Encouragement for Today

Yesterday I was feeling very down.  I was hurting from something that had happened on Tuesday night, and so I had slept horribly and woke feeling out of sorts, tired and discouraged.  However, by the time I had finished my morning devotions, I was refreshed and recharged.  I was still tired.  I was still hurting.  But I had joy in the Lord.  Three things helped me: 1) Reading Psalm 5, 2) Praying, and 3) Reading a chapter in A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot.  Each of these things helped me.  Today, I’m going to talk about the first of these three things because it is where I found encouragement the most yesterday.

Psalm 5 begins:

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray.
In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. (vs. 1-3, NASB)

That so closely expressed what I was feeling right at the moment I read it.  It helped that it was morning, and I was crying out right alongside the Psalmist.  I was begging Him to hear me, and I was eagerly watching to see/hear His response.  It touched my deepest soul to realize I wasn’t the first one to feel that way or cry out those words.

For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness;
No evil dwells with You.
The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
You hate all who do iniquity.
You destroy those who speak falsehood;
The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. (vs. 4-6, NASB)

These verses helped me to remember that I needed to be careful to keep away from wickedness – even subtle wickedness, such as hard feelings and resentment.  It says that no evil dwells in God.  He is as far from evil as one can get.  He hates wickedness, sin, and dishonesty, so I had to be careful to make sure that I was (and am) staying away from it, too.

But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house,
At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.
O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes;
Make Your way straight before me.
There is nothing reliable in what they say;
Their inward part is destruction itself
Their throat is an open grave;
They flatter with their tongue. (vs 7-9, NASB)

I asked God to keep my righteous, to keep me from making any move that would be wrong in His sight.  I asked Him to lead me in His ways, and to help me to not to take to heart any untruths that may have been expressed to me.  I asked Him to give me wisdom in what I said, and wisdom to respond appropriately.

Hold them guilty, O God;
By their own devices let them fall!
In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out,
For they are rebellious against You.
But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
Let them ever sing for joy;
And may You shelter them,
That those who love Your name may exult in You.
For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD,
You surround him with favor as with a shield. (vs. 10-12, NASB)

These verses helped me the most.  God reminded me that I don’t have to do anything.  It’s not my job to take anyone “down a peg or two” or even to necessary defend myself!!  God does that, and He does not need me to do it for Him.  In fact, He is the only one who could truly do that.  When I try to take things into my own hands, I usually tend only to hurt myself, so it’s better if I let Him handle it anyway.  These verses reminded me that God is my shelter.  He protects me.  He will surround me with His favor like a shield, if I remain righteous in His sight.  These verses encouraged me to do what is right and good – even in the midst of the seemingly bad things going on around me.

These twelve short verses reminded me that God is in control.  I don’t have to be because He is handling it.  He is working on my behalf, holding me in His hands, and working out His plan for me.  All I really have to do is rest in Him, remain in His Word, do what is right, and endure patiently while He works.  What a relief!!  He is my defender, my comforter, my protector, and my friend!

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gifts!

Until Next Time!

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