Gracefully Truthful

God,Grace,Love,Prayer,Relationship

Read His Words Before Ours!

Psalm 54
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 5:38-48
Psalm 50
Psalm 51

 

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door

Jonny Diaz’s song BREATHE filled my head as I began working on this Journey Study, part of a series on Worship. The prompt I was given begins, “The call to be still and know our God…”

Should we read all of Psalm 46, we would promptly be reminded, “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1, emphasis mine)

If there was ever anyone who desperately needed God as a refuge, it was David, the Hebrew shepherd-boy-anointed-king whose subsequent military victories incited the jealousy of the current king, Saul.

As David penned the words in Psalm 54, our passage for today’s study, he was hiding in an epic game of hide and seek from Saul, who sought to kill him. Hence, David cries out, “God, save me by Your name[!]” (Psalm 54:1)

And, true to Psalm 46:1, God answered David’s desperate plea. David’s life was spared and he declared, “God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my life.” (Psalm 54:4)

As we read this story, we might think David has the right to defend himself and KILL Saul. In 1 Samuel 24, David has the chance to do just that; instead, David spares Saul. If we look closer at Psalm 54, we better understand David’s uncanny grace for the man who wanted him dead. David writes, 
“He [God] will repay my adversaries for their evil.” (Psalm 54:5)

Maybe a song of Moses came to David’s mind as he hid. In Deuteronomy 32, as the Israelites FINALLY prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses reviewed their journey in the form of a song, his lyrics deep and poignant.
“Vengeance belongs to Me [God]; I will repay.” (Deuteronomy 32:35)
So David leaves justice in God’s hands.

I’m more familiar with the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans in chapter 12, where Paul repeats Moses’s words. Paul also quotes from Proverbs 25:21-22, where Solomon advised, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink[.]”

Jesus Himself taught this “new” way of living.
“You have heard it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you[.]” (Matthew 5:43-44)

In our wait for fulfilled promises or our search for justice, we can easily get caught up in the chaos. We shout and FIGHT, demanding justice – as WE see fit – be served, right now.

Anyone else’s voice a little hoarse?
Anybody else’s thumbs a little overworked from typing out comments on social media?
Anyone else’s relationships been a little (or a lot) strained?

Maybe we should take a different approach.
Ya know, like Psalm 46 tells us. “Stop fighting, and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

What if we viewed justice the same way as David?
The God David served is the same God we serve today.
We are assured in Scripture that God does NOT change, EVER.
(Numbers 23:19Psalm 90:1-2Isaiah 40:8Malachi 3:6James 1:17)

He is forever gracious, compassionate, merciful, and JUST.
Always. (Hebrews 13:8)

If David could offer a sacrifice of praise in response to all God had done, so can we.
Indeed, Paul urges us to do so at the beginning of Romans 12.

In David’s time, God had outlined very specific sacrifices and offerings the Israelites were to make. Additionally, a person could make a FREEWILL OFFERING, voluntarily presenting a sacrifice that was above and beyond what was expected.

Thankfully, we no longer need to make sacrifices for our sins. Jesus died – in our place – for all sin, for all time. Then, He rose again, conquering death and declaring ultimate victory for everyone who believes in Him. He longs for people’s HEARTS, to be in close relationship with us.

We reflect our relationship with God, and HIS character, in the way we treat others . . . especially the ones who aren’t so easy to love.

We make a freewill offering when we don’t complain because the neighbor’s dog poops in our yard. Instead, we write a friendly note and put fresh cookies in their mailbox.

We offer ourselves as a living sacrifice when we don’t blast someone on social media because they voted differently than us. Rather, we invite them over to watch the Super Bowl – because everyone loves chips and salsa.

In the midst of our messy, busy, noisy lives may we quiet our hearts. May we allow space for our souls to respond to the God who created us and constantly cares for us. When injustice consumes the world around us, may we look to our God of justice.

In the stillness, may we see Him, hear Him, and KNOW Him.

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