Psalm 73: The Old Story
"I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works." (v.28b)
In case you hadn't notice it, your Bible isn't arranged by topic. I know that this frustrates some of you. You wish that your Bible was structured like an encyclopedia which alphabetized tabs on the side of the page so you could easily find your subject of interest. But your Bible isn't organized that way and that is not because of Divine editorial error, but because of Divine intention. Your Bible is a narrative; a story. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that your Bible is a theologically annotated story; a story with God's notes. The grand, over-arching story of Scripture is meant to be the story that unpacks and makes sense of the story of your life and my life.
Your Bible is not a collection of religious stories. No, it is one story, the grand story of redemption. The Bible has one central character; God himself, specifically in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. From cover to cover the Bible is a narrative of the wondrous works of a God. Perhaps the four most important words in all of Scripture are the first four words; "In the beginning God..." You simply cannot understand yourself, your world, and the meaning and purpose of life unless you view them from the vantage point of the existence, character, and plan of God.
This grand story of the works of God that the Bible records is meant to give you:
1. IDENTITY. The only way you can properly understand who you are and what you were given life and breath to do, is when you look at yourself through the lens of the narrative of Scripture. It is only here that you will learn that you were made by God and for God; that everything you are and have comes from him and that you were made to live for something vastly bigger than yourself.
2. UNDERSTANDING: You will never know all that you need to know, in order to live as you were designed to live by human experience, research, and analysis. That is why God immediately began to talk with Adam and Eve after he created them. He knew that they were not designed with the innate ability to figure it all out on their own. So God spoke to them. In the same way, God speaks to us in his Word so that we can know and understand, and in knowing and understanding live as we were created to live.
3. COMFORT: The world in which you live can be very confusing. You see this confusion even in this Psalm, when it looks like the bad guys are winning. It often seems like the world has spun into chaos. It sometimes looks like there is little reason and purpose to the things that happen to us and around us. But the biblical narrative comforts us with another reality. The Bible story tells us that our world is not out of control, but rather, under the careful personal control of One who is the ultimate definition of everything that is good, true, wise, and loving. We can rest, not be because we understand what is happening, but because we know the One who rules it all.
4. SALVATION. Clearly, this is the ultimate reason for the Word of God. Without it we would not know how dire our situation actually is. Without it we would not know that our biggest problem does not exist somewhere outside of us. No, it exists inside of us and it is called sin. The biblical story is the world's most accurate diagnostic; telling us what is really wrong with us. And because it is the world's best diagnostic, it alone can provide us with the world's best cure. The narrative of Scripture is the narrative of redemption. It chronicles the great things God has done and is doing to rescue, forgive, and deliver us from our sin. The epicenter event of the biblical story is the cross of Jesus Christ, for it delivers to us the one thing that we desperately need, but cannot achieve ourselves; new life.
5. HOPE: The biblical story, because it is a story, has a plot. It is a story that goes somewhere. The Bible welcomes us to peer into and to listen to eternity. And as we do, we can live with the hope that what is today will not always be. There will be a day when the struggle is over. There will be a day when the sickness, sadness, and sin of this broken world will end and we will be like God and with God forever. The God, who wrote the end of the story, has guaranteed the end of the story by the raising of Jesus from the dead. The Bible says that Jesus is the "first fruit" that guarantees that we will be raised out of this fallen world as well.
Now everyday you tell stories; stories of the events of your life and the escapades of others. Sometimes these stories are funny, as you recount some human pratfall. Sometimes these stories are dramatic as you talk of the mysteries of daily life. Sometimes these stories are sad; picturing the pain and loss of life in a fallen world. Sometimes we like to tell stories that put attention on us or trump the story that someone else has just told. But, I would ask you today, do you like to tell THE story? Do you find joy in pointing to the wondrous works of your Creator, Sovereign, Savior God? Do you love to point to what he has done more than you enjoy pointing to what you have done? Do you love to help people see his works? There is only one story that imparts identity, understanding, comfort, salvation and hope. It is God's story. Has it become your favorite story; the one you can't wait to tell.
The old hymn says, "I love to tell the story of unseen things above; of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love." Do you?