by Richard Mansel, assistant editor
Coming to the end of Psalm 31, we feel the joy in David’s voice. Despite all of the pain, suffering, persecutions and heartaches, he stands tall with God. Rather than crumbling, he shouts, “Oh, how great is Your goodness” (Psalm 31:19a, NKJV).
The Bible is a story of sin, redemption and salvation. Jesus comes into the world so we all could have the chance of an eternal home (Romans 5).
Tragically, Scripture also tells the story of how the human race has, with rare exception, ignored or taken God for granted (Matthew 7:13-14). We are a people who have often treated God as a hired servant who must run when called and disappear when no longer needed. It is pathetic that the greatest force in the universe is treated so disrespectfully.
God offers man transformation through godliness (Romans 12:1-2). Yet, man desires to remain weak and sinful while chastising God for not extending his spiritual blessings anyway. God has been more longsuffering and merciful than man can ever conceive of (Exodus 34:6-7;1 Peter 1:3).
God will prepare us to handle the persecutions that come against us (2 Timothy 3:12). He will prepare us to handle the stresses of life (Matthew 6:25-34). He will teach us to anticipate heaven so we can become excited about the journey (John 14:1-6). Finally, he can prepare us to trust him to handle our problems and to protect us. This last one needs further explanation.
Man’s greatest problem is selfishness (2 Timothy 3:2). It infects every aspect of human life and constantly wars against godliness (Galatians 5:16-17). God builds righteousness on humility, so it stands in stark contrast to fleshly living. “For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:21). We must fight this diligently every day if we want to be righteous (1 Peter 5:6).
Despite this fierce struggle to keep the flesh at bay, we must place Christ on the throne of our lives and yield ourselves completely to him. This is far easier to say than do. We protect ourselves by wishing to retain some level of control. Of course, Christ can handle our lives just fine. Yet, the flesh fights to retain control while feeding our delusions of self-sufficiency.
We must be brave enough to have a faith that forces us to step back and give God everything. We must trust him implicitly to take care of us and to protect us. We can feed the delusion that people have that this will be easy. We must teach them that we will never stop struggling, because we are fleshly. Nevertheless, Christ provides all that we need and we can trust him completely (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Ephesians 1:19).
We must be prepared to seek heaven since we do not exit the womb yearning for it. Instead, we must learn the benefits and the path to take to our eternal home.
God’s grace and mercy empower us as Christians (Psalm 32:9-13). He is good beyond our imaginations. “God has an ample store of mercies” and grace. /1 They will never be exhausted so we can have an inexhaustible faith in them.
“God’s mercy went beyond the Psalmist’s faith…far beyond what they hope for; far beyond what they pray for; far beyond what we believe to be possible.” /2
God “preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person” (Psalm 31:23). We get the path we have chosen. We will either come to Christ and be saved or we will go to Satan and be condemned (Matthew 25:46).
1/ Tom Wacaster, “Songs and Devotions of David, Volume 2” (Pulaski: Sain Publications, 2003), 90.
2/ Albert Barnes, Psalms, Notes on the Old Testament ( Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998), 269.
by Richard Mansel, assistant editor