Tag Archive: faithfulness


‘The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,
for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.’

this is quite a short one so i thought i’d write out the whole thing… often with the passages of scripture we know we skim through them or just nod knowingly, but i encourage you to go back and really read it again, line by line, pausing to think about each one. there is so much richness in this psalm.

verse 3 stands out for me – ‘He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.’ – kind of counter culture to the whole church, worship, personal salvation “it’s all about me” message we too often slip into [Val told me the other day about this worship competition invite we received here – so different teams are going to be competing to see who can play a worship song the best. i think that’s when it has become just a song because any worship aspect disappeared the moment competition was brought into it… and you can file that alongside ‘worship song of the year’ which is quite likely determined by looking at the winner of the ‘worship song that made the most money this year’ award – Jesus, ready Your whip]

because it is His name’s sake. the story is all about Him. it is His kingdom. we would do well to remember that. in fact part of signing on for this adventure was something about denying myself, taking up my cross every day and following Him [luke 9.23] if i recall. i am a disciple OF JESUS. i am a follower OF JESUS. if i go in for the old title i used to wear before i started leaning towards follower of Jesus, then i am a CHRISTian. if we could align our lives to live for the glory of God rather than the glory of me [as we so often slip into, guilty as charged] then the world would be completely revolutionised.

the other part i want to focus on and it culminates with verse 5’s ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,’ starts with this section: ‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.’ [vs. 4] the idea that while God is completely invested in being there when trouble strikes [and supporting, comforting, strengthening, helping endure, restoring] He doesn’t seem all that committed to keeping us safe from it. And i love that about God. to be honest i definitely don’t always like that about God, but i get that He uses the times to strengthen and work character and build up and also break down some of the garbage and brokenness in me… and so while they may not be fun times, i can rest confidently in the fact that He is there and He won’t abandon me, or let the situation take me down. or you.

there seem to be a lot of ‘i’ and ‘me’ psalms leading up to psalm 20 and then some that focus on God but from an ‘i’ or ‘me’ perspective… and so this one has a very different feel to it:

‘May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.’ [verse 1-5]

 

the last line of ‘LORD, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!’ [verse 9] seems to confuse that sense a little bit and in fact it is verse 7 that introduces the ‘we’ to this psalm: ‘Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.’ [verse 7-8] – and end it in a more community sense, but it definitely has a different feel and even the ‘we’ in verse 5 is more of a ‘you’ as it talks about the community celebrating the individual victory.

the psalm begins with a strong sense of calling down blessing and ends with that reminder above, which is probably the primary thing i take from this psalm, that some will trust the creations of their hands [chariots] and others will trust in nature [horses] but we will trust in the one who created both man’s hands and nature [the name of the Lord our God].

this psalm drips with the faithfulness of God and is a great reminder in times when it doesn’t seem like He is near or cares much, that we should continue to call out to Him, as He has proved faithful in the past and will do so again.

psalm 19 is a tough one. because there is just so much in it. it is a beautiful, beautiful psalm. make sure you read the whole thing.

It starts so powerfully with a declaration of who God is:

‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’ [Psalm 19.1] This makes me think of Jesus calming the storm in the boat [‘The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” [Luke 8.24-25]] and when Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly [‘When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19.37-40]

the message is that God will be praised and if we can’t do it then nature will take over. the glory and creativity and imagination of God are all revealed through nature. take a moment to praise God and add your voice or the meditation of your heart to the chorus…

verse 4 [‘In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun’] got a little more chaotic when i read it to my wife [aka the beautiful Val] because it reminded both of us of a really funny awkward sermon moment which happened here.

but back to more serious things. STOP LAUGHING!

this next section i just loved the poetry in the writing:

‘The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.


The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.


The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.


The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.


The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.


The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous.


They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;


they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.


By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.’

The first time i read over this psalm i read the word ‘warned’ in verse 11 as ‘warmed’ and i think it works both ways… because when you start to know and experience the character, heart and faithfulness of God, then even His commands/law/statutes warm you – there is a confidence and sense of being able to trust this God who promises to be with you even when you are ‘broken-hearted’ or ‘crushed in spirit’ [psalm 34.18] and even when you are walking through ‘the valley of the shadow of death’ [psalm 23.4] – He won’t take all the bad away, but He will strengthen and comfort and walk alongside you…

verse 12 and 13 ask for protection and forgiveness from sins we are aware of and even those we may not be which is a good reminder of the accountability we need to have with other people who can help point out our weaknesses in love as we invite them to.

and then the psalm ends powerfully with: ‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.’ [vs 14]

if only all Christ followers, myself included, could start each day with that prayer and then try and back it up with our actions, we would completely start to transform the world…

i send out a weekly email message called thort for the week aimed at challenging and encouraging Christ-followers to really live out what we say we believe – i thort i’d share this week’s with my blog [if you would like to receive the weekly messages simply email brettfish@hotmail.com with the email address you would like it sent to and a ‘please add me’ subject line] – trust you enjoy…

I was sent this psalm during this week of listening to God and it really encouraged me and trust it will do the same for you – take time to really read it though, don’t rush through:

Psalm 77

‘I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
At night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.

I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
I mused, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days, the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart mused and my spirit inquired:

“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will He never show His favour again?
Has His unfailing love vanished forever?
Has His promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has He in anger withheld His compassion?”

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the Most High.”
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago.
I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.

Your ways, O God, are holy.
What God is so great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
You display Your power among the peoples.
With Your mighty arm You redeemed Your people,
The descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

The waters saw You, O God
The waters saw You and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
The skies resounded with thunder;
Your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world;
The earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.

You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.’

Yeah, that Psalm spoke really strongly to me, but especially the verse that Doug and Janet who sent it to me highlighted – we probably all know that story of the footprints on the beach and the question of ‘why God, when it was hardest, was there only one set of footprints?’ and God responds with, ‘during the times of difficulty i was carrying you.’ And yet this seems to be almost the opposite. Or maybe the same in a different way, i don’t know.

Verse 19:

Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.

This is really just an encouragement to continue to trust in God and the faithfulness of Him, even in those moments when His footprints can’t be seen – when it looks like He has abandoned you, when there is no voice or answer coming to your questions or prayers. His path continues to be there. His way stands firm. Even when there is no visual evidence of His footprints.

God is here. He is involved. He does care. He does have a plan. Even when it is not as evident as we would like, all that stuff is still True.

So be encouraged
As i am.

God bless you as you bless others
Love brett anderson

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