Today, Tuesday June 13
“You, O God, Have Tested Us”
“Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard, Who keeps our soul among the living, And does not allow our feet to be moved. For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.
I will go into Your house with burnt offerings; I will pay You my vows, Which my lips have uttered And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble. I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals, With the sweet aroma of rams; I will offer bulls with goats. Selah
We might not know whether it was King David or King Hezekiah who wrote this Psalm after a great deliverance and victory over their enemy, but we know this, that whoever wrote it had a heart full of praise and worship for the LORD! This is a Psalm that helps us to come before the LORD with our own heart overflowing with praise and prayer, and to give Him the glory that is due to His name! We should read and use this Psalm often in our private and corporate worship!
Today, we are looking at verses 8-15. Remember in the first seven verses the psalmist is encouraging and exhorting “all the earth” to shout praise to the LORD and worship Him with song! But now he is talking about “you peoples, who keeps our soul among the living and does not allow our feet to be moved.” He goes from a global invitation to a national proclamation for his own people Israel to join in this praise to the LORD.
If any nation has reason to praise the Lord, it is Israel; for He rescued them from slavery in Egypt, delivered them from the army of Pharoah at the Red Sea with one of the greatest miracles in the Bible, guided them through the wilderness, took them into their land, and enabled them to defeat their enemies and claim their inheritance.
God also gave them His law, His sanctuary, and His priests and prophets, and He blessed them with all they needed. But when they disobeyed, He disciplined them. He took them through the “fire and through the water and brought them out to a place of rich fulfilment.” In the time of the judges when they turned their back on God and “brought them into the net and laid affliction on their backs”.
God always chastens His people when they are disobedient. He doesn’t do it because He is mad at them and wants to get even, but because He loves them and wants to bless them. Hebrews 12:5-6 reminds us of this! “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." This is a quotation from Proverbs 3:11-12.
God does this for us as His children today! He has done the same thing for His church over the centuries. When the church gets more focused on the business of the church rather than the great commandment, “to love the Lord and one another”, and the great commission, “to go into the world and make disciples of all the nations”, the Lord allows persecution and afflictions to bring the church back to His purposes!
You can tell when a church has wandered away from the Lord’s heart by going to one of their business meetings and watching the confusion, conflict, strife, and discord among the members. Look at their budget and see what they think their purpose is. See how much they spend on themselves, and their programs compared to what they give to missions and local ministries that are caring for the hurting people in their communities.
Like a careful craftsman, God put Israel and all His children through the furnace, like silver being refined to remove the impurities. (Psalm 17:3; 26:2; Jer. 9:7; Mal. 3:2-3; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12.) When they turned to the Lord, He transformed their sufferings into blessings and enlarged them (v. 12; see Psalms 4:1; 18:19, 36; 25:17). So it has been with the church. When the Lord has permitted persecution, this has invariably led to growth and blessing.
And this is the same for us as individuals. We can go through fire and water and be the better for it. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you” (Isaiah 43:2). Daniel’s friends must have claimed this promise in Daniel 3:16-30!
This is God’s promise for us today!