“The arrogant mock me without restraint, but I do not turn from Your law.” -Psalm 119:51
The arrogant mock what they do not understand. The psalmist was persecuted in this manner for living set apart, contrasting his convictions with the indulgent flesh. The unrepentant may enjoy temporal blessings, as God blesses the righteous and unrighteous with common grace. But the psalmist takes the long view, an eternal perspective which steers the rudder of his ship. It is easy to let rejection from peers cause us to despair. But we have a true and better friend in our Lord who is always patient with us, gentle and unchanging. His friendship is sealed with the blood of Christ, one that cannot be broken but will last in eternal fellowship.
Take comfort in the psalmist’s example. As the dogs of Satan pressed in, he clings even more to Truth. The Living Word protects, sustains, loves and befriends saints seeking refuge.
“Remember Your word to Your servant, for You have given me hope.” -Psalm 119:49
God’s promises and love are irrevocable. If God does not change and cannot lie, then His Word stands true today as when it was written. The first recorded commands of God still stand the test of Time. What did God say? “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). From there our Creator formed the heavens and the earth for all living things to dwell in. Then He called it very good. Whatever God does, says, commands or promises is certain because God never fails. This is our hope.
Like the psalmist we hope in the truth we know found in God’s Word. He asks the Lord to remember His oath of covenantal blessings on His people. God will not forsake His own. You and I have hope and peace because the deep deep love of the Father allowed His Son Jesus Christ to take our rightful place that day on the cross. The wrath meant for you and me was poured on Christ. If God would go to great lengths for creatures like us, we can firmly set our hope on the rest of His promises. He always remembers His children- in your worst moment, the hardest day/season of your life- you are not forgotten. It is we who often forget His great love and sacrifice. A spiritual fog sets in and the father of lies slithers toward an opportunity to feed his poison. BUT GOD, in His rich mercy has given us hope, covering the elect in His sufficient atonement through Jesus Christ. He remembers His word to us, therefore we have hope and live.
“Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshipped.” (Exodus 4:29-31).
In our reading of Exodus today we see the Lord is placing His plan of redemption into motion for the Israelites. They have been held captive in Egyptian slavery for 400 years and at just the right time God accomplishes His purpose through them, “For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” (Psalm 22:24).
Psalm 22 was written by King David as his own cry for help, laced with adoration of God. This Messianic psalm looks forward to Christ our Redeemer imaging these words as well looking back to God’s great deliverance of Israel during the exodus. The Bible is layered with experiences from different men, separated by hundreds of years, yet when their stories align we see a bigger picture unfolding- God’s great mercy saving His people for His Glory and our good.
Human emotions are as old as time. We still have a felt need to be rescued from this world of captivity, to be satisfied with something meaningful and know we are loved even though we sin. The words in Scripture are comforting because they are just as relevant today as they were for Moses and David. Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He knows we are a needy people. When you and I recognize our need for a Savior our cries for salvation transform into songs of praise because of His mercy. Remembering that the Father delights to save and He “is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost” (Matthew 18:14) are words of certainty we can hold onto in uncertain times.
God works in many ways to display His Power. He faithfully fulfills the dreams given to Joseph as a teenager with his brothers and father now bowing before him. What Joseph’s brothers meant for evil the Lord uses for good. He not only avenges Joseph but preserves a remnant of Israel during the famine. The sons of Jacob are shown mercy and forgiveness.
Jesus demonstrates His Power through miracles as well as healing the sick and demon-possessed. He does this with a touch, just a word, and sometimes by using created things like making mud (John 9:1-12). There is no formula for how the Lord operates. What is consistent is His character: compassionate, merciful, faithful, and good. In this way God does not change.
In C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lucy asks Mr. Beaver about Aslan to which he replies,
“He’ll be coming and going. One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down – and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild you know. Not like a tame lion.“
Lewis translates the character of Aslan as a Christ figure in his children’s story. We may not be able to predict God’s ways but it doesn’t mean who He is ever changes (Hebrews 13:8).
The prophet Isaiah also writes the Lord’s ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). The Lord IS infinite wisdom. We simply must trust in His Sovereign plan for our lives and what happens in the world. Even when tragedies seem senseless, and nothing makes sense to our logic, we can rest in the character of God because of what we know to be true- that will never change.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18
When I am abiding in the Spirit (perfect love) I don’t fear that I am not His. I’m not afraid of losing His love or of being rejected. I have peace and confidence that not only is Christ keeping me, but He is continually doing a good work in and through me.
To be like Him.
When I am set in this truth He makes my face like flint, burying my roots deeper as I draw life giving water from His well.
So what does abiding look like in our day to day lives?
*Seeking God’s Presence in His Word daily to learn and listen and grow
*Prayer throughout the day that’s more like a conversation with a friend, who happens to also be the God of the Universe.
*Memorizing Scripture- this one is hard for me but always worth the challenge. Learn by heart a few verses to carry with you during your day when you can’t have your Bible open in front of you. It’s a blessing to give your future self in those moments.
This list isn’t comprehensive, but it can nudge us in the right direction. Start with one today. When we abide in the Lord, He helps us remember just how much He loves us by pointing us back to the Cross.