Do you ever go through times when you think God has forgotten you? Enduring trials can sometimes lead us to doubt God and even bring us to the brink of despair if we take our eyes off of Him and His gracious lovingkindness to us. I have learned that even in the darkest times, it pays to trust God. It is only He who can bring the light. And He will, in His perfect time and His perfect way. When David wrote the 13th Psalm, he was in deep despair, but although he felt God had forgotten him, he continued to trust. He called out to God and his prayer ended with rejoicing and song.
1. How much longer will you forget me, LORD? Forever?
How much longer will you hide yourself from me?
2. How long must my soul endure trouble?
How long will sorrow fill my heart day and night?
How long will my enemies triumph over me?
3. Look at me, O LORD my God, and answer me.
Restore my strength; don't let me die.
4. Don't let my enemies say, “We have defeated him.”
Don't let them gloat over my downfall.
5. I rely on your constant love;
I will rejoice in your salvation.
6. I will sing to you, O LORD,
Because you have been good to me. (Psalm 13, New English Bible)
Notice what was going on in David’s mind as he wrote: he felt forsaken by God and that God had turned away from him. David’s soul was filled with anguish and his heart with sorrow. He was being bullied by his enemies. But even in his misery, David wrote a lesson in faith as he poured out his story to God. G. Campbell Morgan in Notes on the Psalms, calls this “a holy exercise....faith fastening itself more surely upon the Rock.” From a gloomy beginning, David’s cry turned to confidence as he remembered how God had cared for him in the past: with constant love, salvation, and goodness (13:5-6). God was his rock.
It is good to remember how God has been gracious in the past. It will give you comfort and courage to face present trials. As you look back over your life, how has God led you, cared for you, or met your needs?
When our children were small, my husband, Barry, and I wanted to be involved in a ministry that would include our children. God led us to an orphanage in Mexico that was in dire need of help. Every month we prayerfully loaded our Volkswagen van with food, clothing, other everyday needs, and our four children perched on top of all the boxes and bags. We headed to the little town of Primo Tapia where we prepared lunch for all, worked, played with the children, and were richly blessed by Mama and Papa Torres and the many children under their care.
Not long after beginning this ministry, Barry lost his job. Winter was coming and there were no blankets for the children’s bunks. We were able to buy our monthly supply of food for the orphanage, but there was no money for blankets. We shared our plight with friends and prayed for blankets, but none were provided. Our trip to the orphanage that month was tinged with sadness -- until we arrived and found the children so excited to show us their bunks. Every single bunk had a brand new, soft, warm blanket. That very morning a couple had driven up to the orphanage and dropped off blankets -- one for each bed. No one knew who this generous couple was. Perhaps they were angels sent by God. Whoever they were, they were the answer to our prayers. God used them to meet our need and the need of the orphans! God provides for our needs when we ask in faith. Like David, let us rejoice and sing of His goodness.
In the year 2006. I had survived the death of my husband, my mother, and breast cancer. I was sad, lonely, grieving, and I desperately needed God to show Himself to me. Like Moses, I asked God to show me His glory (Exodus 33:18) - to open my eyes to His grace, goodness, and lovingkindness. Graciously, He pointed me to the Psalms. I bought a Bible with extra-wide margins and spent almost a year reading through the Psalms and writing in the margins of my Bible everything I learned about God. He was faithful to meet me in the Psalms and reveal Himself to me. He was faithful to melt away the sadness and grief and strengthen my heart with the joy of the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10).
Over the summer, in this blog, I would like to share with you some of the things I learned about God from the Psalms and how I have applied them to my life. In each blog I will give you a Psalm to read and write what God taught me about Himself through that Psalm. Lets begin today with Psalm 12.
For the godly have disappeared;
people of integrity have vanished.
2 People lie to one another;
they flatter and deceive.
3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
and the tongue that boasts!
4 They say, “We speak persuasively;
we know how to flatter and boast.
Who is our master?”
5 “Because of the violence done to the oppressed,
because of the painful cries of the needy,
I will spring into action,” says the Lord.
“I will provide the safety they so desperately desire.”
6 The Lord’s words are absolutely pure [reliable].
They are as untainted as silver purified in a furnace on the ground,
where it is thoroughly refined.
7 You, Lord, will protect them;
you will continually shelter each one from these evil people,
8 for the wicked seem to be everywhere,
when people promote evil. (The New English Bible)
The lesson in this Psalm is that God’s Word is pure. Psalm 12 contrasts the deceitfulness of man’s words with the purity of God’s words. The ungodly man speaks empty words: lies, flattery, hypocrisy, boasting. How often do you see this in the world around you? But God’s words are as pure as silver refined seven times. The purity of God’s Word also implies that it is reliable. God keeps His word -- forever!
After reading this psalm, do you think it would be wiser to go to another person for help or to God’s word? If you don’t do so already, will you begin today to seek the counsel of God’s Word daily? Will you set apart time to read your Bible so you may become familiar with the words of God and grow in godliness day by day? “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Will you seek and embrace God’s pure Word as the truth for your life?
Ever since I first studied the Book of Acts, my desire has been to be “noble- minded” like the men and women in first century Berea. The apostle Paul had been journeying through Asia preaching the gospel. He had been forced to leave many cities due to rejection and angry mobs that wanted to kill him because of his message. But when he arrived in Berea, the people listened to Paul preach the gospel with eagerness and then examined the Scriptures to confirm that what Paul said was true. As a result, many believed (Acts 17:10-12). This account of the Bereans has encouraged me to always go back to the Bible to check out everything I hear and read, especially in sermons and Christian books. I would encourage you to do the same. Not all that is presented as “Christian” speaking and writing is Biblical. It is up to each and every believer to practice discernment, and this requires knowledge of the Scriptures. God’s Word is the only pure word (12:6).
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.