Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Last Laugh

The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.
Psalm 37:12-13 ESV
I wonder what the Psalmist was thinking when he penned these words. I wonder if he was growing weary of his critics, or suffering from the weight of constant public ridicule for believing in an unseen God, or perhaps, from his own inner turmoil which comes when our critics begin to make more sense than our faith does.

It is a serious challenge when we strive to hold onto faith when we are under the duress of our own doubts. Our critics' voices start to make sense, and we are less likely to speak up or to stand against them, lacking confidence in our defense and in God's protection.

Churches are prone to softening the blow of critics by adopting secular themes, methods, and verbiage which will be non-offensive. Hoping to capture a larger audience, the Christianity they purport is one with a dull edge, incapable of transforming a culture at its roots.

Credibility for many churches is gained by how well they can cozy up to the culture while maintaining just enough religion to save their non-profit status. Unfortunately, the gospel doesn't do it for them. They measure success by numbers, not by radical adherence to biblical doctrine and orthodox Christian faith.

So, to speak as the Psalmist does about the Lord who "laughs at the wicked" is to speak of those both outside the church and those on the inside who devise their own plots for dulling the edge of the sharp, two-edged sword, which is the word of God (Heb 4:12; Eph 6:17). His laugh is not one of comic relief, but one of scoffing judgment upon the foolishness of the wicked.

I suppose the goal of the passage today is to comfort those who suffer from the devices of the wicked, the critics of true faith. However, it should only be comforting to those who are in the end to be found faithful to God. To find comfort otherwise is to count on something from God that his justice will not allow him to give.

Let us be found faithful in word and deed, not counted among the wicked, knowing that in the end, the last laugh will be God's.

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