Nick Poindexter

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Tag: Psalms (page 1 of 2)

Against You Have I Sinned

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
-Psalm 51:4 (NIV)

After King David was exposed of his affair with Bathsheba, he expressed his sorrow through the words of this psalm. The domino effect of his sinful choices had sent piercing ripples throughout his own life as well as others.

David could have written, “Against Bethsheba have I sinned,” and that would be true. He took advantage of her sexually. He could have added, “Against Uriah have I also sinned.” Another fact, since David plotted his murder. He could have even threw in, “Against Joab too have I sinned,” since he made him force Uriah to the frontlines of battle.

If David had written his psalm using those examples, no one would argue with it. But David was honest and knew that no one had experienced more pain from his sin than God. Ultimately, David rebelled against him.

Sometimes when you sin, it only affects you. On the other hand, sometimes your sin affects others. And sometimes it affects you and others.

But your sin always affects God because it always breaks his heart. That’s why acknowledging our sin is an issue of our relationship of God more so than just our relationship with others. And thankfully David understood that.

Therefore, we’ve got to be careful when we start justifying certain behavior with comments like, “It’s not hurting anyone!” Because there will always be sinful things that don’t seem to do any damage to others on the surface. Even though that may be true, a better question is, “Is this hurting God?”

David couldn’t be more clear. With any sinful action, the answer is assuredly, “Yes.”

I think that perspective is the key to overcoming the battle with sin. The point isn’t that we have a sin problem per se… It’s that we have a God problem.

What I mean is that many people claim to love God above all others. But if you truly love God, will you blatantly choose to do things that cause him pain? When all is said and done, we must realize that our sinful choices are a direct punch into his gut. Whether they hurt someone on earth or not, God is still wounded.

Despite what we try to convince ourselves, our sin isn’t truly about ourselves or others. At its core, it is an issue between us and God.

In a moment of true repentance, David said it best… Against God, God only, have we sinned.

 

Shut Up And Say Wow

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
-Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

I recently had the incredible privilege of witnessing the birth of my first child, a son. I will never forget the feeling of seeing my little boy in flesh and bone for the first time. It was an indescribable experience and one of the best moments of my life. I can hardly imagine topping it.

But on the other hand, in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that consequential. I mean, statistically speaking, 4 children are born in the world every second. Expanding that further, 250 babies appear per minute, and 15,000 in an hour. That’s approximately 360,000 newborns entering into the world every, single day! Hardly something worth getting excited over. Babies being born is basically the equivillent of my heart beating. It’s cool and all, but it’s certainly not newsworthy. And clearly isn’t not something worth praising God over! Anything that happens 400+ times while I brush my teeth isn’t worth celebrating or giving the Creator any credit for.

Two wildly different opinions on the exact same event. And according to David the psalmist, the ideology of the second is thoroughly and utterly wrong.

Instead of looking at the human experience with a wide lenses, he instead focuses on the up-close details. Just look how full of amazement and reverence David is… “God, you created my inmost being? Woah! You knit me together in my mother’s womb? Yeah! I am fearfully and wonderfully made, by you? Wow!” It’s as if David is saying, “I couldn’t care less how ordinary a new baby’s conception or birth is… I’m still going to praise you for it because you care about it, you were involved with it, and ultimately you still did it!”

Because it really is all about perspective, isn’t it? One can play devil’s advocate about the so-called “works of God” simply being nothing more than humdrum, day-to-day events. A baby is born? Cool, but no big deal. A colorful sunset? Yeah, that’s nice. I woke up and didn’t die in my sleep? Oh well, another day.

Just because something is common doesn’t make it any less miraculous.

When I laid eyes on my little boy for the first time, my first thought wasn’t, “This is neat, but it happens more than a quarter million times per day.” All I could do is marvel in the surreal, supernatural moment and say, “Wow.”

The more I read the Bible, the more I find story after story of people who, like David, were fixiated on God’s power and ability. They didn’t take anything he did for granted. Everything they encountered, it was done through him and by him and for him. They didn’t look for reasons to deny praise to God… Instead, they looked for opportunities to praise him for anything. To them, everything was a testimony to God’s majesty.

You can downplay things against God’s greatness. Or, you can drop your jaw in awe of him. Sometimes we all just need to shut up and say, “Wow.”

Who knows? You might even start praising him for the ordinary.

God Is Not Fair

He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
-Psalm 103:10-12 (HCSB)

Have you ever said the phrase, “Life is not fair”? I know I have many times. When you see the people who don’t deserve blessings receiving them, and others who do things the right way struggling, you can’t help but have those thoughts. Or just flip through the pages of the Bible and you will read story after story of people who fall into the same category.

Whether it’s modern day we’re talking about or thousands of years ago, the world really hasn’t changed much in this regard, has it? Sometimes it just seems that life is not fair, and neither is God.

The problem is that God’s perspective on fairness will never make sense to us. To us, fairness is someone getting what they deserve. A person does good things, then they are rewarded. A person does bad things, then they are punished. It’s pretty simple, and that’s what our human reasoning expects.

God, however, is all about grace. And grace is getting what you do not deserve.

According to Psalm 103, our God has shown us considerable mercy when it comes to our sins. We are at fault and deserve the punishment — death and separation from the one we’ve offended. Alternatively, God has chosen forgiveness and compassion. And to what extent? Our transgressions are going in the complete opposite direction as God. The point was that the east and the west are constantly growing farther and farther apart, and the two points will never, ever meet!

Or, to say it another way… We have rebelled against God, broken our covenant with him, chosen our own way, been caught red-handed and are guilty as charged. Yet he chose not to discipline us. Instead, God chose grace, forgot about the wrongdoings, and paid the penalty himself.

I can say it with confidence: God is not fair. Because of Jesus, we do not get what we deserve.

And that’s something worth thanking him for.

Taste And See

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
-Psalm 34:8 (NIV)

I love being at the grocery store on days when they are giving away free samples of food. My stomach gets fed and who knows? Maybe I’ll discover a new favorite I wouldn’t have considered otherwise. It’s really a brilliant marketing strategy. The companies are basically saying, “We believe we have a good product. To prove that, give it a taste.” They are challenging the shoppers to take a chance and try it for themselves.

In Psalm 34, the author David is sharing that the Lord is good. And if you don’t believe it, then he says to just taste and see for yourself.

I think it’s interesting which of the five senses was used in this verse. Putting your faith in something you just have to hear, smell, touch or see is a relatively safe gamble. If you hear something that’s irritating, you can cover your ears. If you smell something disgusting, you can pinch your nose. If you touch something unpleasant, you can wash your hands. If you see something unattractive, you can look away. Yeah, there might be some short-term discomfort with each of those scenarios, but no harm, no foul.

But when you actually taste something, you are taking a chance. What you eat is either going to be beneficial for you, or it is going to harmful. If the result of the test is bad, it might leave a gross taste in your mouth or make your stomach hurt. Or, if you’re not so lucky, what you ate could even poison and kill you. And that’s the thing with tasting… Once the act is done, there’s no turning back.

Whether you’ve thought about it before or not, tasting is serious business.

That’s why it’s so important that we understand the psalmist’s word choice here. He didn’t say to simply listen, sniff, feel or look… There’s no real risk involved there. He said to trust the Lord, go out on a limb and taste his goodness directly.

You see, you’ll never know just how delicious that food is on the shelf next to you is until you take that first bite.

Likewise, God is daring us to give him a try so he can prove that he is good indeed. He’s declaring, “Don’t take my word for it… You’ve got to experience it firsthand. Trust me completely with your life. Follow me obediently with your heart, soul and mind. Surrender your will exclusively to me. I stand by my product… I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.”

Just taste and see.

Stored For Safekeeping

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
-Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

I recently added it up, and I think I own about 15 copies of the Bible. Whether it be a thinline ESV, a parallel NIV/MSG, a pocket-size HCSB, or a NLT study Bible… No matter what size or version, I’ve got it covered.

But recently I was studying this verse from Psalms and it made me wonder: What if I didn’t have all those copies of the Bible? What if the printing press hadn’t been invented yet? What if the internet didn’t exist? Or worse, what if owning a Bible was illegal? What would I do then?

The Psalmist here tells us exactly what we should do. In his day, everyone didn’t have a personal copy of the Bible. So they memorized it. All of it — Genesis through Malachi. I don’t think that’s the point nowadays, but we too should hide God’s teachings in our hearts. But why hide them? Because that’s what you do with treasure… Things that are valuable… Things that you don’t ever want taken away from you.

There will be times in our lives when we are tempted, when we are depressed, and when we do not know where to turn. Our pastor will not be around, and our Bible may be at home. Or, even if we have our Bible with us, we won’t be able to recall whether that verse we need is in 2 Chronicles or 2 Corinthians. And that makes us vulnerable.

But that doesn’t matter if the words of our Creator are stored for safekeeping in our hearts, does it? Avoiding sin, things that go against God, will be much clearer because we will always have his instructions close by when we need them.

And no one will ever be able to take it away from you.

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