I just read Psalm 78, by Asaf, which is titled as a “Maskil.” From what I have seen, the difference between a psalm and a maskil is that a maskil is a psalm that may have a specific message, other than praise for God. This particular maskil is a reminder of the many ways in which God provided for his people, Israel, despite how they constantly demonstrated faithlessness and a rebellious attitude, which resulted in them being punished.
Fortunately for us (and I mean everyone, not just Believers, Jews or even Americans- I mean everyone in the world), God is a forgiving God, so much so that even in His righteous anger and punishment He is merciful. The fact that we are all still here is proof of that! And when He punishes, it isn’t like when a human punishes, which is (most of the time) from anger and frustration born out of pridefulness (“You didn’t do as I wanted”); no, that is not why God punishes us. When God punishes us, and we end up flat on our backs, it is so that we can only look up to see Him there, with His hand extended, waiting for us to take it so He can lift us back up onto our feet.
We have learned at least one thing- that God is forgiving. In fact, it seems (from history, including my own) that we count on His forgiveness because we keep sinning and rebelling. What would happen if, one day, God just decided, “Oy! Enough is enough! Youse guys have gone too far this time, so you’re on your own. Forever.” ? What would happen then?
I’ll tell you what will happen- there will be no hope for anyone, ever. I assume that without hope for eternal peace, there would be no more fear of eternal suffering- we will just live out our lives, with absolutely nothing else to look forward to, and then die. Our lives will be all we ever have, and when we die it will be as if we never existed. A meaningless past, no future, only the present. No blessings and hope, only random chance to count on; no one to depend on and nowhere to go for hope (you can’t count on humans), with nothing to do but get through it on your own.
Thank God that God will never allow that to happen. His promises are absolute, irrevocable and dependable. His faithfulness is eternal and never-ending; unlike ours, which is weak, unstable and transitory.
We need to learn one thing, if nothing else- God is dependable, and what God says will be, already is. God called Himself, “Ehyeh asher ehyeh“, which means “I am that I am”, or “I will be that which I will be”; what He is saying is that He, His name and everything about Him is undefinable in human terms and understanding. What He is, He was, and He will be. There is no timeline in God’s world- what was, what is and what will be already are.
Try to wrap your head around that one! Yikes!!
So, back to the lesson we need to learn, if nothing else- that God is dependable and what He says will be, already is. In other words, we always have time to ask forgiveness, and when we ask for forgiveness and really mean it (which is demonstrated by a change not only in our heart, but in our actions, too- the former without the latter is meaningless), we will be forgiven, even when we ask with our very last breath.
If you already know this lesson, you are ready to move on to the next level. If I put this in the terms most youth of today will understand, which does sort of jive with some ancient beliefs, as you do better and better, you move up a level (just like in video games); and, like in a video game, the higher the level, the more difficult it is to succeed at that level. The holier we become, the less likely we will fit into the regular world system, and the world will treat us more like an outcast than a member of society. That’s OK, believe me, because what the world offers is temporary and what God is preparing for us is eternal.
And infinite beats the heck out of finite, any day!