From the Preacher’s Pen…
One of the hardest lessons for us to accept as human beings is that we are not unique. The struggles, worries, and doubts that we have are actually common. We all struggle, we all worry and we all doubt. The answer to these and all the other challenges in our life is to look to God for our help.
Let’s consider a man of God who appreciated that lesson:
Have you ever made a mistake? Ever done something really wrong and known that you were going to be punished for it? Have you ever thought that your punishment was worse than the crime?
Certainly, as children, most of us have been caught and punished for doing something wrong. And we very possibly have thought, at least at the time, that the punishment was unfair and more than we deserved.
David, a man that truly loved and tried to obey the Lord made such a mistake. Years earlier David had taken the wife of one of his soldiers and gotten her pregnant. To cover up his first sin he murdered her husband and then for some months continued to hide all his sins. But God sees and knows our hearts and our sins.
Nathan the prophet exposed David’s sins and in doing so had David pronounce the King’s own sentence on the criminal. Yes, God forgave David’s sin and allowed David to live and not die, but there were still consequences and David was told that there would be a fourfold payment made in his life for that sin.
One of those consequences of David’s sin would come years later as his son Absalom stole the throne and sent David fleeing for his life. So what do you say to God in such circumstances? Does God really even love us enough to be with us in such times of self-made distress?
Listen in on David’s prayer to God:
1 O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me.
2 Many are saying of my soul, “There is no deliverance for him in God.”
3 But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
4 I was crying to the Lord with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain.
5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me round about.
7 Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God! For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek; You have shattered the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing be upon Your people!
Notice how David and God address our questions, our doubts? Many are saying of my soul, “There is no deliverance for him in God.”
So many times we hear input from the ungodly on spiritual things and just accept it as true. The fact is, God so dearly loves those that possess His Spirit that He is reluctant to abandon them. The Holy Spirit stays with God’s people to encourage and keep them on the right track. Oh, yes, we can choose to shun God’s spirit and sin so as to cause God to abandon us (cf. Saul the King), but it has to be our choice.
David then moves from the accusations of the ungodly to the confidence that God provides: But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the Lord with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.
Ultimately, for those that truly belong to God, there is nothing to fear from the ungodly: I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me round about. Of the multitude of lessons we as God’s people still need to learn and treasure, the confidence of God’s salvation is certainly one of the most difficult. Salvation belongs to the Lord!
No, that does NOT mean God’s going to save you regardless of how you live. Yes, David still faced many dangerous days in the years ahead and yes, those dangers were the result of David’s folly. But those who belong to God, those who continue to reshape their lives even in failure to the pattern that God provides, they are guaranteed that the Lord will continue to walk with them, bless them and keep them from even greater evil.
The only real question for us is, Do we love God that much? The New Testament defines that status as being IN Christ. It’s not enough to like God, to do a little of His will and a lot of our own. Being IN Christ requires a lifestyle of obedience to the Lord. Failures are only fatal when we allow ourselves to give up, give in to Satan and quit living in Christ.
Have you ever made a mistake? Welcome to the club! Now get up and get busy serving the Lord because He still loves you and blesses you!
— Lester P. Bagley