Our Response To Trials

Read Psalm 5:1-12

What do you do in difficult situations? Many of the psalms were written during difficult, often painful, experiences. In Psalm 5 we find two sequences concerning trials.

In the first sequence (vv. 1-7), David is experiencing difficulty and makes his request – ”hear me.” (v. 1-3).

Meditation here means “sighing, murmuring, groaning” – a quiet expression of feelings.

When our burden is beyond expression, all we can do is sigh and moan before the Lord. The Spirit hears our groanings and intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26). David’s meditation turns to a cry (v. 2; Heb. 5:7). Prayer is not always a quiet, joyful conversation with God. Sometimes it is a battle against the principalities arrayed against us.

David’s reason for making this request is the holiness of God (vv. 4-6). He cried to God because He is holy and stands against the wicked and boastful. Although He will judge the wicked, God does not always judge sin immediately. David’s response is worship (v. 7), individual and personal.

In the second sequence, David makes another request–”lead me” (v. 8).

He wants God’s way, which is the righteous way. In the midst of difficulty, what we need most is wisdom to know the will of God (James 1:5). Notice that David asks to be led, not delivered. God has a straight way through every difficulty that will lead us to victory.

His reason this time is the wickedness of man (vv. 9,10). Destruction means “a yawning, open abyss.” An open tomb pictures defilement and death. Flattery is not communication; it is manipulation. Absalom fell by his own counsel. David did nothing. He let God do it all (Rom. 12:19).

David’s response (vv. 11,12) is rejoicing in faith, love and hope. Joy comes from trusting in and loving the Lord. This kind of joy comes from God’s work on the inside, not from circumstances on the outside.

The psalmist tells us to expect difficulty. We shouldn’t run from our trials but bring to God our requests, our reasons and our response.

You need never be paralyzed by your difficulties. You have the privilege of praying to a loving, understanding Father, who knows your condition. He guides you through difficulty to victory.

When your faith, hope and love are fixed on the Lord, you can face any difficulty or problem, and God will give you joy and peace within.

– Warren Wiersbe

Rest In God’s Will

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ”
– Romans 12:2

But how may we know God’s will? That is not always easy. Yet the difficulty is not in Him. He does not wish us to grope painfully in the dark. He is ever giving us many signs and hints as to the way we should take, too delicate to be perceived by the coarse eye of sense, but clear enough to those who are removed from of self-will and pride, and only anxious to know and do the holy and acceptable and perfect will of God.

It is a mistake to seek a sign from heaven; to run from counselor to counselor; to cast a lot; or to trust to some chance coincidence. Not that God may not reveal His will thus; but because it is hardly the behavior of a child with its Father. There is a more excellent way. Let the heart be quieted and stilled in the presence of God; weaned from all earthly distractions and worldly ambitions. Let the voice of the Son of God hush into perfect rest the storms that sweep the lake of the inner life, and ruffle its calm surface.

Let the whole being be centered on God Himself. And then, remembering that all who lack wisdom are to ask it of God, and that Jesus Christ is already made unto us wisdom, let us quietly approach Him, in that capacity, by faith; and then go forward, perhaps not conscious of any increase of wisdom, or able to see far in front; but sure that we shall be guided, as each new step must be taken, or word spoken, or decision made.

It is an immense help in any difficulty to say, “I take you, Lord Jesus, as my wisdom,” and to do the next thing, nothing doubting; assured that He will not permit those who trust in Him to be ashamed.

– F.B.Meyer

Putting God First

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”
– Matthew 6:33

When we look at these words of Jesus, we immediately find them to be the most revolutionary that human ears have ever heard. “. . . seek first the kingdom of God . . . .” Even the most spiritually-minded of us argue the exact opposite, saying, “But I must live; I must make a certain amount of money; I must be clothed; I must be fed.”

The great concern of our lives is not the kingdom of God but how we are going to take care of ourselves to live. Jesus reversed the order by telling us to get the right relationship with God first, maintaining it as the primary concern of our lives, and never to place our concern on taking care of the other things of life.

“. . . do not worry about your life . . .” (Matthew 6:25). Our Lord pointed out that from His standpoint it is absolutely unreasonable for us to be anxious, worrying about how we will live. Jesus did not say that the person who takes no thought for anything in his life is blessed — no, that person is a fool.

But Jesus did teach that His disciple must make his relationship with God the dominating focus of his life, and to be cautiously carefree about everything else in comparison to that. In essence, Jesus was saying, “Don’t make food and drink the controlling factor of your life, but be focused absolutely on God.”

Some people are careless about what they eat and drink, and they suffer for it; they are careless about what they wear, having no business looking the way they do; they are careless with their earthly matters, and God holds them responsible. Jesus is saying that the greatest concern of life is to place our relationship with God first, and everything else second.

It is one of the most difficult, yet critical, disciplines of the Christian life to allow the Holy Spirit to bring us into absolute harmony with the teaching of Jesus in these verses.

– Oswald Chambers

Made Rich by Faith

“For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever.”
– Psalm 9:18

Poverty is a hard heritage; but those who trust in the Lord are made rich by faith. They know that they are not forgotten of God, and though it may seem that they are overlooked in His providential distribution of good things, they look for a time when all this shall be righted. Lazarus will not always lie among the dogs at the rich man’s gate, but he will have his reward in Abraham’s bosom.

Even now the Lord remembers His poor but precious sons, “I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me,” said one of old, and it is so. The godly poor have great expectations. They expect the Lord to provide them all things necessary for this life and godliness; they expect to see things working for their good; they expect to have all the closer fellowship with their Lord, who had nowhere to lay His head; they expect His second coming and to share its glory.

This expectation cannot perish, for it is laid up in Christ Jesus, who lives forever, and because He lives, it shall live also. The poor saint sing many a song which the rich sinner cannot understand. Wherefore, let us, when we have short commons below, think of the royal table above.

– Charles Spurgeon

Love Thy Neighbor

“You shall love your neighbor.”
– Matthew 5:43

“Love your neighbor.” Perhaps he rolls in riches, and you are poor, and living in your little cot side-by-side with his lordly mansion; you see every day his estates, his fine linen, and his lavish banquets; God has given him these gifts, covet not his wealth, and think no hard thoughts concerning him.

Be content with your own lot, if you cannot better it, but do not look upon your neighbor, and wish that you were him. Love him, and then you will not envy him.

Perhaps, on the other hand, you are rich, and near you reside the poor. Do not scorn to call them neighbor. Understand that you are bound to love them. The world calls them your inferiors. In what way are they inferior?

They are far more your equals than your inferiors, for “God has made of one blood all people that dwell upon the face of the earth.” It is your coat which is better than theirs, but you yourself are by no means better than they. They are men, and what are you more than that? Take heed that you love your neighbor even though he be in rags, or sunken in the depths of poverty.

But, perhaps, you say, “I cannot love my neighbors, because for all I do they return ingratitude and contempt.” So much the more room for the heroism of love. Would you rather be a feather-bed warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most, shall win the most; and if rough be your path of love, tread it boldly, still loving your neighbors through thick and thin.

Heap coals of fire on their heads, and if they be hard to please, seek not to please them, but to please your Christ Jesus, your Master; and remember if they spurn your love, your Master has not spurned it, and your deed is as acceptable to Him as if it had been acceptable to them. Love thy neighbor, for in so doing you are following the footsteps of Christ.

– Charles Spurgeon

Holy Fear

“He that fears the commandment shall be rewarded.”
– Proverbs 13:13

Holy awe of God’s Word is very rare. Men think themselves wiser than the Word of the Lord and sit in judgment upon it. “So did not I, because of the fear of God.”

We accept the inspired Book as infallible and prove our esteem by our obedience. We have no terror of the Word, but we have a filial awe of it. We are not in fear of its penalties because we have a fear of its commands.

This holy fear of the commandment produces the restfulness of humility, which is far sweeter than the recklessness of pride. It becomes a guide to us in our movements: a drag when we are going downhill and a stimulus when we are climbing it.

Preserved from evil and led into righteousness by our reverence of the command, we gain a quiet conscience, which is a well of wine; a sense of freedom from responsibility, which is as life from the dead; and a confidence of pleasing God, which is heaven below.

The ungodly may ridicule our deep reverence for the Word of the Lord; but what of that? The prize of our high calling is a sufficient consolation for us. The rewards of obedience make us scorn the scorning of the scorner.

– Charles Spurgeon

Walk In Light

I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.
– John 12:46

This world is dark as midnight; Jesus has come that by faith we may have light and may no longer sit in the gloom which covers all the rest of mankind.

“Whoever” is a very wide term: it means you and me. If we trust in Jesus we shall no more sit in the dark shadow of death but shall enter into the warm light of a day which shall never end. Why do we not come out into the light at once?

A cloud may sometimes hover over us, but we shall not abide in darkness if we believe in Jesus. He has come to give us broad daylight. Shall He come in vain? If we have faith we have the privilege of sunlight: let us enjoy it.

From the night of natural depravity, of ignorance, of doubt, of despair, of sin, of dread, Jesus has come to set us free; and all believers shall know that He no more comes in vain than the sun rises and fails to scatter his heat and light.

Shake off your depression, dear brother. Abide not in the dark, but abide in the light. In Jesus is your hope, your joy, your heaven. Look to Him, to Him only, and you shall rejoice as the birds rejoice at sunrise and as the angels rejoice before the throne.

– Charles Spurgeon

He Lowers In Order To Raise

“The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up.” (1 Samuel 2:7)

All my changes come from Him who never changes. If I had grown rich, I should have seen His hand in it, and I should have praised Him; let me equally see His hand if I am made poor, and let me as heartily praise Him.

When we go down in the world, it is of the LORD, and so we may take it patiently: when we rise in the world, it is of the LORD, and we may accept it thankfully. In any case, the LORD has done it, and it is well.

It seems that Jehovah’s way is to lower those whom He means to raise and to strip those whom He intends to clothe. If it is His way, it is the wisest and best way. If I am now enduring the bringing low, I may well rejoice, because I see in as the preface to the lifting up.

The more we are humbled by grace, the more we shall be exalted in glory. That impoverishment which will be overruled for our enrichment is to be welcomed.

O LORD, You have taken me down of late and made me feel my insignificance and sin. It is not a pleasant experience, but I pray You make it a profitable one to me. Oh, that You would fit me to bear a greater weight of delight and of usefulness; and when I am ready for it, then grant it to me, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

– Charles Spurgeon

He Humbled Himself

“He humbled Himself.” -Philippians 2:8

Jesus is the great teacher of lowliness of heart. We need to learn from Him daily. See the Master taking a towel and washing His disciples’ feet! Follower of Christ, will you not humble yourself? See Him as the Servant of servants, and surely you can not be proud!

“He humbled Himself” Is not this sentence the theme of His biography? Was He not on earth always stripping off first one robe of honor and then another, till, naked, He was fastened to the cross, and there did He not empty out His inmost self, pouring out His life-blood, giving up for all of us, till they laid Him penniless in a borrowed grave? How low was our dear Redeemer brought! How then can we be proud?

Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the purple drops by which you have been cleansed; see the thorn-crown; mark His scourged shoulders, see hands and feet given up to the rough iron, and His whole self to mockery and scorn; see the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in His outward frame; hear the thrilling shriek, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” And if you do not lie face down on the ground before that cross, you have never seen it: if you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus, you do not know Him.

You were so lost that nothing could save you but the sacrifice of God’s only begotten. Think of that, and as Jesus stooped for you, bow yourself in lowliness at His feet. A sense of Christ’s amazing love to us has a greater tendency to humble us than even a consciousness of our own guilt. May the Lord bring us in contemplation to Calvary, then our position will no longer be that of the pompous man of pride, but we shall take the humble place of one who loves much because much has been forgiven him. Pride cannot live beneath the cross. Let us sit there and learn our lesson, and then rise and carry it into practice.

– Charles Spurgeon

When Jesus Sang

”When they had sung a hymn” (Matthew 26:30)

‘No man ever spoke like this Man,’ and possibly the same might be true of Christ’s singing, ‘never man sang like this man.’ Did angels listen then as did the prisoners to the singing of Paul and Silas at Philippi?

Christ sang, and the disciples joined. They were, most of them, fishermen, and fishermen are remarkable for their hearty singing. O to have heard the discourses! O to have heard that prayer (John 17)! And O to have heard that hymn! The singing would be heard outside, and perhaps the young man (Mark 14:51) who followed them to the Garden of Gethsemane may have crept near to listen. Would not you?

Christ’s singing showed the reality of His humanity. Aristotle said of his god Jupiter, that no one ever heard of his singing; it would be beneath him. But Jesus sang, and showed He was truly one of us.

We like a hymn — especially in affliction (Acts 16:25; Ps. 42:8; Job 35:10). Martyrs have sung going to the stake, and there is a tradition that the three youths in the fiery furnace sang aloud. A hymn is more unselfish than a prayer; it expresses gratitude and love. Hence, heaven is peculiarly the place of song, for all is unselfish there.

Christ is on the eve of the most terrible conflict ever witnessed — tonight and tomorrow the Garden and the Cross! He summons to His help every aid. His eye is on the Father’s glory. He bathes Himself in it and is refreshed for conflict.

What did He sing? All writers agree that it was Psalm 118. For two thousand years the Jews have concluded the Passover by singing this Psalm. If you glance over it you will see how appropriate it is, and it came in course at the Passover. What shall we sing? The Lord will tell you as occasion calls for. As it is written, ‘His song shall be with me,’ as well as ‘My prayer’ (Ps. 42:8).

When did He sing? After the solemn Passover service and the Supper, and just before the scenes of the Garden, with Calvary in view. We are not told in the Gospels of Christ singing until now — perhaps because His doing so in these circumstances was so peculiar and so fitted to instruct us. His last note was a cheerful note, though He knew what was in the future. Much more should ours be so.

Let us try unselfishly, like Jesus, to keep our friends from sorrow as long as we can. In the face of difficulties, sing to the Lord. If you have a dread of what is coming, sing, instead of brooding over it. If you are like the Master — singing before He went to the Garden — you will be enabled to go fearlessly forward.

When will He sing again? When all sorrow and conflict are over (Ps. 22:23, 69:30, 118:21). It will be the day of the Song of Moses and the Lamb. When He comes again Christ will lead that great multitude of the redeemed whom no man can number, in the song of praise. He will sing over completed redemption at the sea of glass, as did Moses at the Red Sea.

After they had sung this hymn they seem all to have been so elated, in such spirits, so full of joy, that the Master had to put in a word of warning. ‘All of you shall be offended because of Me this night.’ But, so like the Master, He added, ‘But I will not forsake you. I will go before you into Galilee.’ But the silly sheep who were to be scattered did not believe Him.

Do not blame Peter too much, for they all joined in saying, ‘Though I should die with You,’ etc. Christ did not contradict them. He knew the corruption of their heart; He knew what would happen. When they said this they were full of feeling. Let us not lay too much stress on feeling and emotion when we come to the Lord’s Table. Put stress upon this: That the Shepherd’s heart will never change toward you. ‘Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.’

– Andrew Bonar