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Singing Psalm 2 to thrive within

What does it mean to thrive within? Is it something you go after or is it given to you?

Singing Psalm 2 while keeping the game of chess in mind might lend some insight.

Singing Psalm 2 you thrive within when you know your place

You enter the scene deep in the realm of thought between those who would oppose the initiator of moves, the King of kings, and his response and countermoves.

The object of chess is to get the satisfaction of placing the king in checkmate where he is immobilized. Though you can’t take him out, you can render him useless. You hope to thrive within by winning the competition.

That’s easier said than done when you get both enamored and distracted by all the other pieces, what they can do, how you can take them out — because you can. 

But before you know it, your opponent has utterly stifled your king to no return and the game is over.

You don’t thrive within when you lose focus, overplay your pieces, and feel the mounting pressure that builds when it’s all up to you. You get snuffed out instead.

Singing Psalm 2, you learn that the Lord your God is the King that can never himself be stifled or immobilized.

Yet observe that when people viewed him as a means to fulfill their desires without acknowledging his personhood within the triune God as the one who did the work, their heartfelt unbelief stymied his supernatural work in their lives.

“And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.” ~ Matthew 13:58

“And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.” ~ Mark 6:5-6

How is it that you immobilize the King’s work in your life in your attempts to thrive within?

Do you spend time thinking about how you can look better and fare better trying to climb up the ladder of beauty or success knocking off as many others as possible until you don’t see the casualties but only your position at the top?

Are you trying to remake or reinvent yourself into some other image in your imagination, discontent that you have been made in the image of God who is committed to making you holy?

Living by sight and not by faith, you trust yourself and those who think like you rather than trusting the triune God who made you and knows you far better than you know you.

It is this lack of trust in who God is that immobilizes his work in your life.

What has the Lord your King provided so that you would see the error of your tunnel vision, be cut to the heart at the callousness that results, and form Christ in you, making you into a compassionate person as he is?

He has given you not only Jesus’ head but his body as well. You get all of Jesus when you embrace Christ and his church. Being a part of his body, you get to have the mind of Christ!

You thrive within as you hide in him. Selfish ambition morphs into godly ambition.

Borrowing from chess, you want to think many steps ahead in order to be in a position to preserve others’ dignity, to respect, accept, gently correct, receive correction, and love others.

You were made for a place that is not here yet but will be.

You thrive within when you know your place is not warring with the bridegroom but becoming a part of his bride.

“Kiss the Son, His wrath to turn,    Lest you perish in your stride,For His anger soon may burn.    Blessed are all who in Him hide.” ~ Psalm 2:12

Singing Psalm 2 you thrive within when you recognize authority

What pawn would begin a chess game declaring to be in charge? How would that work even in a chess game, never mind in real life?

With the enemy bishop stationed on the left in a diagonal line straight to the king, the pawn on the diagonal square to the right of the king has the job of staying put to block the path to the king.

Waiting, holding your position, you thrive within. But moving just one square forward, taking that one step toward becoming a queen brings disaster to the whole kingdom as the king of that kingdom is now hamstrung by the move of that one pawn.

“Our holy and beautiful house,    where our fathers praised you,has been burned by fire,    and all our pleasant places have become ruins.” ~ Isaiah 64:11

The pawn that thought only of himself was not looking out for the interest of his master. He short circuited the success he single mindedly sought for himself. He left his post and all was lost. He not only failed the king, but he failed himself and all the king’s subjects.

The chess analogy breaks down in that if you are a pawn who somehow makes it to the other end of the self-contained chess world, you become a queen more powerful than any king. The King did not make that an option in his world. There is no competing or comparing with the King of kings.

The centurion in Capernaum and the Syrophoenician woman understood the ultimate authority of Jesus better than the people of Israel whom he came to teach. Singing Psalm 2 can move you to hang on his every word, building your house on rock not sand. He marvels at such humility wrought by faith!

He has prepared a place for those who long to be near him like Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, James, and John, not because they want to associate with power, but because they truly love him, desperately desire to be with him, and marvel that first, they are loved by him.

What good news that the true King cannot be hamstrung! Not only that, he promises to bring good out of your failings. Recognize and rejoice at the grace that proceeds out of his everlasting authority that makes you thrive within.

“He will speak to them in wrath,    And in anger He will warn:‘Yet according to My will,    I have set My King to reign;And on Zion’s holy hill,    My Anointed will remain.’” ~ Psalm 2:5-6

Singing Psalm 2 you thrive within when you can be still

To thrive within, your mindset goes countercultural and counterintuitive. Rather than thinking of how to position yourself for conquering and ruling, instead it’s, “Be still and know that I am God.”

The purpose of these articles is to sing the psalms toward an intimate affection for God who is Father, Son, and Spirit. You sing them toward an emotional connection with him, where he becomes your heart’s desire that moves you to engage in the moment-by-moment process of learning him and trusting him.

Is God real to you? By his word and by his Spirit, he can be if he is not yet real to you.

Ask him to make himself real to you.

Seek to know him.

Knock at the door of his heart. He will surely open it wide for you and bid you come in.

God is due all the praise you can give him for his grace and mercy in his overarching plan of redemption. He has all the moves worked out in advance taking into consideration the flub ups that you and I will do. He cannot be thwarted even by the best of minds.

“He who sits in heaven laughs.” Who in his right mind would purposely oppose the King of kings? Though they might, you thrive within even as some around you rebel and go to pieces.

You might not be well-received by those who think they can rule as if they are king or queen of their lives. The reality is clear to you. Though it might hurt, you can endure through the pain and come out on the other side of it.

They just might follow you as you follow Christ who is leading you by the hand if not carrying you through.

He clothes you with strength and dignity. Because it is God who makes you thrive within, no matter where the pieces land on the chessboard, you can laugh at the days to come. ~ Proverbs 31

Oftentimes, we live in such a way that exposes we are not in our right mind. It might seem at times that admitting sin is tantamount to admitting failure without recourse, without hope of change.

Rather than thrive within, you feel you will die within.

Yet admitting sin is the first step to learning and changing.

Because the Lord is both gracious and sovereign, present and just, there is the sure hope of forgiveness for anyone who would trust in Christ alone.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:though your sins are like scarlet,    they shall be as white as snow;though they are red like crimson,    they shall become like wool.” ~ Isaiah 1:18

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 6:23

The paradox is that you thrive within by dying to your dead self, born again to truly live in Christ.

Obey him like the winds and the waves did and be still. One day you will be calm and thrive within without even having to ask and will laugh because the days to come will have arrived at last!

You were made not for what is now but for what will be.

Meanwhile, follow Jesus for a taste of heaven in anticipation of the consummation of the union between Christ and his church at the marriage supper of the lamb. If you don’t reject him for lesser loves but instead embrace him and never let go, you will thrive within as one of the few who are chosen among the many who are called.

“Rev’rent worship give the LORD;    With your joy mix trembling fear [awe].” ~ Psalm 2:11

July 21-28, 2023


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