My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.
This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.
I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.
17 How long, O Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their destruction, my precious life from the lions!
18 I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you.
We have been in Psalm 35 for a time and yet it continues to draw me in, to connect with experiences I have lived through. I suppose that is one of the many allures of the Psalms, especially for believers who are “up in years”
Yes, as a young believer, I read the psalms, but mostly out of duty and a desire to communicate truths to others. I focused on the famous prophetic psalms, speaking of the future Messiah, or circumstances that reveal His person or life in poetry. Passages that were obviously referring to His life and death, such as Psalm 22.
Oh yes I was told that the psalms would draw me in as I age in the Lord, and lo and behold those believers were right! They are a constant partner as I dwell in them and connect my experiences with the psalmist.
The first verse we are looking at today is specifically relevant to those who have waited on the Lord for a deliverance, for an answer to prayer.
Of course the author was speaking of a threat to his very life. In the bigger picture, when considering the greater David, Jesus had to go through death to deliver us from death.
Is this not instructive for us?
The very trial that we are entering, or going through may be the very vehicle that will be used by God Almighty to deliver us from a far greater danger?
And the time element! Ah – the time element! We can’t forget about the time passing for the saint, for the extended time of trial that the saint is experiencing? The tic tic tic of the clock as we are in the midst of a trial. The constant unknown of how long, how long must I forge through this trouble?
How long? How long will God wait?
Such is a recurrent theme through the Word, of those saints dependent on the Lord, and yet somewhat disappointed, discouraged, even despondent that the deliverance has not occurred quickly.
On top of this general question of the time delay, this complaint adds a personal pain. How long o Lord will you look on?
The author recognizes that God sees the trouble and is waiting. God knows of the saint’s trial, and is apparently on stand by. He sees the saint suffering and seemingly simply watches.
As a believer, this is sometimes the most difficult aspect of any delay in deliverance. Those who have no God to trust can avoid some trials by merely capitulating to a circumstance to get relief. If they cannot escape the suffering, bitterness, anger or even hatred are the only responses they have.
For those who know the Lord, and trust His direction in life, seeking to live the inner life of love, joy and peace, the very knowledge of God’s ability over all things makes it much more difficult to understand any delay.
“I thought You loved me!” “How can you let me suffer?” “How can you let me suffer for extended periods of time?”
You see, I phrased the above problem in such a way as to reflect my common complaint. I want to understand the suffering. Good luck with that Carl! How often have I wanted the questions answered when the questions will NOT be answered!
God the Father is under no obligation to answer any question we demand of Him, and yet He promises comfort and peace in the knowledge that the Son has passed through trials beyond our comprehension. He has provided the Spirit of God to indwell us in the trial, and to provide peace as we seek God’s will.
Trials for the believer are to be expected. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Realize that as a believer, suffering is part of the calling to follow.
And yet even the Lord Himself, in the midst of the crucifixion, asked….
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Mat 27:46 ESV
Therefore, ask away. The prophets asked questions. The apostles asked questions, The fathers asked questions. Asking “Why” is not wrong when we are coming before an all powerful, all knowing Savior, for He is not a petty authority that cannot handle questions about His will. He is the sovereign God of the universe, of all creation. His wisdom, will and understanding is beyond us. His love for us is where we need to reside, to rest in, to abide. To recognize that His death for us, in the middle of a “WHY”, allows for our understanding to be unfulfilled and yet enough!
It is enough that we thank Him in the midst of uncertainty, or unanswered questions, of fears and dangers. Among those who are not only in the great congregation, but also among the mighty throng!
I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you.
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.