Psalm 6, 12, 94
2 Corinthians 1:8-22
What motivates us to participate in certain religious activities and respond to others who believe differently than we do?
David opens the first Psalm today beseeching God not to “discipline me in your wrath,” and immediately I thought, “well, what did you do this time, David?” His motivation was purely personal as he called on his special relationship with God for relief. Each of the passages today addresses the motivation of the people in the passages. What do they hope to accomplish through their actions? In some cases the motivation is clear, but in others the motivation has to be discerned. The passages also challenge our motivation in labeling others with views that diverge from our own: are we the judge or is God?
In Psalm 12, David moves from an obvious personal interest to challenge all who are not “godly.” However, given David’s history of conflict with others and punishment from God (see Psalm 6) are the people being so maligned by David here truly “ungodly” or do they merely oppose him? Mixed in these passages are references to God’s concern for the poor, implying that those David labels ungodly are those who persecute the weak. Those ideas of caring for the poor and weak continue into the next Psalm (94) with God’s judgment coming on those who do not do his will. While David happily names those who are outside God’s will, the passages make it clear that God, ultimately, brings justice.
The Lamentations passage continues the theme of God as just. Even though at this point in the book there is no sign of relief, the writer knows that God, ultimately will come through and restore his people as they come back to his ways.
Paul begins the Corinthian letter recounting the difficulties he and fellow missionaries faced in Asia, but moves into an explanation of why he has not been to visit. His language assures the people that he really, really, really wanted to visit, but it was not God’s will and he had to do what God wanted. The following passage expands the reasons for not coming; however, the reasoning remains the same – it was not God’s will.
The passages today hit me in a very personal way. I am quick to condemn anyone who does not get the same message from the Biblical passage that I do. That quick condemnation violates one of my own core beliefs in the priesthood of the believer; that the Holy Spirit guides all who believe in Christ to understand the scripture. Because we all have different spiritual gifts, someone else’s interpretation may be that way to motivate them to use that gift in the way God wants them to. We have to take ourselves out of the equation and do only that which we are called todo.We know as it is demonstrated and promised throughout the Bible that God is the judge, and God will judge us all in what we do. We will have a clearer conscience and much less strife when we leave judgment to the One who will.
Let us daily do what you desire us to do and remove the desire to do the things we want to do. We struggle, God, to take ourselves out of the leadership, but help us find comfort in your plan.