Today’s reading is taken from Psalm 59.
It’s too easy for a Christian to make his trails and afflictions all about himself. A preacher that I follow on Podcast eloquently calls this tendency ‘navel-gazing’. Here the Christian’s gaze is set upon himself, he is looking downward (obviously. the point is that all he can see is his own navel). In his affliction the Christian zooms in on his troubles, his difficulties and his helplessness and I’m not saying that there is anything diabolically wrong with that. But what the ‘navel-gazer’ forgets to do is look upward, toward Christ, the one who has allowed into his life that affliction. You see, each trial and each affliction is allowed into our lives not so that we can get better accustomed to ourselves but so that we can see God more clearly. It was in the wilderness on the way to Shur that Hagar –hitting rock bottom- looked upward and finally encountered the God of her life (Gen. 16:13).
David cries out in Psalm 59 as he is being hunted by Saul to the extent that his soldiers have come to David’s house in order to kill him. I mean he is not even safe in his own house! Imagine being in that situation. However, as I dwell on this chapter today what has really spoken to me is David’s resilience to look upward toward His God in his lowest of lows. If anyone has the right to navel-gaze it is David, right here in this chapter as he flees leaving his home and his wife behind. But he sees the bigger picture. David understands that here in the midst of this trial his God is most capable to rescue him and carry out His purposes – both in his life as well as in the lives of his enemies (judgement for his enemies in this case).
David has a staggering confidence is this dire moment to know that his God will come to his rescue. He makes it sound as if it were too easy for Him to extend His hand of deliverance (v8). In the meantime he waits (v9) his eyes fixed upward knowing full well how this is going to end. However only a few verses back (v3) he uses the word ‘fierce’ to address his enemies. So surely David the fearless man ‘after God’s own heart’ does feel the gravity of the situation. However, this immediate and real threat to David’s life doesn’t seem to rattle his trust in God at the least. Not once but four times in this chapter David refers to God as his ‘fortress’. Through his struggle he is not only looking upward but he has found a peculiar joy and comfort in this place making it possible for him to ‘sing praises’ to his God (v17).
My prayer for us this morning is that we too in our trials would be able ask for the strength –like David’s- to look upward, heavenward and see beyond our immediate discomfort. I pray that we’d find the confidence to understand the purposes of Christ behind the hurdles that come our way. David -although anointed by God to succeed Saul as King of Israel- had to go through his own wilderness before reaching his promised land.
Have a listen to this song by Sarah McMillan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpqSbKYxd9Y
Sam J., KIC