The Perfect Plan

Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, 
from the plots of evildoers. 
They plot injustice and say, 
‘We have devised a perfect plan!’ 
Surely the human mind and heart are cunning. 
The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; 
all the upright in heart will glory in him!
Psalms‬ ‭64:2, 6, 10‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

David is having another rant about the wicked people in his day and draws a comparison with those who are righteous. This theme seems to have been almost constantly in his mind, and appears in many of his Psalms. But his description of the “wicked” applies just as well today as it did in his day. Sin pervades people’s minds and works out in increasingly despicable actions, generation by generation.

My thoughts immediately went back to the events of the Second World War, and, in particular, the Holocaust. That desperately sad time when so many of God’s people, the Jews, were annihilated by Hitler’s “Perfect Plan”. But there have been many times in history and right up to today, where evil men and women have come up with their own “Perfect Plan”, usually involving crimes against their fellow members of societies. I say it again, “Sin pervades people’s minds and works out in increasingly despicable actions.” 

In this Psalm, and others, David calls on God to deal with such people. And if we are honest we do as well today, in our thoughts, in our prayers, and in our conversations. We look around us at world events, at things going on in our own countries, in our own societies and communities. When we see the evil acts that are taking place, we are faced with the reality that the pervasiveness of sin works out in many ways, from genocide to low level anti-social behaviour. Why doesn’t God deal with sin, and sinful and wicked people, once and for all and give us all peace? A good question for those taking the moral high ground, until they realise, as it says in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We must therefore leave room for the grace of God.

Jesus taught the people of His day in parables, and one of them is entitled, “The Wheat and the Tares”, which we can read in Matthew 13. It refers to the fact that although righteous and wicked people live together, one day they will be separated. When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to explain the parable, He said, “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” So we have the picture of the wicked and righteous being dealt with “at the end of the age“, when there will be a time of judgement. But thankfully, there is a place for the righteous in the Kingdom of God.

So what can we all learn from these few verses? Firstly, we must keep away from making plans that do not conform to God’s principles. Proverbs 19:21 states, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” If we read and apply what we find in God’s planning manual we won’t go far wrong. Secondly, we must ensure that we are numbered with the righteous, not the wicked. And the only way we can accomplish that is through Jesus. Only He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. That is the real, and ultimate, “Perfect Plan”.

“Truly”

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. 
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken. 
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. 
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall not be shaken. 
My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalms‬ ‭62:1-2, 5-8‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Truly isn’t a word in everyday usage. You don’t hear someone say, “Truly, that car is a lovely colour”, or, “Truly, the weather was good this morning”. But there is something about the word that underpins some great sentiments in this Davidic Psalm. “Truly, my soul finds rest in God” builds a picture of a place of safety, a warm place of love and peace. Many would perhaps wonder if such a place exists, but that was the very point of David’s choice of the word “Truly”. What he was describing was completely and totally true. His experience of, and relationship with, God Himself was true. And he goes on to describe a dependable God. One who is his salvation. A God who provides safety and a solid foundation in an impregnable place. He uses words such as “Fortress” and “Refuge”. “Hope”, “Rest” and “Salvation”. 

The place David was talking about was, to him, very real and true. Of course he was not referring to a physical place. He was in a spiritual place, where his soul was safe from destruction. A place where enemies and circumstances could not reach him. It was a place where the presence of God was so real and strong to him that, truly, he was in a different world. And the amazing thing was that he was unshakeable – there was nothing in the physical world around him that would destroy his trust and hope in God.

How do we think God thought about David? After all, he had a spectacular moral meltdown over his adultery with Bathsheba, and the attempted cover up that followed. Surely that was enough to separate David from God forever. The truly amazing thing is that God considered David as being a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). You see, it is only unconfessed sins that block God’s love and grace. David put his heart right with God – we can read about the conversation he had with Him in Psalm 51.

Finally, in verse 8, David, from his position of unshakeable strength, appeals to those around him to join him in this place, the fortress and refuge, built on the Rock that is God Himself. He implores the people to “Trust in Him at all times“. That’s a problem for many of us because although we find it possible to trust God in the good times, we don’t find it so easy when times are hard. When a sick loved one is knocking on Heaven’s door. When an unexpected bill hits the doormat. But that is exactly the time when we need to be with God, in His presence. Is David’s invitation possible to accept? Jesus told the parable of the Marriage Feast – we can read it in Matthew 22 – and He finished up with the comment, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Let us be counted among the “few”, chosen to be part of the ultimate refuge.

Poverty

Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!
The LORD rescues them when they are in trouble.
The LORD protects them
and keeps them alive.
He gives them prosperity in the land
and rescues them from their enemies.
The LORD nurses them when they are sick
and restores them to health.
Psalm 41:1-3 NLT

The very first line of the first verse in this Psalm associates joy with showing kindness to poor people. Sadly, for people in affluent societies, being poor is associated with negative connotations, and perhaps unkind judgements about why they are “poor”. We tend to look at poverty as being a lack of finances, but that is to neglect so many other forms of being poor. There are, perhaps, a few hints in these verses about other kinds of poverty. The poverty of being in trouble. The poverty of being in physical danger. The poverty of sickness. I would add too the poverty of being lonely, without friends or family. 

In Matthew 5, Jesus said to His disciples, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The “poor in spirit” are those people who recognise that they lack the resources God puts value on. Heavenly currency is not anything of earthly value, like gold (we read in Revelation that it is used to make roads!). Having spiritual currency starts with the realisation that we have nothing to offer God of any value. Because of our sins we are destitute before Him and have to recognise this by coming to Him in faith for the salvation He has offered through Jesus. In Matthew 6, Jesus encouraged His disciples to build up “treasure in Heaven” through their service to Him.

But what was David referring to in these verses in Psalm 41? In verse 1, he was, I think, referring to Godly people in his day, who were looking after the needy people around them. And through them God was providing for them. Although God can directly provide the resources people need for life, most of the time He chooses to deliver His provision through His people. So we are encouraged to be His servants by looking out for those who are poor, in our communities, in our families, supplying fellowship, a helping hand. Nursing those in need. Providing a listening ear when needed. The opportunities are endless. There is a young woman in my community who every week, uses her lunch hour to walk the dog of an old lady, now immobilised following a fall. A young woman banking spiritual currency for her future.

So we, as God’s people, have a challenge today. As the King’s servants, what does He want us to do to relieve the poverty around us? There may not just be financial needs, there will be others as well. In our communities, who can we find who is “poor”? 

Illness

“You know what I long for, Lord; You hear my every sigh. 
My heart beats wildly, my strength fails, and I am going blind. 
My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease. 
Even my own family stands at a distance.”
Psalms‬ ‭38:9-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

David, the Psalmist, is ill. And it sounds pretty serious. Serious enough for people to keep well out of his way. We don’t have any clues from Scripture about what he was suffering from, but he was complaining well. 

How do we react in times of illness? Of course it depends on how serious the situation is. Some people are positive and stoical. Others see the Grim Reapers coming up the garden path with the first snivel. I’m the worst when it comes to illness, complaining and ruing the injustices in life before whatever I have caught even takes a hold. In this Covid pandemic, however, we’re reminded once again of the frailty of human life and how vulnerable we are to the damage microscopic organisms can do to us. Unless we lock ourselves away to avoid contact with the people and the environment around us, we will always be at risk of catching something. 

But in His wonderful design, our Creator God has provided two defence mechanisms. One is the natural process our bodies go through to deal with infections, our immune systems, boosted by the vaccines and drugs provided by modern science. The other is the power of prayer and the importance of our relationship with Father God, particularly when the illness is more serious and as yet beyond what medical science can treat. 

What was it about the great missionary doctors and nurses, who in past ages deliberately ignored the risk of infections, instead to minister compassionately to those with horrible illnesses like leprosy? Or those Christians in the Middle Ages, who stayed behind to nurse plague victims while everyone else did a runner? These were dear people who often died at a young age from illnesses caught from those they were ministering to. They had that realisation that our time here on Planet Earth is finite and our lives as Citizens of Heaven has to be lived in accordance with God’s will and purposes; they dedicated their lives to the care of others. 

But David also made the association between his feverish state and his sins and guilt. Is there such a connection? Many people have argued that there isn’t but others, even the medics, have found that an uneasy and guilt-ridden conscience can impact our bodily functions. Personally, I think there is a link, because God has designed us with something called a conscience inside of us; the violation of it will upset our physical and mental well-being and equilibrium, as our Psalmist David knew well.

David finished his Psalm with the prayer, “Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Saviour.” There are two significant words and sentiments here – “help” and “Saviour”. God is always our Helper; He is only a prayer away from our predicament. And He is also our wonderful Saviour. What a wonderful God He is!

A New Song

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skilfully, and shout for joy.

Psalm 33:1-3 NIVUK

But I can’t play an instrument or hold a tune, I hear you say. And as for making up a new song, that’s totally beyond me. I can remember taking a course at school in music composition, where we were encouraged to make up a piece of music in four parts. A mental blank ensued.

In these verses the Psalmist, presumed to be David, encouraged the reader to do several things. He or she, assumed to be righteous and upright, were instructed to sing. Not just in any old way, but with a dose of joy. Why? Because the Psalmist thought it appropriate to do such things. He went on to suggest that God be praised on musical instruments, in this case the harp and the 10-string lyre. And then in verse 3 a new song was to be sung, accompanied by an instrument or instruments played skilfully, and the new song to include the occasional shout, underpinned and enhanced by “joy”. To a godless person this must have been the stuff of nonsense. What on earth are they doing, might have been the question.

But all this was not as strange as we might imagine. The Psalmist was instructing a worship band, made up of the Levite contingent of musicians and choristers. They crop up all over the Old Testament and performed many useful functions connecting the Jews to God in the acts of worship. Perhaps their most prominent occurrence was when Jehoshaphat placed the worshippers at the front of his army, as they headed off to do battle (2 Chronicles 20). So when we look at it from that perspective, it all seems to make sense. You see, worshippers, true worshippers, are led “in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). And true worship comes out of a heart-felt relationship with God. From worshippers who have spent time in God’s presence. Who know how great God is. Who have experienced the gentle touch of His Spirit, ruffling their spiritual hair with a closeness that has to be experienced to release the joy welling up inside.

But what about those who aren’t in the worship band. Who can’t play a note or keep a tune? The amazing thing is that God understands our shortcomings, our lack of ability and instead puts within us all the ingredients we need to make a new song, to sing and shout out with joy, and experience His presence in our expression of praise and worship to our loving Heavenly Creator God. And God is so blessed by His children praising Him, He doesn’t care what it sounds like in the natural. He sees our hearts and loves us anyway.

Praise Him

“How the king rejoices in Your strength, O Lord! 
He shouts with joy because You give him victory. 
For You have given him his heart’s desire; 
You have withheld nothing he requested. 

For the king trusts in the Lord. 
The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling.”
Psalms‬ ‭21:1-2, 7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

David the King is full of the joys of life. He has obviously successfully completed a battle or some other significant exploit, and he is giving God all the praise and thanks he can muster. The last verse in this Psalm points out the reason for his exuberant praise – it is because he trusts in God and His unfailing love, for his success. A short Psalm but what does it teach us for life today?

There is nothing more exciting than when God answers our prayers and helps us overcome a problem or succeed in a difficult task. When we can attribute a healing to God’s divine intervention. Or when we see God bring about a successful conclusion to an injustice or social need. And at such times we praise and thank Him for His wonderful works. We thank Him for all He has done. We may even stand up in a church service and give a testimony about what the Lord has done for us. But what about those times when we pray and pray about something, perhaps because of a sickness being experienced by a loved one, or over an unexpected bill, and there is no response from the Heavenly Throne? I think we all agree that it is much more difficult to praise and thank God then. 

As we read David’s Psalms, we often find him ranting about his problems, only to find that soon afterwards he is once again in that place of worship before His God. That’s the key we need in this life. Sometimes God will answer prayers of healing and other worthy petitions, but often He doesn’t. Now I’m a firm believer in the thought that God answers all prayers  with a “Yes”, “No” or a “Not Yet”. Unlike Him, we don’t see the end from the beginning. But that isn’t to say we shouldn’t pray anyway. And pray fervently, as it says in James 5:16b, “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” And pray with the faith that God is listening to our prayers and will answer them in the way that is best for us.

So we praise and thank God all the time. In the good times. In the not so good times as well. There is always something that we must thank Him for.

The Church

“The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to Him. All the families of the nations will bow down before Him.”
Our children will also serve Him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything He has done.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭22:27,30-31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This is a remarkable Psalm, in its prophetic vision of the crucified Messiah. The graphic details leap out of the page as they accurately, but sadly, portray the physical impact crucifixion has on a human being’s body, and Jesus quoted the first verse of the Psalm from the cross in His final moments that “Good Friday”. Who can ever deny, dismiss or disbelieve the many Old Testament prophecies, most of which point to Jesus, the Messiah? But today’s verses point to another prophetic occasion, yet to be realised. It will come, because David, writing this Psalm through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, said so. Simply, there will come a time when our children, including those not yet born, will not only hear about the Lord, God Himself, but will see Him and, with their families, bow down before Him. And it will be a universal occasion – all the peoples, regardless of which nation they belong to, will appear before the Lord – other prophecies point to this being the risen Jesus – and will declare His Lordship. It won’t just be the nation of Israel. The inclusive words used will include those pariah states who try and prevent their people from having anything to do with Christianity. Those states and countries with other religions or ideologies that are imposed top down on a frightened and suppressed population. And will include those states who nibble at the edges of Christianity, trying to replace God’s presence and principles with a secularist agenda and unnecessary anti-God laws.

Many of our churches today in Western 21st Century society are populated by a dwindling congregation of old people, with no sign of a child or young person anywhere. A Church of Scotland building near me has had to close because the elderly congregation is too small to support the maintenance of the building. Roof repairs are beyond their reach. Thankfully, other church groups and fellowships elsewhere are full of young people and families and a couple of years ago my wife and I had the privilege of worshiping with one while holidaying near Keswick in the English Lake District. In our prophetic verses today, though, David could see a time when children will continue to hear “the wonders of the Lord”. Elijah, in the account in 1 Kings 19, was depressed because he thought he was the last of God’s people. But God reassured him that there were 7000 faithful people in Israel at that time. Sometimes we too get depressed as we look on our dwindling congregations, but we can rest assured that His church will live on from one generation to the next. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” That seems pretty decisive to me!

Who will tell the “future generations” of “the wonders of the Lord“? God’s people everywhere have a responsibility to reach out to those around us regardless of how old they are, telling them about God and all He has done for us. Let us pray daily for an opportunity to share about our amazing God to those who are around us. After all, we have a message of hope badly needed in these negative, pandemic-ridden times. And who knows? The next person we meet might be waiting for us to introduce them to Jesus. 

National Security

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
Psalm 20:7-8 NIVUK

What do we trust in? These verses would seem to imply some form of warlike background. National thought would tend to focus on weaponry, and we can look back in our lifetimes at the technological development and manufacture of arms of different complexities, all in the name of “defence”. A race builds up between nations to produce the most effective weapon in the hope that it would discourage potential attackers from going to war. Such thinking shapes a nation’s foreign policies and strategic alliances. And all this with the knowledge that nations and civilisations rise and fall, and have done ever since history started to be recorded. In the end weaponry doesn’t seem to make much difference.  Whatever happened to the Persian, Assyrian, Greek and Roman empires, after all? So the Psalmist, David, was quite right when he said, “They are brought to their knees and fall”. 

However, God’s people “trust in the name of the Lord“. But what does that mean in practice? Does it, as some have concluded, mean that a nation should become peopled by passivists, with no money being spent on weapons of any type? Instead should they adopt a dependency on God, a nation of God-believers who totally trust in Him for their protection? A nice Utopian thought, but one that, sadly, has never been achieved in history. 

But before we continue to develop this line of argument, what can we conclude from what David was saying in these verses? Back to our starting question, “What do we trust in”? What does trusting “in the name of the Lord our God” look like in our age? We live in a sinful world and as God’s people we have choices to make. We are richly blessed with His Word, the Bible, and 2 Timothy 3:16 famously says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” In the Bible we can find the guidance and encouragement we need, but we have to believe, and live it, wholeheartedly. And trust that if God said it, then we must believe it. So trusting in God infers a life style of dependency on Him. That is not to say that we abdicate our own responsibilities for earning a living, looking after our families and so on, lazily depending on God for what we should be doing. But it does mean we must partner with God in everything we do, recognising of course that He is the Senior Partner in the relationship. 

But back to our national defence. Personally, I think that the man-God partnership involves at least some national responsibility for looking after the security of the people living within its society. That may involve the research and production of weaponry and the development of strategic alliances with other like-minded nations. It may also include God’s people in a military or policing role. And God’s people must pray. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 reads, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

Isaiah wrote down an “in the last days” prophecy which we can find in Isaiah 2.  Verse 4 reads, 

He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into ploughshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

Down through the mists of time, Isaiah could see a day coming when there would be the rule and reign of the Kingdom of God. If we are troubled about war and long for a universal peace, perhaps our prayer should be, “Come Lord Jesus”. Amen?

God is Alive

The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Saviour!
Psalm 18:46 NIVUK

There are three words in this short verse that stand out a mile – “Lives”, “Rock” and “Saviour”. Or to expand a bit, God is alive, He is our Rock and our Salvation. But let’s take the first phrase – “The Lord lives”. How does that make us feel? We looked earlier in one of my blog posts at the thought “God is dead” but here is the concept that He is alive. There is no half way state between life and death (though looking at our elderly pet Westie asleep in his basket, I wonder sometimes).

There are published theological proofs claiming that God is alive, but for me the situation is simpler. Jesus, the Son of God, and a part of our Trinitarian God, came to this world as a man, walked the highways and byways of Palestine and then was cruelly crucified, suffering the Roman-applied criminal’s death. But, on the third day after this happened, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples for a period of fifty days until His ascension back to Heaven. So He’s not dead any more – He has just moved to a new address. The Apostle Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Romans, 8:34, “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” We can look back at the events 2000 years ago but the Psalmist David didn’t have that benefit. However he developed a relationship with God that was so vibrant that he knew God was alive. And his heart overflowed with grateful praise as he exalted the living God, his Saviour.

But I ask the inevitable question – is God alive for us today on Planet Earth, in the societies of which we are a part? Do we look at local and global world events and ask ourselves why God is not intervening? The wars and suffering, the malnutrition and disease. Does God’s life or death make any difference either way? There are no glib, off-the-cuff answers to this question, this dilemma that we face every day. For me personally, living in this sin-soaked world is difficult. It has its challenges. But the day is coming when God will cry, “Enough!” and we read in the Book of Revelation about the end times and the new heaven and earth. And, soberingly, we read about the day of judgement coming as well. Why doesn’t God sort out the world now? That’s where the concept of grace comes into play. God in His loving kindness and mercy gives everyone the opportunity during their lifetime to make that leap of faith and put their trust in Him, thus ensuring a place at the banquet and a home in a mansion, that Jesus told His disciples about.

Blaise Pascal the great 17th Century mathematician and philosopher was credited with the following quotation, “If I believe in God and life after death and you do not, and if there is no God, we both lose when we die. However, if there is a God, you still lose and I gain everything.” In other words, if God is alive, as David claimed, and we align our lives to Him through the sacrifice Jesus made for us at Calvary, then we have a glorious future awaiting us. If we don’t then, like Blaise suggested, we’re “losers”. Something else to meditate over our day ahead?

Troops and Walls

“To the faithful You show Yourself faithful, 
to the blameless You show Yourself blameless, 
to the pure You show Yourself pure, 
but to the devious You show Yourself shrewd. 
You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. 
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. 
With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
‭Psalms‬ ‭18:25-29‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Verses 25 and 26 of Psalm 18, at first sight, seem a bit difficult to understand. What was the psalmist, David, getting at? He used words such as “faithful”, “blameless”, and “pure”. Was he perhaps implying that the qualities he lists have to be in our characters before we can see them in God, even though they are a part of His nature? Perhaps a faithless person wouldn’t see a faithful God because they wouldn’t understand what being faithful was all about. An impure person wouldn’t understand the purity of our Heavenly Father. But is God “shrewd”? Perhaps that is how He appears to someone with devious qualities, whether He is or not. The Psalmist goes on to explain that the quality of humility leads to salvation, unlike that for the proud, the haughty. A sentiment exemplified by Jesus, in the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:8, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” 

David continued with positive statements about the impact God had, and continued to have, on his life. Reading the Psalms written by David, you can see that he had many dark moments but here he is declaring that God had turned around his depression into a condition of lightness. In addition, God had empowered David to take on seemingly impossible tasks, in battle for example. Think about the Goliath episode. David’s logic as explained to King Saul, was breathtakingly simple, as we can read in 1 Samuel 17:36-37, “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Almost as an aside, David didn’t appear before Goliath with a slingshot, never having used one before. As a shepherd, he spent hours perfecting the art of projecting a stone with a sling, and he probably set himself up a target and persevered, aiming and hitting, until he had the confidence in his ability. And when a lion or bear appeared on the scene a well-aimed stone would soon discourage them. So when Goliath stood before him, he forensically looked for a chink in the armour, found it above Goliath’s eyes and clinically proceeded to despatch him with a single small stone. But. A big but. David knew that he could do nothing on his own account. He needed God in his life to lead and guide and help him achieve what he had to do. David slung the stone. God helped it to the target. David built up his faith in God in the sheepfolds, on the open hills, in the pastures, as he protected a flock of sheep from predators. And that faith stood him in good stead as he took on the battles in war-torn Palestine. He knew that with his little ability and God’s limitless resources, he could have the confidence to take on tasks that would frighten most of his peers.

To be able to trust God for whatever life throws at us, equipping us for the battles ahead, takes two steps. Firstly, like David, we must develop the skills needed for our lives. Getting an education, learning a trade, practising playing a guitar, and so on, all the time keeping our eyes on our calling, focusing on our vocation. The Apostle Peter was a fisherman, but Jesus taught him how to use those skills to be a “fisher of men”. Sometimes we will perhaps get discouraged, thinking that our simple skill can’t be of any use to God. But God has a way of turning our little into great things for Him. Secondly, we need to spend time with our Heavenly Father. By being diligent in Bible reading and prayer, communicating and building a relationship with Him, testing our faith as we go, we learn to trust Him more and more. A toddler doesn’t leap out of the cradle one day saying that he is going to walk. There are some interim challenges he faces on the way, through crawling, sitting, and getting knocks and bumps, before the big day when he stands. And then he makes the first wobbly steps. Faith doesn’t appear overnight – it takes diligence and perseverance through the knocks and bumps as we grow. 

So back to today’s verses. He keeps our lamps burning, if we let Him. And that wall in front of us, or that Goliath in the office – they are not as big a problem as the enemy would have us think. That mountain might just turn out to be a molehill. Because God is on our side.