Devotional - Psalm 16 - Encouragement From God When You Are Unsure - Part One

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Keep me safe, O God,for I have come to you for refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!Every good thing I have comes from you.” The godly people in the landare my true heroes!I take pleasure in them!Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.I will not take part in their sacrifices of bloodor even speak the names of their gods. - Psalm 16: 1-4 (NLT)

    The Christian walk through this world is rarely smooth. We can do the right things. Say the right prayers. Attend church and serve in ministries only to find our lives in just as much chaos as anyone who does not share our beliefs. David himself lamented to God about why it seems the wicked prosper. The Prophet Elijah gave up, sitting alone in a cave, and asked God to take his life. Peter had to live with his denials of Christ. Paul had to live with his former life presiding over the deaths of Christians. No one is immune to what we all must go through in this life. Loved ones pass away unexpectedly. We find ourselves in periods of unemployment. We find ourselves with more questions than answers. The Christianisms we all employ start to ring hollow in light of the realities of everyday life. We become unsure. As I searched Scripture today to find a verse to exposit to bring some encouragement to myself and those that may feel similarly, God instead led me to Psalm 16, often referred to by commentators as The Golden Psalm. After reading it I understand that name. It is indeed a treasure from God to us when we are down. It is a light in our storm when we might feel unsure. It is a reminder from God as to exactly who it is that we serve and why we serve him. Today we will start with the first four verses and hear what sayeth the Lord.

    The Psalm begins in verse one reminding us of why we came to God and what He will do for as as His child. Realize that this Psalm is written by David when he was on the run from King Saul. He has already had great success through God in slaying Goliath. He has already been anointed by Samuel to be king one day. He has the promise from God but the deliverance has yet to arrive. Likewise in our walks we too have seen God move mightily in our lives. We have seen God slay the giants that once threatened us. We too have the promises of God in our heart but it seems when we look around the deliverance of those promises seem as far away as they must have to David wandering in the wilderness. And why was David in such a predicament? It certainly was not of his own doing. He had only served King Saul and yet he finds himself cast out and hunted for his loyalty. Like Joseph betrayed into prison for a decade for something he did not do, David is a wanted man only for doing what is right. We might relate to David here. We might relate too well. We too might feel as if we had done everything right only to be cast out. We may feel as if we followed the rules and played the game fairly only to seemingly be punished for it. That is the cruel taskmaster life can be sometimes.

    But David here reminds us that it is OK to ask God to protect us! Keep me safe O God! Wherever this writing finds you it is OK to cry out to God right now and simply ask that He keep you safe! Not that He will ever forget but so that we do not. Because when things are all wrong in our lives it is too easy to lose sight of God because we are too busy looking at our problems instead of our problem solver! When Peter looked to Jesus he could walk on water but when he saw the wind all around him he began to sink. We can do likewise in our lives too. As long as we are looking at all of our problems instead of Jesus, we too can sink in those problems.

    But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. - Matthew 14: 30 (NLT)

    Save me Lord! Keep me safe, O God! For I have come to You for refuge! The dictionary defines refuge as a place of shelter or protection from danger and trouble. Over 400 years before David wrote Psalm 16, Moses wrote Psalm 91:

    Those who live in the shelter of the Most Highwill find rest in the shadow of the almighty. This I declare about the Lord:He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;he is my God, and I trust him. - Psalm 91: 1-2 (NLT)

    My refuge; my place of safety. A reminder of the promise from God for us. But there is our part beloved. We must choose to live in that shelter. We must choose to abide in that refuge. I understand it is difficult sometimes to do so. Believe me I do. It is so much easier to abide in our problems. It is so much easier to dwell in our situations. To allow the swirling winds to take our eyes off of Jesus. To put our hopes in the promises of this world. To put our hopes in the solutions of this world. But there is no refuge to be found in this world beloved. There is no safety to be found in this world. We must choose to seek our refuge as the storms get more vicious. If we find ourselves deeper and deeper in the world we will find no safety. If we turn to God and cry out - keep me safe - we will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

    Continuing on to verse two we see two declarative statements we must make sure are true in our lives at all times, especially when we find ourselves unsure of the future. The first statement is that God is our master. One of the disappearing doctrines in the church today is about the Lordship of Jesus Christ. How often do we even refer to God as our Master? How often do we even conceptualize it in our lives? As Master, He has control over our lives and the decisions we must make. Too often the doctrines taught in the church today turn Jesus into a spiritual ATM to pour out blessings upon us or a spiritual busboy to clean up our messes. Our relationship with Jesus is not supposed to be conditional. We are not supposed to consider God only when certain conditions in our life are met. When we feel desperate enough. When we feel lonely enough. When we feel uncertain enough. There is a "friend of God" theology that permeates too much preaching and worship today. It originates from a verse in the Book of James that says Abraham was called a friend of God. Realize however that Abraham had to first have God as his Master before He could be his friend. Our friends are in the advisement business in our lives but God is in the Lordship business. When we face those dire times in our walk we need to see who is driving the car. If God is my co-pilot then I am sitting in the wrong seat.

    The second declarative statement is that every good thing we have comes from God. This serves two purposes beloved. First of all it reminds us that as bad as things may seem, there are still plenty of good things in our lives. The devil is masterful at lying to us about how bad our situation may be. His desire is to take our focus off of what we do have and put it on the problem at hand. The world functions under the "what have you done for me lately" mentality but as believers we need to have the opposite mindset. Once we are truly saved, God can give us nothing else in our life and He still would have given us everything. Consider the words of Jesus:

    I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” - John 16: 33 (NLT)

    Jesus overcame this world and through His blood we too have overcome the world. He has defeated death itself and through His blood so have we! Beyond eternal life however, God is always our provider and though we may face times of great trial, we need to focus on all of the good that God has brought into our life. Every good thing I have comes from You! Secondly, this serves to remind us that if He has delivered good to us in the past, He will do so again in the future. Now hear me well because I am not speaking about the bless me nonsense we might hear in church every week. Sometimes the answer to our current dilemma is "no." As Christians however, we need to get to the place where we understand that the answer "no" is just as much a blessing as the answer "yes."

    And we know that God causes everything to work togetherfor the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. - Romans 8: 28 (NLT)

    In all things beloved. Even in our trials. Even when the answer is no. My pastor used to say that even when you cannot see God's hand you know you can always trust His heart. Sometimes we need to be taken down a bit in order for Jesus to rise in our lives.

    Verse number three from Psalm 16 serves to remind us who we need to turn to when our problems mount. The world offers up flawed heroes for us to follow. Sports stars who openly say they do not want to be a role model. Pop stars who get more press by being more and more outlandish. Movie stars who offer little substance and political stars who offer little integrity. David here though says that the true heroes are the godly people in the land. That is who he takes pleasure in. I think what God is trying to say here is that at our darkest moments we need to be careful who it is that we turn to. Of course we need to turn to God first but He understands that we still live in this world. If you are having marital problems and you seek advice from your twice divorced co-worker - exactly what kind of advice do you think you are going to get? There is a Bible story that perfectly exemplifies this concept. Following the passing of Solomon his son Rehoboam became king and his first order of business was to deal with Jeroboam who offered a unified Israel if Rehoboam would just ease the burden Solomon placed on the people. Rehoboam would ask two sets of people for advice and here was his decision:

    Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered. But Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!” - 1Kings 12: 12-14 (NLT)

    From this point forward the Kingdom would be permanently split into the ten northern tribes of Israel and the two remaining tribes known as Judah. It is critical who we seek when times are difficult or when we face big decisions. We need to surround ourselves with godly people who will speak the promises of God into our lives. Godly people who will bend their knee to pray with us. Godly people who will fast and seek the face of God with us. Those are the every day heroes beloved and those are who we should take pleasure in.

    Today's devotional closes with a look at verse number four from Psalm 16; the Golden Psalm. We have seen so far some very practical counsel from God for our difficult days. We must:

    1) Cry out to God to keep us safe!

    2) Seek the refuge in God by abiding in Him.

    3) Make sure that He is our Master and Lord.

    4) Focus on all of the good He has already brought into our lives.

    5) When seeking out people in this world, always turn to those who are godly.

    Verse four however serves to remind us that as bad as things are they can always get worse. Our troubles can easily multiply in our lives. I am sure we have all experienced this. Where one problem snowballs into another and then another. What determines the course of our trials? Often times it is a matter of what we chase when we find ourselves in the valley. If we chase the five things listed above, we will find peace at worst and deliverance at best. But David reminds us that the devil will offer up things for us to chase as well. Sometimes we separate out the Old Testament practices from current living because they seem so unfamiliar. At the time this Psalm was penned there were literally other gods people would choose to worship over Jehovah. Sometimes we fail to see the modern day relevance. The modern day equivalent. The world today still offers up for us other gods to chase after instead of Jehovah and chase we often do. Many chase after the god of money. The church even endorses this far too easily today. It is difficult to watch these false prosperity preachers leading sheep astray every week. The message is enticing. It is alluring. We should not however take part in their sacrifices or even mention their names! If it is not money then maybe it is lust. How many Christians have compounded marital problems by chasing lust and bowing down at the altar of adultery? Money, lust, fame, power - whatever it is the world is offering we need to run in the opposite direction and chase God! The affair is not going to solve your problems! It will only multiply them! Chasing after the things of this world will not solve your problems beloved - it will only multiply them. Don't even speak their names. Do not bring the idea to your lips. Cry out to God for safety! Seek Him as a refuge! Make Him the Master of your life! Focus on all the good He has already done! Seek like minded godly people who will point you constantly to the only one who has the answers. Jesus.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - January 8, 2014

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