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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Prepared for Problems

I have been reading Psalms these past couple of weeks. I'm working through the ones written by King David. He had plenty to say! I notice a some things about David though. They are revealing. They are remarkable. They are instructional, I think.

One thing I notice is the way he grieved. David knew how to pour out his pain to his God. He could cry. He could express the anguish of his soul. To be sure, David had a lot of pain to express.

God made him a promise that he would be king. He had to wait for years for that promise to be fulfilled. Those were hard years. They weren't spent just "waiting on the Lord." Rather they were filled with difficulty. Even as king, David's life wasn't smooth sailing. He still had some pain to bring to his God in prayer. And he never hesitated to do so.

Another thing I notice is the way David celebrated. He could praise God like no other in the Bible. He sang and danced. He wrote songs. He played instruments. It would be fair to say that David was an extravagant worshipper. He knew who God was and he loved to worship God in all His goodness.

No, David was quick to express his appreciation for the many ways that God cared for him. He was quick to count his blessings. David knew he had been called and anointed by God Himself. And he never dismissed the significance of that fact - that he was chosen by God. It gave David reason to celebrate - often.

I look at King David and I remember that God said of him, "He's a man after my own heart." I wonder how sinful, weak David could be such a godly man. I wonder how God could say that of him. But most of all I wonder what moved David from crisis to glory to crisis to glory ... in and out of both success and failure. What was it that sustained King David in the good times and the bad.

One of the answers is found in Psalm 127. It says a lot there, but some quotes are rather remarkable in my opinion. They give a glimpse of what it was that constituted David's strengths and balanced his weaknesses.

The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

There were certainly frightening things in David's life. But he knew that they had no power over him. He knew they were harmless against the loving care of his personal God and Savior.

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

The one thing that King David most coveted, most desired and prayed about the most consistently was to be in the presence of his God. King David wanted to spend his eternity gazing on the beauty of the Lord.

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; … Then … will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.

David had clear expectations of God. He knew what he could count on from God. And he planned to respond to God in praise. David planned his worship. He anticipated it. He knew he would have something to praise God for. He knew a God worth worshipping.

Your face, Lord, I will seek. Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path … I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Finally, King David set his mind on God. He committed himself to the seeking of true intimacy with God. He asked God to respond to him. He asked God to set his ways. And no matter what the circumstances in David's life where, he remained confident that the victory would be his. And he knew that victory was to see the goodness of God in heaven.

So what can we conclude from this? How is it relevant today? I believe when troubles came David's way, he didn't have to turn to God. Rather he was already in God's presence. So he was prepared for his troubles!

King David's greatest desire was to be in God's presence very day of his life. As a result, he was always right where he should be when trouble struck. No matter what came at David, he was in the presence of God. It's where he started his day. It's where he ended his day. It's where he worked to be all day long.

What will it take for the rest of us who call ourselves Christians to be so surrendered to God that we are constantly in His presence?

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