The Unshakable Mountain
Good morning Facebook friends,
Today is the sixth post in the series Psalms of Ascent Psalm 125. God’s word encourages mankind to put his/her trust in Him. Putting one’s trust in God is not easy because, we are driven by what we see, hear, feel, and smell more so that we listen to the cry of the heart. For this reason, we have the Word of God and the testimony of all who have put their trust in him. Because the people in the scriptures are human beings, we see both their victories and their defeats. From each, we can learn about this unshakeable mountain of God. My contention is that having faith in God is easy when the wind as at our back and life is at its very best. However, when the winds change, and the battle is uphill, we do not fare so well. In Jesus time, he was able to outmaneuver and outwit the most intelligent and well-schooled of the Sanhedrin; even Israel’s Dean of Students, Nicodemus, was no match for the Lord Jesus (John 3:1-21). Many put their faith and belief in Jesus because of what he said and/or what he did until the heat of affliction and the tone of the message became too much (John 6:60-66). As I share with you three points that I believe are crucial to our life in Jesus, I pray that you will come walk with me as together we climb the steps to the Temple of God.
Point 1: A personal decision (vs. 1-2)
At the start of this Psalm, the writer uses a mountain to describe the person who has put his/her life in the Lord’s hands. Each of us needs that one person in our life that is a rock we can cling to and that person is Jesus. You may or may not have met the one person who appears to be a rock for God. The problem is, what do you do when that person falls into sin or what they said would happen, does not? This comes down to a personal decision: do I follow their path, or do I turn away? What the follower will do without the leader really depends on who is the focus of that person’s life. Consider the situation that occurred in Iraq following Sadam Hussein’s demise, the nation grappled with ethnic cleansing as the people fought for control of the country. Throughout Jesus’ ministerial period, he always pointed the disciples to the Father (John 14). The fruit of Jesus’ focus showed in the disciples for years to follow. It was because of Jesus that a character like Paul was changed into a great powerhouse for the Kingdom of God. Because Jesus knew where he was going and who was in control, the cross was not the end but, the beginning of something great. It all comes down to a personal decision, “do I follow or, do I fall”.
Point 2: The Battles We Fight (vs. 3)
In the movies and television shows, a situation is presented to the audience that appears bigger than life. When the show ends, whether it be 30 minutes, an hour, or longer, the crisis is resolved, and the hero surfaces victorious. Unfortunately, life is not like the movies or the shows because the person may die but the ideology lives on thanks to our mortal enemy. In the history of the US, there have been dozens of villains that have wreaked mayhem across the nation only to die and be forgotten. For example, who still fears the Dalton brothers, Bonnie and Clyde, Jesse James, or Al Capone? These individuals have been dead for a number of years. Yet, the ideology that these people embraced exists today. Our battle, said Paul, is not fleshly as to reach out and touch the person, it is spiritual, so we cannot see it with physical eyes (Eph 6:12). Scripture admonishes in this verse and others that if justice is not quickly meted, the righteous will learn to do evil such as what happened in Laodicea (Ecc 8:11). Unfortunately, ideologies morph over time to the point that their purpose, whether good or evil, is blurred and requires discernment. God gives us the word that we may learn the righteousness of God (2 Tim 3:16-17); in listening to it, we are able to tell the difference between good and evil (Heb 5:14).
There is a training mechanism called “shadow-boxing” which is when the fighter boxes his/her shadow. The purpose of the mechanism is to prepare the fighter for a real fight which may or may not work out as expected. The enemy of our soul uses this training mechanism to develop in the child of God a form of animosity towards another person. This is problematic because, what we do not understand, nor do we fully comprehend the long-range effects on the family, church, and the world at large. In our thought life, we see the things, events, fears, failures that trouble our minds. It is from these very same thoughts that we push people out of our lives believing that person or people to be the problem instead of the real culprit, “us”. It is my contention that the evil in man’s heart always starts in the shadow before it is played out on the world screen. Consider the actions of King Saul upon hearing the people chant “David has killed his tens of thousands and Saul has killed his thousands” (1 Sam 18:7-8) how his love for David turned to envy and then hatred. Many of us fight this very same battle today whether we know it or not and whether we acknowledge it or not. The Devil uses this technique to make the impossible possible and the imagined into reality. The shooting in FL this past week began with a brick in the shooter’s heart before it became a slaughter on the big screen. In criminal profiling, it is recorded how the serial killers’ actions began in their thoughts, then continued to grow.
Point 3: Choices Under the Microscope (vs. 4-5)
After Jesus’ death, it was a defining moment for Peter and the ragtag group which would usher in a great move of God’s hand for a short period of time; probably about 15 years. In the book of Revelations, we read about the seven churches of Asia Minor who are being viewed under the microscope of a Holy God. From the reading of the first three chapters, we can glean that life was not good for the church in specifically for the church of Laodicea. Tragically, what Paul said would happen to the church occurred not long after he was martyred (Acts 20:28-31). Over time, the choices the churches made brought the church into conflict with the very word they championed. Today, we face much of the same issue. The church of Laodicea is gone but the ideology persists today. For example, a generation ago, what the church Pastor, Priest, or Rabbi said, was gold. The problem is that while we were in church, little things were going on in the background that very few people knew about which would come out into the open a generation later.
Scripture compels us to not do as the world does (Eph 4:17). As a Christian, we try to, with the best of intentions, to tell the world how to live according to God’s word. Regretfully, this has led to predictable results such as our youth abandoning Judeo-Christian beliefs in favor of worldly ways. Because the world’s ways are in stark contrast to Biblical ways leading to isolation on the part of the Christian youth. In our school systems, the youth face a barrage of advertisement and evil practices being portrayed as “a better way to live”. Parents today, face an uphill battle for control of their kid’s thanks to the shifting sands of morality. Consider the case of “Gay Marriage and the Homosexual lifestyles”. A generation ago, the church took a bold stand against such practices now, the church at large has now conceded to the desires of the world in order to gain the support of the world and garner the prominence it once held. In the prophet Samuel’s time, the nation was led by the Judges until the people grew tired of the roller coaster ride of victory to defeat. One day, the leaders asked Samuel for a King just like all of the other nations around them because Samuel’s kids were more like Eli’s kids then Samuel’s (1 Sam 8:4). When this happened, it broke the old Prophet’s heart, but God admonished him that “it isn’t you the people are rejecting but me” (vs. 6-7). So, the people got a king and the years to follow would be less than spectacular until the time of David (1 Sam 16:1-3). It is not as though God failed but, because the boys were representatives of Samuel, it was perceived that Samuel was no better than the world. Today, more than 3000 years since Saul, we are facing the same problems despite all of the warnings of scripture. It is funny, in an ironic way, that no matter how much the world has changed its thinking, the word of God has not just as scripture says (Num 23:19).
The mountain of God stands firm today just as it did thousands of years ago. The same promise given to the writer of this Psalm holds true for us today. God left us with choices; how we use them, will always tell the story and will not lie either by embellishing the truth nor by omitting facts. Of battles, there will be no end. We will fight the same battles to varying degrees just as our parents did and our children will. The good news is that Jesus has already won the war and that is the sin that holds us back (1 Cor 15:57). My prayer for my nation and for the church is that we stay in the word and become fully alive in Jesus. In Revelations, it states of the saints in white, “they overcame them by the blood of the lamb and the word their testimony” (Rev 12:11). May your testimony today and every day of your life be “The unshakeable mountain gave me a solid rock to stand on” (Ps 40:2). Come walk with me!