One of my recent Facebook posts read, “These days I get most of my exercise from shaking my head in disbelief.” I think so would you - if I confessed this all started while researching recipes for a dinner guest who has sworn off red meat. None of my time-tested chicken favorites tickled my fancy at the moment, but for some odd reason a so-called blast from the past came to mind: Shake ‘n Bake. Kraft Foods pitched the bread crumb-style coating and my kids made me try – and forget – it. So, I settled for Turkey Parmigiana, but became unsettled by very recent memories of record triple-digit heat during the day, and pesky earthquakes at night. Surely you see how “Shake ‘n Bake” takes on a sinister new meaning, creating the perfect recipe for Chicken a la Coward.
Thank God for the spiritual blast from the past in the person of Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), the English Baptist pastor dubbed the “Prince of Preachers.” He authored many timeless classics; Amazon sells more than a dozen. His devotional book Morning & Evening became my favorite. Several volumes of the 751-page best seller are within reach, with many of the devotions almost illegible with my underlinings, scribbled comments, and diary-like entries. Yet on this day only one Spurgeon commentary stands out, the one he penned on Psalm 62, calling it the Only or Alone Psalm.
Verses 1a and 2 read, “My soul waits in silence for God only [alone]…He only [alone] is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.” Verse 6 reiterates David’s claim, but adds a twist we dare not miss. “He only [alone] is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken.” Verses 8-10 strongly mirror our present shaky times that cause fear to exert a strong hold on our psyche, and trouble our faith. If you and I get alone with God and agree with the Psalmist that He only is our unrivaled stronghold, our calm of holy confidence will resonate with the testimony of Hebrews 12:28, “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.”
A couple of centuries back two certain groups of believers took their major cue from Hebrews 12:29, it seems: “…for our God is a consuming fire.” Factor in thoughts of the wildfires ravaging our state, and we might get a hint why the fearful Quakers came on the scene and spawned the celibate Shakers. Their sect died out from lack of converts, but their minimalist furniture continues to be copied and prized. God’s Word trumps fads and falsehoods, but even so it does behoove us to grapple with Isaiah 66:2b, “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Think of recent tremblors and choose to be as serious as the prophet would have us be, but let that kind of “shaking” be informed by the writer of Psalm 62 who concludes, “…power belongs to God; and lovingkindness is Thine, O Lord, for Thou dost recompense a man according to his work.”