What a beautiful day God has in store for us! Get out an enjoy it!
My bible plan covered another Psalm that is worthy of discussion. It has to do with adversity, like Psalm 35 yesterday. Let’s take a peek at a few verses:
1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.
2 I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
3 He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples me. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
I don’t really like the idea of formulas because they can turn to rituals, but don’t these three verses look like a good game plan for times of adversity? Try thinking about it like a football game in which you are playing the enemy. Think of the head coach looking over a whole sheet of plays, covering his mouth as he talks to his other coaches and sends in specific plays to those on the field. These three verses would be a great play when the opposition is gaining big yardage. Right?
Seriously! How often do we forget this particular play? Adversity hits us on one side then the other. We complain and feel sorry for ourselves when all along we have a everything we need in the pages of our bibles.
Let’s look at these verses. First, David asks for mercy. We normally think of this as mercy from sin we have committed. Might it also be for adversity that comes our way? Remember our discussion a few days ago in which we learned that God allows all adversity (see Job)? If God is allowing adversity, he certainly can restrict it or take it away entirely, right? Now, we know that we will have trials and tribulation, but is there any reason for us to think that God WON’T ease up at times if we simply ASK him? Won’t it be something to learn one day, in heaven, that we could have had many things much, much easier if we had only asked God for mercy?
Don’t get me wrong, we are made stronger by adversity. In a sense, we should welcome it simply for the growth we will enjoy. On the other hand, we can’t ignore David’s pleas for mercy. If we are satisfied that God will do for us what is best for us, then we are satisfied no matter how he answers our prayer. When life becomes unbearable, as we see here with David, then it seems to me we are advised to ask for relief. Or protection until the storms pass. Make sense?
How are we to do that? From a position of humility, by taking refuge, under God’s wings. There is no pride in this. We are coming to him like a small child. We are to cry out to him. Picture a scene from a play in which the character falls to his knees and pleads for help, tears squirting out the sides of his eyes. When was the last time you prayed like that? It’s been too long for me, in all honesty.
How does God respond? He fulfills his purpose for me. That’s exactly what we concluded in the paragraphs above. What that purpose might be is God’s alone to decide.
How will he do it? By sending from heaven to save me. What does he mean by that? Angels? That’s what he says in Psalm 91:11, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” That’s pretty cool. That’s far better than the US Calvary! And what will they do? Put them to shame. Plus….Plus….he will send out his unwavering love and faithfulness. My Puritan devotion today hit this perfectly:
When we consider his mercy and lovingkindness, our thoughts of God will be sweet and delightful. We are bidden to love and delight in him above all. He is infinitely and inconceivably good. This will draw you to God as the magnet draws the iron. If you conceive of God as ten thousand times more gracious and loving than any friend you have in the world, it will make you love him above all. This takes away weariness in duty, and gives more delight in prayer and meditation. When God becomes more lovely in our eyes, it produces growth in all of our graces, and encourages further familiarity and confidence. A clear sight of God’s merciful nature gives assurance of our happiness.
“Ten thousand times more gracious and loving than any friend you have in the world.” Imagine that.
Folks, can we agree that this is a pretty important play for us to memorize and practice? There is no need to keep this one secret. Even though the enemy can read this play, there is no way for him to spoil it. He can’t out-play this play even if he knows it’s coming. He is helpless.
It’s time to etch these words in my heart.
Father, please do just that. Etch these words in my heart. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers