Friday, April 27, 2018

Be Strong

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!
If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
—Psalm 27:7-14

At first glance, it looks like the Psalmist is in trouble and advocates doing nothing as a solution. She or he seems to take the saying, "Faith is the answer," to the extreme. But that's not really what's going on here.

Calvin ends his discussion of this Psalm by reminding us of Isaiah 30, where God makes a beautiful promise: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. God says this to a people who have instead placed their trust in oppression and deceit, and when their world starts to fall apart around them, they flee the scene in terror.

And so we see that, far from doing nothing in the face of trouble, to stand firm and wait for God is an active stance. Faith here is anything but passive. It is courage and strength when everyone around about is predicting the worst, running away, or giving up. Juxtapose this to the psalmist who looks forward to seeing God's goodness, who stands firm, and who keeps the faith.

I believe, Lord, that your goodness exists in this world, even when all around is nothing but discouragement. Help me to wait for you in confidence, that I may see your victory. Grant me courage and patience in Jesus' Name. Amen.

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