Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Psalm 4:6-8 - Contentment and safety vs. comfort

"Many are saying, 'Who will show us any good?' Lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us, O, Lord! Thou has put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me dwell in safety."

Sometimes we desire affirmation. We long to have sort of validation or affirmation that what we are doing is worth it. That walking with God is worth it, and that our lives are making a difference. Unfortunately, that is very hard to come by. I have been in ministry for over 10 years now and there aren't alot of thank you's. You do hear some. But, there are times when things are so overwhelming, that you just cry out "Can I please get some encouragement or something!"

It is in these times that we need a perspective check. If you reread vs. 6, he says "lift up the light of your countenance upon us." I think it is interesting that he refers to the light of His countenance. Something must be in darkness to need light. You need light to see things that you are missing. This verse is driving home the fact that in God's presence, clarity is given and purpose is seen.

The honest answer to "Who will show us any good"? ...maybe nobody. Are you ok with that? Are you content with the light of the presence of God or do we long for some kind tangible pay off. I will continue to walk with God if i see fruit come from it. I will walk with God as long as good things happen to me. When verbalized like this, it becomes a bit more clearer to see. We need His presence, and that is it. He promises that He is enough to meet our needs, the question is, do I believe that?

"Thou has put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound"

Our happiness isn't tied to circumstances. Our peace and satisfaction, our joy comes directly from God. Sure you are happy when you are profitable or you see a bountiful harvest for your efforts, but does it last? Things come and go. If we lived our life chained to circumstances then we will be dragged around all over the place. Will you have joy when the crops fail? Do you know your worth doesn't come from them? Even if there is no more new wine, no more grain, you are still loved, accepted and cherished by God. In our performance driven society this is a hard thing to grasp because we so often don't see it modeled. In our desire for newer, bigger and better, we have harnessed a spirit that determines contentment based on things. Here the psalmist is calling us to remember that contentment, gladness is placed in our heart from the Father, who loves us and cherishes us.

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me dwell in safety"

You don't rest when you are fearful, you don't lie down when you are agitated, you don't sleep when you are stressed. If we live in fear: fear that we will not be accepted or loved, fear that if we mess up then everything is going to come crashing down, fear that this will never be over - then we will be robbed or sleep, or rest.

The Lord makes us dwell (live in) safety. Not just visit safety, like here is a postcard of what it would look like to live in safety. But He makes us to dwell there, to live there. We are robbed of this whenever we have an inaccurate view of God or an inaccurate view of our importance. The reality is that God is sovereign and in control. The truth is that God is our only constant. He loves us, values us, provide for us and in Him we are safe.

Safe and Comfort are not the same thing. Safe means that when hard times come, you have a refuge and you are protected and provided for. Unfortunately, we expect comfort. Comfort is a life void of difficulty or action, this is not promised. In fact, the opposite is promised. We will endure hard things, but as we see in this verse, God allows us to dwell in safety.

I pray that God's light would shine in both of our hearts, that we would realize He longs for us to dwell with Him in safety, not stressed out and in fear. I pray that God would place gladness not based on circumstance in our hearts, and that we would be a light to those around us.

Thanks for reading.


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