Wednesday, December 16, 2015

“Confidence, Conflict, Cries"

    The Psalms remarkably involve God's allowing David to express his perspectives of both confidence in the Lord's caring, provision, and protection, and in the doubts he sometimes felt about them.  Psalm 44, for example, begins with confidence, transitions to complaint, and ends with a cry for deliverance.  

    "Through Thee will we push down our enemies: through Thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. But Thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us. In God we boast all the day long, and praise Thy name forever" (Psalm 44:5-8).
    "But Thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies. Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves… My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me… Awake, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off forever. Wherefore hidest Thou Thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?" (Psalm 44:9-10; 15).
    "Arise for our help, and redeem us for Thy mercies' sake!" (Psalm 44:26).

    The Psalmist's seemingly conflicted sensibilities coincide with the experience of all believers as we navigate our way through a fallen world wherein God is present, involved, and active, but wherein He also allows devils, the flesh, and the world system to challenge us.  We may possess strong confidence in God's faithfulness and working on our behalf.  Such faith will be severely challenged, however, and our Heavenly Father may so lengthen the leash of our enemies that we are tempted to wonder, "Hath God forgotten to be gracious?  Hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies?" (Psalm 77:9).  Deep in our hearts we know better, but our flesh feels the conflict and the conflicted confusion of reconciling a faithful Lord with earthly realities that seem to contradict.

   In the New Testament, no less than the Apostle Paul experienced the challenge.  "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body" (II Corinthians 4:7-10).  Note that Paul confessed perplexity, but without despair.  Our brother felt the realities of a fallen world, along with his own internal conflict between spirit and flesh.  The Apostle of faith shared with the Psalmist and with us the challenges that reveal the power of God, expose our human frailties, and lead us to seek "the life also of Jesus" as our help and hope.  "My strength is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9).

    Confidence.  Conflict.  Cries.  We will join the Psalmist and the Apostle in such experience as we walk with God in our present lives.  No excuses exist for unbelief, of course.  We make our choices to trust God on both bright mountain tops and in dark valleys.  Many such determinations of faith, however, will be made when our emotions, thoughts, and physical sensibilites do not coincide with confidence.  We must expect such experience and challenge as we trust our Father's heart when we cannot fathom the workings of His hand.   As David declared, "His way is perfect" (Psalm 18:30).  It will not always seem perfect, however, and in such times, we cry unto the Lord as did another supplicant of old

"Lord, I believe!  Help Thou mine unbelief!"
(Mark 9:24)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "Come unto Me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
(Matthew 11:28)


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