Friday, April 24, 2009

Psalm 22- performance-based theology

PS 22:6 But I am a worm and not a man,

scorned by men and despised by the people.

PS 22:7 All who see me mock me;

they hurl insults, shaking their heads:

PS 22:8 "He trusts in the LORD;

let the LORD rescue him.

There is a theology that says our circumstances are directly tied to how well we play the religion game. If something bad happened it was because we earned or deserved it, and likewise, if something good happened, it was because we earned or deserved it.

That theology is very popular even today, and while most of us here would not believe the overt promise of health and wealth, that if we prayed a particular verse or gave a certain amount of money that God would bless us or heal us, we are still tempted to believe that way on a smaller scale. We're tempted to believe that our favor with God is based on our performance for Him. We think, "Maybe if I'd had a quiet time, I wouldn't have had such a bad day."

"Maybe if I had gone to that FCA prayer meeting at school, I would have done better on my test."

"I deserve to have financial security because I tithe regularly."

It's a subtle way of us putting ourselves back on the throne, think that we somehow can have control of our lives and of God.

The Psalmist is being confronted with this as the religious people are kicking while he is down, mocking his situation, equating his suffering with God's displeasure with Him.

In Jesus' day it was expressed when a man born blind was brought to Him and His disciples asked, "Master, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind." But Jesus' answer was, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

When we feel overwhelmed by suffering, we are to persist in prayer, anchored in truth, trusting God to answer and bring glory to His name.

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