~~i want to be everything you dreamed when you called my name~~

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hope ~ Psalm 16

1 Keep me safe, O God,
for in you I take refuge.

2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing."

3 As for the saints who are in the land,
they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.

4 The sorrows of those will increase
who run after other gods.
I will not pour out their libations of blood
or take up their names on my lips.

5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

11 You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

This is something I have been thinking on for a while, and it came together last night during Deep End. I think every time I have ever read Psalm 16, I always meditated on the sense of peace, hope, and immeasureable confidence and confort that verse 11 brought. These words afford us something to which we can cling to when the burdens of life seem unbearable. We can rest secure (verse 9) because we have the assurance that the God who loves us will never abandon us. That promise to us was sealed when Jesus came back to life after His crucifiction (interesting word picture/prophecy of this by the way in verse 10). Our greatest hope for the future is not simply that we as believers will live forever - but that we will live eternally with Jesus!

Sometimes I think the fulfillment of God's promises can appear to be so far in the future that we have a difficult time comprehending that those promises apply to us right now. While it is reassuring and sometimes comforting to know that things will work out "someday," we cannot help but ask the question - what about today?!? Psalm 16 is what has been called a Messianic psalm - there are about 36 of them throughout the book of Psalms - and they predict something about the coming Savior. Psalm 16 looks forward in time to God's promised Messiah, Jesus. In it we can glimpse something of the perspective of the promised One. And it comes as no shock, that when we view our situations (or mountains as Mark 11:23 calls them) through Jesus' eyes, we perceive a strong and sure hope for today.

First of all, we are invited to keep our eyes on God the Father (verses 1-2), the One who keeps us safe today and will continue to do so in the future. He is our place of refuge, a secure retreat to whom we can flee when we face attack or injury. Secondly, God wants us to know that we are a delight to Him. In Matthew 17:5, God identified Jesus as His Son, in whom He was "well pleased," and, now that we have been given the righteousness of Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 5:21), God takes the same delight in us!

Thirdly, we have the assurance that the circumstances of our lives are carefully assigned to us by our loving heavenly Father (verses 5-6). In Romans 8:28-29, we learn that God is working through all of the events in our lives to conform us to the likeness of His Son. I'm not saying here that God causes bad things to happen to us - hear me, satan is a big liar and a thief...He is lurking around every corner wanting to destroy us and our faith in God. Abba, the lover of our souls, will NEVER allow the enemy of our souls to do anything that God will not first provide a way out IN FAITH!!

Fourthly, there is a significant difference in outlook between God's people and those who disown Him. We can learn from others who know God and gain perspective on life's situations from them. When we keep our focus on loving the Lord, we will not be shaken by the changes and trials of life. This unique vantage point helps us to carry on in the present and look forward to the future.

As we live a God-centered life, we respond to truth in three ways:

We delight in our inheritance (verses 5-6)...
We thank God for being with us and guiding us each hour of each day (verses 7-8)
We celebrate constantly - because our hope in the One who raised our precious Savior Jesus Christ from the dead will last today, tomorrow, and forever (verses 9-11).

Imagine the sense of hopelessness unbelievers must feel when they face a crisis situation. I know I have a twinge of it whenever I am confronted with a new mountain in my life...but my faith in God has provided comfort in His promise that He never leaves me. I want to take this comfort to the world and remove the hopelessness that covers the faces of many I come in contact with every day. But is my life reflecting the glory of the Lord, the comfort of my King, the assurance of God's promise? Is yours?