Thought for the Week - 16th SeptemberPastor Gareth Watkins
Psalm 102: 16-18
For the Lord shall build up Zion;
He shall appear in His glory.
He shall regard the prayer of the destitute,
And shall not despise their prayer.
This will be written for the generation to come,
That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.
What a wonderful scripture with a great promise! Christ is going to come back again! Sometimes we live for the here and now, without a vision for Christ coming back again. He is going to come back again.
If we go to Zechariah we read that the Lord will return to Jerusalem, His house shall be built in it. From the time of the Psalms to Revelation we read that Christ is coming back again. It’s a great promise for us. This is something for all Christians, no matter our background.
We read that the “Lord shall build up Zion before He shall appear in His glory”. We’ve seen the establishment of Israel in our days as a world power. Watch the state of Israel. Watch the church and the dismantling of the traditional church, while the establishment of groups of believers are becoming more and more. In Chile, 60% of the Catholic Church have lost their faith in Catholicism. The establishments which hold Christianity together in some ways are breaking down, while smaller churches like ours are establishing all over the world. Little churches, which believe in the truth of Christ, are springing up. This is the establishment of all things to do with Zion, before Christ will come in all His glory.
These things are exciting – to watch the signs – the things that are written of, which are going to happen before Christ appears for a second time.
For some, God has lost His way. For some, there is not much life in their Christian life or in their church. It’s all about end days, where God has moved past His people and doesn’t speak to His people anymore. They don’t seem to think there’s something wrong with them as an individual, a group or a church. God hasn’t lost His way. The individuals have lost their way. Those individuals preach and teach and build, ultimately creating a church that doesn’t have the same presence of God that it should.
In the scripture above, God is creating a people that will praise the Lord. Not a people who will be created for praising themselves, or to have a great denomination or anything else. This people, a future generation for the Psalmist, are created that they will praise the Lord. Not to give glory to individuals, but to give glory to the Lord. We as individuals, come together to praise the Lord. That is what the church should be all about. There for God Himself and no other reason.
The things the Psalmist writes of preclude the coming and the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. This scripture is reflecting something that is going to happen. Something that is happening today.
Zion in the Bible represents a number of different things. It represents God, God’s House, God’s future people, God’s individuals, and all manner of different words. It represents a going forward, the establishment of things. This is an establishing of Zion. It’s a beneficial thing, a prospering thing, a moving forward. This is not a God whose churches are in decline and who has forgotten His people. This is a church going forward unto the day when Christ Himself will come back for those who are His own.
What does that mean for us?
Are we to copycat other situations, churches and individuals? Are we to have this job and that title? No. No one person should be deemed better or higher than anyone else. We are individuals who come together to praise God. As the individual praises God, so the church carries the life of God, and the body praises God. The generation that is to come.
Do you think that something that undermines the personality of the individual is a good thing or a bad thing? If something undermines the ability of a person to carry their identity, is that a good or bad thing? God has made every single one of us as an individual. God wants us to be individuals.
However, what we see is that though things like social media, people start to compare themselves. All these comparisons are being done on a massive scale. Where has God individuality gone in that situation? God has the individual in mind. Certain things, like social media, can be used to bring evil into a person’s life when, in of itself, it’s not an evil thing. But when we start comparing and comparing, the ability to compare becomes immeasurable. It’s gone from keeping up with the Jones’ in your own neighbourhood. Now, people are exploding into thousands and thousands of comparisons across the globe.
Earlier in the week I heard on the radio a woman who was talking about a “comparison coach”. She spoke about the individuals versus all the ones who have to conform because they’re comparing themselves against everyone else. She got into the job because of her own personal experience. Her personal experience was one of depression, anxiety and mental illness. Her comparisons took her to a point where she’d stand and hide in the shower when she was on her own in the house. She was so anxious of anyone seeing her. In there, she’d look at her own phone and compare with others. She’d lay in bed, fully clothed, with the bedclothes over her and compare with others on her phone until she was satisfied she was fitting in or getting the responses she desired. This is the individual being broken down! She’d compare her looks, her skin, her hair, her body, her image, and her online responses. Comparisons across the spectrum on all manner of different things. She was expecting to comply and conform in all different ways. She’d compare everything, all so she’d have a good image and not stand out in any way. Her job as a coach now is to show people how not to compare. Her job is to show people how not to worry if they stand out. She teaches people how to stand as individuals in this crazy world we find ourselves in.
The result of it took her to becoming mentally unwell, where she lost her job and her house through financial difficulty. All the while, the Christian who have everything wrong according to some, is taught to be an individual, to stand and praise God in his own way, that you are called individually, are known individually and loved by God as you are, and you stand in that way before God as an individual in church, and in the church as a whole.
Who’s got it right? God has it right from the outset. He sets thing out in a particular way from the outset. In verse 18 we read that this has been “written for generations to come. That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord”.
If people have to conform to everyone else’s standards, then no one does anything if the masses don’t do it. We have to stand up and be counted. Many who were healed by Christ didn’t return to Him to thank Him. Not many came back to say “thank you Lord”.
This passage is about individual people, yet being created, who will praise the Lord, individually and as a group. The woman above managed to overcome her condition. I thought it was an excellent example of how conforming to everything in this world can bring you to such a sad place.
Don’t copycat. Don’t compare. Don’t morph into someone else. Don’t want to be someone else. Just be what God wants you to be. And praise the Lord.
The last verse (28) of the chapter above says:
The children of Your servants will continue,
And their descendants will be established before You.
God has built up a generation of a people to praise God. That generation is going to grow and be more established before Christ comes. The outcome of it is that your children will continue to be God’s servant. And their descendants will be established as well. It’s no accident that people like us can speak of the ongoing establishment of God. Once you’re in God’s hand, if you stay in that place that God wants you to go, you will continue to be established.
Love that you are different. Praise God for the differences. We’re not all meant to be the same. The ongoing establishment of God and His people says that “their descendants will be established before You”
Do you think of the outcome in what you do? Do you consider the outcome of what you say and how you go about your business?
God is building up Zion. He is coming. He will come back for those who are His own. God has done such a tremendous thing for each of us. Praise God for what He’s done for you. He’s done wonderful things.