9 But now you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies.
10 You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us.
11 You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations.
12 You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale.
13 You have made us a reproach to our neighbors, the scorn and derision of those around us.
14 You have made us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us.
15 I live in disgrace all day long, and my face is covered with shame
16 at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me, because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.
17 All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant.
18 Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path.
19 But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals; you covered us over with deep darkness.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?
22 Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
23 Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
24 Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?
25 We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground.
26 Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.
Yesterday’s section of this Psalm was easy to write about. Today’s? Not so much. In this part of the Psalm, the Israelites are lamenting the Lord’s absence in their daily battles.
‘What’s wrong God? You aren’t with us anymore. We are battling and losing. The nations are mocking us. Where are You? We haven’t forgotten You, but either You’ve forgotten us – or You’re sleeping!”
Have you ever felt that way? I know I have. As I’ve chewed on this passage, here are my thoughts.
- Maybe there is sin or disobedience I have overlooked.
- Maybe God is choosing to do something different. We all know that when a baby begins to walk, we are so excited. We move everything out of the way – even little stuff – so the baby won’t fall. But after a while, we stop moving stuff. The baby needs to learn to navigate over, under and around objects. The is the way it is supposed to be.
I’ve noticed that baby Christians often get their prayers answered quickly. I remember playing backgammon with my newly-saved sister. She’d ask God for a specific roll of the dice, and she’d get it! Me? Not so much. She needed to understand that Father God loved her and was there for her.
- Maybe God has started whispering. What do we do when someone whispers to us? We lean in and REALLY listen. We pay attention. We draw closer. Sometimes God whispers to draw us closer… closer to His heart.
- Sometimes God has been leading us in a certain way. But God does not like ruts… and won’t be put into a box! When He wants to teach us a new way, and we haven’t gotten it yet, we are frustrated. Where is God?!? But He’s there.
The important thing to remember ALWAYS, is that God doesn’t change. He is always Good. He is always Faithful. He is always sufficient (El Shaddai). And He is always with us (Emmanuel). He’s always our Loving, Everlasting Father, who cares for us.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. 21 The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.
Words. They are so important and have such a lasting effect. What do our words do? Build up or tear down. Encourage or criticize? Speak truth, or not? A few days ago the reading was from Mark 7:
18″Are you so dull?” he (Jesus) asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) 20 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ 21For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ “
The only way for us to consistently and genuinely speak truth and blessings, is to let Jesus clean up our hearts.