May 4 Devotional

May the 4th be with you! Happy Star Wars day to all my fellow Star Wars aficionados! Well, we have officially entered a new month still under lock down! So I’ll be changing the schedule up a little bit again. I’m hoping that we can start having smaller meetings (of 10) by next week, which would be fantastic! So instead of doing Monday through Friday, I’ll be sending these out Monday, Wednesday, Friday with specific themes. Monday will be from the Psalms (just working through them systematically), Wednesday we’ll go through Hebrews similarly, then Friday it will be looking at the sermon text in preparation for the Sunday gathering. I’d also like to try doing our Thursday night Google Hangout to be able to see some of you again! (Hi Cunninghams!) I’m continuing to pray for all of you, and am anxious to be able to meet again! Since we’ve already gone through the first 2 Psalms, we’ll begin today with Psalm 3:
 
A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
Lord, how many are my foes!
    Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
    “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
    I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
    who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O Lord!
    Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
    you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord;
    your blessing be on your people! Selah
 
This Psalm begins with a description of when this Psalm was written: after Absalom’s insurrection and David fleeing. David knows that he is under threat of persecution and torture, that people who have held grudges against him are now rising up against him. And they use this time to mock him, to belittle him, to antagonize him. And because he is the king, he also serves as the emissary of his God. That because he is out of his palace, his God can’t support him or has given him up to his sin. Then this Psalm takes a weird turn. In the midst of David complaining he inserts one word: selah. The Psalms were originally written as songs to be sung, and that little phrase meant an extended instrumental to reflect on what was just sung. The Babylon Bee one time made a joke about this, saying that the best translation is “extended guitar solo.” Which isn’t too far from the truth! David, and the Holy Spirit, are reminding us to reflect on this complaint. How often do you complain to God? This is part of the reason I love the Psalms! They cover the gamut of human emotions!
 
So after David has encouraged us to complain for an extended period of time, he reminds us that God is a shield. He protects us from the flaming darts of the evil one, and will at times even protect us bodily from harm. Who knows what we’ve been spared from because of the gracious hand of God. A friend posted on Facebook a couple weeks ago about leaving Home Depot and driving away, and just 25 feet in front of them witnessing someone get hit by a car. He reminded his kids that God has a plan for them, and if they had left just 10 seconds sooner they would have been hit! God cares about his children! And even in the midst of this difficulty, David goes to sleep. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stressed out about things going on in my life and been unable to sleep, but I’ve never faced my son leading an insurrection against me! Yet because his hope is in God, David can sleep in confidence, because he knew God will continue to sustain him. We all know this doesn’t mean that God will never let us die! Hebrews 11, the hall of faith, reminds us that some people were sawn in two, some were boiled alive, some were burned to death. But even in the midst of those situations, God is still with us. We don’t ever have to experience separation from God because His Son did it in our place! 
 
SONG:
Many of you may not know that I had the wonderful privilege of participating in my high school choir, leading to the opportunity to sing in some pretty amazing places, as we had one of the best choir programs in the state! (Thanks to a world renown music school being in the same town) Because of this, I was exposed to the writer and conductor Eric Whitacre. He writes some of the most beautiful choral pieces I’ve ever heard, including one about the outcome of this Psalm, titled ‘When David Heard.” Just to warn you, the song is 17 minutes long, so don’t start listening to it until you’ve got a good chunk of free time! You can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.
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