Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Last Word is a Good One

Praying the Psalms for twenty-five years, I know that there are a number of styles and moods. Some are wisdom psalms, some are about the reign of the king, some are laments, some are imprecatory (where the writer prays for God to go get the enemy). Not all are upbeat in tone, and not all lend themselves well to my current project of developing personal confessions from the psalms. Sometimes the psalm writer is disappointed, disoriented, even depressed. But they all resolve to a position of faith at the end of the psalm, if not before (the lone exception is Psalm 88). However, every single one, is called tehillah, a psalm, a praise to God, because in each one, the psalm writer brings his joy, his sorrow, his disappointment, to Yahweh. Even in Psalm 88, though the writer finishes it with a depression as dark at the end as at the beginning, his orientation is still one of faith because he addresses the matter to Yahweh his God.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to discuss what faith means in the face of disappointment and tragedy. Here is the answer I gave: Faith does not deny the reality of tragedy, sickness or death, but it says that God is bigger than all those things, that He gets the last word on them and that that last word is a good one. I have been blogging a series of personal confessions adapted from the Psalms, in which I “confess” (agree with) and affirm that “last word.” The kingdom of God has broken into the world; the eschaton (the time of “last things”) has entered into the middle of history, and I believe that God’s “last word” is very powerful in this present time, for life and healing and restoration.

Someone then asked how we can know we won’t be disappointed and that the “last word” will be a good one. I began my answer with Galatians 3:13-14.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us … that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Jesus the Messiah has redeemed us from the curse, blessed us and given us the Holy Spirit — God dwelling in us. The final word God has for those who are in Jesus is a word of blessing that supersedes the word of cursing.

How do I know I won’t be disappointed and that the “last word” will be a good one? I look at the cross and the resurrection. I look at the Table of the Lord and the covenant that Jesus cut with God by His own blood for our sake. That covenant is the new and better covenant God promised Old Testament saints would one day come. It is based on better promises (Hebrews 8:6), and those promises are nothing but good. The Table is a revelation of that blood and that covenant and it prophesies the return of King Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:26).

I have no doubt, then, that all God’s promises will be fulfilled. And I know that I will be abundantly satisfied when the kingdom comes in fullness because I have already experienced it in part, and in increasing measure.

So I will always confess the promises and faithfulness of God, even in — especially in — the face of adversity and disappointment. I will always expect the love of God to break through on my behalf and manifest His rule and reign in every situation. He always gets the last word on my life, and it is a good one.

Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

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