"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Psalm 63 - ROCC SG Wk 1

Ever have one of those days when your son captivates the hearts of your people, plots to overthrow your rule and forces you into exile - from the comfort of your home to the extremely uncomfortable wilderness? Probably not. But have you ever had one of those days that seemed to truly defeat you? Maybe it was unexpected bad news, or perhaps a situation that stirred deep anger and bitterness. Probably so. The good news is that we can take solace in knowing that King David most definitely experienced dark days as well, yet through Psalm 63 we find where he turned during these moments.

To appreciate Psalm 63 it's important to understand the context. Twice in Scripture we are told that David had fled into the wilderness, or desert; once from Saul and once from his son Absalom. Since verse 11 in Psalm 63 refers to his position as King, it seems clear that he is writing while fleeing his son, as described in 2 Samuel 15.

Initially, David and all of those around him, continued on "weeping as he went. His head was covered and he was barefoot" (2 Sam 15:30).  I think this speaks to the need for mourning, at least for  a period, when we find ourselves in the valley. Sort of the "let it all out" advice. It's also a great example of the difference between joy and happiness. David speaks often of the never-ending joy that he has in the Lord. His rock and the source of his peace. However, sadness is real. It does not take our joy, but we need to acknowledge that life is not always "Happy, happy, happy."

Soon after, David sings out to God through this psalm. He speaks to God being the object of his pursuit, his thoughts and his worship. Though seemingly unjust and "unfair" circumstances surround him, David expresses his hope in God to once again see him through a bad situation. In breaking down the psalm into themes, it might look like this:

Verses 1 - 5 David desires God and worships Him for His power, glory, love and provision. In verse 5 we are reminded of John Piper's quote, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." In other words, when our satisfaction comes first and foremost from being in God, we are fulfilling the mission of glorifying Him. When our satisfaction is not found first in material items, other people, or self, we will have discovered the desire of God's heart.

Verses 6 - 8 These verses mostly point to David recalling the help that God has provided in the past. David remembers and meditates on the fact that God has upheld him and has been there to protect him. David's soul clings to God because he has experienced God before he found himself in this bad situation.

Verses 9 - 11 David has confidence that God will bring justice and will not let the evildoers prosper. Of course, if we look further in 2 Samuel we find that David's army defeats the army of Absalom, and Absalom is killed. David is restored to the throne.

Finally, the application appears to be simple (not easy, just simple). In our darkest times, or even in the pettiness of daily frustrations, let us not forget where we find our treasure. It is in the love of God that we find satisfaction and the ability to turn over our troubles while we rely on Him. Psalm 63 should encourage us by David's example and allow us to encourage others, when they are ready to receive encouragement, as they face uncertainty and despair.

Psalm 63

1O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek to destroy my life
    shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
    they shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
    all who swear by him shall exult,
    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.


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