Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #251 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalm 59 today and our focus is on Three Spiritual Practices For When you Are In Trouble. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Back to the Psalms today – as you know, five days a week we read through the New Testament – and if you’ve been with us since January 1, we will go through the entire New Testament this year – and two days a week we are in the Old Testament. Earlier this year, we would read selected and sequential passages throughout the Old Testament, and now we are finishing out this year reading through selected Psalms. Maybe you’ve noticed a pattern in the Psalms? So often, the Psalmist (today it is David) is in some sort of dire trouble, he is calling on God in the middle of that trouble. Today’s trouble almost sounds like the plot of a movie or tv show – the heading or title of this Psalm is, “When Saul sent agents to watch the house and kill him.” So things are pretty dire here – King Saul wants to kill the next and future king, King David. Most of us, I daresay, don’t find ourselves in this kind of predicament. I think it has been months, maybe even longer, since a government leader sent agents to my house to watch it and kill me. But the fact that we don’t find ourselves in the same EXACT situation as David doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the Scripture HOW to spiritually handle things when we are faced with a crisis. What I mean by that is what David does here in this situation would also be a very useful, fruitful and powerful way to respond to a health crisis, a job crisis, a grief crisis, a relationship crisis or a parenting crisis. In other words, we don’t have to have agents from King Saul trying to kill us to practice what David practiced in Psalm 59. Let’s go ahead and read the Psalm, and then we will discover three ways to spiritually respond to crisis.
What does David do in the face of death?
#1. David asks the Lord for protection AND tells God what is going on:
Rescue me from my enemies, my God; protect me from those who rise up against me. 2 Rescue me from evildoers, and save me from men of bloodshed 3 Because look, Lord, they set an ambush for me. Powerful men attack me, Psalm 59:1-3
Notice how David gets STRAIGHT to the point here! I do believe it is good and right and biblical to enter into the presence of God with thanksgiving – before you say your requests. I was taught how to pray as an 8 year old with the ACTS method. Begin with adoration/praise first and foremost. Then, move to confession – confess to God your sins and ask for His forgiveness. After that, step three is thanksgiving – be thankful to God for what He has done for you and how He has provided. And then finally, at step #4 – comes supplication – where we can ask God requests. It was a powerful way to teach somebody to pray, and I usually default to praying like that even today, over 40 years later, but it should be pointed out that it is not a sin, nor is is less spiritual to just immediately blurt out your need to God with the first words out of your mouth. Multiple Psalms begin this way – getting right to the request at the very first verse. Sometimes, when times are desperate, and agents from the king are about to kill us – it is good and right and proper to just dive in and immediately ask for God’s help!
#2 The second way that David responded spiritually to a crisis is that he watched and waited on the Lord and reminded himself of God’s faithfulness. We see this in verse 9-10:
I will keep watch for you, my strength, because God is my stronghold. 10 My faithful God will come to meet me; God will let me look down on my adversaries. Psalm 59:9-10
What did David do? He made his request known to God immediately, and then he waited for God’s rescue. This was not a long-shot prayer – the spiritual equivalent of a half=court shot with 2 seconds left before the buzzer that had a less than 10 percent chance to go in. David prayed with FAITH and then waited to see God’s deliverance. How did he know God would answer? Look at vs. 10 – David knew that God was FAITHFUL, and thus David trusted that God would come meet him!
#3 The third thing that David did might be the hardest, or at least the one that our flesh/human nature might struggle the most against. He WORSHIPPED God. Even as agents of the enemy lurked about his house to kill him – David praised and worshipped the God who could save him:
But I will sing of your strength and will joyfully proclaim your faithful love in the morning. For you have been a stronghold for me,
a refuge in my day of trouble. 17 To you, my strength, I sing praises, because God is my stronghold— my faithful God. Psalm 59:16-17
In the face of danger and death, David worshipped God- singing to Him with joy and proclaiming His goodness, reminding himself in the process again that God was faithful. There is no better way to respond to a terrible trial than to worship God, because there is quite literally no better activity that humans can do than worship God. I can think of nothing that better fulfills what Jesus said was the first and greatest commandment. (To Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, than to worship.) One caveat: Worship is not some sort of bribe that fools God into helping you when you are in distress – worship is simply the highest act we can engage in, and the most uplifting and spiritually healthy thing we can do in times of trouble.
If you are an astute listener, you might have picked up on one other thing David did in the face of this crisis. He prayed that those trying to kill him would become homeless wanderers and that God would ultimately consume them with fury until they are gone. Given that Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, should a Christian still pray such prayers? (Theologians call these imprecatory prayers.) That’s a fantastic question that we will cover soon on an upcoming episode. My sense is that Jesus steers us in a different direction, but we will grapple with that question in a deeper way at some point soon, Lord willing. For now, let’s close with our Bible memory passage for September:
Bible Memory verses for the month of September: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2nd Timothy 3:16-17
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