Monday, July 9, 2007

Reflections on Calamity in Psalm 44

How quickly we often say (I often say) when calamity comes, "Let's not blame God for this." Yet that is exactly what the Psalmist does. He blames God, or better perhaps, he recognizes that God is absolutely sovereign in all things and our times are in His hands and nothing can beset us that is not from His hand under His "omni-control."

And yes, that includes Satan. Did Satan cause extreme calamity for Job? Absolutely. He used a human army, a miraculous fire, another human army and the weather to wipe out Job's children, servants and all that he owned. Amazing—the power of the enemy. Was Satan under God's "omni-control?" No question!

The question is, do I see God's hand in all the circumstances of my life and do I submit my will to His all-knowing, all-loving, all-graceful, sometimes bitter Providence? Do I have the insight of David and Job to see beyond the obvious to the eternal and find God at work even in distress? Do I have Job's humble submission to faithfully praise the Almighty as He gives and takes away? Do I have the boldness of David to call on the Lord to "Rise up, be our help, and redeem us for the sake of Thy lovingkindness?"

Oh, God grant me that grace!

8 comments:

Jon said...

A far cry from the pop Christianity of today, huh? Thanks for your insights on the blog, I enjoy reading.

Jon McWhorter

walter price said...

Jon, thanks for reading and for the encouragement.

Anonymous said...

This is some of the "deep wisdom" of God, that we don't like to think about. The two things that stood out to me in the psalm were: verse 17, "All this has come upon us though we have not forgotten you." We often like to give God an out by saying he causes calamity to discipline or correct. Sometimes (like Job) we may never know the reason. Second the Psalmists attitude. Verse 26 says, "redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love." This is a far cry from, "help me so I won't feel the pain." The Psalmist cry is based on his desire to see God's name glorified. I wish I could be that God centered.

Rick Brady

merea said...

I think that the video on my blog speaks to this topic if anyone wants to check it out.

Curtis Kauffman said...

If God is not to be blamed for the calamity in my life then i fear that God is not in control. Therfore if God is not in control. who is?

I also pray for that grace.

Keith said...

My girlfriend and I are going through Piper's "Desiring God." We are discussing his first chapter, in which he posits this idea. It is something that I had come to a conclusion on previously -- this conclusion, actually -- but my girlfriend is having trouble with the idea that God would perpetuate our sin for His glory. Thank you for this psalm. I will read and re-read it. If you have any other verses that would help, please pass them along.

walter price said...

Keith,

I don't think I specifically suggested that God perpetuates "our sin" for His glory, not am I certain that John Piper does that.

Having said that, there is one Scripture that comes to mind in Genesis 1 where God tells Abraham that his descendants will go into Egypt but they will return to Canaan in the future because "the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete."(17) My understanding of that is that there sinfulness was not as bad as it was going to get. Ultimately, they were driven out by Joshua.

Perhaps it is best said that God "allows" our sin to continue until such time that He will be most glorified in judgment.

P.S.- Glad to see you like Frost.

Keith said...

I definitely understand what you mean.

However, Piper says, "Even sin cannot frustrate the purposes of the Almighty. He Himself does not commit sin, but He has decreed that there be acts that are sin, for the acts of Pilate and Herod were predestined by God's plan." -- "Desiring God," 35-6. Wouldn't this mean, then, that God ordained their sin that He might receive the greater glory?

The same goes for Job: when Job begins to undergo his tremendous losses, he says, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD," essentially ascribing the losses -- the killing of the camels, servants, etc. at the hands of the Chaldeans -- to the LORD Himself. The very next verse says, "In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong." -- Job 2:21-22

I understand that God permitted Satan to do this, but that still makes God the Grand Manipulator, so to speak, not just letting sin happen, but being the ultimate causality. There can be no other cause for anything created, either living or dead, than to bring glory to the Name of the Father. The only uncreated thing is God Himself - yes, I would even suppose that sin is created, that it might too bring about God's great glory.

Finally, I have struggled with a verse in Ezekiel, in which God tells Gog that He will "turn you around" and bring him against Israel, that he might be struck down so the Israelites would know the Greatness of God. (Ezekiel 38: 1-7)

Isn't coming against God's chosen people a sin? It must be! So I think that there is a way for God to will sin without sinning, to perpetuate the whole of creation from pre-history onward, that He might weave His perfect tapestry and proclaim His own Name as Great.