Ultimate Wisdom

Last week I posted a quote on some of my social media channels that simply stated: “Our opinions don’t matter if they don’t square with God’s Word on the matter.” This seemed to me to be a fairly uncontroversial statement, but one anonymous reader really took me to task for using the hashtag #objectivetruth. Apparently, he thinks there is no such thing. 

But don’t we all rely on objective, external standards all the time? For instance, a gallon of gasoline is a gallon regardless of where you buy it, or whether you feel like it’s a gallon or not. And when you go to pay for your gasoline, the price isn’t based on how the gas station attendant is feeling at that moment, but on the objective amount posted. 

Psalm 49 is somewhat unusual in that it is a “wisdom psalm.” This psalm feels a lot more like something we would read in Proverbs or Ecclesiastes than it does a prayer or song in the Psalms. 

For instance, the first four verses of this Psalm sound a lot like the opening verses of the Book of Proverbs. And verses 5-13 of the Psalm echo what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 2. 

This psalmist—like Solomon—wants us to understand how important it is to get wisdom. So we are urged to listen intently to those who have hard-won insight, to those who have “been there, done that” so that we don’t have to repeat their folly. 

What is that wisdom? It can be broken down into two profound statements:

(1) Everyone dies. 

That can be a really depressing truth IF your focus is building your own kingdom. If all there is to life is what you can earn and build before you die, only to realize that your “kingdom” ends at your last breath, that can be very depressing. 

However, this realization that everyone dies can be a very liberating truth IF your focus is on the eternal kingdom that is awaiting you in Heaven. When you realize that Jesus is preparing a place for you to experience ultimate joy and unending pleasure forever and ever, then you will live here for what’s coming next! 

(2) Our eternal destination after we die is determined before we die.

If someone told me that he had discovered the secret to immortality, and then he died and came back to this life to tell me that his theory was correct, I would be wise listen to him. 

That’s exactly what Jesus did for us!

He told us that He would die on a Cross and that He would be raised back to life. AND HE DID IT! His hard-won insight, His “been there, done that” wise words to us are this—“Believe in Me. I died to pay the penalty for the sins that will keep you out of Paradise. So place your faith in what I did, and ask my Father to forgive your sins. Then I promise you that you will spend forever and ever with Me in Paradise!” 

THIS objective truth determines everything else about our lives. 

So I’ll repeat it again—

“Our opinions don’t matter if they don’t square with God’s Word on the matter.” —Craig T. Owens

Join me next Sunday as we continue our series looking at the Selahs in the Psalms. 

Objective Beauty

Do you ever doubt Scripture? I don’t mean doubting its inerrancy, but its application to real life. You know what I mean: “Okay, that sounds interesting, but I’m not sure that’s for now or for me. C’mon, that can’t mean me!”

Here’s the verse that got me thinking: “He has made everything beautiful in its time….”

Everything?! Really? Everything?!

My viewpoint is subjective. That’s a fancy way of saying, “Things should be the way I want them to be.” I see some things as beautiful, but about other things I say, “This is a pain, or this is ugly.” But if I believe God’s Word, in God’s timing everything is beautiful.

I think the second part of the verse illuminates the problem of my subjectivity. “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Eternity—my soul’s longing for God—is in me, yet I cannot grasp it. Not naturally, at least. God knows how everything will end beautifully because He made everything beautifully.

Even me.

My life might seem like a mess at times: ugly, scared, scarred, even worthless. But God sees beauty. And we know that in all things [even the ugly stuff] God works for the good [the beautiful] of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28). God gives His beauty to replace my ashes.

With subjective thinking, this doesn’t seem very likely. It’s hard to subjectively see how God could turn my ugliness and my pain into anything beautiful.

That’s why Scripture also contains this prayer: A prayer that will change my subjectivity (seeing only my ugliness) to objectivity (now seeing God’s beauty). If you struggle to see everything as beautiful, pray this prayer right now:

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Amen!

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