Jump Start # 2163
Psalms 50:21 “These things you have done and I kept silence; you thought that I was like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.”
Our passage today reveals a mistake. It was a huge one. It was a costly mistake. Someone misunderstood someone else. It happens all the time. It’s the wife’s birthday, and a clueless husband buys her a gift that he thinks she will like. She opens it and cries. She is not thrilled to tears. She hates it. It’s not what she was expecting, wanting nor hoping for. He doesn’t understand her. He doesn’t know what she likes. Such things can be worked through with lots of apologies, promises to do better and a heap of love and forgiveness.
In our verse, someone misunderstood God. The expression, “you thought that I was like you,” is very telling. They thought they knew God, but they really didn’t. It was the wicked who misunderstood God. The wicked hated discipline. The wicked ignored God’s word. The wicked included thieves and adulterers in their company of friends. The wicked spoke evil of others. The wicked slandered family members. Through all of this God was silent. He didn’t split the earth open to stop this wickedness. He didn’t send fire down from Heaven to punish the wicked. God was silent and the wicked continued on. More wickedness. More evil. More wrong. And, because God was silent, the wicked assumed that God was like them. They assumed God didn’t care that others were being abused, trashed and hurt. They assumed that God even liked what they were doing. You thought that I was like you. They were so wrong.
One can nearly hear the wicked saying, “If God doesn’t like this, He’d say something.” Or, worse, “If God didn’t like this, He’d stop it.” God was silent. They assumed wrongly, that silence meant approval. God doesn’t have a problem with what we are doing, they thought. The ignorant wicked seemed to forget about the Law which came from God. God’s law spoke about theft, adultery and hurting others. God’s law was clear and plain. Did they really think God didn’t care whether or not His law was obeyed? Did they think all of this was a joke? None of this mattered?
You thought I was like you. Isaiah tells us that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. God doesn’t think the way we think. Paul told the Corinthians that no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. All we know about God is found in the Scriptures. It is through the word of God that we come to understand what God likes and dislikes. Because I like something, doesn’t mean God does. My favorite team, my favorite movie, my favorite candidate doesn’t mean that it’s the same with God. We make the mistake of picturing God as American, white and Republican. You thought I was like you, sure rings loud and true. And, it can sure get us into messes. We start thinking what I like, God likes and before long, our opinions and our choices begin to sound like Scripture. Sunday night services—should we have them or not. Folks have an opinion about that. Careful that you don’t make your opinion God’s and you don’t assume your opinion is Scripture. If a congregation has Sunday night services, ought they to have the Lord’s Supper? More opinions. More differences. Truth be known, there is more Scriptural support for Sunday evening communion than there is for Sunday morning communion.
Go to another area, our feelings. I feel that it’s time for the preacher to move on and the church to get a new preacher. Be careful that your feelings don’t become, God thinks it’s time for a change. People may declare, “God sent me to this place.” Or, “God just loves this place.” The reason being is because you love this place. Our feelings change. Our feelings are never used as the foundation of our faith. Feelings are important and necessary, but because I feel a certain way, doesn’t mean God does. I have walked out of some services that seemed flat and stale to me. Didn’t get a whole lot out of it. But others, at the same worship, felt it was one of the best ever. Easily, one could conclude, based upon their feelings, God didn’t think much about that, while others could conclude, God loved that. You thought I was like you.
It seems the religious community tries very hard to pull God down to earth and show Him as a good ole’ buddy. God’s one of us, they’d have us to believe. However, the tone of the Bible is to pull us Heavenward and to change us to become more like Him. Be holy as He is holy, is what Peter said. Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect, is what Jesus said. Forgive just as Christ as forgiven you. Walk in love just as Christ loved us.
We don’t want God to be like us. We tend to say one thing and do the opposite. We forget what we promised. We tend to hurt each other’s feelings. Sometimes we can be unkind, unfair and just not very nice. We tend to favor our favorites and are more harsh with those we don’t like. No, we don’t want God to be like us. Look at the messes we’ve made and the trouble we’ve caused. The problems that plague our times are directly related to not having Christ in our hearts. A God like us wouldn’t be any good at all.
Jesus showed that He was different. When the apostles were ready to call down fire from Heaven to destroy cities that were unkind to them, Jesus wouldn’t have anything to do with that. When the disciples wanted to send the children away, Jesus wouldn’t have it. He called the children to Him. When the Gentile woman was crying for help for her demon possessed daughter, the apostles wanted to send her away. Jesus wouldn’t have it. He cured the child. When the adulterous woman was brought before Jesus, the Jews expected Jesus to be mean to her. He wasn’t. His words were different. His actions were different. He walked the same roads, ate the same foods, was blessed by the same sunshine and rain, yet, He was so different than they were.
And, He is so different than we are. He calls upon us to be patient, when we are ready to smack someone. He calls upon us to forgive, when we are ready to cut someone out of our life forever. He calls upon us to love those that do not love us. He calls upon us to serve when we would rather be served. He is not like us.
Through His words, we can become more and more like Him.
You thought I was like you…what a mistake that was. Be sure you don’t make the same mistake.