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Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Run to Him

Psalm 5:11-12 (ESV)
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
       let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
      you cover him with favor as with a shield.

I have never been in a snowstorm nor a battle with bullets flying around. I have never had a mob throw stones at me nor have I been chased by those who would take my life. I have, however, lived some days which seemed to cascade on top of me. Tragedies, hardships, criticisms and demands have come at me from all angles. The world has sought to crush me. I had to run to a safe place. I had to have a place where I could catch my breath and feel safe for a while. I had to regather my strength before I could face these insurmountable mountains. They appear to be too big to be cast into the sea until I can see them from the perspective of a safe place.

So, I run to the only place I know to be safe. I run to the open and strong arms of my Lord. I am always safe there. Nothing can touch me there. I can breath, take a look of things with His protection all around me and take Him with me when I face these problems. They don't look so big, so insurmountable, anymore.

Many people tell me that tragedies come in threes. They are right but they also come in twos, ones, fours, sevens and all the other numbers. Somehow these people think that their is some law of the universe that says that either has to continue or has to stop at three. They live waiting for the third "shoe" to drop. No one has to take refuge if he knows that it's all over once three have come his way. Just wait it out.

There is no assurance that there won't be more tragedies. Job first heard of the loss of Sabeans attacking and taking his oxen, donkeys and servants. Then, he heard that fire from God had come down and burned up the sheep and those servants. The, he heard that Chaldeans raided and took his camels and killed those servants. Okay, that 's three. But next came a messenger telling him that his seven sons and three daughters had been killed when a house fell in on them because of a great wind. Isn't that enough? No, Job was struck by sores from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Then, his wife and friends came over to tell him to curse God and die. He wasn't even getting support from those closest around him.

There are times when neither your means of support, nor your wealth, nor your family, nor your health, nor your friends can provide a safe place. The only place you can run is to the Lord. He is your only safety. He is your only solution. He is your only relief.

So, when do you run to place yourself in His hands? You do so now. You don't have to wait until your house is on fire, you lose your job, your family is taken or you have a terminal illness. You can run to Him now so that you will be safe when the next tragedy, struggle or hardship arrives.

God, like the good Father that He is, wants to watch over us. He doesn't keep us from all harm but will keep us from being permanently harmed. He will be our safety if we will just go to Him.

My God watches over me. I wiggle to get out of His arms at times. He lets me go but I always have to return because I know I need a safe place. That place is in His arms. So, I run to Him.


Anthony Chia said...

Ps 5:11-12 (KJV) - 11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. 12 For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

I prefer translations that has v12 having "For" as like in the KJ version or even the ESV, used by you. The NIV has it as "surely". The "For" as used here, indicates v11 was so, on account of the truth of v12. In other words, one is to be righteous before he can securely rest on v11. Therefore, righteousness or being righteous is key.

It has always been, being righteous, is what God wants you and I, to be. When we are not righteous or unrighteous, we are wicked or evil. If you read v4 of Ps 5 you will see it, it is written there - "For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome." And then, being NOT righteous, you are likely to be prideful. Ps 5:5 said, "The arrogant cannot stand in your presence."

So, we can see before we can talk about putting our trust in God or in some translation for v11, seeking refuge in God, we need to be first of all, be righteous. Being righteous put you and I, in agreement with God, or put us into the situation of God can be with us. If you are doing evil or wicked things or prideful, God is not with you (not necessarily referring to presence kind of way, but as, God cannot be agreeing with you or going along with you). You cannot be doing evil and taking refuge in God; as a minimum, you got to repent and turn from evil, if you want to take refuge in God or rest in God. To me, I don't think I am stating the obvious, you will be surprised how shallow many believers can be when it comes to claiming promises or blessing from Scripture; some of them are completely oblivious to any conditions attached to the promises; no thanks to the over-drumming of grace by overly grace preachers.

The truth is that God will bless the righteous, that was what the man (David) whom God said was after His own heart, said. And for the righteous, God will cover him with favor as with a shield. These are in the v12. And as in v11, when you are righteous, you can take refuge in God or put your trust in Him; and when you are able to and do so, you can rejoice. David said you can rejoice because God defends you. And God defends you when He can go along with you, and He can do that when you are righteous (or you have repented. When you have repented, and God has forgiven you, you are counted righteous once again). Those who are righteous not only can trust God, they too, can be rightly loving God; and when they are doing so, they too can be joyous.

What do I mean by us "rightly loving God"? God's love for men is love unto righteousness (a specific 'ahab love); and when we love Him back, we too, have to love God righteously. In this way, we can see righteousness, love, obedience to God (to, NOT to do evil) go together. If you are not being righteous, you are not loving God. John 14:15 said "those who love me (God) obey my commands"


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above.

Yes, we run to God, and with Him we can be joyous, but are we clear we cannot remain stubbornly evil or wicked or prideful if we want to do so - running to God or taking refuge in Him or putting our trust in Him, expecting Him to defend us, shed abroad the peace and joy of His Spirit in us, bless us and cover us with His favor as a shield?!

You want persistent favour with God? Scripture said that even Jesus, He grew in wisdom, stature and favour with God; He, as a man, did not instantly become perfect in these. Scripture tells us that Jesus practised righteousness even as He was righteous. I believe it is the same with us; if you want growth in favor with God, be righteous, meaning, live righteous.

Though Matt 6:33 does NOT talk about peace and joy, I believe if we indeed seek His Kingdom and His righteousness, we will not only have our physical needs added unto us, we will have the Spirit's peace and joy shed abroad in us. What kind of peace and joy are you seeking when you run to God? I seek the peace and joy that wells up from the same shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit. Actually, I don't want to be running to Him, I want to be dwelling in the shadow of the Most High; and for that, I need to be practicing righteousness all the time, and I need to be loving God all the time.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Craig Godfrey said...

Very timley word...thank you!

Prentis McGoldrick said...

You just can't run to God when you are running the other direction.