“The LORD is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man” Psalm 11:3. A direct quote from verse 1, the lyrics of “Flee as a bird to your mountain …” have been a favorite song for many. But, the context is David’s friends telling him to run away from his struggle—like a bird would do before an impending storm. David begins, however, by reaffirming his trust in God as his refuge. If his “friends” are correct and the foundations are destroyed, then what can the righteous do? This is not case, though, as the LORD is in His holy temple of heaven and tests all of mankind. The last verse upholds that His character is righteous and that those who reflect His character, the ‘upright,’ shall behold His face while the wicked and the one who loves violence will be judged with ‘fire and sulfur and a scorching wind.’ Despite what his friends see about the world (and how could they not with all the chaos that they saw that has just grown worse today), David and the faithful today know that the LORD is always a firm foundation and a refuge in which the upright can always take refuge. Do you flee like a bird to your mountain—who is the LORD?
“But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless” Psalm 10:14. Why is it that when we’re going through a rough time and we get a note of encouragement from someone that it means so much to us? Perhaps we even set it on a stand and reread it over and over? It means more if the person is someone we love or has gone through a similar struggle. That’s how we can feel when we see how the wicked seem to prosper in our immoral world while we, who try to live by God’s commands, face hardships. While the wicked mock us and increase in their iniquity, we might ask if our just God is turning a blind eye to us and to them, but the turning point in this psalm is the phrase, ‘but you do see.’ He sees our struggles but also what others do to us ‘that you may take it into your hands.’ God’s got it. He’s a ‘helper to the fatherless’ while calling ‘wickedness to account.’ And, while we should love the struggling and help how we can, often helpless to do more, our Savior’s intervention on our behalf comes with real power … and made like us in every way, He’s been there!
He asked for water and she gave him milk …” Judges 5:25. Girls don’t fight fairly. I was taught never to hit girls, but boys only handled conflicts overtly. I was a teenager before I realized that girls’ covert ways weren’t similarly restricted and that I’d been manipulated for years by their wiles. How did my daughters know instinctively to come to me with big eyes, helpless stance, and say, “Daddy?” with an irresistible inflection in their voices when they wanted something? Totally not fair. Sisera was friendly with the Kenites, had most likely visited Heber’s tent many times while Jael fixed their dinner. So, the offer of refuge and nourishment was difficult to refuse while he escaped Israel’s army. Exhausted, he never doubted her false assurance of safety while he slept, and the last thing that went through his mind was a tent peg. I suppose the world wouldn’t think that Christians fight fairly as well. All it knows is overt force and strength. But, our ‘wiles’ are covert and yet have divine power to demolish strongholds, destroying arguments and lofty opinions raised against God and taking every thought captive for Christ. With the foolishness of the gospel and God’s weakness, we give milk.
“Barak said to her, ‘If you go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go’” Judges 4:8. The cycle continued and the Israelites were once again oppressed by a power in the world, this time a king of Canaan. God raised up a deliverer, but he was unwilling. So, someone who knew what God had com-manded summoned the man and said, “Has not the LORD, the God Israel, commanded you, ‘Go … and I will give him into your hand’?” Barak’s answer, however, showed a gross lack of courage. God had just promised to be with him and told him to ‘Go.’ Not confident about his own relationship with God, however, he chose to trust another person rather than in God who was inviting Barak to partner with Him in this mighty work. So, what about Jesus’ command to us to ‘Go and make disciples …’ (Matthew 28:18-20) followed by His promise to always be with us, a partnership of He with authority now in heaven for us and we with faith and willingness to obey? Rather than strengthening our relationship with Him or trusting that He can equip us and be with us, we, in our lack of courage, disobey while waiting for others to do it for us. Do you have the courage to obey?
“… Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” Esther 4:16. Our minds often jump to a mandated action through man’s law that Christians would have to oppose and declare that we’d be ready even to die for our faith if necessary—although we hope it wouldn’t ever come to that! What we’re really hoping for is that we can “Trust and Obey” from a comfortable life that continues without trauma or drama. Perhaps that’s where Esther was before Mordecai came and told her the dire circumstances of their people and how she was the only one in a position to help … though it may cost all. Most often we are called to live out our faith when our situation has become difficult in some way, and we question God, wondering how He could really ask us to “Trust and Obey” in this. God is more interested in your character than your comfort, however. Christians in 21st Century America have grown so comfortable that we’d rather compromise with the culture, justifying why we “Trust and Obey” its demands rather than God’s commands—all the while believing the lie that we’d die for God if necessary. If we aren’t faithful in small things, will God trust us with larger ones?