I recently sent my local councillor a photo of my favourite road sign, at the top of Albert Road:
I am sure that once upon a time the sign conveyed some useful information. I am sure that if I was still able to read it, it would point me to somewhere useful. But at the moment should anyone be looking for a sign, all they could do would trust they were going in the right direction.
Over the course of Lent we have been looking verse by verse at Psalm 63. We have looked at David’s experience of being on the run in the desert. We have seen how despite his circumstances he has desired God, he has praised God and he has experienced God. And it would be very easy to leave the psalm as a pleasant reflection on me and my walk with God – indeed I may well have done so in the past.
But if we are to be faithful to Scripture, and if we believe all Scripture is god-breathed and useful, we can’t stop there. So what do we make of the following verses?
9 They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.
I am grateful to my DW for pointing out that here David is not expressing a desire for his enemies to be killed or destroyed. Rather he is showing amazing faith in the most trying of circumstances. He is on the run, outnumbered, his face on every “wanted” poster in town. He has no obvious sign from the Lord that all will be well. Yet despite outward cirucmstances David has confidence that every posse sent out to capture him will fail. Not only that, but they will go down to the depths of the earth.
Why? Because if the Lord is going to act on David’s behalf and rescue Him, it is an inescapable fact that He will act against those who are persecuting His servant. For in the end God is just and that will mean that ultimately He will rescue those who love Him and defeat those who resist Him.
At one level this truth is uncomfortable. We don’t like to think of God acting against anyone, and rightly so, for it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But our brothers and sisters around the world who face persecution, arrest, even death, what keeps them going? That the Lord is still sovereign and is able to save all who call on His name. And while Jesus teaches us to pray for those who persecute us, we can also be comforted in the knowledge that one day there will be a perfect and righteous judgement. That, after all, is the message that the Book of Revelation gives us and the reason why it was written.
So two questions for you to ponder:
How does your faith in God work out in practice?
What comfort do you draw from the fact one day God’s just judgement will be revealed?