Thursday, April 10, 2008

Providential Protection

Tonight was another great night of junior high ministry across the country, and for us, at Grace Community Church.  We have been study through the book of 1st Samuel and are getting close to the end.  I've loved studying the story of God's leadership, judgement, and protection found in the lives of Samuel, Saul, and David as they in turn lead the nation of Israel through it's first years of transition from a theocracy (led by God) to a monarchy (led by a king).  Tonight I was reminded of God's protection in the life of the believer and His power to bring about His will no matter what man tries to do to thwart it.  

Specifically, I was reminded of a skit that Student Life did back in 2003.  I believe it was called "Struggles" and it opened with a dark stage and three kids each doing their own monologue weaved together with a song.  Each kid was dealing with a different, very real struggle that left them crying out from the pslams asking where God was in the midst of their trial, "How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?  How long will You hide Your face from Me?" (Psalm 13:1).  As the skit continues, they move through the psalm to declaring the power and salvation of God, praising God that He has delivered them through the trial.  It was an incredibly powerful skit and I wish I could remember more of it, but the impression it left on me is still strong five years later.  

Tonight we read Psalm 54:4-6, which is the psalm David wrote after God delivered him from the hand of Saul when he's being chased in 1st Samuel 23.  In verse 4 of Psalm 54, David cries out, "Behold, God is my helper, the Lord is the sustainer of my soul."  This is pretty incredible if you look at it in context.  

David is running for his life and becomes trapped on a mountainside with Saul and his men bearing down on him to kill him.  Just as it seems that there is no hope for David, a messenger calls to Saul telling him the Philistines are attacking Israel and Saul must come fight them off.  At the perfect time, when he is facing capture and certain death, God provides a miracle and a way out for David. 

I was reminded through these verses that when we are going through the hardest of times, God is still the sustainer of our souls, our helper, and He will carry out His plans for our lives no matter how hard man may try to change them.  God had a plan for David to be the next king of Israel.  Even though Saul pursued David with the strength of the army of Israel, God protected David and would not allow Saul to kill him.

I can trust in God.  That His plans for me are good and for His glory and to accomplish His purposes.  Sometimes the trial may last longer than I can bear and I may not be able to see the way out, but when troubles and trials come my way, I can cry out to God and find reason to rejoice.  I know He is in control.

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