Today’s reading is taken from Psalm 71.
In my experience every time before the Lord brings a blessing into my life he first takes me through a trial of sorts. I’m not sure I completely understood the significance of this process during my early stages as a Christian. However, as I started familiarizing myself with the writings of Paul in 2 Corinthians I started to grasp the logic and wisdom behind it. It was the Lord in his love, gently showing me my weakness, my helplessness and my desperate need for him. And in a way setting the stage for a blessing so that when it came, I knew that it wasn’t me, but Him. When God decided that he wouldn’t remove the thorn from Paul’s flesh, it wasn’t out of spite or judgement. But so that Paul could encounter his own weakness and ultimately experience the Grace of God!
In Psalm 71 David in his old age -probably on the run from Absalom- cries out to the Lord for His grace and consideration during this time of trial. It is quite evident in this chapter that the great King David who slew tens of thousands of Philistines (1 Sam. 18:7) as a young man now feels the inability and helplessness of losing all his strength (v.9). And what makes things worse is that he is being pursued by his enemies. Is this happening to David because God wasn’t powerful enough to stop it? I think not! This in my opinion is God designing a place in time where David can come face to face with his own mortality and be reminded once again that he in his flesh is not able, but God is.
Now we know that David throughout his life has had front-row seats to experiencing the goodness of God. Yes, David has seen some tough times and has been on the run before (from Saul). But by the looks of things David by now understands just how God works out his purposes in him. In verse 20 David gives us a glimpse of what he knows of the character of God. He has ‘seen troubles, many and bitter’ and every time, God has restored his life again. At the end of each trial God has always without fail increased his honour and comfort. And it is with this confidence that he able to praise the Lord ‘with the harp’ (v.22) and sing of his ‘faithfulness’. Even when his own fragility is staring him in the face, David has a peculiar resilience that enables him to see the bigger picture and continue to be assured of the love of God.
We as Christians, like David have walked through some great seasons and have experienced the goodness and love of Christ but when those not so savory seasons come around we begin to get a sense that God may have abandoned us. David in Psalm 71 shows us through example what it means to walk with God and how encountering our own weaknesses can be God perhaps setting the stage for a breakthrough. As we make our way to the various services today let us ask for a greater discernment to understand the purposes of God in the trails that we face and constantly like David be determined through whatever situation to ‘praise Him more and more’ (v.14).