Category Archives: seeking understanding
“Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.” Psalms 21:13 ESV http://bible.com/59/psa.21.13.esv
Wherever we may be, in whatever circumstance, may we offer praise to God!
In the twelfth Psalm we read about words.
The psalmist feels surrounded by the faithless. He laments the conditions surrounding him.
Then, nearing the end of this complaint, he states:
“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.” Psalms 12:6-7 ESV http://bible.com/59/psa.12.6-7.esv
No matter the circumstances that surround us… grief, opposition, betrayal, we may always turn to God in His Word.
We may run to the Father with a language of prayer. A vernacular that we learn to speak as we read and hear the vibrant, acitive wonderful Word of God!
Then, with our faith renewed by God, we face the challenges of the day, whatever they may be.
“In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;” Psalms 11:1-2 ESV http://bible.com/59/psa.11.1-2.esv
In the Lord we find the perfect protection when the inevitable struggles come our way. We live in a broken world in which battle is to be expected. In the Psalm, the arrow shoots into the dark, seeks to bring harm to those seeking God. Perhaps this was on Paul’s mind when he wrote:
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;” Ephesians 6:16 ESV http://bible.com/59/eph.6.16.esv
Take up is our responsibility. Let us not go into the fray without our shield!
Run to the Father, take up the shield of faith, in all circumstances.
When thinking about biblical leadership one needs look no further than Nehemiah. When he was personally torn over the fate of Jerusalem, it was clear to those around him. He had already purposed in his heart what to do, but when the king notes his downcast demeanor, look at Nehemiah’s response.
“Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 2:4 ESVhttp://bible.com/59/neh.2.4.esv
He prayed, then spoke. His response was prayer.
When the earliest church was suffering great persecution, having seen one of their number killed to please the Jews, and Peter awaiting a similar fate. The church responded.
“So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” Acts 12:5 ESVhttp://bible.com/59/act.12.5.esv
May we become like soldiers who carefully put on their gear before going into battle. May we get ready to meet each day as the psalmist does.
“Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” Psalms 5:1-3, 11-12 ESV http://bible.com/59/psa.5.1-3,11-12.esv
God never promised to answer all our prayers the way we want. Many times that would not be good for us. We often want for that which may actually be an obstacle to us.
But what I’ve found is that prayer and abiding in the Scripture IS the way to put on the armour so that I am prepared for what is coming. With the armour, I need not fear when trouble comes. Because I’ve dwelt long with Him this morning I can face the troubles from without and, often worse, the troubles within.
Raise the shield!
I’m four steps into my latest saunter through the Psalms. My soul is strengthened by the real-ness of the crus of the psalmist. These are hearty prayers that teach us to run to God. And the more we sit with God, the less we may have to run to God.
Just now I was encouraged by the beginning and ending verses of Psalm 4. Consider this…
“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalms 4:1, 8 ESV) http://bible.com/59/psa.4.1,8.esv
“Every person wishes to be heard, understood, and valued; this should be a basic function of disciple making, how else can we shine the gospel into lives?” As We’re Going, p. 32