Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kept through trouble

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 121:1-8

TO CHEW ON: "The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore." Psalm 121:8

Though a quick read-through of this Psalm may give us the impression that life with God is insulated and lived "on flowery beds of ease," it doesn't really say that at all. Because every positive statement the psalmist makes argues back to an implied niggling worry that is altogether familiar:

We fear that help won't come; we will slip; God will miss something; He won't keep us; we'll faint in the heat or lose heart in the night; we'll succumb to evil; our life will end badly after all.

Eugene Peterson says in his commentary on this psalm:

"No literature is more realistic and honest in facing the harsh facts of life than the Bible. At no time is there the faintest suggestion that the life of faith exempts us from difficulties....On every page of the Bible there is recognition that faith encounters troubles" A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 42.

Though this psalm does't promise a problem-free life, it does promise:
- God will be right there with us in our problems (Psalm 121:2,4).
- He controls their extent; their limits are in His hands (Psalm 121:3).
- He will send us protection and relief in them (Psalm 121:5,6).
- He preserves us through them (Psalm 121:7,8).

Peterson again:

"The Christian life is going to God. In every going to God Christians travel the same ground that everyone else walks on, breathe the same air, drink the same water, shop in the same stores, read the same newspapers...
The difference is that each step we walk, each breath we breathe we know we are preserved by God, we know we are accompanied by God, we know we are led by God; and therefore no matter what doubts we endure or what accidents we experience, the Lord will guard us from every evil, He guards our very life" - A Long Obedience p. 45 (emphasis added).

PRAYER: Dear God, I lay out before You the problems of my day. Help me not to be transfixed by their bigness but to focus on how secure I am (even as I ride them out) with You beside me, behind me, in front of me, over me, under me, in me. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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