Here is a verse to keep in mind—the time will come when you need it!
When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. Psalm 94:16
Who has a right to claim the wonderful promise in this verse? Move back a few verses and you will find the answer:
Lord, happy is the man You discipline and teach from Your law, to give him relief from troubled times. Psalm 94:13
God’s Word (His law) teaches and disciplines those who study, understand, and obey it. Believer, you cannot expect the promise to apply unless (and until) the conditions are met. But, Oh when they are—the riches of it are yours!
How conversant are you with the Scriptures? How frequently do you listen (and act) when they expose and rebuke you for your evil ways? Are you a person who drifts with the crowd, or one who goes in the direction that pleases Him? That is the way to receive His comfort and relief. When necessary, to please God, you must to walk against it. It isn’t easy to head in the opposite direction from other Christians when they are part of that crowd—is it? That makes it especially difficult. Yet, it isn’t what others do that matters; it’s what God says will bring comfort and relief in troubled times that counts. There are many such times in all of our lives; there may be even greater ones in the near future. Take heed to God’s truth!
There is one entire book of the Bible that is devoted to music: the Psalms. We’ve said little about this hymnbook in these blogs.
“Spose it’s ‘bout time to do so!”
Counselors will find the Psalms invaluable in helping their counselees deal with all human emotions. They range from grief and suffering to joy and gladness. They deal with anger, and wrath to as well as grace and forgiveness. And, those items are merely a few of what’s there.
How to use the Psalms in counseling is, of course, the question. Often verses are simply yanked out of context, missing the point of the Psalm as a whole. But to know what a Psalm is all about and, therefore, its purpose, is essential to bringing the full measure of comfort, encouragement, need for repentance, direction, and the like to the counselee. I say full measure, because even smaller units of biblical material if understood correctly, can be of help. But, all too frequently, that doesn’t happen when passages are used irrespective of their context.
“Give me an example”
OK. Psalm 23. Ever hear anyone speak of going “through the valley of death” as the process of dying? Of course, it means the opposite—the Lord protects His sheep from the hidden dangers lurking in the shadows (wolves, lions) as He leads them through those valley paths. Rather, the Psalm ought to be applied to safety and rescue situations, than to the process of dying.
So, my plea is for counselors not to use these hymns carelessly or wrongly. Some of them require extensive study; others are quite clear. But whichever we use, let’s do so with confidence—the confidence that is born of knowing what you are talking about.
Psalm 119:71 reads as follows:
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes (CSB)
Can you say this too?
Sometimes we become so busy—occupied with secondary matters—that we do not take adequate time to study God’s Word. It is in such times that we are given opportunity by God to do so. One way in which He does this is to afflict us with some illness that stops us in our busy tracks. If we will not slow down and take time to learn from Him, He gives us that time!
Earlier in the same Psalm, the writer mentions the effect of the affliction:
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word” (v. 67).
Of course, one might fail to benefit from the affliction—indeed, he might only grouse and complain and, then, miss the whole point of it. I know that it is not always easy when sick to do deep study—pain can make that difficult. But one can focus on one or two clear passages of Scripture and, upon his bed, think about how they apply to him.
However you do it—don’t miss out on the opportunity to meditate on the Word of God in your affliction. That is the point. One of the words for meditation in Scripture means to so think about how to integrate God’s truth into your life that the conclusion of the meditation is to change your ways.
Sick? Injured? Afflicted in another way? Take advantage of the illness to turn to the Bible so that as you emerge from the affliction you also will be able to speak of changing your ways.
For the first time in almost two years Dr. Adams was in the pulpit last Sunday morning! Here is his message presented at the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, SC. Rejoice with us in the strength God has given to Jay and for the encouragement he still brings to God’s people from the Word of God. Click on the link below to navigate to our podcast page.
Psalm 11, May 26, 2013
Here is a passage to contemplate:
A man with valuable possessions,
But without understanding,
Is like the animals that perish. (Psalm 49:20)
In other words, when he dies, his death amounts to little more than road-kill.
There is no blessed future for him. The promises under the magnificent features listed in Revelation 21, 22 are not for him.
Indeed, in some ways, he is in a worse condition than those animals—there awaits him the lake of fire with its eternal suffering. That is far worse than the annihilation of an animal!
What makes the difference? The psalmist says “understanding”—or the lack thereof. Understanding of what? Of God’s redemptive work in His Son Jesus Christ who died for the sins of those who would trust in Him,. For details, see our Archives under “salvation.” Don’t go on in life without ever coming to an understanding of it.
Do you understand this?
Speaking of the wicked who scheme against the righteous, we are told
The Lord laughs at him because He sees that his day is coming. Psalm 37: 12,13.
Take comfort if you fall into the category of the righteous who suffers from the schemes of the wicked.