Tag Archive: wicked


one of my best friends, Rob Lloyd, wrote today’s guest psalm for us – he is going for another round of cancer treatment today as he heads towards his 30th birthday celebrations so take a minute to say a prayer for him, for healing and protection from the nausea that has accompanied that, and then read his musings on psalm 33 and be challenged and encouraged:

One of the most incredible things about God is how He interacts with His creation. It’s not a popular word to use today, but God condescends to us – He leans down to speak to us in ways we can understand when in reality His ways are so much higher than our ways. We can get so used to His interacting at our level that we forget that He exists at another level entirely.

And then we look around at the world and it is so easy to see a world out of God’s control. (It’s definitely out of ours!) If God is God how can He let things be as they are? Surely the bible must be wrong for we do not see the wicked failing while the righteous prosper?

Is God really God?

And then we get Psalms like this one, declarations of God’s Godness. BOOM! God is God and there is no place to hide. His reality shatters our complacent existence bringing His sovereignty to challenge our pride and His hope to restore our faltering faith. Our sight is restored so see Him as He is and not as He appears to be.

So what should be our response? In John 6.28, Jesus is asked a similar question. Here’s my personalised paraphrase:
“Jesus, what does God want from me?”
“Just this: trust in Me.”
Of course our lives end up consisting of far more than this, but this is where we start. And if we don’t start here we are lost straight away. This is what defines the rest.

This Psalm has one more challenge for us and it’s a big one for how do we know when we are really trusting God?
“In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.”
How do we know we are trusting? Our hearts are rejoicing.

in the last decade, in south africa anyways, but i assume further afield as well, there has been a tendency to slangify negative words and so words like ‘sick’ and ‘wicked’ which used to have negative connotations have now been made cool (is ‘cool’ still cool?) words for the in-crowd which is perhaps a desensitization of another kind to be looked at another time…

but recently, on two separate occasions, i heard the latest word usage (well it may not be the latest, i am a bit slower to catch up on cool these days) which completely crosses the line and both times i interjected and crushed it immediately and will continue to do so no matter how normative the usage becomes…

and it was the use of the word ‘rape’ in the context (on the one occasion) of some sports match where the one guy was asked how they did and responded by saying ‘we got raped 8-1’ or something like that

i believe there are some things that should never be joked about [and i realise that for me the list is far more extreme than most because i would take it so far as saying i don’t think marriage is something that should be joked about purely because it has largely become quite a joke and i’m not sure how far breaking it down in jest has had to do with that] and rape is certainly one of them – i personally know of at least four people who have gone through that horrible destructive evil (there really doesn’t seem to be any kind of word that comes close to describing how bad it is) act of senseless violence and so to take a word like that and normalise it or inject it into every day conversation seems to completely piss on the faces of everyone who has had to endure that

and i cannot imagine what it must do to someone who has been through that experience to hear the word ‘rape’ being used so lightly to describe a lost game of sport

i hope that you will join me in refusing to let this become a norm of conversation by taking a stand every time you hear it and helping people to really ‘get’ that what we say does matter… it is unacceptible.

so bible-flipping is not an exact science but when i flipped open mine this morning and it landed on psalm 73, i think that was divinely nudged to the nth degree…

‘Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?”

This is what the wicked are like – always carefree, they increase in wealth.

Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.

If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

Surely You place them on slippery ground; You cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when You arise, O Lord, You will, despise them as fantasies.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before You.

Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Those who are far from You will perish; You destroy all who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.’

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

i’m not sure how pure my heart is, or how innocent i am, but i can relate to a lot of this right now. i don’t even know how honest it would be for me to declare ‘earth has nothing i desire besides You’ – in theory yes, but in practice i think i am too close to too much that this world has on ‘offer’ – i’m not feeling like a great Christ-follower right now – i’m not sure how my life positively impacts others to the extent that it should – which i think – and hope – is tied up in next year and the new thing and really needing a change and needing to be in a space of my day to day living impacting people. more.

i get deeply inspired by keith green and shane claiborne but i am so far away from living what any of them lived/live on a day to day basis. i am hungry for it though and that has to be a start. waiting on God and being inspired by words like those will help.

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