Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bible Study: Psalm 30

When I felt secure, I said,
"I will never be shaken."

O Lord, when you favored me,
you made my mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

Psalm 30:6-7 (NIV)

Time for a new feature here on the blog - Bible study. I'm acutely aware of a need in my life for more time with the Bible than what I'm currently taking, so in an effort to correct this, I'm making it a point to try to study a little each day. I already listen to the Daily Audio Bible everyday, but as awesome as it is, it's not the same as actually cracking open the Book, reading slowly, praying, and letting Him open up His Word to you. I think something that will be exceptionally useful in my study is blogging, journaling, whatever you want to call it about what He opens up to me in my study.

Tonight, since I decided that I needed to take tonight to do something other than work for a change, I spent a little quality time with God and the Word after Holli went to bed. With no real official study plan in place, I flipped the Bible open and landed on Psalm 30.


Take the verse I quoted above, and put it into modern context. Think about how secure America was economically just a couple of years ago or even, by way of comparison to today, just six months ago. Look how quickly the economy's gone into a downturn and everyone's started to panic. Man keeps trying and trying to keep his house that he built on the sand standing as the storm comes in, but he can't.

It's amazing how powerless we really are to affect things on a permanent basis. We build, and then He destroys with flood, earthquake, or storm. We raise up governments and economic systems that topple seemingly overnight. Nothing that we do works permanently, but when it works for even a fleeting moment, man gets arrogant. We start to forget that God is the source of all of our blessings as we stand atop the little idols we construct, so sure and secure in our own supposed greatness.

So man's arrogant, and God puts the smack down on us. Not a fun lesson, eh? Well, not if you don't look at it in context. If we step to the verse right before what I quoted (Ps 30:5), though, we see this:

For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

God's reproof is always for our own good. He loves us, and his will for us is perfect, even if it's sometimes painful. So when He leads us through tough times like many are facing with the economy right now, it's always for our betterment, as hard as that might be to see.

Often in leading us through trials, He's trying to remind us that He's there and to get us to rely on Him, not on ourselves. He does this not to gain glory for Himself - being God, it all belongs to Him already, anyway - but to protect us from ourselves. What we build with our own hands falls eventually, but what God builds for us lasts for all eternity.

Other times, He just knows better than we do because He can see through time in ways we can't. Six years ago, with two extremely young children in my house, I got fired from my sales job because of a stupid corporate decision to try to cut costs by firing all the best salespeople (who made the most money). Because I got fired, I started down the path that's led me to owning my own business. It seemed so painful at the time, but in retrospect, I can now see His plan in what happened there. Had I not been fired, I wouldn't have my own business right now; rather, I'd be helping to close out the local Circuit City (because I wouldn't have ever quit on my own), wondering what I was going to do next.

God does tear us down. He never does it to be spiteful, though. No matter the reason - be it to bring us closer to Him or to force us down His path - we must always remember that His will for us is perfect and the pain that comes from his reproof, however much it might hurt in the process, is just temporary. Whatever hole grows in us as a result of being torn down will always be filled up far beyond capacity by His love after the fact ... as long as we will let it.

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