Stirred, Not Shaken

Psalm 16: 8


I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

That is a good feeling, to know that God Almighty is at your right hand.  King David, the author of this psalm, had practice walking with God.  He had experience with Him.  David was confident in God’s ability to take care of him.  David took the first step though.  He placed God at the center of his world.  The Lord was continually before his eyes because David put Him there.  David established the Lord in his life and he learned that by so doing he could walk through the world without being shaken.  Even when trouble came, David knew that God would see him through it.  What a sense of peace that must have given him.  We can attain to that same relationship with our Dad too and even greater because we are living in the New Covenant.

We can do the same thing.  Look at where you are sitting right now and imagine Jesus sitting to your right.  We know that he is with us all of the time so why don’t we have a more tangible appreciation of him with us?  Part of David’s confidence was his realization that God was with him at all times.  Let this revelation grow bigger in you and I believe that you too will not be not be shaken.

Forlorn, Weeping and Mourning

Psalm 35: 11 – 16            NIV

Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about. They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn. Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother, I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother. But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; attackers gather against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing. Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked; they gnashed their teeth at me.

David wrote this psalm from his soul. His anguish is evident. Although we don’t have King Saul hunting us down and trying to kill us at every turn, none the less, I feel confident that most of us have experience with the emotions and thoughts David was experiencing.

David loved Saul. He served him faithfully. What was his reward? Jealousy, suspicion and unwarranted aggression. Can you relate to that? The very person you spend your blood and breath praying for is the one who hurls the javelin at you. When they are sick, when they are hurting, you put on your sackcloth and pray in earnest, even in deep travail for them. You pour out your soul to God on their behalf and then at the first opportunity they plot your demise. It just does not seem right, does it? Sometimes the people that you help the most turn on you. Notice also that these people who repay our good with evil are not the ungodly. David writes that they act like the ungodly. They are likely the people who know better.

These people, these accusers do not tell the truth either. We know that because David called them slanderers. People will lie about you, will frame things in a less than favorable light in order to misconstrue and to give others a wrong impression of you. They are masters at deception and will easily lead others astray so that the naïve will believe their rhetoric although it is all false.

It will take three installments of the Word of the Day to go through the 35th Psalm and see how David dealt with this issue. I think it is worth the time to follow David through this experience. Hopefully by the end you will have a new revelation on this situation. At the very least you will know that you are not alone and will likely feel akin to David.

Humbly Led

Psalm 25: 9

He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way.
You can hang out in the twenty-fifth psalm for a long time. There is much nourishment for the soul here. So how did I choose verse nine? I am often attracted to the verses that promise God will lead me in His paths. I want to know His ways and walk according to His instruction. One of my very favorite verses, in fact, is in this psalm. Verse 4 is a prayer, “Make me know Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths.” This is a psalm of David. By the time, he reaches verse 9 he has switched into teaching mode. He has gone from request to assurance. David knew that prayer to our benevolent Father results in answers. Therefore, he confidently assures us that our God and Father will lead us onto the divine pathway.

There is a stumbling block here, though, and that is what caused me to stop on this verse. There is a humility requirement. Perhaps, Father does not lead me as much as He might because I am so impressed with my own wisdom. Maybe, just maybe, my arrogance and independence prevents me from walking in His ways as well as I could. I wonder.

As you continue through this psalm, you discover that God’s instruction and guidance is for those who revere Him. Perhaps some of us get so caught up in trying to come up with answers that we never actually humble ourselves before the Lord and ask for His wisdom. And you know something else? Sometimes you don’t even have to ask. I find that if I will quiet myself down, He will offer His guidance free of charge. Maybe it doesn’t seem like arrogance for me to work so hard searching for answers but if we are truly humble and we revere the Lord won’t we allow Him to speak to our needs and questions? What is it, if not pride, when we are so caught up in our thinking that we do not appeal to His wisdom? Is this not putting our own intellect and problem solving skills on the throne?

We have a promise from the Lord that He will lead us and teach us His way. Let’s make ourselves available for Him to fulfil that promise in us.

Are You There God?

Psalm 31: 22

As for me, I said in my alarm, “I am cut off from before Thine eyes”; nevertheless Thou didst hear the voice of my supplications when I cried to Thee.

Here is a song of David which reflects a time of panic in his life. David said that it was a time of alarm. He was enduring a stressful and anxious period. His distress was so complete that he felt blocked off from anyone who could help him, even God. He did not even think that his prayers could get through to God because he felt so completely cut off. None the less, God heard all of his prayers and answered all of his petitions. God heard every tearful word. How did David know that God heard every supplication? It is because God answered David in this time of need.

God’s presence is much closer than you think. When we are really stressed and over wrought it becomes very difficult for us to feel God’s presence around us. He is there with us none the less. We cannot always go by our feelings because feelings are fickle. We have to know and say that our God is with us all of the time. Even when we cannot feel you, Lord, you are with us for you will never leave us nor forsake us.

Rejoice

1 Chronicles 29: 9

Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly.

What a beautiful passage of scripture. These people experienced much joy because their hearts were in their giving to the Lord. Did you know that giving offerings to the Lord could fill you with joy? Really, most of us enjoy giving. We just do not like to feel obligated or coerced to give. When we give freely to the Lord with our whole heart, it does make the heart glad. It is a personal giving between the person and the Lord and that sort of giving lifts the heart and countenance. I think some of us are grumpy because we hold on so tightly to our money or gifts. When we let them go freely, we elevate our own spirits. And I know that the Lord is overjoyed when we give to him out of the abundance of our hearts. It doesn’t have to be a big gift, just a joyful one.

The Architecture of Prayer

Psalm 13: 5

But I have trusted in Thy lovingkindness; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.
This is a psalm of David described as a prayer for help in trouble. This part of the psalm certainly does not sound like he is praying for help though. The structure of this prayer is so insightful. David begins with his woes but by verse three is makes his petition to the Lord. Then by verse 5 of this six verse psalm, he has shifted into trust, thanksgiving and praise. David knows that despite the appearance of some problems in his life, his God will rise up and save him. He confesses that his trust is in the Lord and that ends his troubles. He knows what the end of the story is going to be and he sings his praises to the Lord.

Destiny Thinking

Romans 8: 5

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

So the question is, “What am I thinking about?” Is this convicting or what? I must admit that the greater part of my thoughts in a day are about things of the world rather than spiritual things. I am thinking about my work, my family, my workout, my diet, leisure, and on and on. What percentage of the day am I really considering my heavenly Father, big brother and the Spirit of God? How often am I considering Dad’s goals and wishes? In truth, the things of the Spirit and prayer are taking up a smaller portion of my day than the things of the flesh. How, then, can I truly say that I am a spiritual person. Those whose thoughts are predominantly of the world and the things of the flesh are those who are “according to the flesh”.

I believe we are all called to be people of the Spirit. That is why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. Before he left the earth he said that it was to our advantage that he leave so that he could send the Spirit (John 16: 7). We are the New Testament temples because the Holy Spirit has come to make his abode in us. We were destined to have our being in him. Far too easily, though, the world comes to dominate our thoughts and everyday existence. Perhaps today’s verse acts as a reminder of who we are in Christ Jesus, who we are in the redemptive power of the Lord Jesus. However, we get to choose whether we will stand in the office preserved for us. We get to decide whether we will live according to the flesh or according to the Spirit. With that power comes responsibility. That is always the rub with the allocation of power.

Where we live our lives, whether in the flesh or in the Spirit begins, as it always must, with our thoughts. That is why David prayed for God to make the meditation of his heart acceptable in God’s sight (Psalm 19: 14). David realized that his heart and mind must hold onto the thoughts of God if he was to be successful. Paul taught this same idea in Romans 12: 2, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” If we are going to live our destinies then we must marshal the power of our minds and direct it towards God. We will have to intentionally seek direction and assistance in not only what we do but in what we think and think about. As a man thinks, so is he (Proverb 23: 7).

I am convinced that if we will invest our thinking time and power on the things of God, we will do all things better, even the things that are worldly, like our jobs. Our destinies are tied up in God’s thoughts. Think on Him and his ways and fulfill your destiny!