Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.
When we have lived for some time in the ways of the Lord, we often forget how bad our existence was before meeting the Lord and accepting him as Savior and Lord of our life. Some even become confused and make the mistake of looking at those gone days with nostalgia, as if returning to their former condition, apart from the Lord Jesus, would be a good thing. When having this attitude is easy to err and wander aimlessly. It’s easy to lose sight of our vision and therefore we begin to walk on the wrong paths. Because of the many errors and mistakes our lives fall into chaos and problems pile up on us. Noticing that we are weak, the enemy takes advantage to attack us more viciously. As the pressure increases so does despair and we end up feeling that we perish. For some strange reason, despite our sad condition, we refuse to raise our eyes and cry out to God to deliver us from the tangled situation.
The Lord is willing to eliminate the affliction that affects our lives but we must cry out to him. We must understand that he the power and the authority to provide the solution to our problem. We must believe that he is the only one who can give us a positive response because he has all the power and there is nobody like him. It is he who can guide our feet to return to the right path that leads to his presence. He is the one who can rescue us and take us out of the abyss in which we have fallen. No one else can bestow all these blessings and that should be very clear in our minds and our hearts. Everybody has problems. The difference is whom do we go to have these problems removed from our path. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. You’ll see how the gray clouds disappear to make way for the radiant light of a new dawn. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, God, mistake, past, path, problems, situation, solution, trouble, walk, wandering, ways
When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
If we let ourselves to be guided by the criteria of the world in terms of what counts as success it is very likely that the vast majority of the children of God will end up falling in the category of failures. In the eyes of postmodern society we are perceived as intolerant, inflexible, stubborn and unable to maintain an open dialogue, as though having certainty is something unacceptable. When truth is in our hands, at least in regard to the gospel message of Jesus of Nazareth, it is difficult to maintain an attitude of equanimity and humility and this not because of lack of direction by the Holy Spirit but because of our sinful nature that takes advantage of every opportunity, even the good things, to make us stumble and fall. Instead of feeling compassion, we feel contempt. Instead of love, we feel disdain for those who do not know God and do not want to know him. I remind you and I remind myself that we are in this world not to judge others but to share with them the glorious truth of the gospel. If they accept or not what we offer them, it is their problem and we should not feel bad when we are rejected because, in fact, they are rejecting the Lord Jesus himself.
Do not look, then, with envy the apparent success of those who reject God and have created a god to suit them, in their personal style, in other words, an idol. As the saying goes, comparisons are always odious. Let us not compare ourselves with them because it makes no sense. Our eyes and thoughts should be fixed in the hope of the imminent return of Christ for His bride, the church. Focusing on the views of those who foolishly oppose the message of salvation is to waste time while many souls are being lost forever. Let us stop complaining and let us learn to live with contentment, which is the key to not getting caught up in the subtle snares of the world. In Jesus Christ we have victory and all that we need. Only to God be the glory!
For I am about to fall,
and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin.
It often surprises me the boldness with which some ─I include myself in this group ─ if not most of us come before God without confessing our sins and without having asked for forgiveness. We present ourselves as if nothing had happened, as innocent lambs, when in fact our sinful nature has been responsible of violating the precepts that God has given us to live a holy life. Sometimes God has to put us in extreme situations so we can realize our sinfulness and of course, this results in something that is not very nice to us. God loves us and as our Father he disciplines us so we may learn to be people full of integrity and moral authority.
Let us constantly review our lives and identify those areas in which we are failing. Let’s take our weaknesses to the throne of grace of God and let us act in a way our repentance shows. In this way we will be rid of the heavy burden of guilt and avoid the anguish that tries to dominate us. As an additional benefit in some cases we will receive health and in others we will find the solution to those problems that seemed to have no way out. Let us not miss the plank that is hosted in our eye and makes it difficult for us to see. May God speak to us and tell us where we are not behaving up to standard. He will respond with tenderness and love and show us the way for us to follow. To God alone be the glory!
The righteous person is rescued from trouble,
and it falls on the wicked instead.
Some think that for every good thing that we do we receive in return a blessing. Similarly, some think that for every bad thing we do a bad result is received in return. They believe in the “one for one.” They think that this thing of good and evil actions is a zero sum game where good and evil deeds are balanced with rewards and punishments. So when someone needs to receive a benefit he begins to act in good way with the hope that at some point he will receive what he desires. Others say that a good deed compensate a misdeed and his hope is that good deeds outweigh the bad ones to tip the scales in his favor. Unfortunately for them, this is not how things work in the spiritual world. It is true that the bad actions bring serious consequences and that good actions bring blessings, but for this to happen it is necessary to be consistent and coherent. We can not do something good just for the hope of receiving a blessing to later got back to our old ways and situation.
What God expects of us is obedience and respect. We must be consistent in this regard as God’s plans can only be understood in the medium and the long-term. Otherwise, we will not be pleasing to God and we will be giving very bad testimony of what God does and has done in our lives. What produces the blessing is to choose to walk in the path of justice. What produces the curse is to reject what God gives us with love and bring ourselves to walk in paths that only seem right to us because in reality they are not. Consider these things every time that you have to make a decision and make sure it is aligned with God’s plans. This is the expected behavior of a child of God. God will reward your dedication and commitment to him. To God alone be the glory!
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
One of the arguments of those who believe that God exists but has kept himself aloof of his creation (the so-called theistic position) is the level of violence and oppression observed in the world today. Violence and oppression are not new, there has always been much of them everywhere. We do not realize this fact because our selective memory makes us think the past was better and that’s simply not true. Since the world began and particularly since the fall of man, violence has not ceased to reign everywhere. Its partner, oppression, is the signature of all the empires and powers that have tried to control the destiny of the world or at least their own. Violence and oppression are normally exercised over the weak, those who are unable to fend off the vicious attacks hurled at them. But the violent and the oppressor will have to give account of their evil deeds before God’s throne. The proof and the evidence against them will be so overwhelming that they will have no way to make a defense to the charges that are registered in the books that will be opened at the day of reckoning.
All of us have committed oppression and violence against someone once or several times in our lives. However, for those of us who have believed in Christ and have placed our hopes in his redemptive work at Calvary, all our faults recorded in the books of the judgement will be detached from our names because they will appear as been already settled in the Book of Lamb of God. When searching for the list of our crimes, they will only find white pages . But the wicked will have their pages completely covered by their evil deeds, for which they thought nobody would call them to account. Let us leave the application of justice where it belongs and let us concentrate on seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and everything else we will be added unto us. To God alone be the glory!
By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD,
and trouble came to Moses because of them;
for they rebelled against the Spirit of God,
and rash words came from Moses’ lips.
Oftentimes when things go wrong the responsibility for what happened lies with the leaders. No wonder, since those who are in leadership positions are granted more power and this implies a greater accountability for the outcomes of their decisions. A good leader knows what he is exposed to and when something does not go as expected he takes full responsibility for what happened. However, on rare occasions, the responsibility lies not with the leader but on the followers. In the case of the popular protest against Moses because the shortage of water in the desert, the level of gossip of the people was so strong and so repetitive that it made Moses, an extremely humble man, to loose his cool and he ended up acting stupid and rashly carrying out the instructions that God gave him. Moses could blame the people, in fact, God disciplined the people for this and many other instances of complaint and murmuring. Moses’ failure was a result of his rebellious spirit which considered that what God had ordered him to do was a nuisance for his life.
We all receive God’s direction but sometimes we believe that the way we resolve the issues is better than God’s way and we end up rebelling against him. The basis for rebellion is pride and disobedience and we know that none of these things is pleasing to the Lord. When God commands us to do something and we think that there is a better way to do it, we should immediately stop and analyze where we are failing and identify what we need to do to fulfill God’s instructions to the letter. Otherwise it is very likely that we will end up falling into the deep pit of error and sin. Let us heed the voice of God and let us allow his Holy Spirit to lead us into the path of righteousness. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged anger, Christianity, discipline, God, Holy Spirit, Moses, obedience, Psalms, rash, rebellion, sin, trouble, trust, wisdom, words
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
Just as it looks like that it’s the sun that revolves around the earth when the reality is quite the opposite, so it seems that when we sin and make mistakes, God turns his back on us. The reality is that when we sin, it is us who turn our backs on him. We sin because we disobey his commandments, or because we feel that certain aspects of our life do not need to be managed in accordance with the principles established by God. We sin because we place ourselves (or think we can place ourselves) above God. And when we sin we turn our backs to God to follow our own paths and make our own decisions without the participation of the loving guidance of our heavenly Father. With arrogance but also with shame we turn our faces away to avoid being confronted by the truth and justice emanating from the presence of God. Later, when things go wrong, we refuse to accept our responsibility for having failed and often we blame God for what is happening to us without understanding that everything is the result of our disobedience.
Since it was not God who has turned his back on us it is our responsibility to turn our face towards God so we can renew our relationship with him. He is always there. He has never left us. It is us who have separated from him and it is us who must seek and appeal for the mercy of God and through the merits of our Lord Jesus entreat God not to take into account our wrongdoing. Are you in affliction, trouble, anguish,distress or hardship? Have you considered that what is happening to you is most likely a result of your disobedience and distancing from God? The answer is in your hand. Turn to the Lord your God with a repentant heart and seek His forgiveness for all your faults. Then do not turn your face from the glorious presence of God and you will enjoy a relationship that will remain steadfast amid the most violent storm. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged affliction, anguish, Christianity, consequence, disobedience, distress, faith, God, hope, Jesus, justice, life, loneliness, love, obedience, righteousness, sin, sinful nature, spirituality, trials, trouble, truth
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
Something that the word of God often mentions is that God listens to his children and that He talks to them as well. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” The real needs of man were met by the definitive response of the presence of God among us: Emanuel. Not only He dwelt among us, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” said the apostle John, adding: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Why so many people wander trying to find the right direction for their lives? Three powerful enemies stand in the way of he who strives towards establishing a strong personal relationship with the Creator: Satan the enemy and destroyer, the flesh with its passions and excesses and finally the world with its false and misleading advertising.
If we walk with caution and remain alert to the dangerous situations in which any of these three enemies, alone or in collusion, could take advantage of us to make us fall, with God’s help we can move forward without encountering major obstacles in the path of a close and revitalizing relationship with our Father. With our eyes focused on our goal, with the help of the mighty hand of God and with much determination and courage, let us march toward that moment “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” For this we have been redeemed by Christ. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged distress, God, grave, healing, life, love, Psalms, rescue, salvation, trouble, word
The fear of the LORD leads to life;
then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
When someone has no fear of authority, he is capable of committing any kind of mischief. While the word fear is intimately associated with the idea of being afraid, it is also associated with feeling respect and reverence towards a person, a situation, an animal or an object. You may have heard the expression “I do not fear the sea, but I respect it.” Well, this is more or less the sense of the word fear as used in today’s passage. The Merriam-Webster Online dictionary defines fear as “profound reverence and awe especially toward God”. Another meaning for the word fear is “un unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”, the latter being the most common use for this word. The fear of the Lord consists of reverence, respect and the obedience that necessarily arises from the first two. Returning to today’s passage, we see that the result or outcome of showing fear ─reverence, awe─ toward what God represents ─justice, discipline, correction, etc.─ is a quiet life that is free of problems.
Is this not the life we all seek? Why, then, so few can achieve the goal of a peaceful and contented life? The answer is that very few people are moving down the path of the fear of God and even when directed to do so, they assume that fear involves apprehension or terror. In consequence, they end up in a state of anguish worse than what they were experiencing before. Let us draw near to God with fear ─respect, reverence, obedience─ and we will be following the path of life. Only Jesus Christ, who defeated death, can give you life and life in abundance. To God alone be the glory!