1 Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
David lifts up his soul to the Lord. How often do I need a “Lift”, and I ask God to lift me up, or to bring me out of the hard place I am in? After the request, I find myself still floundering, still down and out. Then I wonder where God is, or why he did not hear me. Truth is, sometimes, and I think it’s quite often, I am supposed to lift myself up to the Lord! Lift myself in praise and worship.
I have found, through many years of trial and error, that the quickest way to get myself out of a bad place mentally is to start praising the Lord – lifting up my soul. Often when I am in that place, I don’t feel like praising Him, and it is a huge act of overriding my own feelings and emotions to get it done, but it works every time. And it now has become habit.
If you struggle with down times, times are wondering where God is, times when you just can’t seem to keep your head above water, than practice lifting yourself up to God i praise during those times. It will change your outlook, and give you a wonderful thrill!
2 O my ., I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.
3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
4 Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.
5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
God will keep us safe from the enemy. we will never be ashamed in front of them. In fact, the opposite will happen – they will be ashamed that they ever came against us.
How often do I ask God to show me His ways, and teach me His paths? It seems to me I am more likely to say “Hey, God, look at what I am doing – look at the path I have chosen and bless it!”. Isn’t this just the opposite of what the Psalmist says here? He says he waits all the day long. I find myself impatient for an answer when I am wanting direction. Do you?
I remember the events that led me to move to Iowa like it was yesterday – it was almost 38 years ago. Someday II will share that whole story with you. The decision to move from Massachusetts to Iowa came in a hotel room in Pennsylvania! I picked up God’s word from the nightstand and was led to Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths”. Knew, right then and there, I was moving. God had shown me His ways – His path. He will do the same for you!
6 Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, OLord.
8 Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
I love that David repeatedly pleads to God’s mercy. He knows where the true power of His salvation lies – in mercy. It seems to me these days we want to preach that Jesus died because He loved us, and that is true. But the overriding reason He came was to have mercy on us – mercy that it will take a lifetime for me to understand or comprehend. He did not have to give up His throne, die on a cross, be beaten and whipped. He did it for mercy’s sake.
And He expects us to extend that mercy to others. Everything God gives to us, He wants us to share it with someone else. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth. I must walk in those paths on a daily basis. Mercy and truth. Grace and justice. They go together. I must not separate the to make the Gospel more appealing
11 For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.
Short but sweet. God did not save me for my sake, but for His glory. I must never forget that! We preach God loved us so much that if we were the only one on earth, He would have come to save us, because he loved us that much. But David says He saved me and freed me from my sins for His name’s sake, not for me. Thinking God would do it for me cane easily give me a sense of entitlement – and I deserve nothing. It’s all for His glory!
12 What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.
13 His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.
14 The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
15 Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
The fear if the Lord is an awesome thing. We should not fear Him because He has the ability to send us to hell – we as Christians should be beyond that. But we should fear Him because he is so powerful, so mighty, so overwhelming that our little human minds can’t begin to comprehend His stature and grandeur.
I think of it as an approaching thunderstorm. A big one. You see the clouds, hey darken more and more as they approach, and then they start swirling. You see the lightning flashing all around, and hear the thunder. I get goosebumps when I see a big storm. I want to watch until it passes. But there comes a time, when the winds pick up and the rain starts to pelt down, that I realize this storm is much more powerful than I can stand out in. It becomes awesome, and full of fear.
Now that example doesn’t really do God justice – He is so much bigger than any storm – but I hope you get the idea. There should be a certain reverential fear within is on approaching a God this mighty. If there is not, perhaps I need to get a bigger picture of who God is!
16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresse
18 Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.
19 Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.
20 O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.
22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
The end of the psalm, David turns back to asking God for redemption from His enemies. He never gives up in asking God to help him. May we learn from this example and do likewise. Our God is not a “Name it, claim it” God, although there are times He works that way. He is a God who desires our best, all the time for, His glory. And He always knows the best time to deliver us from our enemy, or illness, or heartache, or whatever affliction might be in our prayers. Allow Him to move in His own time, and just keep asking.