Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Coincidence? I think not.


An interesting thing happened on Monday.  Sunday evening, I had been doing a bit of dusting and decluttering and came upon a couple of business cards from our trip to Bangor.  I picked them up and tucked them into a little square basket atop the computer desk where I keep business cards and other like items.

Monday morning I turned on the computer and noticed a white card lying on the desk.

It had obviously fallen out of the basket when I tucked the business cards in.   I turned the card over.

Here's the front side:
Wow.  Just wow.  Life has been pretty stressful lately.  There are all sorts of reasons not to rest or be still; all sorts of concerns to consider.  Sometimes things take a sickening turn, other times they seem to be moving painfully slowly.  A lot of it is out of my hands.  Obviously, this little "Pass It On" card was intended directly for me.

I decided to spend a little time meditating on Psalm 37:7.  I began by utilizing my favorite SOAP method.  Here's the entire verse as it appears in my Bible:

S= "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass."

O= "Trust in the Lord" is really the theme of all 40 verses of Psalm 37.  There is so much here, but I obviously can't SOAP the entire psalm.  Basically, throughout it, David instructs his listeners to rest and trust in the LORD, and not to fret because of what the wicked are doing.  They will receive their just reward, for God sees their wicked hearts as well as their evil doing.  But those who trust God will never be forsaken by Him.

The phrase "rest in the LORD" literally means "Be silent to the LORD,"  A cross-reference is Psalm 62:1 -- "Truly my soul waiteth upon God; from Him cometh my salvation."

The phrase "fret not thyself" is also seen in verse 1 -- "fret not thyself because of evildoers" -- and in verse 8 -- "fret not thyself in any way to do evil".   So we are not to fret because of these wicked who seem to be prospering.  Jeremiah 12:1 is given for comparison:  "Righteous art Thou, O LORD, when I plead with Thee; yet let me talk with Thee of Thy judgments.  Why doth the way of the wicked prosper?  Why are they all happy that deal very treacherously?"  (Jeremiah was questioning this, but we do see the answer to his questions in Psalm 37, as well as other places in Scripture.  The wicked may seem to prosper, they may seem to get away with things, but in the end they will not.)

For the phrase "prospereth in his way", a cross-reference of Psalm 73:3-12 is given.  Psalm 73 discusses at length the prosperity of the wicked.  But in verses 17-19 of Psalm 73, the psalmist sees their end.  He says, "Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.  Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places; Thou castedst them down into destruction.  How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment!  they are utterly consumed with terrors."  He concludes the psalm in verses 23-28 by reaffirming his own trust in God.  He ends in verse 28 by stating: "It is good for me to draw near to God:  I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Thy works."

A= So I need to:
      * rest in the Lord
      * wait patiently for Him to act
    
       And I am not to:
      * fret because of the evil person who prospers in his way
      * fret because of the one who brings wicked devices to pass.

In fact, if I read on to the next verse (8), I am not to fret in any way!

P= "Lord, I thank You for the truths of Your Word!  I pray that You will help me to rest quietly in You, waiting patiently for You to resolve the issues that concern me.  Help me to remember that I need not fret about anything, for You see all things, even the way of the wicked, and will deal with them in Your way and time.  I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

🍃     🍃     🍃     🍃     🍃      🍃     🍃     🍃     🍃     🍃    

I found a wonderful thought about Psalm 37:7 in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.  This is a quote from James D. Burns, who wrote:

"Take the case of one who, with a load above his strength, has been toiling some steep and broken path, when suddenly he finds [the load] transferred to another whose strength he knows to be more than equal to the task, and in whose sympathy he can securely trust.  What would his feeling be but one of perfect rest, and calm reliance, and joyous freedom, as they went on their way together?  And such is the blessedness of rolling our care upon the Lord -- in weakness we are resting on superior strength, in perplexity and doubt we are resting on superior wisdom, in all times of trial and hard service we can stay ourselves on the assurance of His perfect sympathy.

"The literal meaning of the word 'rest' is 'be silent' towards the Lord.  With the eye fixed on Him let all unbelieving thoughts be stilled, such thoughts as rise and rankle in the querulous spirit when it sees only its troubles and not God in them, when the mists of earth hide from its sight the eternal stars of heaven.

"In regard to all ... dark and unbelieving suggestions, the heart is to keep silence, to be still and know that He is God; silent as to murmuring, but not silent as to prayer, for in that holy meditative stillness the heart turns to commune with Him.

"What is 'resting in God', but the instinctive movement and upward glance of the spirit to Him; the confiding of all one's griefs and fears to Him, and feeling strengthened, patient, hopeful in the act of doing so!  It implies a willingness that He should choose for us, a conviction that the ordering of all that concerns us is safer in His hands than in our own."

I needed that last paragraph today!

This antique card belonged to my Great-Aunt Sadie.
I did one more thing as part of my study this morning.  I was so struck by the contrast between the wicked and the righteous as presented in Psalm 37 that I took a piece of paper and made 2 columns.  I went through the psalm and listed what applied to the righteous in one column and what would happen to the wicked in the second column.  Simple, but I found it instructive and encouraging.  I hope that perhaps these few thoughts have been a blessing to someone else today.


8 comments:

  1. It is amazing how the Lord can direct our thoughts with a little reminder! I love those small cards. IN fact this reminds me that I need to visit Lifeway and pick up some of these.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure is amazing, Arlene! I used to keep those little cards all the time and always stocked up when I visited a Christian bookstore. I think this particular one may have been something I found among my sister's things. Apparently I stuck it in that basket and forgot about it!

      Delete
  2. If you feel comforted and quieted in your spirit, it is definitely not a coincidence. It is a beautiful verse.

    BTW, I had a Great-aunt Sadie, too! Sadie Dunn and she was a riot...lots of fun and she had lots of cookies, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely do feel comforted and quieted, Vee. Such a blessing to be reminded that God cares so much about me and my little concerns that He put that verse right where I would find it.

      I never knew my Great-Aunt Sadie ... she died as a young woman. But I have a few things of hers, including her card collection and her New Testament. Your Great-Aunt Sadie sounds fun. My most fun-loving great-aunt was Bessie. She had a great sense of humor and was an expert maker of Chex Mix. All the family looked forward to tins of Chex Mix every Christmas!

      Delete
  3. This certainly was a devotional I needed this morning. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome, Judy. I am so happy that these thoughts were a blessing to you!

      Delete
  4. Life certainly has its twists and turns, but it is so amazing when the Lord steps right in the midst of it all and speaks to our hearts! Just like He used that little card to speak to your heart! How wonderful it is to know that our Lord cares that much about us! I loved your SOAP way of studying the verses, what a great way to glean as much information out of a passage as we can. I enjoyed Spurgeon's writing too. Blessings and hugs to you, hoping that the peace of the Lord continues to comfort your soul!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Marilyn. It is indeed so amazing when, as you said, "the Lord steps right in the midst of it all and speaks to our hearts!". A friend and I were just talking about that yesterday. By His grace, He allows us to recognize His hand in our lives. I forget who said it, I think it may have been either Spurgeon or D.L. Moody -- "When our circumstances find us in God, we shall find God in all our circumstances."

    Yes, I love the SOAP method. It has been so beneficial to me since I learned to break down a verse in this way.

    Thanks for your encouraging visit!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for stopping by to visit my kitchen table! I love company here in my kitchen, so be sure to leave a comment so I'll know you've visited! I'll answer your questions and comments here on the blog unless you request otherwise.