Daily D – Psalm 55:6-8
Psalm 55:6-8 NIV
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far way
And stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
Far from the tempest and storm.”
I cannot read these words without thinking about Southwest Airlines and their Wanna Get Away advertising campaign. I was supposed to board a flight for Michigan yesterday. My flight was canceled the day before due to the anticipated weather we are now experiencing. Because of the thin layer of ice on everything, not much of anyone is going anywhere.
When have you wanted to get away but could not? No doubt this leads us to recall painful memories. I am sorry about that. I really am. We have all been there and done that and yet each of us knows a depth of grief and anxiety unique to ourselves. No one can fully feel our individual pain no matter how empathetic they are.
Last week, two pastors told their Wanna Get Away stories. One has led his church to become one of the most significant contributors to the Kingdom of God in his state. Over the decade of his leadership, this church has excelled in every normal marker of church health and vitality. Even so, he is experiencing betrayal that may well lead him away from the church he has served so well and his granddaughter who lives nearby as he leaves for another position.
The founding pastor of a new church start a decade ago which has become a church of thousands today is experiencing betrayal. A staff member has rallied several other staff members and key lay leaders to leave and start their own church.
My pastor neighbor a few doors down and his family received the news a week-and-a-half ago that their young-adult son had died of an overdose.
In Ukraine today, a mother huddles with her children as the war machines roll by. She wonders if she will ever see her husband again. The children ask if they are going to die.
If we sat in a circle together this morning, we could multiply these stories. Pain is forever plentiful.
How do we cope with such gut-wrenching agony?
King David is one of the spiritual giants of all time. He gives us a pattern for prayer when our emotions are white-hot and our fears send shivers to our souls. The first thing he did was go to God in prayer.
do not ignore my plea;
hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
because of what my enemy is saying,
because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
and assail me in their anger.
- David pled with God to listen and to intervene.
- He told God why he required his attention and action.
- He declared his inability to save himself.
- He confessed how he wanted to run away from his problems (verses 6-8).
- He suggested actions God could take to straighten out the mess he was in (verses 9-11).
- He addressed his betrayer in his prayer (verses 12-14). Not only had David lost peace and safety, he had lost a dear and trusted friend.
- Knowing the conspiracy has grown, David suggests a permanent end to this temporary problem (verse 16).
David rehearsed his well-worn actions in times of trouble (verses 16-19). His first thought was to run to God rather than to run away. As God had always saved and delivered him, he had every confidence God would again save and deliver him.
David shakes his head in amazement at this friend who smiled in his face while holding a knife behind his back (verses 20 and 21).
Finally, David gives himself a good talking-to. Consider verses 22 and 23 alongside the story we find in 1 Samuel 30, particularly verse 6:
each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters.
But David found strength in the LORD his God.
David went first to God.
God was his last alternative.
Everything between the beginning of this episode and its conclusion is lived in communion with God.
No matter how bad the bad times were, David always declared and displayed the same bottom line:
I trust in you.
I will trust God in all things at all times.
Our Father, we come to you with all of our problems. We cast our cares on you because you care for us. We trust you to provide answers and solutions better than any we could imagine or devise. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.