Today’s Reading: Psalm 9, 10, 13, 16, 18
O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me.
So many are saying, “God will never rescue him!”
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
You are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.
I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety,
for the Lord was watching over me. – Psalm 3:1-5
The book of Psalms is the place many of us go when we are struggling – when difficult times are upon us and we are wondering why God is allowing us to walk such a hard path. The Psalms remind us that God allows us to go through pain and experience problems so that we will long for His PRESENCE, recognize His PROVISION, and cry out for His PROTECTION. Over and over again you see this pattern in the poetry of the Psalms – this dance between man and God.
The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord,
do not abandon those who search for you. – Psalm 9:9-10
Difficult times come and our faith in God causes us to seek Him in the midst of the pain – where is God (PRESENCE), how is He going to help me (PROVISION) and am I going to survive this (PROTECTION)? We cry out “Lord, have mercy!” (9:13a) and He hears the hope in our “Helps!” – He hears our cries and comforts us, bringing justice and faith to replace the fear (10:17-18).
Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me. [PROTECTION]
I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me. – Psalm 13:3-6
Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.
I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.”…
Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine. [PROVISION]
The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!
I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me…
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your PRESENCE
and the pleasures of living with you forever. – Psalm 16:1-2,5-8,11
This dance of life is a partner dance – a dance rooted in relationship with God. We are not meant to struggle alone but to allow difficult times to bring us back to the dance floor where God hears our cries, knows every detail of our problems and stays by our side through it all. It is His PRESENCE that helps us find joy despite our circumstances.
I love you, Lord; you are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
My God is my rock, in whom I find PROTECTION.
He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.
I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies.
The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. – Psalm 18:1-6
For some their pain is physical and they are faced with a disease or injury that threatens their life. The same God is their Great Physician, listening to the cries of their heart and making the same promises – I will be with you (PRESENCE), I will be everything you need (PROVISION) and I will be your fortress (PROTECTION).
Perhaps you are thinking – I am not a good dancer. I avoid the dance floor because it is hard for me to submit to someone else’s lead. I can deal with my own problems without His PRESENCE, I have my own source of PROVISION and I do not need His PROTECTION. The psalmist declares his own testimony of letting go and allowing God to draw him out of the dark and into His light. We do not have to know what to do but simply allow God to take the lead, supporting us and keeping our feet from slipping – even in the most difficult of situations.
You light a lamp for me.
The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale a wall.
God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for PROTECTION.
For who is God except the Lord?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
God arms me with strength [PROVISION] and makes my way perfect.
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
You have given me your shield of victory.
Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping. – Ps. 18:28-36
God is speaking. Can you hear Him asking, “Can I have this dance?” Will you trust Him and allow Him to take the lead? Will you let go of the pain and the problems and hold onto Him instead?