Beauty Instead of Ashes
Eternal God, on this Your day, I offer You my highest praise. I want to worthily honor Your name.
Read PSALM 69:1-36
 For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” Of David.
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The poor in spirit see and are glad–Oh, you God-seekers, take heart! For God listens to the poor, He doesn’t walk out on the wretched” (Psa. 69:32,33, The Message). What a promise!
When we think of David, is it his fighting skill, his leadership, his failures or his poetry that we remember? In the psalms attributed to him, we see a very different man from the one who faced Goliath. Perhaps this is what Jonathan saw: this popular hero was not just a fighter but a man whose courage in God’s name came from an ever-replenishing inner well. This trust, so much more valuable than developing a hard shell or simply shaking off trouble, may have formed during his adolescence out on the hills protecting sheep. His later, vulnerable years on the run in danger of his life, hiding in caves, also built his reliance on the Good Shepherd. Our psalm today is the first of many written as a cry for help as he is threatened by his enemies. After Psalm 22, no other is quoted more often in the New Testament, and several verses (9,21) are applied to Jesus.
David’s cry of pain demonstrates to us the value of pouring out our heart to the God who hears. He cannot be shocked by the depths of our despair, even our desire for retribution. And as we give words to our predicament we get clarity about the way forward, recalling the promises we have received of God’s ever-ready help. So David’s extreme expressions of the crisis in the opening verses (1-4) give way to taking responsibility, even confession (5), before launching into a more measured cry of pain. This is the work of prayer. It assures us that we are not alone and that God understands. It lifts us out of the “miry depths” (2). Ultimately, we need to shift our focus from the enemy (22-28) to God’s saving work (29) and to give thanks in faith that he will accomplish this salvation (29-36).
God’s promise for his people is “beauty for ashes,” “the oil of joy for mourning” (Isa. 61:3, KJV). Claim yours today.
Loving Father, it is easy to be distressed when trouble is all around. I ask for grace to look forward with joy to the day when evil and injustice will be gone forever.
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