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Psalm 16 - Outrageous company!

Written by faithful acet supporter, Reverend Robert Ireton

 

Some of you may have read the delightful children’s book ~ ‘If I was God for a day’. It’s an imaginary dialogue from children about what they would do about things if they were God for a day: as in “Hey, God; here’s my take on things you could do!" 

My wife and I have four (grown-up) kids and worked with children for most of our lives. We’ve loved every minute of it, and miss having children around us on a daily basis. However, we’ve never forgotten what it's like to see things from a kid’s perspective. So often they bring us ‘grown-ups’ down with a bump as they see things differently.

I recall one day our granddaughter Talia, then aged eight, coming out of our bathroom and saying to me, “I like your bathroom, Grandpa; it all matches.”

That comment stopped me in my tracks! The truth is, there’s a crack in our sink, the loo has flushing issues, and the tiles around the bath are very dated. 

That’s an adult’s view of things as they are.

Talia didn’t see it that way at all!  She just saw things as a child sees them - “I like your bathroom, Grandpa; it all matches.”

And indeed it does! In the adult tendency in me, to want to improve things all the time, I’d forgotten to ‘see’ them as they are.

So here goes my take on some keywords in Psalm 16, from a childlike view of the omnipotent God, who is everywhere and can do anything.

“I have set God always before me: He is on my right hand, therefore I shall not fall.” (vs 8)

Please notice especially those six words ….. "He is on my right hand."

When I read those words as a child might, I wanted to fall on my face before the LORD and say, “How stupid I am, LORD GOD! How could I possibly miss this truth, LORD? I must be thick…or at least too much of a grown-up.”

First of all, you…great big God of heaven and earth…sitting on my right hand…that close…is the most amazing idea I’ve ever heard of! 

BUT, there we have it, in black and white: “for He is on my right hand”, just as the psalmist says.

Taking these words as a child might read them, I saw that that truth MUST be possible! It must be really possible for God to actually be on (not ‘at’; only Jesus reigns) my right hand: the God of glory, maker of heaven and earth, and all that is, who was and is and is to come….on my right hand!

If you’re tempted to think, ‘So what?’... take a read of Genesis 1, or Exodus 1-14, or 1 Kings 17-19, or Matthew 28:1-5, or John 20, or Revelation 1-4. This God we are speaking about lives on a whole bigger canvas than we do; and whatever He does is a big, BIG deal for those who take the trouble to look.

The fact is, because of Jesus, God can not only live on our right hand…close as close can be; He has chosen, by the gift of His Spirit, to actually live IN you and me.  Doesn’t that take your breath away, as it does for me?

Christ IN you, the hope of glory….” As St Paul writes [Colossians 1 vs 27]

That is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, when God lives in you or me, and on my/your right hand.

I still tremble at the thought of what that really means.  Our God is AMAZING. 

Never let us forget those words from the Psalmist. When you feel you’re going to fall; when all manner of trials and testings come upon you; when you are crushed by everyday life or feel utterly alone……. “I have set God always before me: because He is on my right hand, therefore I shall not fall.”

And when you have God by your side like that…everything else is possible.

I was a historian first before I became a theologian (that sounds grander than it is), and I love history. Recently I’ve been reading through the Oxford English History from the start (Roman invasion) to finish (20th Century) …and I’ve currently landed in the 15th Century. I say ‘landed’ because I would never want to go there to live. It’s awful. Intrigues, treachery, corruption, bully boys everywhere, not to mention wars. But time and again as I’ve read through these books, God just keeps turning up…in a great godly king, or in some missionary revival, or just because HE and no one else is truly in charge of all of history - including yours and mine.

As we put our lives in God’s hands today, how about taking a leaf out of a child’s view of the world: put God before you, remembering that whatever may be happening today….GOD, creator of heaven, earth, and all that is, just so happens to be ON your right hand. With him….that close…even the cracks in the bathroom can take on a wholly different view!

Prayer

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,

forgive our grown-up ways;

re-clothe us with a child-like mind,

in simpler lives your service finds,

in deeper reverence, praise….

in deeper reverence, praise.

Amen