April 18, 2018
Psalm 27:1, 13, 14
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
In our last blog, we examined Psalm 27:1, 13, and 14 that shows us about gleaning a valuable prize by Waiting on the LORD – Courage! Here is our featured Scripture:
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD
is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?…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.
We saw that Waiting For Courage will give us the courage to face fear, and to gain strength. But there is more that courage will do for us:
• verse 13 – “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” We need courage to believe!
✞ Why does believing take courage? Life can be hard!
▸ In America we have many blessings. But we still can run into hard circumstances! I know a Christian family whose daughter has an inoperable brain tumor. Another daughter struggles with a drug-addicted husband. Through the years the parents of these two (and four other siblings) have had the challenge of barely enough money with which to survive. Finally the dad got a good job with decent pay and benefits. But with extra cash, his old bug-a-boo of drug addiction reemerged, and he is now in a 90-day recovery program – and the family is again facing tough relational and financial times!
▸ But these circumstances pale in comparison with the suffering experienced in other countries! One Muslim man in Somalia converted to Christianity. His father sought to kill him, and he had to run for his life! Sometime later he received a package from his father. The man thought it might be the father’s attempt at reconciliation. But when he opened it, it was the remains of his mother who had helped him to escape the murderous designs of the father! She had been skinned – and her husband had sent her skin to his ‘apostate’ son!
✞ It takes courage to believe that God is still good, and that He will bring goodness and blessing out of horrible circumstances! But we are told in Romans 8:28 that, “…we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
▸ What is the good that God will work together the circumstances of life to bring about? We are told in Romans 8:29, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son….”
▸ He is making us more and more like Jesus! And that is good ! (See also Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4 and the blog When Bad Things Happen! from August 17, 2016).
✞ There is another truth I see here in verse 13, one that David most likely did not have in mind when he wrote Psalm 27: “…I…believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Although the land of the living in David’s mind was this life here and now, the ultimate land of the living is when we are fully and perfectly alive in heaven! And I think it takes courage to hang on to the truths of the life to come when we are facing the severe obstacles this earthly life can bring upon us!
• verse 14 – “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart….” God will do it! It is not up to us to generate either strength of heart or courage in our life!
✞ I found this applicable truth in Philippians 2:12 and 13, where Paul writes, “Therefore, my beloved…work our your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” I write about this more fully in A Little Help Here, Please! from March 13, 2013. Briefly, here is what these two Philippian verses teach:
▸ When we are admonished in verse 12 to “…work out…our own salvation with fear and trembling…,” it brings to mind that I tried! I really tried! But since I have a compulsive and addictive personality, I found it extremely difficult to live as God would have me! I wanted to do the things that are sinful, even though I hated them! And so I struggled! (See Romans 7:14-24). It is like I would say to myself, “I have the fear and trembling part down really well! But how do I manage to do what God wants? ”
▸ But then I discovered the amazing truth in verse 13: “…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” God works in ME to do two things:
➨ Yes, He gives me the wherewithal to do what I am supposed to do as a Christian, but so often I found myself not wanting to obey!
➨ But He also works in me to will for His good pleasure! He gives me the ‘want to’! And when I want to do something, it is relatively easy to do it!
✞ Do I have the necessary courage and strength to face life victoriously? No! But it is not up to me to generate these qualities!
▸ Also, I might be hesitant to acquire courage and strength for another reason! According to II Corinthians 10:13, “…God…will not allow you to be tempted [tested – same Greek word] beyond what you are able….” So, if we are more able because of added strength and courage, the testings (temptations, trials) may be more severe!
▸ If the LORD wants me to have more strength and courage, He will give me the will – the ‘want to’ – to get these qualities by teaching me to wait on the LORD!
Before we move on to other things gained as we wait on the LORD, in our next blog we will examine just what it means to do so.