Daily D – Psalm 9:9-10
The LORD is a refuge for the persecuted, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you because you have not abandoned those who seek you, LORD. PSALM 9:9-10 (NLT)
John 6 is a chapter not easily summarized. One young preacher heard about the wisdom of preaching through the books of the Bible in a verse by verse manner. He tackled John’s Gospel with great intent. Then he arrived at this chapter. Several weeks later, he told his congregation, “We will come back to John later.”
He never finished that chapter, let alone the rest of the book.
King David tells us that God will not abandon those who seek him (verse 10). I love Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of these two verses in The Message:
GOD’s a safe-house for the battered,
a sanctuary during bad times.
The moment you arrive, you relax;
you’re never sorry you knocked.
John 6 begins with a huge crowd following Jesus because of the signs pointing to him being no ordinary man (verses 1-3). Jesus then miraculously fed those five thousand men and more. He started with a little boy’s lunch and ended with each of his twelve disciples gathering a basket full of leftovers.
People are always eager to follow a leader who will give them things for free. Read the rest of this chapter and see how he offered the gift of eternal life for free. See also that the chapter that begins with five thousand and more ends with Jesus and the Twelve.
After the magnificent miraculous meal, the crowd wanted to crown Jesus king. Jesus withdrew “to the mountain by himself,” (verse 15). Sometime after dark, while the disciples were crossing the lake in a boat, “A high wind arose, and the sea began to churn,” (verse 18).
Rowing into the wind for three or four miles is exhausting work. The beating of the waves wearies a person’s nerves. Then “they saw Jesus walking on the sea. He was coming near the boat, and they were afraid,” (verse 19). Jesus said, “It is I. Don’t be afraid,” (verse 20).
I am no Greek scholar and refuse to pretend that I know more than I do. Even so, what Jesus says here in the Greek language as John recorded it is the equivalent of what God told Moses his name is: I AM. Wet, weary, worried disciples saw a second sign that day of who Jesus really is.
Verse 22-65 are a long, uncomfortable conversation where five thousand and more are reduced to the original Twelve. Bread Kings are not popular when the bread runs out. Verse 66 is one of the saddest in the Bible: “From that moment many of his disciples turned back and no longer accompanied him.”
Jesus even asked the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” Jesus asked lots of questions. This one is always painful to hear and to ponder. If Jesus does not give us what we want when we want it, we are tempted to walk away.
Remember that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indie chooses the right cup and drinks from the fountain? The ancient knight says, “You have chosen wisely.” Peter chose wisely when he said, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God,” (verses 68, 69).
Jesus did not abandon them in their hunger. Jesus did not abandon them in the storm. Jesus did not abandon them to an eternity apart from God. He was completely worthy of committed trust.
He still is.
The LORD is a refuge for the persecuted,
a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you
because you have not abandoned those who seek you, LORD.
Thank you, King David. Thank you, Simon Peter.
Thank you, Jesus.
I will trust in Jesus who is the Bread of Life.
Our Father, you are our refuge in times of trouble. You never abandon us when we seek you. May we always seek you and not merely what you provide. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”