Psalm 53. Beware. Poisonous Gas Ahead.

Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 53. (MsgB)

Bilious and bloated, they gas, “God is gone.”
It’s poison gas—they foul themselves, they poison rivers and skies; thistles are their cash crop.

Don’t they know anything, all these impostors?
Don’t they know they can’t get away with this,
Treating people like a fast-food meal over which they’re too busy to pray?

Night is coming for them, and nightmare—a nightmare they’ll never wake up from.
God will make hash of these squatters, send them packing for good.

April 8th, 1966.

The day our westernized and modernized world finally came out with the truth as we 20th century advanced-folks believed it to be.

You see, it was one thing to listen to the whispering songs of the Simon and Garfunkel’s, or the Bob Dylan’s, or the Beatles’. Oh, for sure, these pop musicians of the mid-1960’s had been declaring God as deceased for years. I mean, it was John Lennon who said it very clearly to the press. The Beatles, he proudly announced, had now become more popular than Jesus Christ.

Heresy? Maybe.

It’s one thing when a musical icon like John Lennon says it, but it’s quite another thing when, on April 8th, 1966, the nation’s largest and most well-respected magazine prints their first-ever picture-less cover, announcing to our world that the secret was now finally out.

God…just might be. Shh. Don’t say it too loudly, lest you offend the religious folks…


But wait…how do you know this?

Because when it’s on the cover of TIME magazine, it has to be true!

It’s kinda funny to sit here today, over 50 years later, and realize that John Lennon is long gone, nearly forgotten by this generation, and TIME magazine? Today, just another fading print-publication looking to survive in our computerized & digitalized society.

And God?

Still ticking. Still going. Just like the Energizer Bunny.

Apparently, you just can’t keep a Good God down.

King David, back about 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, had heard the same scuttlebutt as well.

Shh. Don’t tell anyone, but God is just in your imagination.

I like the way Eugene Peterson translates it.

Gas. Poisonous gas.

Toxic fumes just waiting for someone (like God?) to light a match.

Bilious and bloated.

Full of themselves and yes, my friends, so full of sh…

Whoops. I almost went too far there with my comments. But you know what I mean.

So, the next time one of those beautiful TV or movie celebrities appear on one of those elite talk shows and begin expounding how the Christian faith is in decline and God is just a figment of our religious imaginations, just keep in mind what King David said so many years ago.


Come back in about 20 or 30 years and that same beautiful celebrity who took our breath away is now either dead from a drug overdose or looking like some old hag off the streets. And the TV show or movie that was once the in-thing at the time is now only listed as a fun memory for senior citizens.

And God?

Yup. Still there. Still involved. Still loving. Still creating. Still working His fingers to the bone, watching over His kids, who after all these years, still don’t quite get the fact that our Creator/King is here for the long haul.

Like it or not. Ready or not.

Here He comes!

My prayer: Poppa. Forgive me when I buy into the trash-talk about You and Your Kingdom. Without a doubt, the doubters and scoffers have a shelf life that’s shorter than a loaf of bread. But You, oh Lord, are forever. Spirit, empower me to hold onto You for dear life, even when others pronounce You as being on life-support. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: Where am I falling prey to my society’s proud announcements concerning the death of God and the demise of Christianity? Am I breathing in the toxic fumes and letting it go to my head or heart? If so, what can I do so that I step away from this limited, self-centered perspective and take a long, loving look at my Eternal, Time-less God?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?

Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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