Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mid-Day Devotion 8/20/09

David with the Head of Goliath, Jan Van Oost the Elder, 1648

4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from men of violence
who plan to trip my feet.
5 Proud men have hidden a snare for me;
they have spread out the cords of their net
and have set traps for me along my path.
Psalm 140:4-5

When we are in trouble, when nothing in the world seems to make a lot of sense to us, when hardship and trial, when pain and sorrow seem so near, when wicked and evil men, vile men who seek to work their disdainful ways, their contemptuous ways against us seems so near, where do we place our hope and our trust?

To read the words of the Psalmist, to read the words that were written by the hand of David, you come to know that he overcame trials, here was a man who knew about hardship and troubles, here was a man who knew about the wicked ways and the wicked things that men could inflict upon other men. Here was a man whose life was in jeopardy on more than one occasion, as he stood against Goliath, that giant of the Philistines, who openly mocked the armies of the living God, or whose life was in jeopardy at the hands of Saul, who looked to him and saw a threat to his leadership, a threat to his line, and there sought his death. David knew something about hardship and trial, he knew something about evil in this world, and about that wickedness that could be inflicted upon man. Yet each and every step of the way, as he looked at the world around him, he knew he could place his faith, he could place his trust, he could place his courage and his hope on the Lord. And there he would draw strength through all the challenges he would face. He would be given courage, he would be given hope, and there he knew his faith would never be misplaced, for the Lord would walk beside him each and every step of the way, He would be his shield and his armor, He would be that mighty sword of his right hand, seeking all good things for him. Unlike the armies of Israel that watched him as he marched down into the valley to face Goliath, the Lord wouldn’t see any challenge being too great for Him, He would not stand back and watch, but rather He would walk beside David and He would help him. He would help him in the challenges so that he may survive, a victorious champion of his people. As Saul amassed his armies against him and marched against him, while David lay in caves, probably not having enough to eat or to strengthen his arm, the Lord did not abandon him or forsake him, the Lord did not just give him up to those who would seek to work evil against him, rather He would protect him each and every step of the way, He would preserve him against violence and wickedness, against those who would set snares and cords before him and to set a net before him, those who would seek his life.

And why? What was one life, what was the life of one small, insignificant man to God? The world is full of countless numbers of them, where one would fall, another would rise up in his place. But God, God our Heavenly Father does not view life as cheaply as we sometimes do, nor does He view it with contemptuous eyes, rather as with an integrity and a dignity to it. And each and every life, each and every life that God breathes His breath into, each and every life that He has formed with His own hand, He has a plan for, He has a plan for it even while that life is still in the womb, as in the words of the Prophet Jeremiah. And there He guides and protects it, each and every step of the way, seeking to keep it from harm, from evil, from wickedness. It is a sacred trust that David knew all too well, it is a sacred trust that carries through with us even today, even in our age.

All around us we see the hands of the wicked, we see the violent men, those whose only purpose is to overthrow the goings of the innocent, to manipulate the weak, to cause pain and sorrow, and for nothing more than their own gain, for their own selfish, shallow, petty victories. The wicked governments, the wicked regimes that would take political prisoners, who would take men and women as hostages, who would commit genocide and gendericide against their brothers and sisters in humanity, for no other reason than to expand their power. We see it in those who would take sex slaves, those who would rip the innocence and naivite from young girls, often no older than our own daughters, for no other reason than their own monetary gain, because its just business, because they are entitled, because they somehow view themselves as superior and they hold humanity to be cheap. In the pirates who take captives and prisoners and ransom them off to the highest bidder as if they were nothing more than cattle, as if they were nothing more than livestock to be taken and slaughtered at their own will and their own whim, for their own greed, their own ambition, their own political gain. They hold life to be cheap, humanity to be cheap, as if it had no intrinsic value or integrity to it. We see it in those who take slaves, those who rule with the whip and with terror and with hatred and contempt, those who build their own humanity by denying it to others, who see them as so inferior that they are not even human, that their life has no dignity in it, as they subject them to hatred and to scorn.

Yet every life has value to the Lord, whether it is the life of those prisoners and captives, those political captives or the sex slaves or the slaves who are taken and are ripped away from any life that they know. These lives have value, and where man may view them with contempt, the Lord views them with love and compassion, with mercy and grace each and every step of the way. So much so does He love each and every one of us, so much so does He loves these prisoners and captives, so much so does He love all prisoners and captives that He gave His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that whosoever believes on Him and in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. And there He ransomed even the most lost, the most confused souls, He ransomed them and gave them strength through the life and the death and the precious blood of His Son, that sin, death, and the Devil may no longer have their dark hold over us.

When there is trouble, when there is need, when the world seems inflamed in chaos, and suffering and pain and sorrow, look to the Lord. Look to the Lord and the power of His might, for He is there, He is there to preserve His children each and every step of the way, no matter what may happen, no matter what may come. There is no challenge too great, there is no struggle too small, for problems large and small the Lord shall take care of by the power of His hand, and He will grant healing to each and every one of His children, according to His love and according to what He has intended for us. Show love and show courage and pray for your fellow man, and do all that you can for those who are held in the grasp of wickedness, seeking to do the Lord’s will here on Earth. And each and every step of the way pray, pray that God’ will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, that all who may find themselves in the hands of the wicked may find themselves now set free, preserved from the violent man whose purpose is to overthrow them. Trust in the Lord, and in the power of His might, and know that He shall never fail or forsake you or abandon you, that He will never abandon any of His children, but rather He shall work His will, His divine, loving will, in all things and through all things, for us in our lives.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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