Monday, March 14, 2011

The Social Network and loving this world

My wife and I-sans kids thanks to their aunt and uncle-sat down and watched The Social Network last night. It was OK. Some good acting and a current connection made it more interesting than it might have been otherwise.

However, I like a good ending. What would have made me happy is if the two friends had of reconciled in the end, thus not allowing money and pride to come between them. Oh well.

Along with the disappointment of broken friendship, by the end of the movie I was also left with a bad taste in my mouth; the lingering flavours of love of this world left on my palate. All the talk of the millions and billions of dollars left me pining for possession and thirsting for things. It left me with a passion for personal possessions which so often deadens our desire for delight in our Deity.

The residue of relish for real estate and wistful wishing for wealth was washed away this morning.

I read in Psalm 73 the following:

Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
(Psalm 73:1-17 ESV, emphasis mine)

Being jealous of the wealthy wicked is quickly exposed as futile and foolish when their end is considered. These worldly enjoyments are but trinkets and baubles; they pale and fail in light of and in the light of God's glory. As I read some more of God's word I came across Proverbs 11:4 which confirms and reinforces the idea from the Psalms of keeping the end of all things in view:

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
(Proverbs 11:4 ESV)

My hope is found, and should remain, in nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. And the wrath of God should not be allowed to stray far from our thoughts. Thoughts of the afterlife are a ground for our thinking and a ballast for our affections.

These passages helped restore the "exile orientation" that John Piper's book, A Godward Life, also reminded me of this morning as I read a chapter as part of my devotions.

Finally, Kevin DeYoung's review of Rob Bell's book Love Wins put the final nails in the coffin where the mortified musing on fleshly fixtures that I had been fixated on now lay. In exposing the problems with Bell's book, DeYoung reiterated the importance of the orthodox belief in heaven. hell, and God's wrath; the very tonic for the toxic taunting I had exposed myself to in The Social Network.

King David, King Solomon, John Piper, and Kevin DeYoung played a secondary role to God and His Word in rinsing the residue of love of this world from my heart and mind. A great start to the day!


  1. Funny, I got the same feeling when I watched this movie recently also. Thanks for posting the scripture and the correction. Helpful!

  2. Check out Martin Bashir's interview of Rob Bell on MSNBC. Blasted! I think Tim Challies has a book review on him too.