David, the psalmist, simply says that if you are merciful to others, if you lend yourself to others fairly and with good judgement, then you are merry. Accompanying your kind words and loving deeds is a happy heart.
The man is merry, that doeth mercy, and lendeth; he disposeth his words in doom; (Happy is the person who giveth favour when he lendeth; he disposeth his deeds with justice, or with good judgement😉
10 Say ye among the Gentiles, the Lord hath reigned. For he hath corrected the world, which shall not be moved: he will judge the people with justice.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, let the sea be moved, and the fulness thereof:
12 the fields and all things that are in them shall be joyful. Then shall all the trees of the woods rejoice
13 before the face of the Lord, because he cometh: because he cometh to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with justice, and the people with his truth.
An appropriate view of God is to recognize Him as Parent. Jesus is smart to introduce God, His Father as our Father when He prays, “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name.” David calls God “King” and “Judge.” And yes, God is our King and our Judge. But above these roles, He is our Parent. He corrects us like the perfect parent corrects – with justice and love.
And so, the heavens rejoice; and the earth is glad. Everything on the earth is joyful “because He comes; because He comes to judge the earth…with justice, and the people with HIS TRUTH.”
If I should climb up to heaven, thou art there; if I sink down to the world beneath, thou art present still. ( Psalms 138:8, KNOX )
A puzzle here in David’s words and in the oral rendition of the story of Job – God is everywhere! We imagine God is incapable of being in the presence of evil, but that is obviously not so. Yes, He turns from His Son at the Cross when all the sins of the world attach themselves to Jesus; but God is found even if we climb to the heavens or descend to the realms of death and hell. That the Lord comes into the presence of the Enemy, Satan is evident in the beginning moments of the story of Job.
6 One day, when the heavenly powers stood waiting upon the Lord’s presence, and among them, man’s Enemy, 7 the Lord asked him, where he had been? Roaming about the earth, said he, to and fro about the earth.8 Why then, the Lord said, thou hast seen a servant of mine called Job. Here is a true man, an honest man, none like him on earth; ever he fears his God, and keeps far from wrong-doing. 9 Job fears his God, the Enemy answered, and loses nothing by it. 10 Sheltered his life by thy protection, sheltered his home, his property; thy blessing on all he undertakes; worldly goods that still go on increasing; he loses nothing. 11 One little touch of thy hand, assailing all that wealth of his! Then see how he will turn and blaspheme thee. 12 Be it so, the Lord answered; with all his possessions do what thou wilt, so thou leave himself unharmed. And with that, the Enemy left the Lord’s presence, and withdrew. ( Job 1: 6-12, KNOX )
God’s ability and willingness to be in the presence of the Enemy is nearly as difficult to understand and accept as His ability and willingness to suffer and die. God is engaged with death and evil. To think He is not is to misunderstand Him. God does not create death and evil; but He allows both. In so many ways, He uses both. Why?
Gabriel doesn’t come to Mary under his own power or by his own decision. He is sent, rather, to Mary by God. God sends Gabriel to a specific town, to a specific girl betrothed to a specific “man of David’s lineage.”
God doesn’t look down through time and see a young girl He knows will choose Him and then say to Himself, “Well, she’ll do.” Rather, He chooses Mary. She, by His choice, becomes the woman blessed above all women by God Himself.
“When the sixth month came, God sent the angel Gabriel to a city of Galilee called Nazareth, where a virgin dwelt, betrothed to a man of David’s lineage; his name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name was Mary. Into her presence the angel came, and said, Hail, thou who art full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.”
Mary does not resist God’s call. She does question Gabriel, asks ‘how can this be?’ But God’s call is irrevocable as the author of Hebrews tells us. And Isaias (Isaiah) muses:
“What a strange thought is this! As well might clay scheme against the potter; handicraft disown its craftsman, or thing of art call the artist fool.” (Isaias 29: 16)
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”
Day and night the heavens and the sky “proclaim [God’s] handiwork.” Day “pours out speech” and “night reveals knowledge.” And so, says Paul to the church at Rome, “men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20, NIV) We are without excuse “because what may be known about God is plain to [us], because God makes it plain to [us]. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – are clearly seen, being understood from what is made.” (Romans 1:19-20, NIV)
“Even though [we] know God”, says Paul, “we neither glorify Him as God nor give thanks to Him, for [our] thinking becomes futile and [our] foolish hearts are darkened.” (Romans 1:21, NIV)
Paul says “you, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things… When you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:1-4, NIV)
Do not show contempt for the riches of God’s grace! Rather, withhold your judgment of others. Give thanks to God, renewing your mind, allowing His light into your heart. Listen to the day’s speech as it pours forth. Absorb the night’s knowledge as you sleep in God’s arms. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Notice who is the fool? The fool is the one who says there is no God. With no Creator, the foolish man is corrupted by his own study; his view of the universe distorted by his own thoughts. With such a view of life, the fool is incapable of doing good. His deeds remain abominable. Not one person who denies God’s existence does good for the capacity for love is absent.
“To the victory, [the psalm] of David. The unwise man said in his heart, God is not. They be corrupt, and they be made abominable in their studies; none there is that doeth good, none is till to one. (To victory, the song of David. The fool said in his heart, There is no God. Such men be corrupt, and they be made abominable in their deeds; there is no one who doeth good, no not one.)”
The essential or basic sin is idolatry — putting something or even someone before or above God. David asks God to search him, to know his heart, to test him and recognize his concerns. Of course, God sees David’s offenses clearly. David expects God to not only see his idolatry, but also to lead him out of it and into the way of everlasting life. David sings:
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my concerns. 24 See if there is any offensive[idolatrous] way in me;
lead me in the everlasting way.
Jesus comes to earth to lead us out of death and into everlasting life. He comes so we may have life and have it abundantly.
God is clear. He calls those who thirst and who are poor to come to Him. He asks rhetorically why those who are poor should spend what little they may have for things that do not satisfy? He says, “Come to Me.” And, He tells every one of us we need not pay. The covenant He “smites” us with is free!
“1 All that thirst, come ye to waters [All ye thirsting, cometh to waters], and ye that have not silver, haste, buy ye, and eat ye; come ye, buy ye, without silver and without any (ex)changing, wine and milk. (All ye who thirst, come to the waters, and ye who have no silver, hasten, buy ye, and eat ye; come ye, and buy ye, wine and milk, without any silver, yea, without any exchanging of money.)
2 Why weigh ye (out) silver, and not in loaves, and your travail, not in fullness? (Why spend ye your silver, but not for loaves, and the fruits of your labour, but ye be not fulfilled?) Ye hearing hear me, and eat ye (that which is) good, and your soul shall delight in fatness.
3 Bow ye [in] your ear, and come ye to me; hear ye, and your soul shall live; and I shall smite with you a covenant everlasting (and I shall strike with you an everlasting covenant), the faithful mercies of David.”
Utter alone-ness — loneliness, not solitude — descends upon a person at any given time and often without warning. David says that when he looks around him and sees the wicked prosper, both “his flesh and his heart fail.” (Psalm 73:26) He bemoans, “As for me, my feet are almost gone; my steps are well nigh slipped” (Psalm 73:2)
Despite abject distress, David rejoices that “God is the strength of [his] heart, and [his] portion for ever.” (Psalm 73:26) He sings, “I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.” (Psalm 73:23) God is David’s inheritance — “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” (Psalm 73:25)
What compares to God? What want transcends desire for Him? Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2: 20)
“1Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:”
We are to love the LORD our God with all our strength, with all our soul and with all our mind — with “all that is within.” The great commandment doesn’t emphasize outward cleanliness, just as Jesus tells us when He speaks of the cleanliness of the hands and the cup versus the filth of what’s inside the heart of the man.
Rather, the great commandment to love God emphasizes the inside state of the person — a state of blessing and remembering God, a state of gratitude toward God, for “His holy Name” and for “all His benefits.”
Look at what David does with his time — he praises God through song and poem. He possesses a heart of gratefulness to God. He sings:
“I praise You, O LORD, with all my heart; I tell of all Your wonders. I am glad and rejoice in You; I sing praise to Your Name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:1-2, NIV)
“From the lips of children and infants You ordain praise.” (Psalm 8:2, NIV)
Jesus calls us to become little children. In the way of a child with her parents, we are to look to God with loving trust and with grateful hearts.