Daily Readings: Numbers 31-32, Psalm 44, 1 Corinthians 6
We have heard it with our ears, O God;
our ancestors have told us
what you did in their days,
in days long ago.
With your hand you drove out the nations
and planted our ancestors;
you crushed the peoples
and made our ancestors flourish.
It was not by their sword that they won the land,
nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
and the light of your face, for you loved them.
You are my King and my God,
who decrees victories for Jacob.
Through you we push back our enemies;
through your name we trample our foes.
I put no trust in my bow,
my sword does not bring me victory;
but you give us victory over our enemies,
you put our adversaries to shame.
In God we make our boast all day long,
and we will praise your name forever.
But now you have rejected and humbled us;
you no longer go out with our armies.
You made us retreat before the enemy,
and our adversaries have plundered us.
You gave us up to be devoured like sheep
and have scattered us among the nations.
You sold your people for a pittance,
gaining nothing from their sale.
You have made us a reproach to our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
You have made us a byword among the nations;
the peoples shake their heads at us.
I live in disgrace all day long,
and my face is covered with shame
at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me,
because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.
All this came upon us,
though we had not forgotten you;
we had not been false to your covenant.
Our hearts had not turned back;
our feet had not strayed from your path.
But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals;
you covered us over with deep darkness.
If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
would not God have discovered it,
since he knows the secrets of the heart?
Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
Why do you hide your face
and forget our misery and oppression?
We are brought down to the dust;
our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up and help us;
rescue us because of your unfailing love.
I think we have all been there.
I think we have all been where the author of this Psalm was at when he wrote, “Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep?”
The thing I love about this Psalm is that it points to the type of relationship that God wants to have with each and every one of us. God does not desire a bland, whitewashed, stereotypical relationship with you and I where we show up on Sunday, sing a couple of worship songs, pray occasionally thanking him for our blessings, and calling it a day.
God wants raw. God wants unfiltered. God is unafraid of our anger, frustration, and hurt. He wants us to lay it all before him, not just what we perceive as the good stuff. To God, it is all good stuff. He wants us to be authentic with him.
When we are feeling abandoned he wants us to cry out passionately.
God already knows our hearts, but he wants us to bring it to him anyway. When my wife is upset, nine times out of ten I already know, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want her to still tell me and talk with her about it. God knows us infinitely more.
This Psalm also reminds me that God’s timeline is often not our own and God’s perspective on our lives is far greater than mine. When we are caught up in the moment it is easy to say, “All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path.”
And yet if we are honest with ourselves, we are almost always straying from the path in some form or fashion. We are human.
There are times where God is working in our lives through the challenges and we rarely have the ability to see the fruit that will come from this time wandering in the desert. A year or two in our lives feeling distant from God can feel like an eternity. To God it is a blink of the eye and he has more in store for us on the other side of adversity if we choose to continue to follow his path and trust in his will.
Easier said than done, but always worth the fight.
Whatever you are facing currently in your life, don’t be afraid to lay that down before God…raw and unfiltered. You don’t need to polish it up for him. God knows your heart anyway. Let it rip.
The God of all creation loves you so much and wants a true relationship with you. Great relationships start with authenticity.
Thought to ponder
What anger, frustration, or hurt do I need to turn over to God?