God’s cup

Psalm 75:1-10
The disciples of Jesus were falling asleep as the Lord prayed in the garden at Gethsamane. He was pouring out his heart before God in anguish. They were hoping to catch up on some rest. Christ kept his focus on the will of God. Sleepiness won this moment over his followers.

“My Father, “Jesus cried out, “if it is possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39). What a human moment! Jesus knew the reality facing him. For some time, he had tried to prepare himself and his disciples for what was about to happen. Now, in one prayer, he asks for any other way to be faithful.

On the surface, we understand that. None of us want to suffer. We can appreciate Jesus wanting a way out. But his prayer goes deeper than wanting to avoid pain.

What cup was Jesus hoping to forego? Most likely, he had in mind the cup of God’s wrath. The cup, then, is not a situation for Jesus to escape. It was an excruciating burden to bear. There are a handful of biblical references to this cup. In Revelation, anyone who worships the beast will drink the wine of God’s fury. In that cup is the “full strength” of God’s wrath (Revelation 14:10). Other passages call it the “cup of staggering” (Psalm 60:3; Isaiah 51:17, 22). Its power is overwhelming because who can withstand the wrath of God?

One thing that stands out in those verses is that people will drink. There will be no choice. So, Jesus prays. Again, he isn’t hoping to merely get out of the pain and suffering he knows is ahead. He doesn’t want to face God’s wrath.

Who would?

Psalm 75 has another reference to this cup of God. The Lord is holding it. In it is a well-mixed wine. Its wine is on tap and the “wicked of the earth” will see every last drop. In reading the entire psalm we learn the cup reserves God’s wrath for the arrogant. God keeps the pillars of earth steady. Yet, many people raise their own horns of superiority and power. Wicked indeed.

Let’s assume we don’t want to drink from that cup. How can we avoid it? The simple response is don’t be arrogant. Well, how do we do that? Most Christians wouldn’t consider themselves to have an “insolent neck.” We’re humble. Humble enough, at least.

The psalmist’s answer to the question is praise. He sees the arrogant drinking from the cup of God’s wrath. But he “will rejoice forever” and “sing praises to the God of Jacob.”

To be frank, I don’t know how Christians skip worship with the church. I know there are other things to do. I know you can worship God anywhere and anytime. But the more we put in front of our worship of God, the more strain we put on our supposed humbleness before God. In this sense, worship isn’t a mere activity. It’s an attitude.

And our worship of God redirects our whole attitude toward life.

It was for Jesus to not have the cup pass from him. He could sense the weight of God’s wrath upon him. You and I don’t need to endure such an experience. Accepting what was to come, Jesus kept his will connected to God’s. As we worship in humility and awe, we can do the same.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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