A Wisdom Retreat - September 15

But You, O Lord . . .

Psalm 102:11-12
My days are like a lengthened shadow, and I wither away like grass. But You, O Lord, abide forever, and Your name to all generations.

What you think these men had in common at the height of their careers during the 1930s, '40s, and '50s?

  • Owen D. Young
  • James F. Byrnes
  • Pierre Laval
  • Harlow Curtis
  • Hugh Johnson

More than likely you do not recognize the names of any of these men. You certainly could not tell what they did or how they rose to fame. Yet each of these men was at some point in his life Time Magazine's "Man of the Year." They were judged as the person having had the greatest impact on the rest of humanity during a given year.

It is our nature to think that we are really something special. This is why the business of celebrity is so successful. We have a desire to be great at something, and we are even willing to be somewhat satisfied with news of the lives of celebrities—reveling in their fame by proxy.

Think about the yearly audience of the Super Bowl; the Final Four; the NBA playoffs; the Masters; the Stanley Cup; Wimbledon; the Bowl games; the World Series. Factor in the weekly audiences of American Idol; The Celebrity Apprentice; Survivor, and many more "reality" shows. The American public has high hopes and watches intently to see who the winners will be.

Then you have the Academy Awards—for days before and after, water cooler talk centers on who will win/won which Oscar. Why? It's not as if the contenders are really the characters they portray—they're just good pretenders. Maybe that's why we find them so fascinating—we want to be good pretenders, too.

The writers of Psalms had no illusions about who we really are. There is line upon line in the book of Psalms regarding the nature of man.

Here in Psalm 102, the days of our lives are compared to withering grass, but not so the Lord's. He is great and His name lives for all generations—He is the same . . . His years will have no end.

Why do we insist on plying mankind with glory and adulation when we have the God of the universe before us? Our attention and adoration should not be focused on man's folly, but rather upon the greatness of God. J. I. Packer addresses this very point:

The Christian's instincts of trust and worship are stimulated very powerfully by knowledge of the greatness of God. But this is knowledge which Christians today largely lack; that is one reason why our faith is so feeble and our worship so flabby. We are modern men, and modern men—though they cherish great thoughts of man—have, as a rule, small thought of God.

Let's get real about ourselves and mankind as a whole: admit that underneath the façade the world sees, we all are sinners by nature, deserving none of mankind's praise.

Should we really care about the comings and goings [and every detail in between] of celebrities; stars; idols? No!

Let's focus our aim where it should be, and say with the Psalmist, "But You, O Lord . . . "

Prayer Point: Ask the Lord to help you meditate on His greatness. As you read the Scriptures, take time to praise God for Himself—the One whose years will have no end.

Extra Refreshment: Psalms 103 and make the first and last verses come alive to you today.

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Christianity / Devotionals / A Wisdom Retreat with Stephen Davey / A Wisdom Retreat - September 15