Tuesday, March 04, 2008

my Trouble isn't about me but God's Reputation

I read Psalm 46 this morning through eyes that have seen God's method-of-operation more than yesterday. I think, then, that the New American Standard captures the heart of this Psalm better than the others. Like this:

God is our refuge & strength, a very present help in trouble. So we don't fear.
- even if the earth reshapes itself! Violently! No fear.


God's city, the place where God's "will be done," that's a calm place. But it's in His timing...
- calm like a river, calm like a gigantic rock - so big as to be a mountain

There IS much shaking and reshaping among humans. Violently! But humans and their uproar are melted by God simply saying so.


The evidence of God's work is everywhere. And it is becoming increasingly blatant. He even violently destroys violence(?!).

To strive, then, is not the action of those seeking victory or release. Victory or release are not for me - they are to show God's greatness. My victory, my release, are for God's reputation, not really my situation.

THIS, then, is why He is called Lord of the Mighty Army of Heaven (Hosts)
THIS, then, is why He is called God of the Promise Without End (of Jacob)
HIS reputation is vastly more important than my Trouble

Is this why His help comes only when "morning dawns" and not when I feel most overwhelmed?

Can I live under a God who sees my trouble with two eyes: one of love for me, but one of proving Himself to be the Great God - the later more powerful than the first?

In Ezekiel 36, God makes it very clear to both Israel and the mountains that God has/will wipe the mountains clean of His people who have harmed His reputation. Then He is going to fill the hills with God-fearing people and amazing produce. And His repeated battle cry is, "Not for your sake, but so everyone will know that I, Yahweh, have done ALL of this.
- yet in the middle of this is one of the most dominant, New Testament themes:

a new heart, the Spirit within you

It was this, the coming of the Spirit, that caused Peter & John and the rest to giggle when beaten, to sing when imprisoned, to have what N.T. Wright calls "an almost care-free joy." It is that "something" that I read in the book of Acts yet don't sense in the Church today. It is that "something" that rewrites my trouble by putting into the hands of God. But God doesn't have only me in mind, He also has is own reputation ("glory").

I find myself asking, Can I handle a God like this? Can I, in the height of my pain, be okay with a God who is more interested in using the situation for His reputation more than He's interested in fixing my problem(s)?

Or, as it now sounds to me having read this, Am I okay with a God who is more about Himself than about Me?

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