Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Psalm 40:1-7 The Blessed Man

KEY TEXT: Psalms 40:4-6 How blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord and does not seek help from the proud or from liars!  O Lord, my God, you have accomplished many things; you have done amazing things and carried out your purposes for us. No one can thwart you! I want to declare them and talk about them, but they are too numerous to recount!  

KEY THOT: The psalmist David has experienced many challenges in his life right from the days of his youth. In his days as a shepherd-boy, he had fought against lions and bears that attacked the sheep he was tending. This experience emboldened him when he confronted Goliath in the battle field: "Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God" (1 Samuel 17:34-36). David's confidence in the Lord is not built from a closet theology but from overcoming real-life crises. And he knows from past experiences that the Lord can be trusted: "O Lord, my God, you have accomplished many things; you have done amazing things and carried out your purposes for us. No one can thwart you! I want to declare them and talk about them, but they are too numerous to recount!

While it is true that faith comes from hearing the Word of God, the Hebrew understanding of hearing is not passive listening but active practising. If we do not put God's word into practice in facing real challenges, we have only listened but heard nothing of God's word. 

The blessed man not only trusts in the Lord. He also does not trust in man. He does not seek help from "the proud and the liars" (verse 4). The proud refers to those who trust in themselves and their own innate talents and accomplishments. They are worldly wise and may have achieved much in their worldly pursuits. But those who trust in the Lord do not seek their help because they do not trust in the Lord, only in themselves.

Neither does the blessed man seek help from "liars". Liars are those who put forth falsehood and false narratives to justify their own lies and idolatrous worship of the purse, power and pleasure. Example of false narratives is that God wants us to enjoy ourselves rather than discipline ourselves. Or that godliness is attained without efforts and discipline.

The blessed man's only faith is in the Lord and in what He has revealed about himself in His word. If we are to grow in faith in the Lord like David the psalmist, we must put faith into practice in the battlefield of life--whether it be against lions and bears or against the formidable Goliaths that Satan put in our path to defy the living God. Trust in the Lord is strengthened each time we experience God's deliverance in overcoming the challenge Satan throws in our path. There is no other way for us to grow in our faith: "I want to do what pleases you, my God. Your law dominates my thoughts" (verse 8).

Father God, it is indeed blessed for us to trust in You and not in men. For You have proven Yourself to be faithful to those who trust in You to deliver them from their trials and tribulations. Amen.

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