January 03 2023
Today, Tuesday January 03
I Must Believe to See
“Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”
What are the fears that you are facing today? What are the fears you are facing in your tomorrows? One of the great fears we all face is death. It might we are dealing with the fear of the death of a close friend or relative. Just this past weekend, my wife Edith had a first cousin suddenly pass away, that she was very close to and best friends with as they were growing up. I’ll be preaching her home going service this Friday in Appomattox Virginia. Also, on New Year’s Day, we had another close lifelong friend pass away. Both of these dear friends were younger than me.
Hebrews 2:15 speaks of being held in bondage or slavery to the fear of death or dying. Many of us are facing the fear of aging and failing health. Maybe it is the fear of a failing marriage and divorce that will change everything in your life. Or it could be financial fears because of the loss of a job or a failing economy. It might be the fear of your past sins or mistakes catching up with you. With all the tension between nations, we might be fearful of nuclear war. We could be living in fear of the future of our children with all the violence in the streets and schools of our nation.
Well, if you are being overwhelmed or overcome by fear of any kind, Psalm 27 is a wonderful chapter for you to read, study and meditate on. In this chapter David is facing the fears of his circumstances (vv. 1-6), the fear of failure (vv. 7-10), and the fear of the future (vv. 11-14). But in the midst of these fears, David experienced God’s grace, mercy and help in his circumstances when he was fleeing from Saul (v. 2). Instead of fear, he had confident faith in the LORD’s help (v. 3)! He made his personal worship and communion with the LORD a priority every day and could experience the “joy of the LORD” in the difficult times of his life (v. 6).
Now in the last verses of this chapter we wonder if David wrote these words after he had won a battle with Saul’s army. As a wise soldier, he realized that one victory did not guarantee that the enemy would stop attacking. Perhaps the enemy had retreated, and David was now concerned about their return. "Let us be as watchful after the victory as before the battle," said the godly Scottish preacher Andrew Bonar, and wise counsel it is.
As David faced the future, he first asked the Lord for guidance: “Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path (v. 11). A smooth path is a level path without traps in it, and for victory over the liars who were slandering his good name (vv. 11b-12). We definitely need God’s wisdom in making today’s decisions that will determine our tomorrows. James 1:5, says that if we lack wisdom, and certainly most of us do, we should ask God for it, and He will graciously give it to us.
Verse 13 is one of my favorites in the Bible: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.” The world says, “show me, or prove it to me and then I will believe it”. God always says, “Believe it first and then you will see it”. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). My friend you will lose heart, you will faint, you will give up, unless you believe to see God’s goodness in the land of the living. The land of the living can be a messy place filled with pain, anguish, and suffering. A place where it hard to see God’s goodness unless you by faith believe the promises and truth of God’s Word.
David, by faith believed and that is why he wrote Psalm 23:6: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life….” Jeremiah by faith and believing could still write, in the midst of sinful and ungodly nation facing coming judgment: “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD”. (Lamentations 3:21-26).
David’s last words in the chapter are for us today: Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”