Author Archive for Alan Metzger



18
Oct
12

An Amazing Parallel

“The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”Psalm 77:16-20

This entire psalm is dedicated to remembering the great deeds of the Lord for the Israelites. Specifically, they are remembering the exodus from Egypt, and how the Lord delivered them over and over again, even when faced with impossible odds and impossible situations.

Why is this important to remember hundreds of years later? God did amazing works throughout the Bible, most notably, He gave salvation to the Israelites over and over again. But the exodus story was special, I believe, because it so closely resembles our own deliverance through the gospel story of Jesus. The Israelites were slaves to an evil ruler and culture, but God sent a man to deliver them – Moses. He led them out of the corruption, and, though chased by Pharaoh's men, they passed through a miraculous water experience when the Red Sea was parted for them. When they came out on the other side, God eventually prepared for them and led them to a paradise. Isn't this just like our gospel story of being enslaved to sin, finding a Savior in the man Jesus Christ, being made new through the act of baptism, and striving for a while to eventually find life eternal with the Lord in heaven? This parallel is no coincidence. I believe that the Lord planned it to be just this way.

17
Oct
12

God’s Unmovable Nature

“At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both horse and chariot lie still. You alone are to be feared. Who can stand before you when you are angry? From heaven you pronounced judgment, and the land feared and was quiet— when you, O God, rose up to judge, to save all the afflicted of the land. Selah. Surely your wrath against men brings you praise, and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.”Psalm 76:6-10

There can be no doubt that the wrath of God is the thing most to be feared in the universe. Nothing can compare to the power of His judgment. The response of a guilty world to this anger – is silence. What else could be said or done?

Note the last verse – “Surely your wrath against men brings you praise”. What an odd thing to write! We don't think of God's wrath very often, I would hazard to guess, and we certainly don't always call it praiseworthy. But this is true because His judgment speaks to His righteous fulfillment of exactly what He has said – that the wicked will inherit everlasting punishment, but those that He makes righteous will have eternal life (John 5:24). If God says it, then it must come to pass, and that consistency makes Him worthy of praise.

16
Oct
12

Near or Far?

“Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”Psalm 73:27-28

The choice is very clear in this passage. Those who draw near to God will find safety. Those who stay far from Him will be destroyed.

Quite often, I find myself seeking God's grace as though there is something I can do to earn it. It is still hard for me, at times, to disconnect from the concept that salvation is earned. But this passage reduces the whole equation down to one thing – drawing near to God. How effective would it be for me to abandon my traditional leanings for just one week and spend that time in an effort to be near God? What if I did it just for a day? What does drawing near to God entail exactly?

15
Oct
12

The Purpose of Illness?

For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?”Psalm 73:3-11

Here again is a common observation made by the various writers of the Psalms – how the wicked seem to prosper in all kinds of ways while here on the earth. I noticed especially where it says that they are not plagued with sickness. I've made a mental observation about this before – how it seems that faithful people are inflicted with illnesses, some of them severe, while the wicked may not have this problem. Our own family has more than one case of serious malady, though I consider us to be devoted to God. Is this fair?

I think the real question to ask is whether or not the Lord has a purpose behind these illnesses. Perhaps He uses them to cause us to look to Him for help and guidance, rather than languor in comfort all of our earthly lives? If we have a long-term outlook, we should consider how our maladies drive us to our knees before the Lord. And THAT is much more important than living comfortably and free of sickness. We should not seek our reward, or even justice, in this life. But ultimately, God will give the reward to those who remain faithful to Him.

14
Oct
12

Deliverance for the Poor…and the Rich

“For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.”Psalm 72:12-14

In comparison to the vast majority of the globe, I am considered financially wealthy. I have a nice house, in a pleasant neighborhood, multiple cars, very little debt, and a stable job that pays me more than I spend. Many would consider this to be the ultimate station in life. Fortunately, I have had an upbringing that exposed me to the need I have for the Lord, far beyond anything that wealth could bring.

Yet I often read verses like the ones above, and wonder, “Does God only care about those who are weak and poor? Should I give up my wealth so that I can join these ranks, and thus, receive His blessing?” Put plainly, “Does God have any deliverance for those who are wealthy in this life? Am I disqualified from His attention because of my worldly goods?”

Jesus reminded us that it is harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yet, with God, all things are possible. And I am reminded of the favor that God showed to kings of the past – David and Solomon among them – and these men were certainly very wealthy. So, I believe wealth does not disqualify me. But it should be a warning that success and money can detract from what is truly important.

13
Oct
12

Passing The Baton

“Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. The mountains will bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.”Psalm 72:1-4

Words of wisdom abound in the book of Psalms. This passage reminds us of God's justice for the righteous, and His punishment reserved for the wicked.

But what really struck me about today's passage were the words that appeared just before these verses – “Of Solomon”. Here is a clear indication that David passed on his love for God, his desire to know God's wisdom, and the need to write it down and tell others – to his own son. I find this to be very inspiring, as I desire to do the same in my family. It should be the goal of every Christian father to first study God's wisdom daily, and second, to pass on this desire to his children. How much would it mean to David to know that the words of praise that both he and his son wrote would become part of the Biblical canon, and would be studied by men thousands of years later!

12
Oct
12

Full Praise

“I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I, whom you have redeemed. My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.”Psalm 71:22-24

I grew up in a church which worshipped only with a capella singing. We never used musical instruments, and we disdained those who did. Basically, we found no evidence of God being praised with instruments in the New Testament, so we taught that instruments not only were unnecessary, but that they were wrong.

How wrong I was to teach such a thing! Verses such as the one above are evident throughout the Psalms, and in other places in the Bible, too. And if God was honored by the praise given to him with voices AND instruments in the Old Testament, how can we think that He changed His mind on this topic for New Testament times? For God does not change.

The irony of this is that I now serve as a worship leader, both singing and playing guitar for our praise time. And my entire family joins me to do this, using a variety of instruments, and vocals. Our worship has been enriched because of this arrangement, and that is a blessing from the Lord.




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