Grasping God’s Heart In the World

An incredible story and some emails has Wayne a bit overwhelmed by the need and pain in the world as he and Brad discuss how God is able to contain all of that and still be the most joyful presence in the universe. Then they dip into the mail bag for some fascinating emails and some reaction to their earlier podcast about love and justice. Does got choose between mercy or justice, depending on the circumstance or is he able to live in them simultaneously? Are we called to love not only the oppressed, but the oppressor too? Finally they end up in Psalm 109 where David prays for the destruction of his enemy and their children and question how we interpret his prayer in light of Jesus words to love your enemies, bless those who curse you, and do good to those who persecute and despitefully use you.


  1. Great podcast. Stirring Questions.

    In regards to proof texting. I think we often jump to a conclusion, that since we accept the Bible as “inspired words” from God, we are therefore free to apply them directly to any situation in our life that seems to fit (even if we pull bits and pieces out of context).

    As you know, there are two different “Greek words” that are both translated “Word” in the Bible: Logos and Rhema. In Bible school I was taught that Logos was the “written” word and “Rhema” the inspired word.

    (Now that definition kind of breaks down when you realize that our “written word” was “inspired” to those who wrote it down … but that’s what I was taught).

    My husband has a slightly different take. He believes that God spoke this to his heart one morning, “Do you know what the difference between Rhema and Logos is? Logos is Me talking to someone else. Rhema is Me talking to you.”

    Our “Bible” is Logos. It’s the written stories of mankind as God was revealed in their lifetime. To aptly see how Logos and Rhema affect how, when and if we should apply scripture, one only needs to realize that “not cutting your hair” was Rhema to Samson — his story is merely Logos to us. In his story we see the consequences of disobedience, but we also see the necessity for a “personal” relationship with the One who would speak Rhema to us.

    Why did God hold Samson to a (seemingly) different standard than He held other Israelites to? (Don’t remember Him asking anyone else to not cut their hair?) Possible answer: Held within the instruction, was an opportunity for God to exercise Mercy at the end of Samson’s life … when his hair, once again, began to grow.

  2. Psalms is a book of poetry, not necessarily a record of actual events. In Psalm 109 and others, perhaps David is telling us a story to teach us something rather than recounting his own experience verbatim. So let’s allow him the literary license of exaggeration and hyperbole as he makes his case for just how dark the heart of man can get when the focus is so entirely on himself. If we stop reading too soon, we’ll miss some wonderful moments of discovery near the end of the Psalm as the attitude begins to shift from self-focus to God-focus.

    The book of Psalms is intended to be art, not history. The poems are meant to evoke emotion, and thus reach the heart rather than the intellect. The mind will only see the words, and judge. The heart will embrace both the pain and the praise, and find healing.

    Just my literary $.02 worth… 🙂

  3. I saw bumper sticker that says “Pray for Obama – pray Ps. 109:8”

    …which in the NIV reads “May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.”

    To be fair, some may think of it just in terms of shortening his days in office. But when reading it in full it’s clear that the prayer is asking for death. Not funny, IMO. I didn’t vote for Obama but I fear (spiritually) for anyone posting a placard on their car that calls for his death.

    And apparently that is the verse that Peter was referring to in reference to Judas’ death. So… if David was a little messed up, so was Peter – and by the way, I think he was. Just a short time later Peter dealt death to Ananias and Sapphira – I have often wondered, did he have to handle it that way? Most pastors teach that passage as being ALL God’s doing but Peter played a huge role – and Jesus had just informed the apostles that they has the power to forgive or not forgive.

    Are Ananias and Sapphira in heaven? If so, how did the first meeting with Peter on the other side go?

    A & S: Uh… we’re sorry that we lied

    Peter: Yeah, I’m sorry that I kinda over-reacted – you have no idea what kinda crap I learned how to put up with later in the church 🙂

  4. I see those psalms of David and others as a way of dealing with pain and issues…like I needed to do some years back to get at peace with myself and others again. When I was in my apprenticeship for example I got mobbed by my boss and also others of the company. It was a very small company, so I had to face those people all day long everyday. One day my cup was overfilled and I just had to get it all out of my heart. So I started to write a looooong letter since I was not so much a talker. At first I intended to really send it. So I tried to get my point along in the nicest way possible. But as I was writing, it was just spilling out and I even used four letter words to express all my anger and frustration and pain. At the end it was clear to me that this letter would never be read by anyone but me and God. Even though it seems pointless to write a letter you wont send to me it was the best I could do. It released the tension in my heart and I was able to get up in the morning, and going to work again. I dont know about David…but maybe those psalms where never to be read by others and he wrote them in order to get through the days of pain and frustration etc…

  5. Been catching up on the podcasts and particularly found this ne thought provoking. I have always had a good snicker at Psalm 109 and could identify with having such “feelings” and realizing that since God knows our hearts we are not fooling him by our more pious communication. However, in listening one thought invaded my consciousness, “I wonder if David could ever entertain such thoughts after Bathsheba and his face to tface with Nathan the prophet.

    There came a moment with my walk with the Lord that in some “mystical’ way i became aware of the blackness of my own heart and my own depravity. Though redeemed, i have never again been able to msuter up the bravado concerning injustice and the sins of others. although I am not blind I jsut cannot look anymore through the knothole o0f the log that is in m own eye.

  6. Thanks for your comments at the beginning of the podcast about the pain and suffering in life. I’ve come to realize that each person carries their own versions of pain and suffering in their being. I too have struggled with how we can carry the pain that we have and yet be “full of the joy of the Lord”.

    I’m seeing more and more that Jesus’ joy is what I need…because I sure can’t muster it up on my own most of the time. I love John 15 where Jesus reminds us that as we stay in his love – his joy will be in us and our joy will be made complete. That has very little to do with me trying to be “more joyful” or “just moving beyond the pain” and has a lot to do with me continually taking the pain and suffering of life to him for his healing and restoration. It also means that it is not my job to try to take away other people’s pain and suffering. Instead it is my privilege to be Christ-like to them, helping them bring the pain to the Father so he can heal it and they too can experience an ever growing joy.

    To me this gets closer to the understanding of what it means to encourage each other. Too often encouragement in the body gets whittled down to a slap on the back, a “your gonna make it” and a token prayer for strength. I think true encouragement in the body looks a lot messier, is more time consuming, and is more about “walking with” someone vs. “pushing” them forward into a better place. I would love to hear a podcast on this sometime.

  7. Great podcast and the comments are too.

    I find that hearing Papa’s voice (rhema) brings life and hope in whatever….. And just dealing with the logos lacks that life and hope. It’s kind of like how we used to throw up prayers and hope we hit something. Relationship is everything.

    That’s my 2 cents worth, hopefully no one will offer me change back.

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