Christianity · Faith · Film · Movie Review · Movies · The Gospel

Interstellar – Review

Interstellar_ALT_Artowrk-2Interstellar is the latest film from visionary filmmaker Christopher Nolan. In a movie landscape that is populated by superheroes and remakes, Nolan reminds us of the power and beauty that cinema can have. Experimental and challenging, Interstellar is beyond, light years beyond anything seen in years. Nolan has made a movie for movie lovers. Inventive, beautiful and something that pushes the boundaries in thought and the craft.

The Gospel According to Science or Man

If Interstellar is anything it is a love letter to science and to the indefatigable spirit of humanity. Science is the faith that will save us. When faced with the unknown man must apply the scientific method to deduce the truth. This plays out throughout the entire movie as Cooper is sent off with the crew of the Endurance to find out which of the previously surveyed planets is best suited for human colonization. NASA and the crew talk about the “them” that have placed the wormhole in our solar system which has enabled humanity to travel to another galaxy in search of a new home. It is never discussed if this was a supernatural event, but is assumed to be alien in origin. In the end, it is not aliens but advanced humanity that has learned the secrets of space and time like Time Lords, who have created the wormhole. Humanity needs no outside savior, it is ourselves that will save us through science and the exploration of the universe.

Cooper is the humanistic Jesus, who saves humanity through his “death” and “resurrection” and then finally goes to prepare a place for us in a new Eden with “Eve”. It is the humanistic gospel which just happens to mirror what Scripture tells us. Yet in scripture it is man who is incapable of saving himself, who needs someone to reach into our time and space, show us the way to a “new heaven and a new earth”. Even when trying to tell the ultimate in man’s abilities Nolan cannot find a better structure than the Gospel of Jesus and that is saying something.

Conclusion 

Once in a while, a movie comes along that challenges and changes the way we look at the art of film; Interstellar is doing that. With its inventive use of sound design, music and dialogue as well as the shear magnitude of the visual feast, especially in IMAX, Interstellar will leave it’s mark in the movie industry as well as the viewer. You just may never look up at the stars the same way again.

Interstellar_trailer

Beauty · Books · Christianity · Doctor Who · Faith · Manhood · Star Trek · The Bible · The Gospel · Uncategorized

Owl Post 8-4-14

Owl Post 2-17-12

 

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Bringing New Toys to Someone Else’s Sandbox

Point_of_Divergence_coverFor those of you who may still be wondering: Yes, the rumors are true. I do indeed write Star Trek novels.

Why? Well, sure, they pay me, but I also do it because it’s just so gosh-darned fun. I’ve been a nerd for Star Trek for as long as I can remember, having grown up in the 1970s and 80s watching reruns of the original series every weekday afternoon. Catching the gazillionth rerun of Captain Kirk fighting Klingons or whatever was the sole exception to my mother’s “homework and chores before TV” rule. To this day, I’m sure she thinks that hour could’ve been better utilized cutting the grass or cleaning our backyard pool.

Bibliotheca: What’s the Point of Making the Bible More Beautiful?

34fb575c62d581abe2984a3a70341386_largeWhen I graduated from high school, my parents gave me a study Bible for a present. It was packed with supplements: book introductions, historical information, a version of Strong’s Concordance, and best of all, hundreds of notes that sought to explain the Bible’s more challenging passages. All of it was intended to make the Bible more accessible.

How I Discovered the Secret Ingredient to Being a Good Man by Watching Doctor Who

rory-cast-a-good-man-570x320I have had a long and fairly wonderful relationship with science fiction and fantasy. The first movie that my mother took me to was Transformers, all the way back in 1986. I was only eight months old, at the time, so my memories of the event are, well, hazy at best. She assures me that we had a great time, though—the two of us and the one lonely old African-American man sharing the theater with us—and up until the age of twelve I thought that God looked like a giant, blue helmet and sounded like Optimus Prime… but that’s probably a story best told at another time. The first movie that I actually remember going to see, consciously, was also science-fiction. It was Star Trek V, granted, but I think I can probably be forgiven for thinking it was awesome. I was, after all, only three years old.

Bring Back the Holy Kiss

ab30fceebf2b93eb_14974775_468e147941“Nobody ever touches me,” a friend recently lamented. I could sympathize. In my 20s, I was in the same situation—unmarried and living far from my parents. As a teacher in a public junior high school even my job was strictly touch-free. Faculty were routinely warned against so much as placing a hand on a student’s shoulder, and once an anonymous co-worker filed a sexual harassment complaint against a single male teacher who sometimes stopped to talk to me on his free period. With no spouse and no nearby relatives, I returned untouched every evening to a quiet room and a stack of papers, often spending several days in a row without so much as a handshake of human contact.

Just One of the Guys?

irJenny Lewis’s latest album, The Voyager, dropped this week, but the video for the single “Just One of the Guys” was already making internet waves due to the inclusion–in drag, no less–of actresses Kristen Stewart, Anne Hathaway, and Brie Larson. I walked away from my four minutes at the screen feeling that Lewis had tapped into something pivotal and subversive about how we see gender.

7 Different Ways to Read a Book

bo6Reading is kind of like repairing a bicycle. Kind of. For too long now my bike has been semi-operational. It has one brake that just doesn’t want to behave and all my attempts to fix it have failed. Why? Well it turns out that I haven’t been using the right tool. To get the bike working I need to use the right tool. And when it comes to reading, well, you’ve got to use the right tool—you’ve got to know what kind of reading to do. Here are seven different kinds of reading.

 

 

 

Books · Christianity · Faith · Graduation · Guardians of the Galaxy · Marriage · Movie Trailers · The Gospel · Tim Challies · Tolkien

Owl Post 5-19-14

Owl Post 2-17-12

 

My Wife Has Tattoos: Marriage, New Birth, and the Gospel

ring-tattoos-13Today is the day of my wedding.  And I am not marrying the girl of my dreams.

If you would have told me when I was a teenager that my wife would have seven tattoos, a history in drugs, alcohol, and attending heavy metal concerts, I would have laughed at you, given you one of my courtship books, and told you to take a hike.  My plans were much different, much more nuanced with careful planning, much more clean-cut, and much more, well, about me.

When Gifts Lose Their Luster

giftThere are times I grow weary of good things. Things I love. Things I would not want to live without. Things that have the ability to make my heart beat a little bit faster and keep my mind racing when I ought to be asleep. They are good things, but somehow, through time or familiarity or neglect or something else, they begin to feel not so good. I wish it wasn’t this way, but it seems to be yet another cost of being a sinful person in a sinful world. Even the best things feel like bad things at times.

Advice to High School Graduates: ‘You Are Not Special’

graduation-hats1On a spring day in 2012, Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough, Jr., stepped onto the school’s football field, then covered in a sea of seniors dressed in identical caps and gowns. Clad in a blazer and striped tie, McCullough made his way to the podium, donned his reading glasses, and began his commencement speech. Nothing about the event seemed out of the ordinary. McCullough, after all, was participating in a ritual that happens hundreds of thousands of times across the United States each year. He had given graduation speeches before.

But compared to the countless other remarks given by comedians, journalists, and politicians that year, McCullough’s speech stood out for its blunt, four-word message: “You are not special.”

Kirsten Powers: Liberals’ Dark Ages

darkagesWelcome to the Dark Ages, Part II. We have slipped into an age of un-enlightenment where you fall in line behind the mob or face the consequences.

How ironic that the persecutors this time around are the so-called intellectuals. They claim to be liberal while behaving as anything but. The touchstone of liberalism is tolerance of differing ideas. Yet this mob exists to enforce conformity of thought and to delegitimize any dissent from its sanctioned worldview. Intolerance is its calling card.

Waving His Wand at ‘Beowulf’

packshotThere’s more to J. R. R. Tolkien than wizards and hobbits. The author of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” was also an Oxford University professor specializing in languages like Old Norse and Old English.

“Beowulf” was an early love, and a kind of Rosetta Stone to his creative work. His study of the poem, which he called “this greatest of the surviving works of ancient English poetic art,” informed his thinking about myth and language.

Christianity · Faith · Jesus · The Gospel

Shackles of My Own Making

shacklesThe young adults Bible study at my church is studying Philippians. Growing up in a Christian home and then attending Bible college as well as seminary, it’s a book that I am well familiar with. Strange thing about the Bible, you can read the same passage a million times and something new can hit you every time. This is the very thing that happened last week as I prepared for the Tuesday night study.

In the first chapter of Philippians the word “gospel” is used five times. I believe that Paul is trying to lay the foundation for what we will mention later in chapter one and in the beginning of chapter two. Paul says, “…it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” and that we should, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” So how is this possible? I mean, neither humility nor suffering are not two things that human beings tend to excel at. The answer has already been provided, the gospel. In it, we already have everything we could ever need. There is no need to worry or think about ourselves excessively, because God has already supplied the proof that he will provided for everything we need (even before we’ve realized were in need).

The ugly truth is, when I am wrapped up in myself, I only become an expert in the things I don’t have, instead of the things I do. I become shackled  to my own desires, trying to satiate a never ending hunger for more……. just more. But when I know the gospel, the depth of God’s provision for me at the cost of his own son, I am free. I am free to put others before myself since God has my back and nothing can take that away. I am able to let go of my plans as well as the idols of this world because God’s given me everything in Christ. Through him there is encouragement, comfort in his love, participation in the Spirit and abundant affection and sympathy, all from a High Priest who understands our weakness and loves us, even in our most disgusting moments.

Diving into the deep end of the gospel enables me to let go of myself and love others, just as Christ has loved me. I don’t have to do it alone, God has given me all the tools needed through him and therefore that I can,

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8, ESV)

Christianity · Faith · Freedom · The Gospel

Relationship Not Religion

Les Miserables trailer - 1If this world was made by a triune God, relationships of love are what life is really all about. – Timothy Keller

Why, why is relationship so important and specifically this relationship between God and ourselves ? Without God, without belief that Christ has done what I could not, without an understanding that I am broken and lost and made for relationship with God and there was nothing that I could do to repair this relationship, there can be no relationship. And it is this relationship that brings what is dead, alive again. So, “the Word became flesh”, Jesus was born to die, to live the life that I could not, die the death that I deserved and defeat death through his resurrection and be given the keys to hell itself. See relationships are alway based on something, shared interests or benefits received or some kind of transaction. Our relationship with God rests solely on the work of Christ, on my behalf, doing what I could not and bringing me back into his family. So many times though, this gets lost. The pure, unadulterated Gospel, the Good News, gets lost. Tullian Tchividjian says it this way in his book One Way Love, 

“Unfortunately, this is the way that so many Christians live: searching high and low for something we already have, trying to earn something we’ve already been given, forgetting that everything we need, we already possess in Christ. Or perhaps it’s not that we forget, perhaps it’s that we prefer having ‘elf on the shelf’ keeping track of our every move. It makes us feel safer. We would rather work under duress than live under freedom. Yet this is precisely why we need to hear, each and every week, the basic good news that because of Jesus’s finished work, we already have all of the justification, approval, significance, security, freedom, validation, love, righteousness, and rescue for which we desperately long – and look for in a thousand things that are infinitely smaller than Jesus.”

lesmis_0159This is what we have to share with the world, this is the Good News we have. Don’t forget, it’s not about doing good things, it’s about resting in the grace of what God has done for us though Christ and living that out and sharing that with others. Paul lays it out simply in Ephesians 2:1-10 when he says,

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

What we have to offer others is a relationship not a religion. That relationship is based on the blessed union of Christ’s work covering our sin. It is the most radical, earth-shattering relationship anyone can experience and it starts with, “We love because he first loved us” not the other way around. It starts and ends with what he’s done, because there will never be a time we outgrow the need for Christ’s work on a cross.

Books · Christianity · Divorce · Friendship · Marriage · mbird.com · Mumford and Sons · Sex · Stories · The Gospel · Uncategorized

Owlpost 9-24-13

Owl Post 2-17-12

How to Destroy Your Marriage Before It Begins:

gods_design_for_marriage_umjrTim and Jess had only been married for eight months, but the honeymoon was most certainly over. The sweet conversations that once marked their relationship had been replaced with constant bickering. Their laughter had dulled, and their distance had grown. Their sexual intimacy had almost ceased.

A Referendum on Midlife Friendships:

friends-tv-show“We haven’t seen them in a while,” I hear myself observing every few weeks, usually in reference to friends with whom my wife and I have lost touch. Most of the time, the estrangement is purely logistical, schedules being what they are in a house with two working parents and two napping toddlers. But guilt nevertheless sets in and triggers defensiveness. Soon platitudes like “it takes two to tango” or “life happens” are being trotted out and before long, you’re castigating yourself or the other person(s), possibly deconstructing society as a whole, and any chance of reconnection has been essentially nullified.

On the Power of Story with a New Fiction Writer:

Reading fiction is fun, but is it wise? Doesn’t Scripture tell us that life is a vapor, and that we need to “make the best use of the time” we’ve been entrusted? Can reading a novel count as a valid, even wise, use of time?

Vince Gill Gets Told One More Time About Jesus (and Divorce):

F3-GILLGR_SU_C_^_SUNDAYThis week country music star Vince Gill made news for his confrontation of the Westboro Baptist protesters. While this ‘colorful’ group of believers normally likes to target military funerals, this week they had their sights set squarely on Gill and his adulterous ways. But when they showed up to protest at his Kansas City concert last week, Gill decided to confront and engage with them. As he approached the group one female protester asked him, “What are you doing with another man’s wife? Don’t you know that divorce plus remarriage equals adultery? Jesus said that.”

Mumford & Sons Taking a Break for the ‘Foreseeable Future’:

Mumford-Sons-Concert-Posters-12It’s a dark day for Mumford fans—a time to hang up your suspenders, pack away your kick drum and put your banjo back into storage. This weekend the group announced that they would be stepping back from touring and making music for “the foreseeable future.” Keyboard player Ben Lovett told Rolling Stone, “We just know we’re going to take a considerable amount of time off and just go back to hanging out and having no commitments or pressure or anything like that.” Though Mumford & Sons didn’t say they were permanently breaking up, we’ve probably heard the last from the Grammy-winning gentlemen of the road for a while …

Film · Movie Review · Movies · The Gospel · The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now – Review

spectacular-now-final-posterSutter Keely is the life of every party and with the hottest girl in school at his side he is a king. In a perpetual haze of alcohol, his life is lived in the now. Numb to pain or love, Sutter is oblivious to anything but the hedonistic pleasures of this world. That is, until a misunderstanding leaves him single and being woken up in an unfamiliar front yard by a girl he doesn’t even know. Life will never be the same again. What follows is the best movie of the summer. The Spectacular Now  is a masterpiece with more heart and honesty than the entire summer’s movies combined.

L-O-V-E: 

Sutter has grown up in a broken home, with a father who is gone, yet he defends and a mother he is sure is hiding something. His older sister is already married and even though she loves him, she is not really an influence in his life. For Sutter, life is best lived in hiding from his feelings and everyone else. Living in the “now” allows him to focus on others, never really able to feel what he is feeling, giving him the appearance of being okay but inside crying out for love . He has no guidance on how to be a man because there is no one there to show him. His father is not around and his teacher as well as his boss, even though they care do not reach out and take up this young man’s training. In fact, most of the adults in this film are so wrapped up in their own worlds that they have little or no effect on the children they are meant to be raising. It is a sad commentary on the self-obsessed culture that the world has so readily embraced. With no one there to model for these teens manhood and womanhood they are left to figure out life on their own.

Sutter has a good heart, one that wants to love others and take care of them, but his own emotional wounds leave him inadequate to the task. He ends up feeling like cancer to people’s lives, worthless and broken. He has spent a lifetime, looking for love, longing for it, yet never having true love modeled for him he cannot understand it.

Amiee Finecky is the girl that wakes Sutter up in the yard. She is not anyone popular in school and yet there is something about her that draws him in. Sutter has the ability to see the things people need. He can encourage them in just the right way, make them feel like they can do anything. So against his better judgement he finds himself trying to help Amiee out. What he does not realize is that it will be her that revolutionizes his life.

the-spectacular-now-shailene-woodley-miles-teller-21-laps-entertainment-a24There is a powerful scene in the movie that’s the turning point in the film. Sutter, who is always slightly, if not fully intoxicated, has finally met his dad for the first time since he left. He finds a broken man who is incapable of truly loving anyone else but himself. Sutter and Amiee, on their way home and most certainly inebriated, almost run into another car head on. The first thing that Amiee does is turn to Sutter and ask him, “Are you ok?”. Sutter cannot believe his ears. He is faced, for the first time in his life with unconditional and sacrificial love and it freaks him out. True love has invaded his life and he has no infrastructure to support what Amiee is giving him. It is a beautiful picture of the gospel in action. Amiee loves Sutter. He has not earned it, she just gives herself and her love as a gift. It is this gift that begins to transform the way Sutter sees himself. It is not a perfect gospel picture but the power of redemptive love is fully on display and will leave you moved long after the film is over.

Conclusion:

This is a powerful film. The performances by Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley will leave you in tears as you feel every single emotion of the characters. This is the kind of movie that makes you thankful for the art of cinema. I cannot recommend this film more.

 

Christianity · Faith · Jesus · Matt Chandler · The Gospel

Preeminent Importance

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:15-23 ESV)

Let us not shift our gaze and attention away from the gospel of Christ which is the hope of our salvation and the only rock with which to build our lives upon.

“The universe shudders in horror that we have this infinitely valuable, infinitely deep, infinitely rich, infinitely wise, infinitely loving God, and instead of pursuing him with steadfast passion and enthralled fury — instead of loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; instead of attributing to him glory and honor and praise and power and wisdom and strength — we just try to take his toys and run. It is still idolatry to want God for his benefits but not for himself.” Matt Chandler – The Explicit Gospel

So let us make Christ preeminent in our lives, he already is preeminent in the universe. We love him because he first loved us. Thank you God for the kindness and mercy you have shown in making your Son the firstborn of all creation and sending him to give us new life through his death on the cross. Let us give our hearts to you fully, not for the stuff of this world, but for relationship with you. You are the only good and wise God. Amen

Christianity · Faith · The Gospel

The Call and the Gift

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

(Ephesians 1:3-23 ESV)

Christianity · Faith · Faithfulness · The Gospel

Steadfast in the Face of Rejection – Psalm 78

Oh, how the Lord is steadfast while we complain that he is not doing enough. Search and see oh human where the Lord is working, you many have missed because of your complaining.

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
The Ephraimites, armed with the bow,
turned back on the day of battle.
They did not keep God’s covenant,
but refused to walk according to his law.
They forgot his works
and the wonders that he had shown them.
In the sight of their fathers he performed wonders
in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
He divided the sea and let them pass through it,
and made the waters stand like a heap.
In the daytime he led them with a cloud,
and all the night with a fiery light.
He split rocks in the wilderness
and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
He made streams come out of the rock
and caused waters to flow down like rivers.
Yet they sinned still more against him,
rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
They tested God in their heart
by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God, saying,
“Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
He struck the rock so that water gushed out
and streams overflowed.
Can he also give bread
or provide meat for his people?”
Therefore, when the LORD heard, he was full of wrath;
a fire was kindled against Jacob;
his anger rose against Israel,
because they did not believe in God
and did not trust his saving power.
Yet he commanded the skies above
and opened the doors of heaven,
and he rained down on them manna to eat
and gave them the grain of heaven.
Man ate of the bread of the angels;
he sent them food in abundance.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
and by his power he led out the south wind;
he rained meat on them like dust,
winged birds like the sand of the seas;
he let them fall in the midst of their camp,
all around their dwellings.
And they ate and were well filled,
for he gave them what they craved.
But before they had satisfied their craving,
while the food was still in their mouths,
the anger of God rose against them,
and he killed the strongest of them
and laid low the young men of Israel.
In spite of all this, they still sinned;
despite his wonders, they did not believe.
So he made their days vanish like a breath,
and their years in terror.
When he killed them, they sought him;
they repented and sought God earnestly.
They remembered that God was their rock,
the Most High God their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths;
they lied to him with their tongues.
Their heart was not steadfast toward him;
they were not faithful to his covenant.
Yet he, being compassionate,
atoned for their iniquity
and did not destroy them;
he restrained his anger often
and did not stir up all his wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh,
a wind that passes and comes not again.
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and grieved him in the desert!
They tested God again and again
and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power
or the day when he redeemed them from the foe,
when he performed his signs in Egypt
and his marvels in the fields of Zoan.
He turned their rivers to blood,
so that they could not drink of their streams.
He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them,
and frogs, which destroyed them.
He gave their crops to the destroying locust
and the fruit of their labor to the locust.
He destroyed their vines with hail
and their sycamores with frost.
He gave over their cattle to the hail
and their flocks to thunderbolts.
He let loose on them his burning anger,
wrath, indignation, and distress,
a company of destroying angels.
He made a path for his anger;
he did not spare them from death,
but gave their lives over to the plague.
He struck down every firstborn in Egypt,
the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.
Then he led out his people like sheep
and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid,
but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
And he brought them to his holy land,
to the mountain which his right hand had won.
He drove out nations before them;
he apportioned them for a possession
and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.
Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God
and did not keep his testimonies,
but turned away and acted treacherously like their fathers;
they twisted like a deceitful bow.
For they provoked him to anger with their high places;
they moved him to jealousy with their idols.
When God heard, he was full of wrath,
and he utterly rejected Israel.
He forsook his dwelling at Shiloh,
the tent where he dwelt among mankind,
and delivered his power to captivity,
his glory to the hand of the foe.
He gave his people over to the sword
and vented his wrath on his heritage.
Fire devoured their young men,
and their young women had no marriage song.
Their priests fell by the sword,
and their widows made no lamentation.
Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
like a strong man shouting because of wine.
And he put his adversaries to rout;
he put them to everlasting shame.
He rejected the tent of Joseph;
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
but he chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion, which he loves.
He built his sanctuary like the high heavens,
like the earth, which he has founded forever.
He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheepfolds;
from following the nursing ewes he brought him
to shepherd Jacob his people,
Israel his inheritance.
With upright heart he shepherded them
and guided them with his skillful hand.
(Psalm 78 ESV)