ASSURANCE IN ANGUISH
Sunday, 28 October 2018
"I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God. -Psalm 69:3
The Psalm is an expression of deep emotion due to the trials that the psalmist undergoes, yet there is hope of God’s salvation. In the category of the Psalms of lament, such Psalms are radical and not positive and pious, being honest expressions of pain and grief. We should not overlook these psalms but consider them as a valid biblical response to God in prayer from the depth of the human heart. This psalm has prophetic declarations which are also recorded in the New Testament (Ps. 69:9a in John 2:17; Ps. 69:9b in Rom. 15:3; Ps. 69:21 in Matt. 27:34; etc). Though written by David in a time of deep distress, it has cross references to the sufferings of Christ (e.g.Vs.9).
Following are the stages that we go through when afflicted— anguish of soul (Vs. 1–12); petitions to God (Vs 13–21); indignation against those who hurt us (Vs 22–28) and finally assurance of deliverance that calms our soul (Vs 29–36) which enables us to be still and appropriate the assured victory.
Anguish of soul comes in when we are overwhelmed by the threatening facts of the circumstances/trial. Momentarily we tend to forget that nothing is impossible with God. One thing we have to understand is that these circumstances are facts but not necessarily the end of our hope. We have the truths of the Word of God that will deliver us. So our antidote is to seek His words of promise for the situation as David does in Verses 29-36 and speak it over our situation. Jesus said in John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
Petitions to God in prayer are to made as instructed in 1 Timothy 2:1 “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,…” They are to be made for all men -even the ones that hurt you! Matthew 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Remember that it is the goodness of God that leads a man to repentance (Rom 2:4 NKJV). At the same time we should also petition God to pour out His wisdom on how to patiently bear this trial so that we can will come out perfected (James 1:2-4). And if trial is due to disobedience entreat His lovingkindness and mercy (Psalm 51:1).
Indignation against those who hurt us will definitely rise up within us as long as we are humans; it will raise up its ugly head. Put it before the Lord as the Psalmist did and not before others. God wants you to acknowledge before Him every thought that you have, so that He can impart His wisdom to you on how to overcome these negative emotions through the help of His Holy Spirit. Psalm 51:6: “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.”
Assurance of deliverance is nothing else but living/walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). There are a few keys in these verses on how to gain assurance of deliverance. Vs 29&30 shows a humbling that is required; Vs. 30 calls for magnifying the Lord with thanksgiving for all the past deliverance; Vs. 34 calls for praise that can cover our spirit of heaviness; Vs.35-36 shows the hope of our calling. We will be delivered!
"Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit into God's scheme ultimately leads back to the cross." - Phillips Brooks
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