“I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.”
As this psalm begins to unfold, we find David facing some pretty difficult times. He describes himself as feeling forgotten and being overcome by sorrow. Without giving details, he describes his enemy as threatening to prevail against him. Yet, in all this, he wrote of singing to the Lord. It is the song of triumph that will often lead to release from despondency. Instead of waiting for circumstances to change, David determined to worship in the midst of trial. As he took his eyes off his suffering and fixed them on the grace of God, he soon found himself rejoicing rather than complaining.
Whatever we are facing, we have to choose whether we will focus on the difficulty or on the Lord. When we keep our eyes on the problem, it seems to only grow and it won’t be long before we feel as though it will surely do us in. When we choose to focus on the goodness of God and His faithfulness, we will find ourselves overcome with hope, faith, and even a sense of expectancy. We learn to trust that He will not only carry us through our trying time, but will accomplish his purposes in the midst of it all.
Whatever you are facing, take some time to look up and worship God. If you cannot think of anything worthy of worship, how about looking at the cross, where the Son of God paid the ultimate price to save us from the punishment of sin.
“She, supposing Him to be the gardener, . . .”
Mary saw Jesus, but the circumstance she was in, and the experiences she was facing, caused her to conclude that He was a gardener. It was not until she heard His Word, that she clearly understood who He really was.
It interests me how many different, even opposing views, people develop regarding Jesus. These views have two things in common. First, they are usually forged as a result of personal experience, and second, they are always formed without the illumination of Scripture. Some consider Jesus to be a good person who was misunderstood; others, a mythical figure; while till others, use portions of Scripture to develop a hybrid Jesus, who bears little resemblance to the Jesus of the Bible.
This is not only true of the unbeliever or the seeker, it is also true of the Christian. How often do we allow the circumstances of life to shape our view of Christ? When we are facing hardship, we think of Him as unloving, distant or even weak. While blessings cause us to think of Him as loving and kind. It is not our circumstances, but His Word, that defines Him. When we will listen to His Word, we will see who He truly is, and how He wants to work in our circumstances.
Never limit Jesus to what you understand of Him; He is so much greater than that. Let His Word define Him as you worship Him.
“To a large tribe you shall give a larger inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a smaller inheritance. Each shall be given its inheritance according to those who were numbered of them.”
Israel’s inheritance in the Promised Land was determined by two factors. First, where they would live was chosen by the Lord. Second, how much land they had was determined by the size of the tribe. One of the main factors affecting the size of the tribe was how much they grew during the wilderness years. These same factors will determine what our experience of the Lord will be as well.
Much of life is outside of our control. Like Israel having to trust God with what part of the land they would inhabit, we have to trust God through the things in life that are beyond our control. When we lose our job, come down with an illness, or are impacted by the decisions of political leaders whose ungodly practices directly affect our livelihood, we must trust that the Lord will care for us, regardless of what the land is like in which we find ourselves living. Some of the tribes lived in desert-like surroundings, and would have to struggle to provide for themselves in an arid climate. Others lived among the mountains, and found them to be strongholds for the enemy. Reliance upon the Lord was necessary, regardless of where the lot took them.
While much of life is outside of our control, there remains a great deal that we do control. The decisions each tribe made during the difficult years in the wilderness directly impact the size of the land they inherited. Those who grew received a larger portion than those who shrank or stayed the same. None of us can control what life throws at us, but all of us can control how we react to it. If we choose to take the godly route, we will find that no matter how challenging the circumstances become, we will be growing closer to Christ and experiencing more of His grace.
“Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land.”
Life is filled with ups and downs. Sometimes, it seems as if we are living under the sunshine of God’s favor, while other times, we seem to be under a dark cloud of difficulty. Abram and his family were facing a dark time. They were living as sojourners in the land of Canaan when famine struck. This was, no doubt, caused by lack of rainfall. They soon realized, their only course of action, was to head to Egypt. As they journeyed, Abram was gripped with fear. He knew the danger they were stepping into and feared for his safety. Believing that once the rulers of the land saw his wife, they would kill him, and take her. He devised a plan that would keep him safe. He would convince Sarai to claim she was his sister. It seemed as though the plan was working, until the Lord uncovered the sin of Abram.
As time went on, this would prove to be a low spot in the life of Abram, and one with some very heavy consequences. I think it would do us good to consider why this happened. What caused the father of faith, a man who left his home in obedience to the Lord, to lose faith and fail so badly? I think the answer has something to do with perspective. Instead of being led by the promises of God, Abram allowed his circumstances to guide him. It was the Lord who led Abram to Canaan, but it was circumstances that led him to Egypt. Whenever we are facing difficulties that are casting a shadow of doubt upon the promises of God, we should not flee from the promises, but cling to them more tightly. Whatever you are currently facing, no matter how difficult it may be, the solution will never be found in wandering from the Lord, but will be found in drawing nearer to Him.