom unleashed by the haters have gone too far for too long. Their lust for prosecution and vengeance is way over the line. These commentators mocked their opponents in cold sarcasm and disrespect- I was somewhat shocked by the brashness of it.

There is nothing wrong in being an honest critic and it is completely OK to be a democrat/republican. And yes, there are problems and extremists on both sides. I firmly believe I am more Christian than conservative.

But the degree of the cynicism shown that night on MSNBC was the worst I have ever seen- ... the poison IS that bad.

So right after the election this year  I made what will be a long time decision for me-  NO MORE CABLE NEWS. It has been WONDERFUL!..... The single eyed idol is no longer blinding me daily to the weakened state of a once proud union under God.

My hope is that we will not continue to grow as an illiterate nation. My prayer is that we find some semblance of unity. And my help is to watch the screens less and open His Word more.


ONE LAST NOTE: I can't help but notice that my i-phone is about the size of the average idol of Biblical times. It fits in my hand- it talks to me- it entertains me- it gives me great security.

Again- great tool- beneficial... but do I control it or does it control me?

Just some things to ponder as I move to a new year.

Please comment and give me your push-back or thoughts!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Final Song of the Climb- Devotion 16

Psalm 134

Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
who stand by night in the house of the Lord!
  Lift up your hands to the holy place
and bless the Lord!
 May the Lord bless you from Zion,
he who made heaven and earth!

It is hard to have good endings.

Some of my biggest letdowns in life have come at the anti-climatic blah at the end of a special moment. The sun finally sets and the golden hour of fishing is done. You have just hit the tee shot on the 18th hole on an amazing golf course. You wake up and it is the last day of vacation, time to pack.

There is a depression at the end that sours the whole experience if you let it.

Do all good things come to an end? On earth.....yes.

Author's have struggled with this for ages. Someone once said that Mark Twain was frustrated into depression over his inability to bring Huckleberry Finn to an adequate close.

It is also hard to finish well. Very few great men have been able to end at the right time and in the right way. Great athletes hang on too long or find their life tedious after retiring too soon.

Does Psalm 134 fit that mold? It is the culminating hymn at the end of the Psalms of Ascent.
I imagine it being sung with the glorious city and temple in full view. The peak has been reached. The journey is done.

Of course, in your Bible, Psalms keep on coming 135 through 150. But traditionally it is understood that 120-134 encompasses that special section of the Psalms of the Climb.

Do you ever worry that heaven will be boring?

Years ago there was a survey in which it was revealed that a large number of evangelical youth were worried about that very thing. Who could blame them? I wouldn't care to be in clouds and plucking a harp for 2 minutes, let alone 10,000 years!

Hank Williams, Jr sang, "If heaven ain't a lot like dixie, I don't wanna go."
Billy Joel echoed that sentiment, "I'd rather laugh with the sinners, than cry with the saints."

But the biggest problem is not with heaven.... the biggest problem is a lack of understanding WHO God is, HOW magnificent and powerful He is, and how dark and dreary is our sin and world.

You should know the famous C.S. Lewis quip:
C.S. Lewis“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
― C.S. LewisThe Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses
I have always loved that Lewis quote! There are days I sit around and imagine the next realm of life. A wonder of activity and adventure where we have eternity to explore all the universe that God has waiting for us. As of right now, we have NO CAPACITY to go or know- but we will have it..... someday and soon.

The same God who created the capacity for us to love the thrill of a roller coaster- has way more in store. More than we have the capacity to dream about!

I took my oldest daughter to the Birmingham Zoo when she was a toddler. It was a beautiful day and when we first walked in the park, the pink flamingos were majestic!

I smiled as she absorbed the visual! Her eyes widened and she pointed and she drank every second in..... it was an act of worship!

After a few minutes I said, "OK, Jules, let's go to see more stuff."
"No daddy, I want to stay."

As much as I tried to pry her away by argument and logic- she did not move.

And so I did the daddy thing- I picked her up and carried her away from the flamingos. You would have though it was child abuse! She fought, she kicked, she cried and screamed.

But I knew what I was doing. 47 seconds later, she saw zebras and giraffes and elephants and gorillas...... and the tears were no more!

Aren't we like that? We fight God. We are mad that the sun sets on our golf course or rain interrupts our baseball- but this world is only a vapor taste to what is waiting on us.

And that is the hope of this glorious Psalm. It seems so small and benign, we miss the power of its message.

We bless God and He blesses us................ forever in glorious perfection!


This is a strange concept. What do you mean that we bless God? Sounds absurd.

There are a couple of images in the Scripture where our prayers are depicted as a pleasing incense to the Lord. God proclaimed, "This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased!" We can grieve the Spirit- does it not seem plausible that we can also please Him? Did you see how God bragged to Satan about his servant Job? "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."

Let me walk on the edge of some heresy here...... pure speculation. I see a God in Scripture who smiles, frowns, cries, get's angry, is jealous- all in perfection because He is perfect. And He is in control, no doubt about that. But I imagine that he enjoys the moments, even though He plans it and orchestrates it- is it possible that even we can surprise Him in joy and disappointment?

If we consider that God is not bound by time, living outside the linear system of Alpha to Omega, then He can come in and out of time as He desires. Is it possible that he can pause, replay, relive, fast forward in details and ways that is beyond our imagination like a Cosmic DVR. Not with imaginary characters but real life souls which he adores and died for? I know this is a pathetic attempt to understand the invasion of the infinite into the temporal- but I am living transparently in His full view. Can I choose to bless Him? I know I have  MANY  times cursed Him in word, attitude, passive and active deeds of selfish rebellion, weak flesh, and foolish fear.

an interesting note:
 This Psalm says, Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,who stand by night in the house of the Lord.
Who stand by night? A possible reference to chamber singers- but I see it analogous to a true servant, a true worshipper. A person's true nature is shown in how he conducts himself when no one is looking. What does he do in secret? This is when we can truly bless God. Praise Him when we receive no benefit from doing so.

Let us find inspiration to bless Him- as feeble as our efforts may seem. We are the toddler and He loves us as the Father and He can be pleased!

Consider that last verse again: May the Lord bless you from Zion,he who made heaven and earth!
What if you received a certified letter today from T. Boone Pickens. "I have been watching you and have decided to bequeath 25 million dollars and as many of my personal resources as I have to bless you and your work." Would you not freak out?

But here is a verse: May the maker of heaven and earth bless you!

So which one do we choose? Sadly, we would choose T. Boone's blessing over God's. But primarily because we have no concept to what God's blessing has been, is now, or even what it WILL BE!

The Biblical word for 'blessed' in the New Testament is μακάριος and the Greek equivalent here in Psalm 134 is 'happy, blessed and even carries a hint of 'Congratulations! Way to go!'

Think of it this way. You are on a perilous journey, many have fallen by the wayside. But by God's grace, you never quit. Yes, you got knocked down and pushed around, yes you fell along the way- but you got back up and took another step. You were laughed at, mistreated, ignored, misunderstood, betrayed. Even your body failed you, your supporters left, your loved ones tried but were unable to care enough to succeed- you doubted...... and then- wow- breakthrough victory- now see if you can really take in all the blessing! Who is worthy of that? Am I a beneficiary of even 1 drop of the blood of perfect pardon?

We have finished the race!

Sorry, Hank- Heaven is better than dixie.
Poor choice, Billy, the sinners are not laughing.

Though both of you still have time to enter the rest in the same way I have- pure grace and mercy.

We will sing at that time like the Apostle Paul:

II Timothy 4: For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
The final song at the end of the climb is not anti-climatic at all- it is the song of ultimate victory!
And we will find that it was totally worth it! Keep climbing, battle weary warrior!

 Thank- you, Lord, for the Psalms of Ascent!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Song for the Climb- Devotion 15


Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
 It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
 It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore.

Our last Psalm delved into thoughts of keeping passion is spite of routine. I think it is important to see this Psalm in light of this context as well. We are deep into a journey and the end is near. What keeps us fresh and energetic?

I think NEWNESS is as important in this Psalm as UNITY. We see both of these in this short but important song.

The image of oil running from the head of Aaron has multiple applications. This was the annointing oil that set apart the priests for their ministry. Imagine the newness and excitement of the occasion commemorating the start of such an endeavor- smiles and energy, hope and anticipation of what lay ahead!

The oil softened and, as the sun beamed down, warmed the recipient. Having oil was symbolic of grand provision, using it was a mark of great celebration!

The same metaphor applies to the 'dew of Hermon'. On this high mountain peak, the dew was pervasive and fresh. I imagine again, sun beams, shining through the wispy smoke of dew clouds. It is a fresh new day! Everything is alive and the anticipation of what lay ahead is electric!

So what could kindle and refresh us in such a way that we have the excitement and energy of newness so late in the journey? It is the youthful energy that comes from RICH RELATIONSHIPS!

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity!"

I just finished my 21st year as a high school football coach and I already yearn for the beginning of year 22. What has sustained my passion to continue to draw it up and dig in yet again? It is the people I get to labor with.

There is no better time as a coach than right after a fun win. Good food and big laughter. Smiles and high fives, hugs and fist pumps. But it is also built upon the experience of hurts and losses. We suffer together and we need one another to muster the courage to get up and try again.

Is it easy to 'dwell together in unity'? And the obvious answer is NO! Our default mode as humans is to dwell by ourselves and we divide more easily than join together. We splinter and become frayed more readily than we mend and stand as one.

I wanted to list some key components about what it takes to find a healthy unity among men:

DEEP GOSPEL AWARENESS AND APPLICATION: It took the gospel going deep into my heart before I found a heart to love and forgive others. It starts with a true understanding of my depravity. If I hold a high view of myself, it is easy to count shortcomings of others against them.

But the gospel constantly represents three important realities: my desperate sin, God's gracious gift, and the recognition that since God has forgiven me, I should forgive others.

BEARING WITH: I had a call from a coach years ago who was working with our younger grades. I listened for about 20 minutes as he listed all the things that frustrated him about a coach he was working with. It was an impressive list! These two were not alike and it was a textbook definition of 'personality clash'.

The hardest part of the call was that there was no easy solution. It was too critical in the timing of a season to slash and re-arrange who coached where. These two were going to have to be together. Was there any way to reach the 'dwell in unity' threshold?

The only hope was that both of these men knew the Lord.

So I asked this coach to meet with me and set out a plan of action:

Step 1- Scripture and Prayer. I asked this coach to spend one week meditating on Colossians 3:- especially the 13th verse.

1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek cthe things that are above, where Christ is, dseated at the right hand of God. eSet your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For fyou have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ gwho is your1 life happears, then you also will appear with him iin glory.
jPut to death therefore kwhat is earthly in you:2 lsexual immorality, impurity, mpassion, evil desire, and covetousness, nwhich is idolatry. oOn account of these the wrath of God is coming.3 pIn these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now qyou must put them all away:ranger, wrath, malice, sslander, and obscene talk from your mouth. tDo not lie to one another, seeing that uyou have put off vthe old self4 with its practices 10 and whave put on xthe new self, ywhich is being renewed in knowledge zafter the image of aits creator. 11 bHere there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,5 free; but Christ is call, and in all.
12 dPut on then, as eGod's chosen ones, holy and beloved, fcompassionate hearts, gkindness, hhumility, meekness, and patience, 13 hbearing with one another and, iif one has a complaint against another, gforgiving each other; gas the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on jlove, which kbinds everything together in lperfect harmony. 15 And let mthe peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called nin one body. And obe thankful. 16 Let pthe word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,qsinging psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, rwith thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And swhatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, tgiving thanks to God the Father through him.

I also asked that he pray for this other coach and his family everyday.

Step 2- I asked this coach to list good qualities of this other coach. It wasn't easy, but he eventually found a nice list: organized, humble, good temperament.

Step 3- This next step was important, and hard. The two needed to have a conversation. I felt like it was important for me to NOT be in that conversation to begin with. But did tell this coach that he needed to use me as a peacemaker IF the initial conversation went poorly.

I suggested he open up the conversation this way: "We are going to be working together in stressful situations, so I feel like we need to talk about strategies to help us be as unified as we can be. So let us talk about our strengths and weaknesses and imagine what the chemistry of that dynamic may look like".

I got a call the next week and the meeting was a huge success. The biggest key was that this coach was willing to roll up his sleeves and make an effort. I praised him for that and the two had a nice season together. They were not going to be 'best buds' but they could be unified. Unity is not unanimity.

PULL IN THE QUILLS: I was once told that porcupines can sleep together because they pull in their quills. Part of dwelling together in unity is a conscious decision to not be offensive. We don't have to push those buttons that create dissension.

ALL I CAN CONTROL IS ME: Often, our desire to dwell together in unity is a contingency plan. I will get along if he.........________. No- it does not work that way. We have to decide that we will do right REGARDLESS if the other person notices or tries. I think a key to this is to see this as service to the Lord. HE SEES! Give yourself to acts of unity and don't give up, even if it doesn't seem to be working.

THE IMPOSSIBLE FORGIVE: Two stories that will forever have impact on my life deal with P.O.W.s in WWII who endured brutal treatment by the Japanese. Both Ernest Gordon and Louis Zamperini drew upon their Christian faith and found forgiveness toward their torturers.

I was told that the father of Jim Elliot went to the jungles of Equador to forgive the indians who had murdered his son.

And yet, as I write this, I still find myself fighting to forgive others who have wronged me. It is hard to pray for them. It is easy to harbor angry thoughts.

But it is so important to do right in this case. Forgiveness ultimately protects my heart from the destruction that bitterness can cause.

My willingness to forgive is fruit that I have rightly embraced the truth of the gospel. To fight forgiveness means that I don't appreciate what Jesus did for me. That is why Jesus so clearly states in Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

The beauty of this Psalm is that if we make these virtues a habit and a trend- we will find a youthful vigor in life as we draw energy from the community of believers who dwell together in unity.

Lord, give us a renewed effort to find such harmony!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Song for the Climb- Devotion 14


Remember, O Lord, in David's favor,
all the hardships he endured,
  how he swore to the Lord and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, “I will not enter my house
or get into my bed,
  I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
  until I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
“Let us go to his dwelling place;
let us worship at his footstool!”
 Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
  Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your saints shout for joy.
  For the sake of your servant David,
do not turn away the face of your anointed one.
 The Lord swore to David a sure oath
from which he will not turn back.
“One of the sons of your body
I will set on your throne.
  If your sons keep my covenant
and my testimonies that I shall teach them,
their sons also forever
shall sit on your throne.”
 For the Lord has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his dwelling place:
 “This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell,  for I have desired it.
  I will abundantly bless her provisions;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
  Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
and her saints will shout for joy.
  There I will make a horn to sprout for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
  His enemies I will clothe with shame,
but on him his crown will shine.”

The pilgrims who made the journey to Jerusalem did it on more than one occasion every year. Some made it for every festival, thus creating a pattern of duty and delight. I liken it a little bit like those who travel on Saturdays in the fall to tailgate and keep going to basketball and baseball games as well. It is quite a commitment of time, energy, and finances for those types of fans.

At some point, it all becomes routine. You know the road, you know how to pack, you know the resting places- it is old and new at the same time.

The first time you do it, there is a level of anxiety. But after a while, you can do it in your sleep.

The perplexity of normalization though is a trend toward monotony. When you were unsure and it was new- you were filled with the adrenaline of adventure. Now that you know the road, and the routine doesn't create the same excitement. What a tough predicament! You want to accomplish and experience, but doing the routine over and over creates ritualism, fatigue, and boredom.

This Psalm probes the solution to this quandary. How can I capture David's passion? What gave him the driving resolution to pursue the return of the Ark and the building of the Temple is such a way that the fire never died?

Here are a few important points of note:

Passion is not about activity- it is the power of personal relationships: Yes, we go on the same road- but the variety in the experience is the people we intimately share it with. Even if it is the same people, people are variations within themselves.

Go ahead and run with the routine, embrace day to day discipline: If we keep up the pace, we will run into 'freshenings' and the slow addition of time builds stability and endurance. Most of the godly men in Scripture walked in obedience even though their face to face with encounter had ended 20 years previous. Some people chase the wind, others wait and know that it will come back to them if they are patient.

The power of the promise resides in God, not in men: This Psalm is Solomon's tribute to the ultimate fountain of blessing- David's passion meeting God's promise in providential perfection of space, time, and history. In the end, it was God who held the power to do as He had already promised. The Davidic Covenant was secure in God's promise- the beauty of it was that it shone brilliant in David's passionate response! God already knew it was going to be His Son who would pay the penalty of the broken covenant. He alone had taken on the terms of the contract (or bond in blood, sovereignly sealed as O. Palmer Robertson called it), He alone was to bear its penalty. Even David fell short in his ability to fulfill his promise. He broke God's law and was not allowed to build the temple.

Realize that it is never clean or easy: I think that idealists and perfectionists are always facing sad circumstances. A word that rises out of the page is 'resting place'- a longing that we have, but one that will never become an ultimate reality until the new Jerusalem is established.

But we can find rest in this realm if we are willing to see it and wait for it.

I love the parallel perspective:

No sleep for David- he had a life long passionate pursuit.
No rest for men- weighed down by the persistent patterns in life

Prayers/Desire in vs 9 Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your saints shout for joy.

Promise/Hope is vs 16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
and her saints will shout for joy.

Yes, God is omni-present- but this Psalm is WHY the journey and WHY the ark and WHY the temple- it all represents a meeting of man and his Creator.

The Psalm is asking for God to GO to Jerusalem, a cry to "Meet us there in provision and peace" and so we climb because "Where He is, we want to be as well". It is the ultimate culmination of life itself.

In God there is the union of accomplishment AND relationship, passion and steady purpose, a hope that will never be in vain.

Until then, it is the tension of the NOW AND NOT YET. Faith and not sight.


Christ is always present in The Davidic Covenant:

vs. 6- Reference to Bethlehem (Ephrathah)
vs. 7- Footstool is reference to Christ as King
vs. 10- Anointed one in the line of David
vs. 12- a son of David will sit on the throne forever
vs. 17- the horn of David
vs. 18- the lamp for the Anointed One
vs. 19- enemies subdued by the King of Glory

Can we stay on this journey without wearing down or wearing out or pulled into distractions?
Can we focus on the prize and not get lost in the journey?
Can we take time to enjoy the journey?
When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?

Summing it up: This Psalm is a cry to God to continue His kingdom based on His covenant promise keeping in the past, the evidence of His blessing in the present, and His covenant promise and reward in the future.

"Psalm 132 develops a strong sense of continuity with the past and a surging sense of exploration into the future. It is the kind of thing we sing to stay normal without becoming dull, to walk upright in the middle of the road without getting stuck in a long rut of mediocrity. Its words prod us to reach into the future without losing touch with the daily reality. Its rhythms stimulate us to new adventures in the Spirit without making us lunatics. For Christian living demands that we keep our feet on the ground; it also asks us to make a leap of faith. A Christian who stays put is no better than a statue. A person who leaps about constantly is under suspicion of being not a man but a jumping jack. What we require is obedience—the strength to stand and the willingness to leap, and the sense to know when to do which. Which is exactly what we get when an accurate memory of Gods ways is combined with a lively hope in his promises."- Eugene Peterson
So, I keep asking the Lord- HELP! Don't let me lose my passion for you. Keep me walking on that steady climb with joy and endurance! Don't let me get bogged down in empty ritual or routine- keep blowing that wind of renewal and power to obey. And thank-you for the grace to recover when I fail.

"Lord, the feelings are not the same. I guess I'm older. I guess I've changed. And how I wish it had been explained, that as you're growing, you must remember- that nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand- and Jesus, my whole life would surely fall away- except the grace, by which I'm saved." Hear Keith Green sing it below: