Sunday, June 28, 2015

Psalm 28 - Clear Vision

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your instructions.
1I pray to You, O LORD, my Rock.
Do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if You are silent,
I might as well give up and die.
2Listen to my prayer for mercy
as I cry out to You for help,
as I lift my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
3Do not drag me away with the wicked—
with those who do evil—
those who speak friendly words to their neighbors
while planning evil in their hearts.
4Give them the punishment they so richly deserve!
Measure it out in proportion to their wickedness.
Pay them back for all their evil deeds!
Give them a taste of what they have done to others.
5They care nothing for what the LORD has done
or for what His hands have made.
So He will tear them down,
and they will never be rebuilt!
6Praise the LORD!
For He has heard my cry for mercy.
7The LORD is my strength and shield.
I trust Him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
8The LORD gives His people strength.
He is a safe fortress for His anointed king.
9Save your people!
Bless Israel, Your special possession.
Lead them like a shepherd, 
        and carry them in Your arms forever.

Psalm 28 is written during the time when David was fleeing from Absalom, who was trying to abdicate the throne. David is indeed crying out for protection and safety from the perils of Absalom’s attempt at abdicating his throne. He asking God to give him clear vision.

Psalm 28 seems to be a sequel to Psalm 27. Psalm 28 describes what David is doing as he waits for answered prayer, the prayer he offered in Psalm 27. A length of time has transpired since David offered his prayer. David begins by calling on God to no longer remain silent.

This is an important starting point for me to consider when going to God in prayer. Too often my expectations in prayer is that I will receive immediate results. But I see in this psalm that David, a man after God’s own heart, was required to wait for extended periods of time after his prayer was offered. I must expect this possibility and go back to the point that David made in Psalm 27 --- that I need to wait for the Lord.

The end of verse one says, “For if You are silent, I might as well give up and die.” David makes a very thoughtful point. I am as good as dead when I am not speaking to God and He is not speaking to me.  Really I have not thought about life in those terms. David says without the ability to have an open dialogue with God, I am like dead person. 

This was the idea that Jesus used in His argument against Satan when being tempted in the wilderness. After Satan tempted Jesus to prove He is the Son of God by turning stones into bread, Jesus replied, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). 

Spiritual life is more important than physical life. If I truly believe this, then I should be serious about developing a relationship with God. If I really believed that I am perishing apart from hearing the word of God, like David did, would I not live and study the word of God more?There is a vital necessity and importance of prayer in my life. The neglect of daily conversations with God results in a spiritual stagnation, which itself is a type of death.

David shows me the need for persistence in prayer. His persistence is essential. In Luke 18 "Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up". (Luke 18:1).  God is the Almighty and all-knowing God. So perhaps I think I should just have to ask once. But Jesus encouraged repetition in requests. 

True trust in God means that when it seems that my prayers are going unanswered that I rely on God all the more. When I do not feel like God is hearing me, I will continue to pray to God and not give up. If I serve God only because it is easy and convenient, then a time will come when it is not so easy and I will slip. 

David’s trust in God was validated. God answered his prayer. David rejoiced and praised God. While David waited, he persisted in prayer, God opened his eyes beyond the physical circumstances he was facing. God gave David clear vision for the spiritual battle waging within and around him and his trust in God grew.  When I open my eyes past the physical and see the spiritual battle I am engaged in, I have clear vision that God is on my side. God has never disappointed me.

David ends the psalm with a final prayer on behalf of the people. He prays that God will save His people, bless His possession, shepherd them and carry them forever. 

Peter said, “You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light..” 

Wow, I am God’s prized possession!  God does not ignore His prized possessions. He hears me. He answers me. As His possession, He is my shepherd through this life if I will be His sheep. He carries me through all I go through in this world as I put that great trust and faith in Him.