A Prayer About the Arrogant

Psalm 73 marks the end of David‘s prayers and beginning of the worship leader, Asaph‘s in Book 3 of the Psalms.

The psalm moves from God’s goodness to Israel, to the psalmist losing his grip on reality, to a diatribe prayer about the arrogant culture in which he lives, to God’s faithfulness, ending with this beautiful line, “But as for me, it is good to be near God . . .”

What stood out initially to me in this psalm was the section about the arrogant that sounds a lot like me. It sounds like many in the first world.

My wife and I have a code that we don’t post on Facebook when people talk about certain things, but we say it to one another, and perhaps we ought to actually post it at times (we’ll get unfriended if we do, but may be for the best!). The thing we often say when someone is gripping publicly about some superficial thing like service at a restaurant, is “FWP.”

“FWP” — What’s that?

First World Problem. So, you had to wait for 30 minutes ON YOUR BUTT, while someone brings you food, and you are complaining about it? The salsa wasn’t as good as always, your coke was flat, the waitress wasn’t perky enough. These are first world problems. Half of the world goes hungry. You ought to be guilt tripped about that. Maybe we need to just start unfriending or hiding people who use social media to complain. As Steven Furtick says, paraphrased, “As Christians, we have a responsibility to be happy.” I’m sure Furtick said it somehow more colorfully than that.

So, if you get the urge to post something to complain that you think might be a first world problem, go read Psalm 73:3-12.

Day of War

Day of War. Cliff Graham. Zondervan, $14.99 softcover (368p) ISBN 9780310331834

Army veteran and chaplain draws from deep research and experience in war to write one of the most fascinating yet under-documented stories in the Bible. Based on the exploits of the renegade band of “Mighty Men” of King David, this war novel has additional dimensions that make it unique for Christian fiction.

Descriptive of life in ancient near east and provides the history buff a biblically-based story that is not preachy but is actually quite gruesome: the exploits of a rag-tag band of men from different countries serving a soon-to-be-king.

Readers patient enough to plow through lengthy and repeated descriptions of setting and weather can find dozens of characters that help to paint a rare picture of life three millennia ago. Most of the story is from the perspective of Beniah, one of David’s Mighty Men, who fend off King Saul and helped David take his rightful throne. About Saul, who is losing his throne: “There was a breeze, a footstep, and the fire flickered again. And Saul knew he was alone . . . They found their king lying on his face, weeping.”

Otherwise provocative transitions are awkward. “Then it all changed earlier that evening.” Gets into the minds of people from nations surrounding Israel. An Egyptian muses, “Why would a man choose to follow only one god when there were so many other areas of life where he required their services?”

For what it lacks in a compelling tension and discernible quest of individual characters, it more than makes up for in developing characters longing for their homeland and seeking power in the textured ancient world setting. –Reviewed by Greg Taylor