Psalm 63: God is Trustworthy

Hard to believe that it is Saturday again already. Has your week flown by like mine? The temperatures sure are creeping up here in Texas. I’m not sure we’re quite ready for triple-digit days here in the DFW metroplex, but ready or not, they have arrived. There’s something about sunny weather that makes me smile. I love the sunshine. My guess is most of you do too. But sometimes, even when the weather outside is beautiful and sunny, our circumstance or disposition inside is shrouded in darkness. Such was the case with David when he wrote the words to Psalm 63. He was in a world of hurt. He found himself in a dark, difficult place. David had gone into hiding in the wilderness of Judah, and far removed from the Ark and his regular place of formal worship. I’m sure that this made him feel disconnected from God and separted from worship. Have you ever been in a place like that during your faith journey? I have. And it’s no fun.

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David laments his situation in Psalm 63, pouring out his heart and soul, praying that the Lord would hear him. He hungered for God. His soul was thirsty for a word from the Lord. He felt spiritually dry and his body ached from weariness. But he refused to let his current plight prevent him from praising God. He rested in the faithfulness and steadfast love of the Lord. He knew that God had his back and that David’s enemies would not prevail against him, even though in that moment, thinks looked bleak. Read an meditate on the words of David’s lamenting psalm:

Psalm 63 (ESV)

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

9 But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; 10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals. 11 But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

Even though he was many miles away from the Ark and a long distance away from his regular house of worship, David trusted the Lord. Throughout his lifetime, he had found God to be trustworthy.

The other night, when we were with our group ministering down at Union Gospel Mission, I talked and prayed with a man who had been struggling to find God trustworthy. He wanted to trust in the Lord, but he remained unconvinced. I shared my experience with him. I have witnessed God at work. Like David, I have found the Lord to be trustworthy, far beyond any definition of trustworthiness I could ever fathom. Even when our days are difficult, God is good. He remains trustworthy. His faithfulness is steadfast and everlasting. The Lord will not drop you. He will not forget you. God cares for you. He loves you. He’s got you.

As Christians, we can take comfort that our prayers don’t go unheard. God listens to us. He delights in our prayers. The answer we get to prayer doesn’t always look the way we anticipated. There are times that we think we didn’t get an answer because we don’t see God’s response in a tangible way from our current position. Yet, later, as our perspective shifts, we discover God did answer. And yes, there are times when the answer is no. In all instances, we can trust God with our prayers.

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Meditating on the person and works of God refreshes our soul and invigorates our spirit. It is important for us to spend time focusing on God, reminding us of His goodness, His greatness, and His grace. Meditating on the Scripture, God’s revelation of Himself to us, helps us serve as a blessing to others, as well as feeding and nurturing ourselves. It’s what we call a “win-win.” Prayer helps us tap into all that God has to offer. Through prayerful meditation we can discern God’s will for us, as well as deepen our relationship with Him.

As believers, like David, we can rest in the assurance that the Lord is trustworthy. We can celebrate His faithfulness and shout in praise of His steadfast love for us. God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

Blessings.

Psalm Saturday: Psalm One Devotional

Psalm One is one of the best known and most beloved psalms, summarizing the two roads of life people can choose: a) the way of the righteous and b) the way of the wicked. There is a right way and a wrong way. The right way leads us closer to God. The wrong way leads us further and further astray the longer we remain on it.

As we are often reminded viewing the nightly news, there is a Good and an Evil that exists in this world we temporarily call home. The battle between Good and Evil is certainly nothing new. It has existed since the earliest beginnings of time; perhaps even longer. We can choose to follow Good or fall prey to a lifestyle of Evil. 

Psalm One reveals the importance of how we think about God, describing godly living contrasted against the hazards of an ungodly lifestyle. For the original biblical audience, Psalm One serves as a reminder of their hope in the Mosaic Covenant. For you and me, it reflects a picture of two roads. One road produces blessings. The other road results in the bitter fruits of sorrow and destruction.

Psalm One

Living a life of obedience yields blessings, provides good spiritual health, and transforms our character and actions into something that is pleasing to the Lord. Without a healthy root system grounded in the Word, we are as sure to die spiritually as a tree is certain to rot. Following God leads to good things. 

The wicked have no concern for the things of God. They do not live to please the Lord.  Instead, they live to please themselves and satisfy their own passions. They have zero regard for living the spiritual life. A life lived simply to feed our own desires falls short of God’s plan for us. 

Psalm One ends with a warning of a future day of judgement in which the Lord will separate the godly from the ungodly, the righteous from the wicked, and the wheat from the chaff. It offers a stern warning reminding us to live our lives with the knowledge that one day we will be asked to give an account of the road we chose to travel. The road we choose is up to us. 

Psalm One makes it abundantly clear that a life lived trusting in the Lord and in full obedience to all He commands is the more profitable path to take.

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Are you ready to choose the right road?

I pray that you are.

God loves you. He does not wish anyone to perish. He gave His only Son so that we could be restored on a right path leading to a life lived in His presence forever.

Prayer:

Father God, I love you. I thank you for the grace and mercy you have bestowed on me and for giving me a second chance to follow You on the right path. Father, I pray that Your truth would be revealed to others and that they might come to know You as I have come to know You. Thank you for the truth of Your Word and the Wisdom it provides. Thank you for Your Son, through whom I am saved. Amen.

Sons of Korah-Psalm 1

 

Living Life on Different Terms

I’ve heard it said that fear reflects the absence of faith. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I do know that I don’t want to wander around in the wilderness like the Israelites did after God delivered them from Egypt. Their doubt and fear manifested themselves in restlessness and discontent. That is what doubt and fear do to me; they sow seeds of discord and dissatisfaction, leading to destruction. Unchecked, a wake of mayhem and devastation is sure to follow.

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Even though I have faith, I still experience fear. Doubt is not the absence of trust, is it? I trust, yet, I have doubt. Being in recovery, my primary job is staying clean and sober. That’s job #1.  My doubts and fears will drive me back to the wilderness if I empower them. Staying on the right path means I cannot engage in the business of doubt and fear because they lead down the path of destruction. Doubt and fear make me do stupid things.

My belief in my Higher Power has to be stronger than the angst doubt and fear cause me. My trust in the Lord Almighty must prevail in times of trouble brought on by the creeping demons of doubt and fear.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
(Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr)

Most days, my fears and doubts aren’t about God anymore. When I take inventory, my doubt and fear center on people, places, and things. I am reminded my choices require wisdom.

Be Still and Know that I am God.

(Psalm 46:10)

After further examination and deep reflection, I have found doubt and fear are rooted in my inability to control everyone, every place, everything. Therein lies my trouble. To do job #1-stay clean and sober-I have to recognize that I am not God and that I am dependent on Him to provide me with courage and wisdom to see things for what they are, not as I would necessarily like them to be. The world and the life in it do not act according to the unwritten, nondisseminated script in my head. Expressing my doubt and fear through anger and resentment do not change reality. Things just don’t work that way. It’s simply not all about me. It’s about God and others. Loving Him and loving them. Jesus says there are no greater commandments than these two.

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Doubt and fear are insidious, inventive and incendiary diseases devising ways to keep me from trusting the Lord, faithfully following His ways, and obediently resting in His Spirit. Abiding in Him, all things are possible. I need not fear. I need not doubt. He alone provides me the strength necessary to sustain me and help me persevere, be it on the mountain or in the valley. He is faithful to never leave me nor forsake me.

Recovery means I no longer live solely the way I want to live. Recovery means, one day at a time, I learn to live the way God wants me to live. Recovery means how I live matters.

Go in peace.