Day 57: be blessed!
Someone is waking up today and it is as if you are hiding from the circumstances that are oppressing you. You are retreating, being squeezed into a corner, quietened whilst all around the bellow of noise is frightening.
David described Saul’s army as that of lions and ravenous beasts. Maybe it’s not that bad for you, maybe your life is not under threat. However, you do feel bereft of the opportunity and the space to be who you are created to be.
Today I want to tell you that this cave can become a worship centre. It can become the holy of holies, a place for the presence of the living God. It can become this because you can make it this.
The previous 2 days we have seen how David wants to fly away on the wings of a dove (Psalm 55) and also express his thoughts that he was a dove in a distant place (Psalm 56). Here in verse 1 it is God who is described as the bird and David takes refuge in the shadow of His wings.
How long does he do this for?
“Until the disaster has passed” v1
Today the day of your disaster will pass. You will come out of the cave you are in. Until then make it a refuge, make your life a place for God’s presence, sing and worship the Lord.
And of course be blessed!
Day 56: Be blessed!
We have now become used to taking note of the opening lines in the introduction of the Psalm.
To the tune of “A Dove on Distant Oaks.”
When David had been seized by the Philistines.
David found himself distant from all he knew, from people he loved and his purpose for life. He felt distant and trapped in the grip of his enemy.
Under attack, pursued, afraid, plotted against, watched, under threat and tearful.
But he said these words:
By this I will know that God is for me.
Now you may not have a crazy weird and insecure king chasing you with a spear in hand as David had. However the things you face today and the uncertainty of your life may have chased you into the distant place and you are now surrounded by enemies of fear, doubt and of pain. “What can mortal man do to me?” “What can this set of circumstances really do to me?”
In the imperfect place David brought himself to that place where he could say as God deals with the enemies of my life I will know He is for me.
David may not have known how things were going to change for him, how he was going to get free from the enemy or how and when he would become king. But he did know God was for him and with God being for him then God will make a way for him and that is all he needed to know.
There may be a lot of things you do not know. The future may be unclear. Fear may be attacking you. You may feel distant from where you are meant to be. But because of the cross of Jesus who defeated every enemy you can say today:
This I know God is for me!
And that my friend is why we are blessed!
Day 55: Be blessed
O for the wings, for the wings of a dove!
Far away, far away would I rove!
In the wilderness build me a nest,
and remain there for ever at rest.
Composed by Mendelssohn in 1844, first performed a year later but it was the recording made in 1927 by a boy soprano Ernest Lough which made it most famous.
“Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest”
Composed by David for stringed instruments approx 1000 BC and sang by many today!
I’ve just woken today with this thought found in verse 6 occupying my mind.
I am sure you know the feeling of not wanting to face your day?
Anywhere but here, anytime but now.
David wanted to be in the desert away from his trouble.
For him, it wasn’t his enemy that was causing him to want to fly away, it was his close friend betraying him. Most likely Ahithophel, who sided with David’s son, Absalom, in chasing after David to kill him.
We’ve all known a betrayal from a close friend: the kiss of Judas on the cheek of Jesus experience.
Whatever the reason today, what keeps us from flying away?
• Belief in a saving God, v16
• Regular, continual prayer, v17
• God will bring you through, v18
• God is on the throne, v19
• Casting your cares on the Lord, v22
• The Lord will sustain you, v22
• Trust in God, v23.
Sometimes blessing is not having something. Thank the Lord you don’t have the wings of a dove and today you will face your circumstance with the above 7 truths.
Day 54: Be blessed!
This Psalm was written at a time when David and his men were hiding and the Ziphites attempted to betray them into the hands of Saul.
David escaped into the desert of Maon and it was probably written here. But Saul chased after them and then probably as an answer to this cry God stepped in and Saul was called home.
Surely God is my help.
Today you are being helped by so many things, people and situations. God is not one of those helpers. He is more than these. He is the main help behind all these helpers. He is upholding these helpers for you.
Just think for a moment at the possibilities you, a church, an organisation can have when you truly believe that your life is founded on the God who is your help. With God as your help there is nothing that cannot happen!
You may be in a desert today, but God is your help.
You may have a person trying to bring you down, but God is your help.
Surely God is my help.
Day 53: Be blessed
This is a song referring to the foolish and the arrogant atheists of this generation.
Apart from a couple of differences it is the exact copy of Psalm 14.
One difference is that it is to be sung according to Mahalath.
Mahalath has many understandings: a name found in the Old Testament; sung with majesty; a meditative poem. It also means to be played with a harp, which is an instrument used for solemn songs. That is why the Amplified Bible interprets Mahalath as “in a mournful strain”. In fact the word is related to the Hebrew for “sick” and may have been a song from a sick person.
Are you sick today? Are you brought low?
The enemies that the sick have to face are:
The voices that say “God is not here”, v1.
The voices that say “do not seek God”, v3.
The voices that say “prayer doesn’t work”, v4.
The voices that say “be afraid”, v5.
Sing the Mahalath.
The Psalmist battles as every sick person does today. Battling to that point of painful trust:
“Oh” – more of an expression of deepest desire than a word, a prayer all of its own.
Let the sick person see the foolish, atheistic and arrogant enemies of their life for who they really are. Let them muster enough strength, longing and passion to cry out for the coming of these 3 gifts: salvation, restoration and joy.
Day 52: Be blessed
1 Samuel 22 tells the story of an evil man called Doeg who betrayed David and Ahimelech and it ended in the slaughter of many lives.
We all know the feelings that come when someone has set us up to fail. When betrayal has come to us our response is like this song:
Why? Why did you do this?
This is wrong. You are back to front in your value-system.
Surely God cannot bless you!
God will judge you!
However the song takes us beyond these feelings to the place of where we are positioned.
I am like an olive tree!
How important this description is.
Olive trees live and produce fruit in spite of harsh circumstances.
Olive trees are difficult to kill, even when they are axed to the ground they will produce new life and grow again.
Olives from the trees are grown to be crushed in the Bible. There were four pressings each having a different quality and use. The first pressing of the olives were set aside for the temple worship.
The reason why blessing is yours is because even in betrayal you still live in God and God produces amazing things through your life. Even though you have been brought low, you rise again. Even when crushed out of you flows anointing oil that is fit for worship.
I am sure many can testify to this today!
Day 51: Be blessed
David was in a whole heap of mess. But God can change the unchangeable. You may have messed up or man may have messed you up. God can bring you back, marry you to your destiny, equip you and send you out once more. He can change your situation. No matter how much you have failed, no matter what shame you feel, miracles can take place in your life.
David knew he was known by God. v1,4,6,9.
He knows it all. That will either convict you or comfort you.
He knows what you have said about that person, he knows how justified you have felt in saying such things.
He knows the pride in your life – a desire to be seen and known, a desire to be vindicated.
He knows your deeds – hot in church, cold outside, your loving Jesus and lusting after the flesh.
David knows that when he was walking on that rooftop desiring Bathsheba God saw him. He knew when David slept with her. He knew when David called for Uriah and tried to get him to sleep with his wife to cover it up. He knew when David hatched a deceitful plot to have Uriah killed. He knows.
He also knows what you may be suffering. He knows what you have gone through. He knows all your unanswered questions, He knows it all. He knows and He still loves you,
v1 ‘unfailing love’ Your love may fail but not his.
David knew he could be renewed by God, v10.
Renew means to make young. To take something that has been broken and build it up again.
Message says God, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life, v10.
Within you there may be gifts, callings that have been broken, pressed down or held back. Your dreams and desires may have been crushed. You may have had great plans for your family members, for you. But now maybe through your disobedience – one act or over a period of time you have grieved the Holy Spirit. Maybe you’ve been harmed and stripped of your power in God. The devil has beaten you up. But are you still there? David was and he asked to be renewed.
Known by God, renewed by God and indeed blessed by God!
Day50: Be blessed
I love the story that Tim Keller (a Pastor and author from New York) tells of a talk from his Sunday School teacher that changed his life.
The teacher said, “Let’s assume the distance between the earth and the sun (92 million miles) was reduced to the thickness of this sheet of paper. If that is the case, then the distance between the earth and the nearest star would be a stack of papers 70 feet high. And the diameter of the galaxy would be a stack of papers 310 miles high. The galaxy is just a speck of dust in the universe, yet Jesus holds the universe together by the word of his power. Is this the kind of person you ask into your life to be your assistant?”
That talk changed his whole conception of who God is. Keller changed on that day from being someone who uses God to the man used by Him.
Today let’s get some perspective with the help of that story and that of the psalmist.
Three powerful names of God are the opening lyrics. El. Elohim, Jehovah – The Mighty One, God, the Lord. Here He comes, impressive, royal, self-existent, almighty powerful God speaking across the whole world at the same time.
When we have such a revelation of a great king then our prayer changes from “help me” to “use me.”
He lives in your life and turns it around, from ashes to beauty. Yes, he has made it beautiful and continues to beautify your life simply by His presence within.
He shines forth. People can see this beauty within you.
He moves. He comes. He appears on the scene. He speaks to His people. He had been silent but now He speaks. A fire goes before Him and storms change the landscape of where He appears.
Jesus will come. He will be revealed from heaven in blazing fire. (1 Thess 2:7)
He calls the earth together. He gathers His people for judgment. The people like you and me who gave our life to Him in a covenant. Not our covenant, but that of the sacrifice. The sacrifice made when he came. We are saved when He comes because He came.
Our God is awesome!
He’s not your waiter. He’s God, your God, now serve Him today and be blessed!
Day 49: Be blessed
What is the reason for your life?
Is it to battle the fear of man? v5
Is it to accumulate in order to leave it behind? v10
Is it to have a name that continues on? v11
Is it to simply die? V14
Is it to grow rich? V17
Is it to be praised by man? v18
Author Randy Alcorn recalled a two-month missions trip that he and his family took some years ago that included a visit to Egypt. While in Egypt, Alcorn’s hosts took him to visit an abandoned graveyard located at the end of a garbage-lined alley. The host pointed out one tombstone in particular—that of William Borden (1887-1913), heir to the Borden dairy estate. William was a millionaire by 21, but he renounced his fortune, giving nearly all his wealth to missions. His heart’s desire was to take the gospel to Muslims in China. On his way to China, William stopped in Egypt to study Arabic, but four months later he contracted spinal meningitis and died at the age of 25.
I dusted off the inscription on the headstone of Borden’s grave. After describing his love for Christ and his commitment to and his love for the Muslim people; and his sacrifices for God’s kingdom; the inscription ended with some words I wrote down on the spot—and I have never forgotten them to this day. The inscription ended with, “Apart from faith in Christ there is no explanation for such a life.”
Then Alcorn wrote, “And I thought, Lord, what’s the explanation for my life?”
Randy Alcorn, “Money and the Disciple,” 2004
The reason for your life is Christ’s costly ransom to God for you.
No man could pay the high payment necessary for your eternal state, v7-9.
But Christ has done it.
The reason for your life is to spend it in light of the truth that God will take you to be with Him when you die, v15.
So live life to the full today in light of that fact.
Day 48: Be blessed!
Beautiful for situation says the KJV.
You are beautiful and the church where you meditate on His unfailing love and where you praise Him and rejoice in Him is beautiful also (v9-11).
Over the years I have met many who criticise what God calls beautiful, “this church isn’t this, doesn’t have this, cannot do this.” They have forgotten that they criticise what God calls beautiful.
Over the years I have met many who belittle their own life and circumstances of it, “if only things would change I could do this, I could be more, better, I hate my life.” They have forgotten that they attack what God calls beautiful for situation.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and God is looking at you and describes you so.
One day, rummaging through a dusty old attic in a small Austrian town, a collector comes across a faded manuscript containing many pages of music. It’s written for the piano. Curious, he takes it to a dealer. The dealer phones a friend who appears a half hour later. When he sees the music, he becomes excited, then puzzled. This looks like the handwriting of Mozart himself. But it isn’t a well-known piece. In fact, he’s never heard it before. More phone calls. More excitement. More consultations. It really does seem to be Mozart. And though some parts seem distantly familiar, it doesn’t correspond to anything already known in his works.
But [the manuscript] seems incomplete. There are gaps in the music. Just where it seems to come to a climax, it seems to stop and then pick up again later. Gradually the truth dawns on the excited little group. What they are looking at is indeed by Mozart. It is, indeed, beautiful, but it’s the piano part that involves another instrument or perhaps other instruments. By itself, it is frustratingly incomplete. It is a signpost to something that once was there and might still turn up one day.
That’s the position we are in when we are confronted by beauty. We stand before a great painting. When you stand before the most amazing sunset or when you see the beauty of a human face, whether it’s a little baby or a lovely wise old person, there is a haunting quality to it, as though it’s not just complete in itself. It’s a signpost to a larger truth that is just around the corner, just out of sight. We can’t grip it, can’t get our hands on it. It’s as though we’re hearing the echo of a voice, and we’d love to hear whose that voice is and what story it’s telling. Part of the joy of beauty is the realization that it is part of a larger whole, most of which appears to be just out of sight. We are drawn forward toward something and left waiting, wondering.
N. T. Wright, quoted in Eric Metaxas, Socrates in the City (Dutton, 2011), pp. 207-208
Beautiful and Blessed!