Monday, September 16, 2013

My soul thirsts for You

DOWN with fever last night, I slept earlier than usual. When I woke up this morning I read Psalm 143. Seasons of sickness are occasions for unhindered communion with God.

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!

The Lord hears prayers—and He hears my prayer. It overwhelms me, the fact that the all-powerful, all-knowing God of the universe pays attention to an insignificant creature like me. He is deeply interested in what I'm going through, and He knows the minutest details of my life.

In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
Enter not into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.

God deals with me not on the basis of my own righteousness, which is lacking, but on the basis of His grace. Grace is unmerited favor which God lavishes on His children. I am not righteous—in fact, I'm far from it, and yet God chooses to deal with me graciously. When He looks at His children, He sees the righteousness imputed on them because Jesus Christ died for their sins.

For the enemy has pursued my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.

Troubles come, and they assail even the sturdiest of souls. David was hunted and persecuted by his very own son, Absalom. While in hiding, he described his suffering as the "crushing of [his] life on the ground," sitting in "darkness like those long dead," his spirit fainting, and his heart appalled. I've gone through hard, depressing days myself—no Christian is exempt from difficulties.

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

Instead of complaining or wallowing in self-pity, David's response was remembrance. He looked back at the past and saw the beautiful tapestry of God's workings—the good and the bad things that had happened to him. This exercise resulted in worship, the stretching of his hands, the increasing of his desire for the Lord who had seen him through. Many things in life are best understood in restrospection—suffering is one of them.

Answer me quickly, O Lord!
My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the pit.

He knew that the Lord answers prayers. He expressed his insufficiency and uselessness apart from God. He needed to see God's face; it was his source of comfort and strength.

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

The deeply personal longing of David to listen to God's Word, eagerly anticipating His instruction, overwhelms me. Oh, that this become my prayer every day: "Make me know the way I should go." For I am blind and would rather do something else rather than obey God's will. Adam Clarke said, "To be found doing the will of God is the only safe state for man."

Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!

The imagery of God being a refuge is a comfort to me. He is the Rock on which I stand, my Comfort in the days of trouble.

Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
for I am your servant.

David pleads all these things on the basis of God's Name, not on his. God's love is steadfast. What a wonderful truth to wake up to.



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