Friday, December 11, 2009


Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 

Psalm 44:1 "We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old."
I don't know if you have good storytellers in your family or not, but my family does. The Rice side has a number of good storytellers (you may know that already), but the Bingham side (my mother's family) has their fair share as well. My great-grandmother used to tell me stories about the homestead in South Dakota, Indians, gypsies, sod houses, and so on. I can't help but know more than the average person about family history, simply because of the stories people have told me.
Psalm 44 is a psalm longing for the "good ol' days." I think we all can understand that feeling to some extent. But if you dwell there, you end up reinterpreting history in terms of how powerful people must have been. It's as if wickedness were a little bit nicer and there were different species of humans and preachers back then! Living in the "good ol' days" can cloud your perception of today and days gone by.
If we are not careful, we can become so fixated on "old-fashioned" everything that we think God's power is outdated. We can equate "old-fashioned" with polyester ties and a 1976 bus! God is not the God of the dead; He is the God of the living. There is a sense in which the Gospel is old-fashioned, but the Gospel is not a fashionable thing at all-it has never been in fashion! The Gospel is timeless, and you and I have an obligation to treat it as such.
I am not offended if someone talks about the "old-fashioned" this or that, but there is no place for stodginess or clinging to something so old it is outdated and irrelevant. God is the God of the living. I don't need to update God-He is timeless. I don't need to make the Bible relevant-It is. What I need to do is give the Bible in its native, raw power and trust God to use what He has already said. The Bible is just as applicable now as it ever was!
It has always been a temptation to hear stories of what God has done in the lives of our "fathers" and lift up the men instead of the God who did the work through them. Psalm 44:1-3 reminds us that it was "what work thou [God] didst in their days, in the times of old" and that it was by "thy [God's] right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance. . . ." This psalm hearkens back to the Old Testament days of Joshua, and even secular historians will agree that Joshua was a great general. However, Jericho's walls did not fall because Joshua was a great general; the walls fell because God is an unlimited God. God is timeless, and He is just as powerful now as He ever was.
Joshua is dead, but Joshua's God lives on. Jericho's walls are leveled, but the walls that need to fall today can still be crumbled by the same power Joshua relied upon. In this present world-the one with internet, Twitter, and texting-God is still as capable and willing as He was when this psalm was written.
Old-fashioned? You can't add anything to the Gospel to make it more powerful-the Gospel is timeless. But never forget when talking about the "old-fashioned Gospel" and "old-fashioned convictions" that they are for today. They never were "fashionable" and they never will be! They work and they are powerful because God's truth is timeless. . . .

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Bill Rice Ranch | 627 Bill Rice Ranch Road | Murfreesboro | TN | 37128

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