I'm currently reading through the Psalms with a new commentary I got. I like that the psalms cover every emotion, especially pain, depression, and loss. I don't like those specifically because I'm morbid and like to dwell there, but because that is often the place where we need to hear from God the most. It's in those places that we need to be reminded that God is God. He is in control. He is the Creator. He is righteous. He sees our struggles, hears our prayers, and will care for us. The Psalms point us back to God in those situations.
The challenge then can be when I'm not in actually in that place of struggle and hurt but reading through those psalms. Today I read Psalm 10 and verses 1-6 really made me think,
1Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
4In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
5His ways are always prosperous;
your laws are rejected by him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
6He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
I first blew over this part pretty quick because I'm don't feel that God is "far off" in "times of trouble" in my life right now. I also thought, that wicked guy is pretty bad. Glad I'm not him.
In my next few readings of the psalm (I always have to read psalms many times over again in one sitting to truly appreciate them), God really tugged at me to look at this "wicked man". As I stared at these words, I recognized that my thought of "I'm glad I'm not him," wasn't quite right.
Last night I had ate something that didn't agree with me, and I got sick. Sick to the point where it vacated my body. I hate vomitting. After that was all said and done, I mentioned to my wife, "That reminded me of my Mr Squishy days". (Mr Squishy was a band I was in.) That was back when I didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus. I drank. I got high. I did all sorts of stupid stuff.
And then God said, "You're not that wicked guy anymore".
It hit me. I re-read those words and saw myself back then. I unfortunately saw myself now at times too. I'm not perfect. I get greedy. I get prideful. And I remembered that I ALWAYS need Jesus.
Jesus is my one thing. He is my one defense. No matter how much He has changed me and is transforming me, apart from Him, I am that wicked man. I have no way of erasing my past mistakes on my own.
God is reminding me that His grace is not cheap. His grace is not something I should just take for granted. I think it's easy, in the normal times of no explosive growth or major hardships, to enjoy the blessings of God and forget where or how they came to be. Sometimes I feel so separated from that old life that I forget that there had to be payment for that debauchery. "The wages of sin is death."
I don't know about you, but I needed that reminder this morning. I needed the reminder that the joy and contentment in my life is coming from Jesus. It's not "just coincidence". He is my one thing. He will always be my one thing. Everything else can go away. Everything else can be a mess. And I will cling on to my one thing.
I want to live at the intersection of Romans 7:24-25 and 8:1-2,
24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.