THE ULTIMATE CONTRAST… Psalm 46 and Judges 21

These chapters present quite the contrast.  Reading both, I couldn’t help but think of those polar opposites– heaven and hell.  Psalm 46– so reassuring.  Judges 21– as if all hell breaks loose.

In Psalm 46, God is our refuge and strength, assuaging fears even when everything seems to be falling apart.  He’s like the river that Jerusalem never had.  Yes, a major spring courses through the city even today, but unlike most ancient cities, there was no river.  There’s something better.  The Lord Himself!

If you’ve been to Jerusalem, you know how steep the streets are and how slippery they become when wet.  We saw many tourists in wheelchairs, wearing slings around their arms!  Had to really watch our step.  So easy to lose our balance, falling down on the hard stone surface.

Not in heaven!  Not with God!  No falling there.  Psalm 46: 10 says this–‘Be still and know that I am God’.  ‘Be still…’ in the original Hebrew means to put your hands at your side.  A defenseless posture.  With nothing to fear, raising our arms to protect ourselves becomes unnecessary.  God will be our ‘refuge and strength’…’our fortress’.  That will be heaven!

Now the contrast with Judges 21 and a few chapters before.  Filled with murder, rape, kidnapping, inhospitality of the worst kind.  Coveting and craving reach epidemic proportions.  Foolish vow-making, promises carelessly broken, everyone doing whatever they want.  To top it all off, they blame God for the mess they’re in!  ‘…the Lord has made a gap in the tribes of Israel'(Judges 21:15).  Easy to blame the Lord when we’re so bloomin’ innocent!  Refusing to look in the mirror of our own sinful lives.

Scripture says that these people ‘had no king’.  No one in authority, especially Yahweh God.  For living in such a hot climate, they were certainly skating on thin ice!  Chaos reigned.  Self was on the throne.  ‘Do Your Own Thing’ bumper stickers behind every oxcart.  If it feels good, do it.  If it doesn’t, do it anyway.  Caution… cast to the wind.

What a contrast with Psalm 46.  Aren’t you glad you’re heaven bound?  I am!  Wish others were as well.   Keep praying for family and friends to come to know Jesus.  For people around the world to be welcomed into His family!

Prayer:  Thank you,  Lord, for the best future anyone could ever have.  All because of Jesus.  Amen.

WHAT A CONTRAST! Read Judges 21 and Psalm 46

These were 2 of my Old Testament readings for my quiet time today.  Wow–what a contrast indeed.  Like the weather we had yesterday and today here at the New Jersey shore.  Fierce winds and pelting rain with flooding  yesterday leading to blue skies, no wind and lots of sun and surf for today!  What a contrast indeed!  Back to the Bible–when I finished reading both chapters, I couldn’t help but think of the contrast between heaven and hell.  Psalm 46 is so reassuring, so helpful and beautiful; while, Judges 21 is just all hell breaking loose on earth, and among God’s people(maybe they are His people, possibly not, doesn’t seem like it to me, but then again I’ve seen the best and worst of God’s people and sometimes I hate to admit it,  the enemy  is me!).  What a contrast indeed!  Psalm 46–where God is our refuge and strength, our helper who removes our fears from us even when and especially when everything is falling apart all around us.  God is all this… and lots more.   It’s not me, but it’s Him.  He’s like the river that Jerusalem never had.  Yes, a major spring runs through the city even today, but unlike almost all major ancient cities,there was  no river.  But now there is one, and it’s the Lord Himself.  God is there, there’s now no fear, no failure and no falling.  Those of us who’ve been to Jerusalem know how steep the streets are and how slippery they become with the slightest of moisture.  Easy to lose your balance and fall crashing down on a very hard stone surface.  Not in heaven with God–no falling there.  Not ever.  Not with Him right there next to us, holding real tight to both our hands.  Verse 10 of Psalm 46 says it all–‘Be still and know that I am God…”  ‘Be still’ in the original language means to put your hands at your side.  Take a defenseless posture.  Nothing to fear or raise your arms to protect yourself from.  Why?  Because God will be our ‘refuge and strength’…’our fortress’.  That will be heaven…and more forever and ever!   Now the contrast. Judges 21 and the few chapters before with murder, rape, kidnapping, inhospitality of the worst kind, coveting, foolish vow-making, promises then broken, everyone doing what ever they want and to heck with everyone and everything else especially God, and to top it all off blame Him for the mess their in.  ‘…the Lord has made a gap in the tribes of Israel’ (Judges 21:15).  Easy to blame the Lord when we refuse to look squarely in the mirror.  It says they ‘had no king’, chaos reigned, self was on the throne, do your own thing bumper-stickers on their carts, if it feels right do it ( and even if it doesn’t, do it anyway).  I don’t know about  you but sounds a bit modern this ancient Old Testament book of Judges.  What a contrast with Psalm 46.  Like heaven and hell.  Aren’t you glad that we’re heaven bound?  I sure am!  Wish others were as well, especially among our families and friends. Keep praying and keep looking up…