Thursday, November 20, 2014

"This I know, that God is for me" Psalm 56:9

by Hayley Boud

Most of the time human beings think that God is for me when we are blessed according to what we consider a blessing.  God is for me when I pass my exams, or God is for me when I get a new job, or God is for me when I get healed.  So when we read this Psalm, we might think that David wrote it when everything was perfect in his life. Yet, it was the exact opposite.  David was crossing a difficult time in his life.

Before we begin discussing the verse and the actual situation that David was facing, let’s first look at where David had come from.  David was a simple shepherd boy that no one even noticed.  According to the Bible he was ruddy which apparently means he had healthy complexion.  I suppose I would like to be remembered as looking healthy rather than sickly but if I were a man, I think I would rather be remembered for being handsome or strong.  So obviously there was nothing remarkable about David as a boy.  But then, Samuel (Priest and Prophet) anoints him to be the future king of Israel to the surprise of even his own father.  Then poor David is sent to give food to his brothers and when he sees Goliath, he believes he can fight him but instead of being encouraged, his brother misinterpret him and tell him he’s  conceited with an evil heart.  Imagine being told by your own brother that you have a wicked heart and you are conceited while you genuinely want to serve God.  But we all know the story of how David killed the huge giant with a stone.  Then victory and David is glorified and people sing songs about him, he marries the king’s daughter and becomes the personal assistant of the king.  And just when David is getting settled into his new life, the king throws a spear at him.


The king had become jealous of David and wanted to kill him.  David’s life changed and now he was on the run.  He had to leave everything behind, his wife, his friends, his good food, nice bed and live in caves.


In 1 Sam 21:10-14, “That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’? David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”


David goes to Gath – a city of Philistine where Goliath was from, carrying the sword of Goliath.  Could you do that?  Go into the city where people hate you?  In order to survive, he starts acting as a madman.  It sounds comedic but it wouldn’t have been funny at the time.  It would have been terrifying and hugely humiliating.  When I was very sick, I couldn’t remember things and I felt like such an idiot.  I couldn’t remember my birthdate or what simple words were like “oven”.  I remember asking someone, “what’s an oven?”  It was so humiliating to not know simple things.  How humbled was David at this point – to act like a madman.  The future king of Israel brought down to a VERY low point.  This is the man that God declares as a man after his own heart.  This doesn’t seem like a blessing.  It doesn’t seem like God is on his side.  Yet, being humbled is a blessing.  We all know the saying, “pride comes before a fall”.  When we are humbled, it is because God doesn’t want us to fall.  I was made sick because without that, I would have become the most proud person on earth – believing that sickness is only for weak people or for people who don’t have faith.  Praise God when we are humbled because this is a sign that God is for us.


When Peter was on the boat and Jesus was walking on water…Jesus said “come” and so he did.  He had so much courage and faith but somewhere, he started to fall and he had to cry out to Jesus to save him.  How humbling.  Imagine how much the disciples laughed at him, “ha ha, Peter, what happened?”  God calls us out and we believe we are going somewhere really good (like Peter – remember all the fish he caught in the boat and now God calling him on water) but then we start to fall and things get worse than before (like David – better to be at home as a simple shepherd than to be living in caves and in the wilderness) but remember when we cross those situations to be like Peter who cried out to Jesus to save him.  God saved him by holding on to his hand and that is exactly what He does for us.  Remember when we cross hard times to be like David and say, “this I know, God is for me” because those hard times are protecting us from pride and making us a new creation.


When we cross hard times be like David and take the time to talk to God.  Tell Jesus all about your situation as David did by writing  Psalm 56.


Psalm 56:1-2 Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride.


Fear is rising up inside of David, he is alone and cries out for mercy.  And then declares…


Verses 3-4 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?  


When we are afraid, the only place to turn is God.  I remember one time driving over the Kaimais at 10pm at night and the fog was so thick I had to drive at 10km an hour and I could only see a few centimetres of the white line at a time and I just kept following it.  I was so afraid my whole body was shaking because I could have gone over the cliff at any moment.  I just kept saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” over and over because it was the only thing I could do.  I could only cry out to God and He was the only One I could trust during that time.  During those times, we have faith to believe that God is for us.


Whatever you are crossing right now, you may have worries or fears but put your trust in God and know that God is for you.  You might be worried about your health, your job, your family, your finances, your studies…trust in God.  And as the verse says, Praise Him.  Keep your eyes on God and worship Him no matter what is going on around you.  As the song says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus….and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace”.  But when we take our eyes of Christ and start looking around us…we start to doubt again…


Verses 5-7 All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life. On no account let them escape; in your anger, O God, bring down the nations.


 One minute David is declaring ‘What can mortal man do to me’ and the next minute he’s talking about what they will do.  We have faith that God will take care of us and then suddenly we get a power bill and we freak out over whether we can pay it.  We have faith that God will take care of us and then we get a health scare and freak out…what if it is cancer?  We have faith until we use our physical eyes to see what is going on around us.  Just like Peter walking on water.  He had so much faith to jump on the waves when he saw Jesus walking on water but then he looks around and realises what he is doing.  He starts to fall but he knew where to find help…he cried out to Jesus. 


When we feel doubts creeping in, when we start to worry or feel afraid, remember…


 Verses 8-9 You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in Your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me.


This verse has got me through many trials.  When I cry I remember that God is saving my tears in a bottle and He is for me.  As human beings, we think that blessings must always be good according to us.  Blessings can also be difficult times that we face.  This is a blessing for our soul.  When we are transformed into a new creations, this is a blessing. This is a better blessing than material things which only last for a short time while we are on earth.  The difficulties we face don’t seem like a blessing but they are because they make us into the kind of Christian that God is proud of.


During our difficult times, times where things feel so uncertain and we start to doubt (like Peter on the water), the only thing we can know for sure is that God is for me.  We might not know the future, or why we are crossing this hard time, but we can know for sure that God is for me.


Verses 10-13 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise— in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. 


When we feel doubts rising in us, take the time to read the Word of God and the promises that are in it.  When we feel ourselves falling down (like Peter) cry out to God, worship Him and tell Him exactly what we are facing (like David) and then remind ourselves, that God is for us.



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