Daily Thought for: 6th March
LOVE THE LORD...BE OF GOOD COURAGE
Psalm 31. 23-24
ëIn thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamedí. So commences this psalm of David, and his request sets the tone for the remaining twenty-three verses. It is all about trusting the Lord in times of adversity and personal weakness, and relying on His unrivalled power to see the believer through even the most difficult circumstances. David speaks a great deal here of himself and his feelings and at least seventeen personal items are mentioned all preceded by the word ëmyí: my spirit; my feet; my eye; my belly; my bones, etc. He also describes his assessment of God in terms such as: ëmy rockí; ëmy fortressí; and ëmy strengthí. The psalm consists of prayer: ëdeliver meí, ëlead meí, ëguide meí, ëpull me outí; complaint, ëI am in troubleí, ëI am consumedí, ëI am slanderedí; and praise, ëgreat is thy goodnessí, and ëmarvellous kindnessí. He is thankful for the chance to hide in the secret pavilion of the Lord when it all gets too much.
In view of these things the saints are commanded to ëlove the Lordí. This is ëloveí in the sense of ëtrustí. One cannot really love to order, but in the peaks and troughs of life the individual believer, though pursued by enemies, consumed by grief and tormented by fear, can, and must, put confidence in the Lord. Out of this trust, love grows and the believer perceives in the Lord that wonderful balance which is in keeping with His character. On the one hand, He will preserve the faithful and, on the other, He will plentifully reward the proud for his deeds. This would suggest that in the trials of life the believer must remain humble, and, no matter how great the adversity or how deep the hurt, continue to love the Lord in the certain knowledge that He is good and will ëpull us outí or through.
Secondly, we are commanded to be of good courage. Fear may be on every side, v. 13, but our times are in His hand, v. 15, and we commit our spirit to Him, v. 5. We must be courageous even in the face of overwhelming odds. Many Old Testament saints exhibited this strength in the Lord and, in the New Testament, we are exhorted to ëbe strong in the Lord, and in the power of his mightí, Eph. 6. 10. So, like Paul at Appii forum, we too should take courage, Acts 28. 15.