November 06, 2013

Lesson 133: A Refuge in Transition

In yesterday's post, we examined some underlying causes of difficulty during times of transition. I highly recommend reading yesterday's post before proceeding with today's. Part one can be found here.
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Psalm 16
1 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. 
2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing."
3 As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.
     I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on lips. 
5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; 
     surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me. 
     Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, 
     nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
11 You have made known to me the path of life; 
     you will fill me joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Translation from NIV 84.

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Psalm 16 was written by David, during a time of great transition. He had gone from being a shepherd boy, to a man who stood up for the Lord and defeated Goliath, to a trusted military advisor of the King, to a hunted man on the run. David had proved so excellent in military life that King Saul was jealous and wanted him dead. David is on the run from Saul, and it is during this that he writes this psalm.

Talk about transition!

It is safe to say that within a few years' time, David's roles, responsibilities, relationships, and resources have changed. He is in transition ... and it's a hard one.

As we work through these verses, we will come to find that even in his crazy circumstances, David's heart is full of joy and peace. Why? David has found his refuge, his safety, his hiding place in the Lord.

Today, I would like to offer Psalm 16 to you. My hope is not merely to use this passage as a source of important bullet points, but to give you this psalm as a resource. You see, Psalm 16 is not merely a description of David during a time of transition, but it is his meditation. These are the things that David was thinking about, dwelling on, living in. As we see in v. 7, these truths have penetrated his heart.

So, when you start to feel the crazy coming on, the awkwardness, the fear, I want you to open your Bible and start to work through, think through, pray through Psalm 16. Ok?

Let's dig in.

1 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. 
2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing."

Keep me safe, O God. Keep me safe! Another translation says, Preserve me. I am scared. I am crying out to you. I cannot keep my head above water. The baby will not stop crying. I have no friends. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Keep me safe!

Why? For in you I take refuge. Lord, you have to keep me safe, because I am resting in you. Why am I resting in you? Because apart from you, I have no good thing. There is absolutely nothing in me that handle this situation apart from you. There is nothing in me that is good enough, strong enough, brave enough, smart enough. Nothing.

And so, I am coming to you, because you are my refuge.

Be my refuge, Lord. Keep me safe.

Isn't this exactly what we want from the Lord during a time of transition? We want safety. We want security. We want to know that we are being taken care of.

Find your security in the Lord.

3 As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.

Here David talks about the difference between God's people and those who follow other gods. He is very explicit. He basically says, those who follow God are glorious and delightful. Those who follow other gods continue to become more miserable. Those who never realize that relationships cannot protect them, those who continue to find their self-worth in their children or in their job, their sorrows will increase!

But, the people of God are glorious and delightful. They are a blessing to one another. In this time of transition, seek out believers and seek out wisdom from believers. Why? Because believers are finding their refuge in God. They are finding their safety and security in the Lord, and they will encourage you to do the same. 

5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;

David says that the Lord has assigned what has been given to him, and he calls it delightful and pleasant. I don't know about you, but being on the run from a man who wants to kill me, does not sound delightful or pleasant. But David's refuge is in the Lord, and therefore, he knows the situation assigned to him is good.

The circumstance you are in, your life stage, this awkward transition, has been given to you by the Lord. But the Lord is good, and you will be ok.

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

The Lord himself will guide you through the situation he has brought you to. Where do we receive the Lord's counsel from? Well, from other believers as already mentioned, but most importantly from his Word.

We see here that the Lord is counseling David at night. It's not as if David wakes up in the middle of the night, turns on his light, and begins to read God's word to receive counsel. No, the word of God is already in David's heart!

Proverbs says, "Out of the overflow of your heart, the mouth speaks." Your prayers come from the overflow of your heart. Fill your heart with God's truth! Study God's word and memorize it.

Imagine that you wake up in a cold sweat one night. The crazy starts, the vicious cycle of longings, regrets, fears, longings ... You start to pray, "Oh God, oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no." Friends, there is no power in such a prayer!

What if in the same situation, the crazy starts and out of the overflow of your heart comes, "Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge!" This prayer immediately brings to mind God's goodness and strength. It reminds you of who God is and how He loves you. Such a prayer has the power to bring your heart to place of peace.

I cannot stress enough, memorize Scripture. Memorize this whole Psalm. If that sounds intimidating, memorize the first verse. Memorize, memorize, memorize. Many of you have fresh minds still. This Scripture will penetrate your heart and come to mind when you need it most. I guarantee that if you are faithful in this, the Lord will be faithful to use His word in your heart. It will not return void!

Verses 8 and 9 tell us some more sweet stuff. David talks about how the Lord guards, and therefore he is not shaken. As a result, David's heart is glad. 

But then, the passage starts to get kind of weird.

9b my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, 
     nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

What is going on here? Is David acting like he will never die?

Well, no. The apostle Peter quotes Psalm 16 in Acts 2 and then says, "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ."

Peter tells us that David is looking forward to the resurrection of Jesus. We know that Jesus died on the cross, but did he stay dead? No, he rose from the grave. He came back to life. His body did not see decay.

The Holy One spoken of here is Christ. 

Now, that's all well and good, but what does the resurrection have to do with transition? 

This whole time I have been telling you that God is David's refuge, God is my refuge, God is your refuge. It may not seem all that helpful. 

Here's the thing. The God that Scripture is telling you is your refuge, the God that assigned you this situation, the God that counsels you through it, the God that guards you ... 

THIS GOD DEFEATED DEATH!

What are we most afraid of? Death. Our God defeated it! He conquered it! He won!

This God is your refuge. He is powerful, and he is good. 

And here's what you need to recognize:

If God can raise Jesus from the dead, then he can certainly walk with you as face the uncertainty of a new life stage.

If God can raise Jesus from the dead, then he can certainly calm your heart as you juggle multiple work / home roles.

If God can raise Jesus from the dead, then he can certainly sustain you and allow to remain faithful for the next forty years.

This God is our refuge!

I am not saying that reading your Bible is going to change your circumstances or make this time of transition flawless. But, as you grow and mature in your faith, knowledge, and trust of the Lord, transition does get easier. It doesn't hurt quite as bad the next time around, because you've seen how the Lord has been faithful to protect you. So you fear less and trust more.

This continues on and on through life until we reach verse 11. 
 
11 You have made known to me the path of life; 
     you will fill me joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. 

Ultimately, the Lord is guiding us back to Himself. He will keep us safe until we return to Him. This life is temporary. It is passing away, but if you are in Christ, then your eternity is with Him, where we are promised eternal pleasures. It's going to be awesome!

But until then, continue to pray, "Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge."


Lesson Learned: The Lord is our refuge. There is no safer place to rest.


2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. Needed to be reminded of these truths.

    ReplyDelete

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