I really enjoy having a bible reading plan, especially one that covers the entire bible in a year. I suppose I have read it cover to cover five times, maybe six. I fully expect to be learning new things when I reach thirty-five times. Its width and depth are almost hard to comprehend. If you haven’t integrated this into your daily routine, I recommend you do. You won’t regret it.
I especially enjoy stumbling on familiar verses. Yesterday, for example, we covered one that is special. I say “we” because there is a group of us on the same plan through the YouVersion app. We all can see who is keeping up with the plan. We have nine in our group, and four are regular participants. That in itself is a motivator, knowing that others see what I’m doing. At the same time, it is very encouraging to know that friends of mine are enjoying the same bible passages as I am. It’s pretty cool. If anyone would like to join us next year, please let me know.
Anyway, we covered Psalm 42 yesterday. In it, there is this wonderful verse:
Psalm 42: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Here we see self-talk during difficult times. David was discouraged, yet he reminded himself of where his hope really lies. I guess Christians tend to bash the self-help section of the bookstore, but this is the perfect example of positive affirmation. Rather than promoting self, however, we learn to promote God in our lives. That’s the BIG difference.
Even so, this lesson is one that shouldn’t be quickly overlooked. Here we see David talking to himself, as if his mood were a personality. Through it, he encouraged himself about what was really important – hope in God. In God alone is hope, and with God alone we CAN hope. True hope, that is.
Over time, I have come to realize that the bible often repeats itself. Remember Jesus saying, “Truly, truly,”? That’s our cue to really pay attention. Truly. Well, this verse is repeated not only once, but twice! Psalm 42:5, 42:11, and 43:5. The exact same words, over and over. What is our lesson? We are supposed to talk to ourselves and remind ourselves about who God is and what he is to us. Here, David is alone, surrounded by enemies who taunt him about his God. All of us, at times, have nowhere to turn or no one to talk to. Here, we see David talking to himself. He knows, and reassures himself, that one day he shall praise God. He WILL come through this present difficult time.
Most of the time, however, we aren’t truly alone. We have loved ones that we can talk to in times of disquiet. Which ones should they be? The ones that will point us to hope in the God that we will soon praise again. Indeed, we can always find friends to cry in our beer, but that’s not what we need. We need friends that will reassure and encourage us in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all our comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
Isolation and aloneness are hunting grounds for the enemy. When alone, seek God. By all means, seek other believers to worship God together – both to comfort and to be comforted. God equips us. We are to rejoice. Always. Learn how to do that.
Father, thank you, thank you, thank you, for your Word. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers