Down but Not Out
Lord Jesus, Your life revealed what life could be. Thank You that life can be a reality for me.
Read PSALM 3:1-8
 A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
A good life is not when all goes smoothly, but when we learn to rest calmly in God’s presence, even when warfare is raging around us.
Over the years I have seen a number of dedicated Christian leaders who have had an abrupt and unhappy end to one phase of their ministry. It feels to them as if they have been unfairly ousted; they were not yet ready to move. The distress of it can take some time to abate. The heading on this psalm refers to a situation like that. David at this stage was a mature but still highly capable king. He had made mistakes, people had had time to be aware of his flaws, but to be rapidly evicted by his upstart son was initially beyond belief (2 Sam 15:14-23).
This is a psalm for moments of painful humiliation. If we get knocked out of our secure place at the heart of a fellowship that admires and nourishes us, God’s comfort can still reach down and touch us (4). Trainers tell me that if my dog is insecure or fearful, a gentle hand under the chin to lift up her head can help her gain in confidence. When she feels calm and trusts me, she may lie on her side and go to sleep (5). Give yourself time to ponder the images in v. 3. Pause to think about God as a shield, God bringing a glow to your appearance, God raising your head.
We saw at the start of Jeremiah how images similar to these were offered to the prophet to sustain him through the rigors of his life’s work. We have been observing him as he confidently marches into verbal battles, stoutly proclaiming the unpopular warnings that God has given him (compare vs. 6 and 7). Later chapters in the book will show him enduring many moments of distress and humiliation in a lifetime of faithful service.
What are you learning from the Lord in the struggles of life? What are you learning from the Lord in the victories of life? How has God comforted and encouraged you recently?
Loving God, You are the Lord of the ups and downs of life. You are the Savior of all the seasons of my life. Stabilize me in my walk with You.
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