Thursday, May 26, 2022
It sounds like an onomatopoeia deleted expletive, but
it’s lots worse!
It will be a word that puts the fear in anyone hearing a drecho is approaching!
It’s just one new word that goes with an angry planet striking back.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, showing that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
Words of Grace For Today
Here it is again just like a storm that is about to level everything in its path: the righteous flourish and in old age they still produce fruit, always green and full of sap.
Well let me set the record straight. Yes, the Psalmist often gives great words of wisdom for us, but this! No. The righteous do not flourish, not like palm trees, not like cedars in Lebanon.
The righteous usually go down in flames as the world attacks them because we humans cannot stand to have someone around that is better than us. The righteous usually do not reach old age, so forget about flourishing in old age. It’s like being a bold pilot. Being righteous keeps one from getting old.
But take another step back: there really are no righteous people. We are all sinners, bound to sin no matter what we do and righteousness is only something God gives to us, substitutes for us ‘for the record’ even though the truth is we pretty much stank at everything we’ve done.
Or so our Lutheran faith might lead us to believe.
A bit more accurately we can say that no one is righteous on their own. Only by God’s grace do we do anything good. God’s grace abounds, so there are plenty of people doing good things. It’s just none of us are righteous apart from God working in us, and overall we remain sinners our whole life long, no matter what. No matter what!
So no one is righteous. Forgiven, Accepted, Adopted, Blessed, Loved, and Sent, but not really righteous.
One of the favourites sins of people (of all time, the Psalmist included) is to judge people, oneself included, and to come up with the results that I and mine are good enough to be righteous and them there over there, those other people are certainly not righteous. Us being righteous means we get to claim certain benefits, yada yuda, ladida yado.
There is, though, a promise in the Psalmist’ words, and it’s not to be missed.
As God makes us righteous, we are planted in God’s court, and even in old age, the God-made-righteous will still produce fruit (that is, good works by God’s grace!)
Lots of things go by the wayside and are lost as one ages. Don’t I know, as I struggle to run with pained knees before I remember (I used to know this without remembering) that I’ve given up running to preserve my health and ability to walk into old age (though I feel it’s more like a slide on a banana peel right through old age into the gaping wide and deep grave.)
It’s nice to know, actually it’s about as precious as can be, that God keeps the grace flowing into and through us even as we age. Grace is not something we lose as we age, since it’s not dependent on us, but comes from God.
Jesus broadens the promise. Life is tough and there will be lots of pain, like in the knees and everywhere including the poor old heart ticking away -only sometimes taking a break for a few minutes to rest. – Through all the pain we shall survive and come to see Jesus again, and have our full joy returned to us.
That I can go for
and trust no matter what comes my way, even a drecho.
God knows there is enough shtako and sin coming right at me!
And at all of us!
Only because God by grace makes us righteous, we know to say:
God is our rock, and there is no unrighteousness in God.
That has to be more than enough to start off a new day!