Psalm 31, for anyone who has gone, or is going through traumatic times, is one of the greatest Psalms to read outloud…back to the Lord. You can voice it through tears, you can express it with anger, you can utter it in total dispair…but regardless of how you verbalize it, God not only is listening to you, but He understands, and knows intimately what you are going through. He has heard your cry for mercy when you called…”Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
God gave Moses this Priestly Blessing for the Levites to pray over the people. In John 14:27 Jesus said, ” Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.” He was using this invocation to comfort and instruct the Disciples before He went to the Cross. But this wonderful prayer is also for you now…this blessing, something the Lord wants to bestow on you today. The Lord will bless and guard you… the Lord’s light, His Presence, and mercy will ever be on you…the Lord will raise up His eyes and regard you face to face, and at that moment the Gospel of Peace will be established in your heart, and this peace Jesus told about, will be yours forever.
As a Child of God, we have unbelievable freedom in Christ…but as a Believer, we also must be prudent in what we do. Just because we’re permitted to do something, doesn’t make it profitable…and just because we’re allowed do something, doesn’t make it edifying to our mind, body, or spirit. Discernment is the key…having that Godly insight and understanding as to what is the very best for us in every situation. The Apostle Paul summed it up beautifully by saying…”Everything is permissible for me – but I will not be mastered by anything.” In other words, control what you do…don’t be controlled by it.
Even though she was Queen, Esther had to be summoned by King Xerxes to enter the inner court. If he did not extend his golden scepter towards her, she would immediately be put to death. Esther entered that inner court with fear and trembling, not knowing how the King would react to her. By contrast, we can enter the Great Throne Room of Grace like a little child running into their parents room…laughing, joyful, without fear, totally trusting we won’t be rejected by our Heavenly Father. The Lord wants to spend time with you today..listening to every little thing you have on your mind. So go boldly into His inner court…He’s waiting for you!
Why shouldn’t everyday be an overabundance of appreciation?… Why do we spend a good part of our days grousing rather than being grateful? If we haven’t put into place the elements of the first part of this verse, unfortunately, we will never achieve the latter. It says that once you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior you are to continue your Walk…growing in the knowledge of Him, ever-increasing your trust and confidence as you learn from your Teacher and Lord. Thus, with this ever-increasing Faith within, you too will overflow with thankfulness and gratitude.
The Israelites were rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem, when their enemies approached, wanting to be part of the building project also. The Jews refused the offer, and so their enemies set out to frighten and discourage them… even hiring people to intentionally work against them and frustrate their plans…so they would become disheartened and give up. How many times has the Lord told you something, when suddenly here pops the enemy, whispering in your ear that it won’t work…that you’ll fail…or that you don’t know what you’re doing and you might as well give up. The Israelites were following the Lord’s plans and purpose for their lives, despite what their enemies were telling them…don’t allow the enemy to discourage you from moving forward in the plans and purpose the Lord has set forth for you.
Jesus liked to use analogies when He taught the crowds that followed Him, and He had just spoken about judging others, when He gave this comparison. How can you be so concerned and finding fault with your brother who has a fleck of sawdust in his eye, while not even considering the wooden beam in your own? If we belittle someone else, and find fault, it somehow makes us feel our own shortcomings aren’t that “bad”. If we just focus on their weaknesses…we don’t have to face at our own. Jesus wants us to remove the plank out of our eye first…and then we can see clearly enough to take that speck out of our brother’s.
King Uzziah was 16 years old when he became King. His fame spread far and wide, and as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success. But as Uzziah became more and more powerful, it went to his head and his pride and arrogance sadly led to his corruption. He abandoned the Lord, which led to his ruin. King Solomon in his wisdom talked about pride going before destruction, and a haughty spirit going before a fall. But I think the very best word picture of this is in Proverbs 30:29-31 “There are three things that are stately in their stride, four that move with stately bearing; a lion, mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing; a strutting rooster, a he-goat, and a King with his army around him.” Many a person’s pride and arrogance has led them down the path to ruin when they think they are mightier than God.
The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is known as the “Faith” chapter…commending Old Testament heroes for their faithfulness under adversity. Thus, this first verse lays the groundwork for the rest of the chapter to build on. Our confident belief in the truth of the gospel keeps us ever looking forward to what God has promised…even though we have yet to see it. We are to fix our eyes on the unseen eternal…until it becomes real.
Sometimes it can be downright scary to step out and trust the Lord. The “what ifs” quickly take over our mind, drowning out that still small voice that’s speaking encouragement and affirmation in our ear. We flounder about in the Sea of uncertainty until we finally say,” Yes, I do trust You Lord!” I’ve heard it said, that the place of greatest peace is in the very center of God’s will…a place of safety, wholeness and wellbeing. God will be a watchman over that perfect peace because your confidence is in Him. Trust in the Lord.