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June 9, 2014 – Psalm 99

Click here to read Psalm 99 on BibleGateway.com

teeterBack in the day, every playground designed for children had the instrument of humiliation known as the See-Saw or TeeterTotter. Nothing says “hey, you’re a big fatty” like requiring four of your classmates to balance out your girth. Not to be outdone, even the skinny nerds got to enjoy the pleasure of the class athlete jumping off the totter as it reached the towering apex of the pendulum, the sheer terror of the fall, and the coccyx-jarring impact of the gravel-strewn ground. Depending on your location, this was known as the Atomic Drop or Cherry Bomb. Either way, it led to a recess of tender walking around the playground plotting revenge against the offender.

And of course, as one got older, the most important challenge on the playground (aside from pushing down that girl you liked and running away giggling like that suave Prince Charming you are) was to stand astride the SeeSaw like a mighty Colossus and balance out the two sides. Travel the world over, visit any playground for more than an hour (with people around, of course) and it is almost guaranteed that some daredevil of the minor-est degree will attempt the feat.

THE BALANCE BEAM

Have you ever considered why it is we crave to balance things in the world? Why do we try to balance a coin on the edge (admit it, you’ve tried it.)? Why do we want teams to be “even”? Why do we want the rich to become poorer, and the poor to become richer (even though by just about any standard, even the poorest in America are in the top 10% of the world) ? Why do we enjoy watching the mighty politician or televangelist fall?

In all of us, there is something that craves a balance to our existence. Could it be that perhaps God himself is the ultimate in equivalence? Jesus as God and Man? God the Father as Creator and Destroyer of the world? The Holy Spirit as Convicter and Comforter?

ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER

So why should it surprise that God is both merciful and judgmental? Psalm 99 says that God is “to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds.” God, in his infinite balance is both Mercy and Judgment, He is Holiness and Love, He is Infinite and Intimate.

For some reason, we have decided in our culture that a Loving God would/should never punish anyone, or allow anyone to be punished (or even to suffer the consequences of their own actions). However, this type of God is radically out of balance. The God that is revealed in the Bible is in perfect harmony and perfect balance eternally; to deny an aspect of who God has revealed himself to be, is to re-make God in our image.

And that’s just begging for an Eternal Cherry Bomb.

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