Psalms 18:35-37 (ESV) 35 You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. 36 You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and did not turn back till they were consumed.
When you go through some pressure, and even hardship, trial, these kind of verses pops up really strong and real. I was going through some stuff I had to do and I missed something and feeling under, and I started reading my devotional psalms this morning. These verses are right in front of me and they mean much deeper to me now. I must have read many times before, and time like this, it just becomes much more meaningful & personal like God speaking to me.
The Lord’s given me the shield of my salvation! And his right hand supported me. A fresh breath of breeze just breezed through me. So refreshing.
Then it says ‘your gentleness made me great’, that is just so specific. How many of you know that when you face harsh jabs in life, this speaks of the God who is bigger than our problems, and much gentler than the forces against you, you feel like God has spoken to you again!
I really treasure it when God speaks to me through his scriptures, that you can know for sure, because it’s from the word of God, and you feel heat in your heart however way you may feel. That’s what I long for. Psalmist says in the morning I long for thee.
Psalm 63 1 You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
Now let me turn into a theological question. When and how do you hear from God?
In the experience I had above, it’s when we go through some pressure, trials, fire, storms in life. God becomes more beautiful, if we hang into his power, refuge, shield, in ways that we may never have seen before. It’s the situation or circumstances around us that can bring out the beauty and majesty of God in our lives. If we sail through life easily without challenges hardship, we may miss the whole experience of God.
David wrote the most beautiful and prolific anointed psalms when he’s escaping from his son Absalom, or fleeing from his enemies or Saul. That made him thrust unto the Lord. One thing about David is he always throws himself unto the Lord, when he’s in troubles, and the Lord sees that and likes that, a soft heart before the Lord. That’s what we want to learn from him. St. Augustine of our early fathers in about 410 A.D. rose to the occasion of refuting and rebutting the false teaching of the Arians on the divinity of Jesus. That’s a massive moment a spiritual giant rising to the occasion in the person of St Augustine, who probably have influenced Christianity more than anyone else in history. And when Rome fell, Romans blamed Christians for the demise of the Roman Empire in all its glory. Augustine again rose to the occasion and wrote the book “The City of God” which not only refuted the Romans, but actually showed them the vary things they wish for like justice, shalom, peace, caring and so forth, are actually captured in the Bible. That book, incidentally not only influenced Christendom in such big way, but also the secular literature world today as seen even in colleges.
I can’t speak for real serious challenges, trials that many people have experienced. In fact, hardship tests our genuineness of our faith. Our faith not tested is not worthy.
1 Peter 1 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Trials, as seen from 1 Peter, tests the genuineness of our faith, which is more precious than gold, so that if and when we passed it, this will result in praise and glory and honor to our Lord.
I know many Christians do not like trials, and no one does, but we must never want or hope to live a life that doesn’t have trails, because that will be a fake journey. It has to be tested to see its genuineness, and in fact, refines us, and makes us stronger. This is true even for non-believers in their secular pursuit. Ask any man who climbs to the top of their corporate ladder, or business, everyone will say they learnt to be tough and taught them a lot when they went through trials in life and work or business.
James goes further in James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Consider trials pure joy? What perspective is that? Remember to look at the discipline of your life for the goal God has for you, and that will and should settle it all, as in Hebrews.
Hebrews 12 0 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
God wants us to share in his holiness. No holiness without discipline.