Christianity 201

March 15, 2016

You Are Not Self-Made

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Psalm 100:3 KJV

Lately I’ve been using memorized scripture as a way of falling back to sleep when I wake up during the night. I’m not trying to offer this as a sleep solution to everyone reading this who might suffer from insomnia, I’m just saying it seems to get me back into dreamland faster than the usual one hour I would spend contemplating the next day.

Of course having some scriptures committed to memory is key to this. I simply take deep breaths as my mind replays the various portions phrase by phrase. Breathe in. Breathe out.

One such passage is Psalm 100, which I learned as a child from the KJV. Sometimes my brain will want to paraphrase as I go. For example the opening,

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

is something that I tend to want to render as “Shout praise to the Lord, all the nations.” It makes sense, doesn’t it? For those of you who don’t hang out in charismatic circles, I’m told that “the nations” is a sort of catch-phrase among Pentecostal people. I think it fits well.

But no other translation supports me on this. It’s much bigger than that! The majority go with “all the earth.” In other words it’s not just people, or ethnic groups, or nations, but everything. It’s an echo of something heard a few Psalms earlier in 98:4

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Break forth into joyful songs of praise!  (NIV)

and Psalm 66:4

All the earth worships you, sings praises to you, sings praises to your name!” Selah (CEB)

and also reminds me of this passage in Luke 19:

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”

The Self Made Person

Another verse that I wanted to look at is verse 3 quoted at the top of today’s reading. We hear a lot today about the self-made individual, the person who did it all, who went forward and accomplished great things, the one who was successful by their own hand and their own strength.

But the verse has a “you didn’t get there by yourself” kind of tone to it. The text seems to be saying that God is creator, we didn’t create ourselves.

That should remind you of 1 Cor. 6:

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.  (ESV, emphasis added)

Both in terms of the physical and the spiritual, we are not self-created.

But wait! The NLT — and most other translations — renders this as:

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
    He made us, and we are his.[a]
    We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

and the footnote reads

[a] As in an alternate reading in the Masoretic Text; the other alternate and some ancient versions read and not we ourselves.

The phrase “and we belong to him” echoes through many, many more of the other translations, while some (like the Amplified Version) incorporate both renderings.

Notice however that this is also equally consistent with the verse in 1 Corinthians.

You are not your own. You didn’t make yourself and you can’t claim ownership. In 7:7 of the same letter, Paul states

I wish that all people were just like me. But each has his own gift from God, one person in this way and another in that way. (HCSB)

Regardless of “how much is nature and how much is nurture” we are all products of the gifts and personalities God has given us, and the environments in which he located us; but is God who does the gifting and the placing.

For our final verse today, here’s one to think about, 2 Corinthians 3:5

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

 


We have a music selection today, for which we return to the theme in the first half of today’s study. All The Earth Will Sing Your Praises is by Paul Baloche.

 

 

 

 

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