Rock. Refuge. Redeemer.
“Disciples so often get into trouble; still, GOD is there every time.” – Psalm 34:19 MSG
The Psalms are not pleasant-sounding platitudes written by some theologian sitting in the comfort of his study. They are the open and honest thoughts of a man who has seen his world fall apart. David is writing on the run. He is living in caves and hiding from Saul, who is out to kill him. Little has gone right for him lately. He is a fugitive with a bounty on his head and no place to call home. He’s got more enemies than friends and more than enough reasons to be miffed at God for his circumstances. Yet what does David say?
“I trust in the LORD.” – Psalm 31:6 NLT
“I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love.” – Psalm 31:7 NLT
“But I am trusting you, O LORD, saying, ‘You are my God!'” – Psalm 31:14 NLT
“How great is Your goodness…” – Psalm 31:19 NASB
“Love the Lord, all you faithful followers of his!” – Psalm 31:23 NET
In the midst of all the suffering and sorrow he was experiencing, David was learning to trust God. His affliction was actually increasing his affection for God. To David, God was a rock, a stronghold, a fortress, and a source of strength. Why? Because that is what he needed at this point in his life. He needed all those things and he was discovering that God could deliver them all. Had it not been for this period of his life, as difficult as it was, he would not be learning these truths about his God. David was in God’s advanced program for leadership development. He was transforming David from being a shepherd of sheep to being a shepherd of a nation. Over in Psalm 78 we read that God “chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens. He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants – God’s own people, Israel” (Psalm 78:70-71 NLT). David was learning to be a shepherd. But to do so, he first had to learn about the shepherding qualities of God Himself. And he would learn that best by being shepherded by God.
The more David experienced the grace, mercy, care, concern, and strong, steady hand of God in his life, the more he came to praise Him. “I bless GOD every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. I live and breathe GOD; if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy: Join me in spreading the news; together let’s get the word out” (Psalm 34:1-3 MSG). David’s experiences were expanding his knowledge of God. “By experience you will see that the Lord is good; happy is the man who has faith in him” (Psalm 34:8 BBE). A cave in the wilderness had become David’s cathedral. His pain was transformed into praise. In the process of hiding from Saul, he had found God. His pain had resulted in great gain! His life was anything but easy, but it was resulting in a deeper relationship with God that he would have found in no other way. That’s why he could say, “Disciples so often get into trouble; still, GOD is there every time” (Psalm 34:19 MSG). What about you? Can you say that same thing? Do you sense God’s affection in the midst of your affliction? Does your pain result in praise? Have you discovered God to be your rock, your refuge, and your redeemer? David knew his life was in God’s hands. We need to discover and embrace that same truth. Yet we doubt it daily. Why? Because we look at our circumstances and determine that whatever it is we are going through CANNOT be from God. We let difficulty deter us from God instead of drive us to Him. David saw his difficulties as God’s opportunity to act on his behalf. His weakness was simply a chance for God to reveal His strength. And He still wants to show Himself strong today.
Father, too often I let what I see as negative circumstances drive me away from You instead of to You. I fail to see You in the midst of life’s problems. Rather than turn to You, I try to figure out a way to get rid of my problem myself. I seek comfort rather than a relationship with You. Today Lord, may I learn to lean on You. May I see past the problem and look at the solution – You. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men