Why do you boast of evil. O mighty man?

the steadfast love of God endures all the day.

Psalm 52: 1

 

David was well acquainted with opposition that came from very close to his home. These words were written about one of those times when his life was literally in jeopardy as a result of that opposition. In this opening line of the psalm David is speaking about King Saul; then, he responds to Saul with words of faith and trust in God. There is something to look at for myself in this approach to putting the antagonism and opposition that I might encounter into perspective. Although David speaks words of destruction and warns that God’s anger will be poured out onto those who turn away from Him, I do see aspects of redemption in these words.

 

If we are engaged disciples of Christ, we all will face trials and even opposition in this world. This is a promise that comes from God. Followers of Christ are warned in numerous places and ways in God’s word that this will be true for us. This world is not a friendly environment for people who think and act as Christ calls upon us to do. Christ calls upon us to be people who live in the full expression of God’s righteousness and love. There is no room for compromise or for culturally driven redesign of truth in this calling. Instead, there is God’s Word, there is Christ revealed in and through it, there is the community of faith that is the true church, and there is the unending and never failing love that God pours out as the oil of redemption on all of His creation.

 

This is what followers of Christ can boast in. We listen to Christ’s voice as He speaks truth, grace, and mercy to drown out the painful din of the world’s angry passions. We know where life is found, and we are alive because of the life that Jesus poured out for us. We recognize truth as its heartbeat is now ours as the Spirit of Christ dwells within us. Not only do we live in the center of God’s love, but we also are called upon by Christ to bear that same love into all of the places that we travel to during our days. The greatest answer to our culture’s angry boasting and to the opposition that we face in our world is the love of Christ that transforms people, for when opponents know Christ, they become our loving family.

 

And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

Matthew 22: 33

 

At this time Jesus was teaching in the temple, and He had been engaging in a series of discussions with various groups of religious leaders about their basic understanding of God and of His kingdom, both in heaven and on earth. These were the sorts of things that these leaders in the religious life of the people should have been teaching to their followers with accuracy, understanding, and passion. However, this was not true. They had strayed far from truly knowing God, and what they said about Him was not based in revelation but was formed in their own minds and out of the desires of their self-serving hearts.

 

So, when people heard Jesus speak, they heard something fresh, revelatory, and alive. Their hearts were convicted of their own sinfulness, and their minds were opened up to the greatness and the grace of God. This is what happens when we listen to Jesus. This is the sort of ear and eye opening experience that comes to people as they stop speaking the chant of their own understandings and remain still long enough for Christ’s words of gospel truth to penetrate into the depths of their beings. For pursuit of the lost is what Jesus is a bout, and bringing all of us into the now and forever presence of God Almighty is His objective.

 

The jaw dropping, stop-in-your-tracks astonishment that the crowds experienced is ours to know as well. Truly hearing Christ speak from the pages of His word, with the voice of the Holy Spirit, and in the counsel and comfort of His people is both life altering and life giving. The presence of Christ in my life is astonishing, and it is so every moment of each day. As I cling to my Savior and continually yield to Him as my Lord, Christ brings me into the holy halls of eternity so that this life is lived in the hope and peace of God’s unending love.