Psalm 119:165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. 166 I hope for your salvation, O LORD, and I fulfill your commandments. 167 My soul keeps your decrees; I love them exceedingly. 168 I keep your precepts and decrees, for all my ways are before you.
(Here’s a note I wrote in my bible some years back) This psalm is loooong – and very repetitive, but reflects a deep love of God and the law. It’s fascinating to consider that, after all of this adulation from the psalmist for God’s law, and the life the law was intended to bring, the law ultimately failed to overcome the sin of humanity. It was for this reason, humanity’s inability to abide by God’s law, that Jesus was sent by God for the sake of the world.
God had a plan, a covenant with Israel, and the plan failed. But God didn’t stop at failure. God instead created a new covenant with ALL people, not just Israel. The new covenant was not one based on adherence to the law, as was the first covenant. Instead it was based on the work of Jesus, the Son of God, who by his death and resurrection accomplished for us what we could not do for ourselves. It’s a covenant of grace, not laws.
This morning I can’t help but think about the awful tragedy which occurred Sunday in south Texas. I can’t help but think, “What kind of monster would do something like that?” I find myself asking this question a lot lately. The tragedies just pile up, one after another, like cord wood. There’s a part of me that wonders how a troubled young man, who killed and maimed dozens of innocent people, might be a part of God’s promise of salvation. Surely this man is excluded, right?!
I understand he lost control of his vehicle after the shooting and was found dead from a gunshot would to the head. Perhaps self-inflicted. Frankly, I’m glad he’s gone. I know a pastor shouldn’t say something like that, but I’m angry. So many innocent people – babies, children, adults. Makes me sick! And in a CHURCH! Sick, sick, sick!
Burn in hell!
But that’s just my emotions talking. What I wonder this morning is, was this boy a Christian? Was he baptized into the family of God? And if so, what were his final thoughts? In his final moments, is it possible that the horror of his actions came into sobering view? Could a twisted young man like that have repented in his final moments and begged the Lord for forgiveness? In some strange way, I hope so.
God, I don’t understand. I really don’t. And I’m so tired of stories like this! Give me grace o God to entrust this mess to you. Even in the midst of death and destruction, may your mercies by poured out anew. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.