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Devotional - Psalm 16 - Part Three - The Full Circle Of Encouragement From God

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. The land you have given me is a pleasant land.What a wonderful inheritance!I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.For you will not leave my soul among the deador allow your holy oneto rot in the grave.You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. - Psalm 16: 6-11 (NLT)

    As noted in the first two devotionals in this series, our walk with God can often take turns into the valley. Time when we are simply unsure or unsettled. As much as we are not to be part of the world, the reality is our lives are lived within the context of the world. Even though we are pilgrims we still must walk through the very world we know causes so much heartache and strife. God has provided us however with overflowing encouragement in His Word and the Golden Psalm, number 16, is rich with such encouragement. It is a guide for us when we feel lost. It is a lighthouse in the tempest of this world. It shows us how we are to be in Christ and how to get back to where we need to be. One of the more overlooked errors within the modern church theologies is an over-emphasis on the things of this world as being a source of satisfaction for believers. Nothing should be farther from the truth. Our satisfaction needs to be found in the things of God; not the things of this world. When the church preaches the world as a source for satisfaction it is no wonder that so many Christians lead lives so devoid of any true satisfaction.

    So we pick up this Psalm at verse six - the land you have given me is a pleasant land - what a wonderful inheritance! Most commentaries agree this is a reference to when the land of Israel was first settled and land was apportioned to each tribe. If you look at a map of these allotments you will see that they are not even. Some appear much larger than others. Some appear more safer than others when you consider the neighboring countries. We can be assured that some might have been more fertile than others. The bottom line is that if we were to look at these allotments strictly through a worldly lens, one can find plenty of potential reasons to feel slighted. One can see reasons for complaint. This is the first lesson for today. One of the frequent reasons for unhappiness is we are never satisfied with what we have. The world always encourages selfishness and eyeing what everyone else has. Think about it. Covetousness is covered twice in the Ten Commandants! There is another Old Testament story that deals with this as well.

    Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. (At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.)Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.” - Genesis 13: 5-9 (NLT)

    Disputes grew out of plenty! How well does that describe the disagreements we often see in the world. But look at the solution of Abram. He is not concerned about where Lot decides to take his people. He is not concerned about what direction is left for him. Why? Not because he has faith in the land! He has faith in the God that leads him into the land! There clearly was a better choice if we were to look through our temporal eyes:

    Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram. So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain. But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the Lord. - Genesis 13: 10-13 (NLT)

    What the world shows us is rarely as good as it looks. No matter how fertile and promising what the world shows us may look there is always Sodom lurking in the background. You cannot pitch your tents towards sin. The next time we see Lot again he is living in Sodom and is in need of rescuing. Whenever we think we can skirt along the borders of sin, eventually we will find ourselves dwelling in it. When we find ourselves in those difficult times in our lives we must strive to look at things through eternal eyes. Whatever portion God has allotted for us is pleasant. God moves on our behalf in the valley beloved. We cannot be so obsessed with the problem that we lose sight of the Problem Solver!

    Verse seven continues to illuminate God's heart for our lives. David decares - I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. There is a bit to unpack here so let's start with how we view the word blessing. The modern church is in the business of selling blessings. They are something we pursue from God constantly. This is going to be your year of unlimited blessings! The Lord wants to constantly bless you! God loves to pour out blessings upon you! Here is a novel idea from the Psalmist however - I will bless the Lord! We often spend so much time pursuing God to bless us that we can easily overlook the fact that this thing called Christianity actually is not about us. It is always all about Him! So when we find ourselves down and out it is a good practice to evaluate our lives and ask what we can do to bless the God who has given us everything already through His Son! How exactly can we bless God?

    When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. - Deuteronomy 8: 10 (NKJV)

    Sing to the Lord, bless His name;Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.Declare His glory among the nations,His wonders among all peoples. - Psalm 96: 2-3 (NKJV)

    I will bless the Lord at all times;His praise shall continually be in my mouth. - Psalm 34: 1 (NKJV)

    We bless the Lord by remembering with thanksgiving all that He has already done. We bless the Lord by sharing the Good News of His salvation with those who desperately need it. We bless the Lord by praising and worshiping Him continually. These all serve as protections as well from despair and the lies of the enemy. It is easy to praise Him on the mountaintop beloved! It is in the depths of the valley however that we really need to bless Him and His holy name!

    Secondly from verse seven we are reminded that it is the Lord who guides us! This may sound simple enough but if we were honest we would have to admit that during our roughest times we often start trying to figure things out on our own. We start to freelance. We take the keys to our life from His hands and start to drive ourselves. We do not have the answers beloved - only He does! Proverbs spells this principle out for us explicitly:

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart,And lean not on your own understanding;In all your ways acknowledge Him,And He shall directyour paths. - Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NKJV)

    After evaluating which way blessing is flowing in our lives the next step is to see who is driving. Are we leaning on our own understanding? There is a way that seems right to a man but it leads to destruction. Are we following the advice of the world? Are we giving in to our flesh? Are we buying the lies of the enemy? Or are we acknowledging God in all of our ways so that He may guide us down the right path? These are often tough questions but they must be answered.

    Thirdly from verse seven we see that even at night David is seeking the will of the Father. Even in the darkest part of our darkness. Even at those moments when we are most vulnerable and tired. The reality is there are too many part time Christians. We serve God at church and in ministry but our lives are not about Him. We try and fit Him into our lives. That is a sure fire recipe for disaster. The devil does not work 9-5. He does not sleep and he does not stop. Our turning to God must be complete. We cannot seek Him partially. We must not limit His power in our lives if we are to expect victory!

    Verse eight serves as a reminder from God as to whom it is that we have placed our faith in. Too many Christians lead powerless lives. They are saved by the blood of Christ but are crawling into heaven. We need to hide this verse in our hearts and remember that no matter what we are going through, the Lord is always with us, we will not be shaken, for He is right beside us! How did Gideon defeat an army of over 100,000 with an army of 300? Because the Lord was always with him! How did Daniel survive the lion's den? Because the Lord was always with him! How did the three Hebrew boys survive the fiery furnace? Because the Lord was always with them!

    But Gideon still had to go into the battle. Daniel still had to go into the lion's den. The Hebrew boys still had to go into the furnace. We still must face the trials in life. We must however learn to face them understanding who God is and where God is! David does not think the Lord is with him. He does not speculate the Lord is with him. He KNOWS the Lord is with him. He knows He is with him always. God is not a part time God beloved. He has not forgotten you. There still may be a harrowing journey ahead but God is always at our right hand. No wonder David's heart will be glad! Remember, he wrote this Psalm while on the run from King Saul who was trying to take his life. He wrote this Psalm when his life was in turmoil and he had not done anything wrong! He wrote this Psalm even though the promise God had made him years before had not come to fruition yet. In spite of this David writes is it any wonder my heart is glad!

    Psalm 16 now draws to a close with David trying to refocus himself on what truly matters. We can face the worst trials imaginable in this life and still rest in the salvation of God. We can face our own army of 100,000. We can spend the night in our own lions den. The world will stand us before our own fiery furnace and heat it up seven times hotter than we think we can possibly bear and demand we answer one question - how do you feel? We have to answer not with what we feel but rather with whom we believe:

    Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” - Daniel 3: 16-18 (NLT)

    These three teenage boys must have been scared in their own humanity. Daniel must have been frightened in the lions den. David must have been scared as he ran from Saul. But he spoke life into his faith when he wrote Psalm 16 and it still speaks to us today. That no matter what this world throws at us and no matter how deep the valley goes we must always cling to who we believe in, not what our circumstances might be. To remember that God has already purchased our eternal life on Calvary. That He will show us the way of life if we are willing to listen. That He will grant us the joy of His presence if we are willing to seek it. That He will give us the pleasures of living with Him forevermore.

    Amen and hallelujah.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - January 12, 2014

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