Read His Words Before Ours!
We moved into a new apartment recently. On Saturday night, we invited a couple friends over to celebrate and enjoy our new home with us. As soon as they walked in the door, their gaze was drawn to the beautiful view of the river and cityscape through the floor to ceiling glass windows. The view is breathtaking.
After sitting, chatting and enjoying some pre-dinner cheese and olives, they said they would be happier to stay and eat something here, rather than going to the restaurant we had booked a short walk away. My husband and I looked at each other and just giggled.
Our guests had been focusing so much on the beautiful view out the window they hadn’t even noticed there were no chairs in our dining room. Our old chairs were broken and the upholstery torn. We threw them away in the clean up before we moved and were waiting until we got settled in our new space before purchasing new ones.
We notice what we focus on.
Our friends didn’t notice the dining room with no chairs.
They were focused on the view.
This is true for us not only in the physical, but in our spiritual lives as well.
I love reading the Psalms.
There is a raw outpouring of human emotion.
The songs and poems aren’t sterilised for appearances’ sake; they are audacious, heart-wrenching and authentic. Instead of picture perfect facades, we find the real emotion of humanity – anger, fear, grief, frustration, and heartache.
But, that’s not where they stop!
The psalmists always take their raw emotions and hold them up to the character of God. The counter-balance always outweighing the heartache is worship.
Steadfast worship keeps God in focus.
There are a couple of strategies that don’t help.
- In verse 3, the taunting voices of the people saying, “Where is your God?” Listening to what people say isn’t always helpful. They can turn our eyes off God and magnify the problems rather than magnify the Savior. We must be careful whose voices we listen to, especially when our faith is weak.
- In verse 4, the memories of the ‘good old days,’ when everything was going well, did not help. Remembering the past is a good thing when we can recall God’s faithfulness and provision, but focusing on our past can keep us in our self-focused pity party rather than turning our eyes to God.
The expression of pain is never the end of the Psalm,
and pain is never the end of our story either.
Steadfast worship keeps God in focus, and when we hold our pain up to the majesty of the Lord, it shrinks down to its true size. Insistent focus on the Almighty makes our challenges become smaller.
In Psalm 46 it seems like the whole world is falling apart.
The earth trembles, the mountains topple, the water roars and foams.
But there is no fear when God is in focus.
Stop fighting; focus on God. (verse 10)
When David stood on the battlefield in front of Goliath, he didn’t focus on Goliath’s height, strength and size of his spear. David focused on the power of the one true God, the one David knew was undefeatable.
David stood on the battlefield without fear, because he chose steadfast worship.
Just like the beautiful view from our apartment window,
David looked straight past the challenge of Goliath,
to the power and majesty of God.
David was a young shepherd and songwriter. In the many, long solitary hours in the wilderness caring for his family’s sheep, David learned to worship.
He saw God’s power, majesty, and beauty in the creation around him.
He experienced God’s protection from wild animals and predators,
and David nurtured an intimate relationship with God as his friend.
David knew the power and character of God,
and it changed the way he stepped up to the challenges he faced.
Even in David’s worst moments of human failure, he was able to turn his focus to the character of God. In Psalm 51 we read the outpouring of David’s guilt-ridden heart when his sin was exposed. David worshipped God for His mercy, compassion and forgiveness. Often the heartache we cause ourselves is the most difficult to deal with and move past. We can find it easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves.
But once again, David focuses on God and finds hope in his grief.
He lifted his eyes to the character of God.
“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.” (verse 15)
What are you focused on?
Are things in perspective?
As we worship God and focus on His character,
the challenges we face become less frightening.
Like David, let’s worship God with steadfast hearts and hold onto eternal hope in Him!
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Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!