Psalms 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
It is currently 3:42 in the morning. I have been awake for the past two hours unable to fall back to sleep. It is ironic to me that the verse of the day provided by the YouVersion Bible application is regarding sleep. The verse does not promise every time I lay down to sleep, I will have a peaceful, refreshing, and nourishing rest that will be undisturbed by noises and thoughts.
The verse reminds me of the story in 2 Kings 6. Elisha’s servant woke early in the morning and saw a fearful thing. A Syrian army with chariots and horses had come at night and was surrounding the city. Elisha was still in bed fast asleep. The servant yelled in fear, “alas my master! What shall we do?” Elisha prays and asks the Lord if he would please open up the eyes of the servant so that he could peer into the unseen realm for a moment. God grants Elisha’s request and the servant sees that the “mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha”. Was there a reason for the servant to be afraid when he woke? Absolutely! Was there a reason for fear after his eyes were open and he could see he was protected by a mountain of angels? No! The sight would have brought a sense of safety and peace because of their total protection. And this is the sense of Psalm 4:8. If we are the Lord’s, we have nothing to fear. For the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them”. (Psalm 34:7)
May the Lord of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing upon Him this day!
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
- Know: to learn, perceive, or be skillful (especially knowing relationally)
- LORD: yhwh, the self-existent eternal one
- God: Elohim
- Faithful: established, trustworthy, and supportive
- Keeps: to hedge about and guard
- Covenant: agreement, treaty, or alliance
- Steadfast love (from God): merciful and faithful kindness
- Love (from us): to have affection
- Commandments: law, precepts
Theology (the study of God) is so important. The more we know and understand about God, the greater chance we have of remaining steadfast as we journey through this life.
The Lord is eternal and self-existent. He has never not had existence. He needs nothing outside of himself to remain or continue to be. We on the other hand are dependent every moment of our lives. We do not keep our own heart beating, our mind thinking, or our eyes blinking. We are dependent upon him to produce air for our lungs, food for our bellies, and warmth for our living. He never tires or grows weary. His eye of love has been upon humanity ever since he first breathed life into our first parents. He knows everything about us, and everything to come for us.
This eternal God is faithful. It is impossible for him to lie or renegotiate a promise. He knows everything, and therefore can never “gain new information” which might cause him to change. What he says, he will do; he can not deny himself.
Our verse today encourages us to know, to learn, to have the skill of understanding that this self-existent, eternal, and faithful Lord of the universe is mine. And he is yours if you have come to him through faith in his son Jesus Christ. God always does what he says, but will not always do what we ask. He is faithful to himself and to the promises he has made to his children.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
- Blessed: happy
- Steadfast: patiently remaining under
- Trial: a temptation or testing point typically proving, or testing one’s character
- Stood: to begin to be. It is used of plants and fruits beginning to be produced (Matthew 21:19, 1 Cor 15:37)
- Test: tried as metals are by fire
- Crown Of Life: emblem of royal dignity given to the saints in heaven
- Promised: to announce as true
- Love: “agapo” to find one’s joy in someone or something
- Him: the Lord / Jesus Christ
The trials in our lives are specifically intended by the sovereign Lord of the universe to test our love and our character; to produce Christ-like character and the fruits of the Spirit; and to increase our happiness and love as we patiently wait for the dignity and honor we will receive in heaven.
The text is calling each of us to have endurance until death. Trials are tests of faith. And the promise here gives the one tested more fruitfulness in their life on earth. But does not give the final promise (crown of life) until our last breath is taken.
Psalms 84:12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!
The second promise is this: Those who trust in the Lord are happy.
This promise is a far cry from saying that God wants you healthy, wealthy, and prosperous. I am far from a prosperity gospel kind of man. Nonetheless, the promise is that God will make those who trust in him happy.
Happiness is not dependent upon our health, our position, our wealth, our situation, or any other thing the world might deem makes you happy. God is a God who is happy. He is the source of all true joy, and rejoices to fill those who trust upon him with a measure suitable for their need. This is why the Christian wife can still find joy at the funeral of her husband, the paraplegic at the loss of bodily movement; or in my case, the husband and father who has to say goodbye to his stillborn daughter with trisomy 13. Happiness is not dependent upon our situations or our abilities, but on God, the source and fountain of joy.
Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord! This is our promise from God. Trust proceeds joy, and not the other way around.
Psalms 34:9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!
I have recently written down in my notes a couple dozen verses specifically intended to be promises to believers. Over the next month or so, I will be posting these verses here and assigning them another category to the right.
The first promise is this: Those who fear the Lord will have no lack!
In my Bible next to Proverbs 1:7 I have written that the beginning of my wisdom was in 2003 when I became a Christian. It was the first time I ever had true fear of God, and therefore was my beginnings of wisdom. The promise here tells me that if I fear God, I will never have a lack.
I can honestly say that this has been true for me. There have been times when I wanted something but couldn’t afford it. I may have thought in the moment that it was a lack, but in actuality it was God’s grace towards me to produce better things like patience and contentment in my heart. Hence, my supposed lack was actually gain, though I did not see it in the moment. The Apostle Paul learned the secret of being content in any and every circumstance. It was through Christ who strengthened him (Philippians 4:10-13). We are promised in Psalm 34:9 that if we have learned the same secret Paul did, we will have no lack.
Our God is a God who is abundantly generous. He holds the world in the palm of his hand and can therefore make good on such a promise as this. I would have no such resources to look across an orphanage of children and tell them that if they feared me, they would have no lack. I am first of all not worthy of Godly fear, and secondly have no ability to make good on that promise. I would be a foolish liar.
God however not only owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but owns every hill on which a cow might stand. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. You, me, and all creation are owned of the Lord. We are his possession. He promises to you that if you fear him, you will never have lack. You are also owned by him, and so may at some point be used as the instrument to provide for the needs of the one who lacks. How might you pray towards that end today?