Seeking to Resolve Faith in God and Despair in Life (Part 1)

Psalm 88

Rarely do Christians address the anguish found in some psalms.  We (a) read the psalms as if they were directed to Christians [us], (b) rarely consider the context of the times; and (c) rarely consider how the devout minority were affected by deteriorating spiritual conditions.  Christians tend to oversimplify the spiritual situation when ancient Israel declined into religious and national decay.

Christians tend to view ancient Israelite decline as massive, single-colored, brush strokes.  Christians tend to paint those two declining, ancient nations in highly similar hues of hopelessness.  The finished canvass does not depict a mixture of faithless people, unfaithful people, misguided people, confused people, and people who depended on God.  To be certain, the faithless and the unfaithful people composed the sweeping majority, but the others existed.

The issue was not how the sweeping majorities felt, but how did the minorities cope?  Even now, do not the devout always think and believe that they are on the verge of reform?  Even now, are the devout ever ready to just be quiet?

How did the ancient Jewish devout handle conditions created by massive spiritual failure?  How did the devout deal with a wayward spiritual thrust?  How did a distinct minority cope with the failures produced by the overwhelming majority?  Did they think the majorities’ failure mattered to God?  Can that spiritual minority avoid the impacts generated by the majority’s religious indifference?

No works of unreligious psalmists (if they existed) were saved.  The faithful minority preserved some psalms and wrote additional psalms in this period of marked spiritual decline.

February 25, 2014  *  Fort Smith, AR

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