Day 193 - FOUNDATION STONES IN A YEAR
Reading: Numbers 6: 22-27; James 4: 7, 8
The New Testament wasn’t around in David’s days yet note how he instinctively follows James’ advice in chapter 4: submit yourself to God and resist the devil. My times are in Your hand, David tells God – in other words, I submit myself fully to Your will and plans for my life but I resist the enemy’s plans for my life.
This is a perfectly legitimate prayer and one I advise you to pray every day of your life, whether you are facing trials or not. It is very similar to what Jesus taught his disciples to pray in the Lord’s Prayer lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. You’ll never win if you try fighting against God. There’s only one thing to do and that is to submit yourself to God, humble yourself before God. On the other hand, you’ll never lose if, in humble submission to God, you resist the devil. He will eventually flee from you. And you haven’t forgotten, have you, that God turns all things to the good for those who love Him?
Some enemies are way too strong for us. But never for Jesus. Use his name, call upon his assistance, rely upon your God and roll all your burdens on to Him for He cares for you. He really does.
Notice how the psalmist goes on to pray make Your face shine upon me. What a tremendous prayer to pray at a time of great distress! At a time when you think you will never feel normal again, you will never enjoy life again and you will certainly never experience God’s favour and blessing, dare, like David, to pray this prayer Lord, make Your face shine upon me.
And why? Because life this side of eternity is full of hills and dales, sunshine and shadow, horrific darkness and beatific light. Ask God to shine His face upon you, to bless you, to help you, to give you His light. It won’t be easy because you will at first feel like you are swimming upstream in a river of thick treacle – but, in the words of that famous sportswear brand, just do it! This prayer of David was presumably inspired by the original priestly blessing that God gave to His people back in the days when they first came out of Egypt. Such a simple but powerful prayer.
Isn’t it good to know that Jesus, our High Priest, prays this prayer over us continually for he ever lives to make intercession for us. Why not join him in praying this prayer over your life and the life of the ‘sheep’ He has given you?
From verses 1 to 18, Psalm 31 encourages us in that it empathises with us in our situation. It helps us to express what we are going through to God. It gives us words, sentiments, to use and it helps us to know that God understands and empathises with us in what we are going through. We are relieved when we find that we are not alone and that many other believers have gone through similar times of stress and distress.
From verse 19 onwards the mood of the psalm changes and we sense that a final and victorious breakthrough of faith has come to David. Perhaps he is not yet even delivered from his situation but his eyes of faith have seen his salvation and he is boasting about it already. His eyes have been opened and he can now see God’s faithfulness and goodness to him. He sees all the goodness that God has still in store for his life. Hope begins to seep through to him, despite his circumstances. He is able to lift his head and see a hopeful future ahead of him.
This is my prayer for you today. That today will be a turning point for you in your situation. That hope will spring up where only depression and despair has been and that your eyes of faith will see what God still has in store for your life.
Over and over again in our lives, as trials and difficulties come, so does the question: are you going to continue to trust Me, or are you, at this point, going to turn away in heart from Me? This was the very challenge that faced Jesus’ early disciples. The time came when many turned back from following him – but a few chose to go on with him.
It is awfully important that you recognise that the devil is not so much trying to throw sickness and despair on you as he is trying to rob you of your belief in God’s goodness and love for you. He is trying to rob you of that confidence but don’t you let him! Even if you have to do it a hundred times a day, put your trust in Jesus. He, unlike the devil, speaks only the truth. He IS the way, the truth and the life. He is worthy of your trust and has wonderful things stored up for you as you put your trust in Him.
There are many situations in life that disappoint us and if we are not careful to guard our hearts, they can cause us, ever so subtly, to turn away from God. But take heart, even Jesus had to learn obedience through the things he suffered. You too will learn, for the Holy Spirit is with you to teach you.
Knowing that you’re with me, knowing that you care, knowing that you are in control and have a plan of defeat for my enemy fills me with courage Lord. Thank you. Teach me how to walk out this trial with you. O Lord bless me and keep me, make Your face shine upon me and be gracious to me. Lord, lift up Your countenance upon me and give me peace. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen. Lord, give me hope today I pray. Hope for my future, hope that my life will not always be in the place it is in today. Lord, open my eyes to see the strategy of the enemy. He wants me to distrust you. Instead today I choose to distrust him and put my trust in you once again.