WK #8 - Wrestling with God

Listen to the audio while following along with the text at http://www.hopecwc.blogspot.com

As Christians, we can acknowledge the gospel message is the heart of our faith. The season of Lent focuses our mind and spirit on the work of the cross. Each Sunday during Lent brings us closer to the celebration of victory over the grave. Each message foreshadows the glory of our Hosanna shouts on Easter Sunday.

This particular week I want to look at Psalm 32. It is considered a “maskil” or a psalm that is accompanied by the use of a stringed instrument. One of the thoughts brought by Dr. Stan Toler at the Virginia Ministry Team Retreat this week has been the idea that we may need to find ways to ‘sing ourselves into happiness’ much the way that previous generations of Nazarenes did. In our worship we need to enjoy the skill of those who glorify God with their talents and gifts. We need to be mindful of the African proverb that says: “the Spirit will not descend without a song.”

Psalm 32:1-7 reads,

“Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.”

These words are attributed to King David, a man “after God’s own heart.” You can tell from the language used this is someone who believes in God and knew Him intimately as both Lord and friend. Here in these verses David willingly acknowledges his sin, admits his helplessness and petitions God’s grace on his behalf.

As I look over this Psalm I note that happiness, in today’s society is all about gain and possessions. But to the believer, true happiness is found in the assurance that our sins are forgiven and washed away by the blood of our Risen Savior. David tells us he suffers because he doesn’t call out to God in his distress and there have been plenty of times that I’ve experienced sleeplessness because I was unwilling to call because I would rather wrestle through the situation in my own strength.

But we need to be like Jacob and struggle with God, refusing to let go until we are blessed. So am I willing to tarry and pray? In biblical tradition there was a “tarry service.” It was a time set apart by the believing community to wait expectantly upon the Lord. In the Psalms, David tarries while hiding from his enemies and petitioning God for deliverance. Are we willing to be like our grandparents – waiting, expecting, even demanding God’s presence? Are we willing to cry out in gratitude for deliverance?

David concludes his Psalm with a note of triumph about God’s desire and ability to save us from ourselves. He reminds us that God always provides a hiding place for his people; that He longs to deliver us from our mess. I for one am very thankful that God is never farther from me than prayer and in that moment He is willing to “hear my anguished cry and He will answer by and by.” The Christian believer has a hedge of protection around their life and while water may seep in through the cracks, salvation is assured. We live life in expectancy, we live life in hope. But mostly we live in joy because we have “Victory in Jesus!”

Some items to be aware of this week:

  • Friday night at 6 pm starts the Scrapbooking and Project night at the Church. If you don’t have a project there will be several available for you to help with. Bring your project, some snacks and a willingness to enjoy the fun!
  • We will be receiving our Alabaster Offering this Sunday. Remember – your change will change the world! And I’ll have more to say about that Sunday morning.
  • Save the date – Monday March 15th to hear come out and hear one of our missionaries. He is originally from the Virginia District and you will want to hear how God is using his family to spread the Good News. Sign-up sheet for food is in the foyer.
  • Jan and I had a wonderful time at the Virginia Ministry Team Retreat. Our General Superintendent Dr. Stan Toler was on hand and if you want to enjoy watching his presentation, the video link is on the Blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. http://hopecwc.blogspot.com/p/leadership-resources.html

Let’s pray:

Father, tune our ears to hear your voice, so that we may always hear your commands and comfort. Amen