Grace For The Journey
Elizabeth Elliot lost her first husband, Jim Elliot, when he and four other men were martyred as they tried to take the gospel to the hostile Auca tribe. She lost her second husband, Addison Leitch, to cancer. On one occasion, she told of being in Wales and watching a shepherd and his dog. The dog would herd the sheep up a ramp and into a tank of antiseptic in which they had to be bathed to protect them from parasites. As soon as they would come up out of the tank, the shepherd would grab the rams by the horns and fling them back into the tank and hold them under the antiseptic for a few more seconds. Mrs. Elliot asked the shepherd’s wife if the sheep understood what was happening. “They haven’t got a clue,” she said. Mrs. Elliot we on to say, “I’ve had some experiences in my life that have made me feel very sympathetic to those poor rams – I couldn’t figure out any reason for the treatment I was getting from the Shepherd I trusted. And He didn’t give a hint of explanation.”
If you’ve been a Christian
For very long,
You’ve been there.
The Shepherd you trusted threw you into some situation or circumstances that were quite unpleasant, and you didn’t have a clue as to why He was doing it.
David had been there. In fact, he wrote Psalm 57 out of the depths of just such an experience. When he was a teenager, David was anointed as king to replace the disobedient King Saul. Then he slew the giant Goliath and was thrust into instant national fame. But King Saul’s jealous rage sent David running for his life. He spent the better part of his twenties dodging Saul’s repeated attempts on his life.
The title tells us that he wrote this psalm “when he fled from Saul, in the cave.” Caves are interesting places to visit once in a while. The lights show all the beautiful formations. But David didn’t have electric lights. He was hiding, so he probably didn’t even keep his torches burning.
Even with lights, I wouldn’t want to live in a cave, especially if there was a hostile army outside seeking to kill me! If I were holed up in a cave, hiding from a madman and his army, and if God had promised me something that didn’t seem to be coming true, about the last thing I would be doing would be writing praise songs. Yet . . .
Here is David,
Singing in the cave!
And he’s not singing the blues!
He’s exalting the Lord!
He has something to teach us
About how we are to think and act
In those times when we’re holed up in a cave,
When God’s promises don’t seem true.
David must have wondered, “God, why are You allowing this to happen to me? You anointed me as king; I didn’t choose the job. Why don’t You remove Saul and put me in office?”
Psalm 57 shows us that David
Understood something deeper.
Although, he may not have realized
Why God was allowing him to suffer,
He did understand what
God wanted from him in his suffering.
David understood that to ask the question “Why?”
In the midst of suffering
Is to ask the wrong question.
The proper question to ask is,
“God, what do You want from my life
In the midst of this trial
And as a result of this trial?”
The answer is, “God wants to be glorified.”
That’s the theme of Psalm 57 (note the refrain, verses 5 & 11):
God’s glory should be our aim
At all times,
But especially in a time of trial.
What does it mean to glorify God? The Hebrew word (kabod) has the idea of “weight, heaviness, worthiness, reputation, honor.” It was used of men to describe a man of substance or weight. We use it in a similar way when we say, “He’s a heavyweight in his field.” We mean, “This guy has substance; he must be reckoned with.” When kabod was applied to God, it referred to His intrinsic worth. It means . . .
That God is worthy of all honor
Because of who He is,
A God who is perfect
In all of His attributes and ways.
To glorify God is to ascribe honor and praise to God for who He is and for what He has done. It means to show forth His excellencies, to exalt Him. In simple language, to glorify God means “to make Him look good as He really is through my life.”
The apostle Paul said, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). He meant,
“Let the promotion of God’s glory or honor
Be your aim in all that you do.
Strive in everything to act in such a way
That others may praise and honor the God
Whom you profess to serve
Because they have seen His attributes
Shining through your life.”
That should be our aim at all times . . . but especially in a time of trial. How do we do that? We will look at two ways David presents us in tomorrow’s blog.
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”