Be Not Silent Lord

July 16, 2023 Download: Audio

Psalm 83

I love JRR Tolkien’s books. The Hobbit is a fun story in which a group of dwarves recruit Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, to be their “thief” as they plan their heist of treasure stolen by the wicked dragon, Smaug. It’s a story of grand adventure and peril until they miraculously arrive at the mountain of the dragon. The door to the mountain, however, is locked. Although they have a key, they don’t know the trick to making it work. Until they do, the mysteries that lie behind and the treasures to be discovered remain hidden and of little value. Sometimes the scriptures are like that. Everyone can read them, if they so desire, but not everyone has the key to unlock the mysteries and the treasures hidden within. Some mysteries simply require faith to unlock them, such as the story of the basics of the gospel message—that Jesus died on the cross to atone for your sin. This is a treasure greater than any other. But unless you believe it, it’s treasure remains locked away. Is it a treasure to you?

Bilbo and the dwarves had been through many trials before they reached the door, and now it seemed impenetrable. But just as hope seemed lost, the moonlight hits the door at just the right moment and the keyhole is revealed, inviting them to discover the mysteries that lay beyond, shrouded in the darkness. That is often the way the treasures of scripture are unlocked—through trials and struggles and desperation. And it isn’t necessarily a mystery as to why this is the case. You have to learn to appreciate the good things in life often by contrast to the struggles. This is what we learn in the parable of the lost son. The son has everything before him but has no idea its value until he’s lost and destitute. And when he returns and his father sees, his father runs to him, hugs his neck, dresses him in his own robe, gives him his own ring, and kills the fattened calf to celebrate his return. The contrast is made between the other brother, who never left, and the son who has returned. Only one has the key to unlocking this treasure, and it was the hardships he faced to get there.

Many of the psalms are like Smaug’s mountain. There is treasure to be found but it is sometimes hard to find the key to unlocking them. The treasure revealed in this psalm is the the astounding glory of God. So how does the psalmist unlock it?