I want to share with you two verses from Helen Spurrell’s translation of the original Hebrew text: “When designing pursuers approached me, who are far from thy law; then thou, O Jehovah, wast near, with all thy faithful commandments” (Psalm 119:150-151).
Embedded in this passage is a glorious truth that can change your life, bringing you peace and giving you rest beyond anything you have yet experienced. Once you understand the fact that God loves you and is continually near you, all fear and anxiety must go.
I can still remember how deeply affected I was by a song that came out several years ago. It’s called “Clear the Stage” by the musician Jimmy Needham.
The song speaks of how a great number of churches—including the last one I pastored—can make a big impression through smoke machines, giant video screens and massive racks of lights. Jimmy’s message was how easily we become dependent on outer trappings like these and end up missing Jesus.
Who told you that you’re unworthy, no good, useless, unusable to God? Who keeps reminding you that you’re weak, helpless, a total failure? Who told you that you’ll never measure up to God’s standard?
We all know where this voice comes from. It’s the devil himself. You hear his lies all day long, a voice that tells you God is continually angry with you. That voice comes straight from the pits of hell.
Every Christian has known mountaintop peaks and deep, dark valleys in their walk with Jesus. In my experience, it’s the valleys—the low places, trials and difficult times—that teach us how to be people of prayer, hope and courageous service.
“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12, NKJV). In this verse, Paul tells the Christians in Philippi not to worry about all the things they’d heard had befallen him. All those “things” he refers to included great afflictions and infirmities.
Many Christians experience a turn in their lives they never see coming. When it arrives, it causes an ongoing trial they couldn’t imagine in their worst nightmares. Their life was on a blessed course, maybe one of ambition and achievement, desire and fulfillment, pursuing the things they feel God made them for. Life itself seemed like a straight line forward with a promising outlook and every good thing ahead. Then their lot in life took a crooked turn.
God’s goodness simply can’t be nailed down. It transcends our understanding, yet it blesses us in every moment of our lives. His goodness can’t be defined, yet we know its truth through scripture and the Spirit’s witness. How can any human being ever get their head around the awesome goodness of God?
Psalm 107 has been called “the Old Testament love feast.” It is one of the most encouraging passages in all of God’s Word, and it is meant especially for those needing forgiveness, deliverance or restoration. The final verse promises the reader an understanding of who God truly is. “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord” (Psalm 107:43, NKJV).
This season has been one of pandemic, protests, riots, political upheaval and economic uncertainty. The immediate fear may have subsided, but many now live with a troubling uncertainty. Some struggle with isolation, others with health, others with loss of work and keeping their families afloat. Amid all of this, they still don’t know what next week will bring or what their long-term future will be.