Redeeming Blood 2 - Robert Godfrey
For those younger among you, Amy Semple McPherson was probably the most famous woman in America in the 1920s and 30s, a famous Pentecostal preacher and healer, and Dr. R.C. Sproul and I have had a friendly rivalry as to who is the greater reformed expert on Amy.
Amy was invited to speak to the atheist society at the University of Glasgow, and of course, she was willing to preach anywhere, so she arrived and the platform was littered with cigar butts and cigarette butts, and empty beer bottles. As she came out on the platform, the atheists hooted and hollered and carried on, and Sister just stood there calmly.
When they finally settled down, she leaned over and said Can I tell you a story? It's about an atheist. It's about an atheist. He died you know, and they laid him out in a coffin. Oh, he looked fine. They laid him out so nice, all dressed up, all made up, and looking marvelous. A friend came by, looked in the coffin, and said oh, he looks fine. Oh, he looked fine, but he's an atheist. He's an atheist. He doesn't believe in Heaven. He doesn't believe in Hell. All dressed up and nowhere to go.
Well you see, the Psalmist did what Sister did, only in a much more serious manner. Sister forced these atheists to come back to think about the great reality of life that it ends, that we do not live in this world forever. We do not live in this body forever. What does that mean about understanding the meaning of life? What does that make us think about as we ponder the future? How does that affect our values? Our way of valuing and understanding this life?
This 49th Psalm is a fascinating Psalm because it's not addressed to Israel as most of the Psalms are. It's not addressed to God's people. It's addressed to the whole world. Hear this all peoples. My mouth shall speak wisdom. When we face this universal reality that we will all die, we need wisdom to understand what that means, and how that affects the way we should live.
That's what this Psalm wants to direct us to. It's written out of a very particular frustration on the part of the Psalmist, and that particular frustration is that the rich seem always to be cheating the poor. The Psalmist is frustrated by that. He is frustrated by the apparent lack of justice and fairness in this world. He's meditating on how we should understand life in light of that. He come an arresting conclusion. Death is the great equalizer. Rich and poor die. Wise and fools die. The righteous and the wicked die. They don't pass on. They die.