It’s a new year and a new day. Why not begin with a fresh start on life? As I journey through the Psalms, I truly enjoy reading and being a part of them. There is such peace, rest, and quite a bit of edification in allowing the Word to speak to your heart. I find that when I place myself in the writer’s position I almost become part of it. For instance, this Psalm speaks of God’s love and deliverance. For me, this hits home—for I was delivered from alcohol and tobacco—God’s miraculous hand upon my life, changed me from the inside out. I never imagined that I would be doing today, what I am—it’s a literal dream, as my heart and soul teem with overflowing joy. I can see exactly why the Psalmist begins the Psalm the way he does.
“I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy” (v.1).
There is no greater feeling than waking up or lying in bed for sleep with an enormous burst of love in my heart for the Creator. However, it was not always this way. For this reason, I praise the Lord of heaven, earth, and creation, for He loved me and heard my cries. Let me ask, where are you with God? Do you think He is distant? God is not the one who is distant, we choose to walk in our desires and flee His love (Eph 2:2; James 1:14). If you’re struggling with a stronghold, addiction, or sin vice, my prayer is that you dive into your heart and take a good look at your life. Reflection can be good for the soul.
Because He inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!” (v2-4).
God is not required to hear, listen, or acknowledge us—but we are getting a glimpse into the infinite and unconditional love of our Creator. A picture is painted of a loving Father, bending over to listen to His child—One who is never tired of hearing the cries for help.
There are times when I felt so displaced, so lost, so alone—but all along, God was there; it was I who was pushing Him away. When the time came, I realized my self-idolatry; I turned to Him and poured out my heart. These words are so familiar—almost identical to the ones I cried over 11 years ago. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a situation where you felt like you were about to “cash in your chips” and say goodbye, but I have. When I was sick and addicted, in the hospital and receiving the bad news, I cried out to the One who I knew in years past, “Deliver my soul!” For He is good—all the time—forever! And for that, I owe Him my surrendered life, “as long as I live.”
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you” (vv. 5-7).
Grace. How does one describe a word which utters unmerited favor—that while in my rebellion and sin a loving God would dare to look upon me? Do you know that is exactly what Christ has done? For He loved us ALL, while we were at enmity (enemies) with God. While we were walking in our passions and desires, He came and preached the good news of the Gospel (Eph.2:17), and destroyed the wall of hostility (Eph. 2:16), becoming our peace (Eph. 2:14). Did you also know that nothing can separate you from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:36-39); keep running—His love is stronger and faster and more patient.
What brings joy to my heart is seeing the words “Return, O my soul, to your rest.” For until Christ came and rescued my soul, I did not know rest. Back then, rest was a day off filled with activities to try and quiet my mind (i.e. television, sports, yard work, shopping, etc.), but only Jesus could bring me peace. This is His reconciling power—through the Cross (Eph.2:16). To reconcile something means to bring it back into harmony—that is what God has done through Christ. We have sinned and fallen away; BUT GOD, has brought us back into harmony, as we were originally created.