Bad Stuff, Deep Trust – Reflection on Psalm 56

Psalm 56:1-13

Stuff Happens

Bad things happen. How do you respond? What do you do when life doesn’t work out the way you want? What’s your reaction when someone actively seeks your destruction? Perhaps destruction is too strong of a word. Maybe somebody tries to destroy your reputation, limit your opportunities, or steal your thunder. What do you do? Where do you turn?

Life doesn’t always go as planned. Stuff happens. Sometimes bad stuff happens. You find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time or end up a victim of circumstances beyond your control. What’s your response?
Continue reading “Bad Stuff, Deep Trust – Reflection on Psalm 56”

3 Steps to Conquer Fear (Reflection on Psalm 34:4)

Psalm 34:4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.

Eat and Run

I walked into the McDonald’s because the drive-thru was packed. There, waiting in line was a man who had already ordered. He looked at me and said, “Wow. I can’t believe people are so lazy they would rather wait in the long drive-thru line rather than Psalm 344 [widescreen]coming inside. There’s no one in here! He was right. The place was empty.

Drive-thru lines get longer and longer it seems. Some places are even putting in two drive-thru lanes to deal with the increased use. Why? Are people really lazy? Or have we become so busy that sitting in the car answering email, or talking on the phone as we pick up our food and eat on the way to our next activity seems the best use of our time? Some of us are so busy a “sit down meal” means eating in our car as we drive to our next meeting. With so much to do, we fear taking time out to eat will put us behind.

Delivered

My eyes fall to verse 4 where David writes, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

That’s a powerful statement considering Saul was trying to kill David and David was running for his life. Saul had the entire Israel army at his disposal while David only had a few hundred men. David had every reason to be afraid, yet, God delivered him from all his fears.

Fear Factor

We don’t have to have someone trying to kill us to be afraid. Fear influences all of our decisions, even when we don’t know it. While fear helps us survive, fight or flight and all that, most of us don’t have to worry much about tigers, lions, and bears (oh my). Our fear is of a different nature.

We are afraid of missing out (FOMO), losing what we have, not getting what we need, upsetting others, being misunderstood, being rejected, just to name a few. Perhaps our biggest fear is making mistakes or failure. We may even decide to play it safe and stick to our ‘comfort zone.’ Comfort zones are nice because we can handle anything there. While our comfort zone is void of fear, it can limit our faithfulness to God.

Fear of losing a job causes workers to “just do what they are told” instead of putting their whole self into their work. Fear of missing out causes us to spend weekend after weekend on ball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball courts, dance recitals, and other activities. While we enjoy the events, fear that if our children aren’t fully involved, they will miss out on future scholarships is what drives us. Some children start playing organized sports at 4 or 5 years old because parents believe if they don’t their future will be limited and they won’t have as good of a life as they could.

Why are we so fearful? Because we have lost our center and we believe we are on our own. David, in this Psalm, praises God because God had delivered David from all his fears. David gives us guidance on how we can be delivered from our fears as well.

3 Steps to Be Delivered from Fear

Notice David’s progression:

1) I Sought the Lord
2) The Lord answered
3) He delivered me from all my fears

This three step process seems simple, but it isn’t easy. We all want #3, but #1 can be a problem. David sought the Lord. He was a seeker. He was seeking God in the midst of his fear as he was running. In other psalms (Psalm 5:3) David writes about seeking God in the morning. Because David sought God, God answered.

How can we expect God to answer, when we don’t fully seek him?

Habits

Do we seek the Lord, so that the Lord can answer us? What’s your habit of seeking God?

When David heard God answer, he knew he was delivered. God answered, because David was intentional to seek God. My fear is that we have become a culture who talks about seeking God, but don’t. Instead of intentional, focused, time with God, we pray “on the run” or try to “multi-task” God into our lives. God has become like our lunch…we head to the drive-thru, pick up our food, and eat as we are on the way to somewhere else. Such a meal keeps us going, but doesn’t feed our soul.

Seeking God

When we seek God, God answers. When God answers, we discover we are not alone. When we realize we are not alone, our fear dissipates. The process begins when we spend focused, intentional, time with God.

God may not answer the way we want him to answer. It has taken me years to come to terms with God not answering me the way I wanted. What I have discovered is that God answers with his presence, which, I find ends up being much better than the answer I was looking for. In Jeremiah, God makes this promise, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) That promise, when realized, drives away all fear.

Morning Reflection 3/20/12 – Psalm 27


 

 

Triumphant Song of Confidence

Of David.

 

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers assail me

to devour my flesh—

my adversaries and foes—

they shall stumble and fall.

3 Though an army encamp against me,

my heart shall not fear;

though war rise up against me,

yet I will be confident.

4 One thing I asked of the Lord,

that will I seek after:

to live in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to behold the beauty of the Lord,

and to inquire in his temple.

5 For he will hide me in his shelter

in the day of trouble;

he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;

he will set me high on a rock.

6 Now my head is lifted up

above my enemies all around me,

and I will offer in his tent

sacrifices with shouts of joy;

I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,

be gracious to me and answer me!

8 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”

Your face, Lord, do I seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me.

Do not turn your servant away in anger,

you who have been my help.

Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,

O God of my salvation!

10 If my father and mother forsake me,

the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,

and lead me on a level path

because of my enemies.

12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,

for false witnesses have risen against me,

and they are breathing out violence.

13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the Lord;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

wait for the Lord!

 

Trust is something that isn’t given. Trust is earned. Reading through the various psalms I find  that David knows that he can trust God, because God has always been trustworthy.

I tend to forget that God can be trusted. When the enemy crowds around and I fear that war is drawing near, fear starts telling me I’m alone. If I believe what fear tells me, I forget that God is trustworthy. The higher my fear, the lower my trust. However, the higher my trust, the lower my fear. When I trust God, fear flees.

David trusted God. That is why he is able to write what he does. That is why he is able to wait for the lord and take courage. God had “earned” his trust time and time again. No matter what was going on around him, David knew he could trust and he did.

 

Morning Reflection: 2/14/12 – Psalm 2

http://biblia.com/bible/nrsv/Ps2

1 Why do the nations conspire,

and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds asunder,
and cast their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
with trembling 12 kiss his feet,
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all who take refuge in him.

::

“Happy are all who take refuge in him” and why not? Even though the nations conspire, God simply laughs. At times we might forget who God is. We allow circumstances in our lives to become so big that we begin to believe that they are even bigger than God. We become fearful, thinking that we will be overtaken.

The Psalmist reminds us that God is bigger. Even when our circumstances and problems conspire against us…God simply laughs. He is the one who is bigger. His power is so much greater than anything we will ever have to face. We can take refuge in God because he is so much bigger than our problems, our fear, our sin.

Take heart, the God you serve is bigger…..