From Liz Groman
ON AN ESTABLISHED HEART
Psalm 18:1-2,20-29 NIV I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold...The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
Psalm 18:1-2, 20-29 MSG I love you, GOD — you make me strong. GOD is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout...GOD made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to GOD ’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. We The good people taste your goodness, The whole people taste your health, The true people taste your truth, The bad ones can’t figure you out. You take the side of the down-and-out, But the stuck-up you take down a peg. Suddenly, GOD, you floodlight my life; I’m blazing with glory, God’s glory! I smash the bands of marauders, I vault the highest fences.
My Bible describes Psalm 18 as “A David song, which he sang to God after being delivered from all his enemies and Saul”. David was always very transparent about his feelings, his thoughts, his worries about his current situation. I confess that sometimes he sounds like the worst whiner because he was always so quick to bare his soul, crying out about feeling abandoned, unjustly treated, forgotten by God. I don’t blame him for his feelings, his expressions of anguish; haven’t we all felt that way at some point? Whether I expressed it verbally or kept my own counsel, I have to be honest and confess that so many of my prayers fall into the category of what I think I need or what needs to happen for others, including my expectations/determination of how and when God should provide for those needs. When God does not perform according to my expectations, am I not every bit as much a whiner as David, feeling forgotten, unheard, denied, confounded, confused? Yet, despite the whining, God called David a man after God’s own heart. Why?
“Now I’m alert to GOD ’s ways; I don’t take God for granted.” David never forgot to trust, praise and honor God, regardless of his circumstances or his feelings; David never took God for granted. As much as David expressed despair, depression, confusion, and all of the other emotions of desperation, he always returned to “I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Even when he felt abandoned/forgotten by God, David’s heart remained established in God as his rock and refuge. Even when he felt treated unfairly, David chose to trust in the Lord’s plan for him - “For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.” I hear the same heart from Peter when many abandoned Jesus because they did not understand and could not accept His teaching. “Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69 NIV).
I am so glad that our God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) provided redemption, repentance, and restoration through His sacrifice on the Cross. I am so grateful that Jesus walked this earth as a human so that He could be my advocate when I wallow in my humanity - whining, prideful, willful, shamed, sorrowful, desperate, broken-hearted, disappointed, and all the other conditions of our souls. I embrace and welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit to clarify God’s will and purpose for me, molding and shaping me to be what He wants me to be so I can do what He wants me to do. I want my life to bring Him praise in all I say and do, being transparent in my humanity and repenting quickly for my failings like David and Peter.
Lord God, You are our Maker, the One Who loves us with an everlasting love, our Redeemer, our true Rock and Fortress. Forgive me for the times I have doubted Your faithfulness because You did not do things my way, did not respond according to my timeline, did not make my path easy. My heart knows that there is no where else to go, no one else to serve, no one like You. I submit myself to Your plan for my life, whether blessing or sacrifice. I praise and thank You for the privilege of being not Your subject but rather Your child. Lord, may I never take You for granted or question Your choices for me. Establish my heart in You. In Jesus’ name, I pray.