"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion" (Psalm 125)
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the Lord surrounds his people from this time forth and forever.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the lot of the righteous,
Lest the righteous put forth their hands to do wrong.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts.
But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways,
The Lord will lead them away with the workers of iniquity.
Peace be upon Israel.
- Psalm 125
The proud will never want to be like Mount Zion, a small hill, dwarfed by the "mountains that surround Jerusalem." Even the biggest of these, the Mount of Olives, is really no more than a large hill.
That's the way it is to trust in the Lord. It will cost you fame and distinction in the world, because trusting in the Lord means not trusting in the sorts of things that make us famous in the world.
That takes us further, to the promise that "the scepter of the wicked will not rest on the lot of the righteous." But in fact the scepter of the wicked rests on our stuff all the time - our money, our land, our kids, our wives, perhaps, when they're seduced by other men.
None of these things are the lot of the righteous. The Christian Zionists are mistaken to think God gave real estate to the Jews. Moses in Psalm 90 says that the Lord is "our dwelling place in all generations." Our lot is the birthright rather than any meal we might sell it for, the relationship with God which belongs to whoever thinks it's worth having and is taken away from anyone who thinks something else is worth selling it for. It is true that God may give us land, wives, kids, and stuff - but is it God giving it to us if we sell our birthright to get it, if we put forth our hands to do wrong so as to hold on to it? The lot of the righteous is that treasure which is not held by doing wrong, but by abandoning wrong with all its benefits so that God can rule over us.
The world will not praise us for that choice. We're being suckers, freiers, as the Israelis say.
Turning aside to our crooked ways is how we hold on to our stuff in this world. We're exalting ourselves against the truth when we do that, and we get abased for it. By means of those crooked ways, God leads us away with the workers of iniquity, no doubt joyfully congratulating ourselves on our wisdom as we go.
The way is broad and easy that leads to destruction, and many go that way. It is the way of those who are turning aside to their crooked ways, being led away thereby. Readers, let's learn from God not to be in that number!
Labels: Songs of Ascents