Thursday, July 9, 2020

A God Who Saves and Restores

Thursday, July 9, 2020
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Psalm 34 4-7

A God Who Saves and Restores

David wrote Psalm 34 after escaping death by two different kings. David had killed the Philistine giant, Goliath, years earlier and now he stood in front of the Philistine king with Goliath’s sword by his side.  The Philistine king wanted him dead and he was also running from Saul, who was trying to kill him. He faced certain death. He was scared and sure he was about to die, but God delivered him out of those situations bringing praise to his lips.

Who does God hear, save, and bless?  Chances are most of us would answer something like this: Good people. People who do right.  People who obey the Lord, stay out of trouble, and do good deeds. Those who are worthy.  Not me.

We all should be "good people." We should all "do right." And, of course, we should "obey the Lord, stay out of trouble, and do good deeds." In fact, we should be doing lots of things most of us aren’t, and not doing lots of things we are!  After all, why are we in trouble in the first place?

Most of David’s troubles were all rooted in David’s sins, which is true for all of us.  So, let’s go back to the text and try the question again: Who does God hear, save, and bless? The answer in this passage celebrates the wonderful truth that He comes to the aid of people who are in trouble because they have messed up and are in jeopardy because of their own choices.  God’s solidarity is not with "good" people but with all people who know they are helpless, have nowhere else to go, and run to him.

  • He shows mercy to the brokenhearted.
  • He gives strength to the exhausted.
  • He gives salvation to the sinner.
  • He reflects his personal glory off the tear-stained, dirty, angry faces that turn to him for help.

Contrary to our experience and expectation, God does not only care about people who appear they have it all together and are perfect, but with those who are so bankrupt that they know they have nothing!

His business is salvation. His specialty is restoration.

Here is the New Testament version of this psalm and its message:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.  
Romans 5:6-11

We try. We fail. We strive. We make a bad choice. We feel like a lost cause. But this passage tells us that no matter how we mess up, we are never so far that His mercy and grace cannot find us. The things that we so desperately need, we cannot earn, purchase or secure.  But they are gifted to us from a gracious God so we can live in peace and security.  To rest in the knowledge of His gift is to experience peace in His promises.

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.  Psalms 27:5

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