Saturday, September 30, 2017

Worship in the Wilderness


I stumbled across something in Psalm 63 this morning that deserves a comment or two. King David wrote these verses when he was on the run from Saul. The situation was so bad that David carried his parents, the two people he loved most in the world, to the King of Moab for protection. 

Saul chased after David like a madman, because that's what he was. David was still a young man (if not a teenager) when he fled for his life to the wilderness of Judea, which may have been the northern Negev. (The photo above is from the Negev.) As you can see, it's a barren land, nothing but rock and dirt. David accurately described it as "a dry and weary land where there is no water." 

There are two things about this psalm that surprise me. First, David described his location as dry, dusty, and without water, but his thirst was not for hydration. It was for the presence of God. 

Even in the worst situations, he longed for greater intimacy with his Lord. 

Is that what we most desire when we're in a personal crisis?

King David didn't whine or complain or insist that, as the anointed king of Israel, he should have better. Instead, he described himself as satisfied and joyful "in the shadow of Thy wings." He felt covered and protected by the close presence of God, and that was enough. 

In the most dangerous situation imaginable, on the run from a crazed murderer, he rejoiced in the closeness and protection of God.

Do we feel that closeness when we're in trouble?

Second, David's response to adversity was praise, not pouting. He lifted his hands in worship to God. His lips praised Him. He didn't waste time cowering in fear. 

Even in a barren and dangerous place, he trusted God to keep him safe.

Is praise our response to adversity?

I'd like to learn from David. Instead of whining, when times are hard, I need to worship. Instead of pouting when things don't work out like I expected, I should praise God. Why? Because I want the same joy David enjoyed. I want the same closeness to God he experienced.

What about you? Are you ready for more joy? more intimacy with God? Then do what David did. Take your eyes off your circumstances, lift up your heart and your hands, and put your focus on the One who is the giver and sustainer of life.

We have a choice...wallow in misery or rejoice despite the difficulty. Which will it  be? We decide, so let's choose praise. Let's choose joy.

"So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name." Psalm 63:4 nasb
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