On today’s Tuesday Tea-ology we drink Thistle tea, and talk about the authority of God’s Word. You don’t want to miss it!
“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”
(Psalm 27:14, ESV).
David ends Psalm 27 with an exhortation that others should patiently look to God for deliverance. He has trusted in the Lord, and found Him a compassionate deliverer. The psalmist’s own experience of God’s mighty power and gracious deliverance become the basis not only for his own faithful expectation (v.13), but for an exhortation that others entrust themselves to God and wait upon Him (v.14).
“Wait for the LORD.” Those are hard words for us, sometimes; when we face danger or uncertainty, waiting can be a trial of its own. But waiting for the Lord to act is an exercise in faith; God is in control, even when life seems out of control. God is able, God is wise, and we are called to wait upon Him. Take heart, have hope and courage: wait for the Lord.
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, ESV)
Psalm 27 is a joyful celebration of confidence in God’s protection and love, and a profession of the spiritual heart’s desire for His presence. It begins similarly to Psalm 23, though Psalm 27 stresses the protection of God, rather than His provision; accordingly, it uses a military image—the fortress—rather than the pastoral picture of the earlier psalm. But both share a delight in the peace of belonging to God. In Psalm 27:1 a particularly powerful declaration of security in God is expressed by the parallel expressions, which declare God’s power to shield His own, followed by the rhetorical question, who, then, should we fear? No one.
God is the Savior of His people. If you take refuge in Him, you have nothing to fear. He is the light that guides His children through the darkness, their salvation against all danger. He is the unassailable fortress that protects His people from all enemies. Who can harm those who have God for their protector? No one. No one at all. Shelter in the Lord amid the storms of life, and take comfort in God’s salvation.
“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul, O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me” (Psalm 25:1-2, ESV).
David begins thus a psalm significantly focused on seeking the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness. Though David has sinned, he puts his hope in the graciousness of God to those who seek Him (v.3). God’s love and goodness are the focus of David’s hope, even against the backdrop of his own sinfulness (vv.6-7). It is a comfort to read these words, and find a hope for sinners in the gracious forgiveness of God.
Lift up your soul to the Lord. God is gracious and merciful to all who humbly seek Him, the Savior of all who place their trust in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose to bring us life. When you give in to temptation, look to God for mercy and forgiveness. When you face danger and uncertainty, look to God for protection. When you face hardship and sorrow, look to God for strength and comfort. Lift up your soul to God, who has compassion upon all His children.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3, ESV).
Psalm 23 is probably one of the best-known psalms, for its warm comparison of God’s providential care to the loving care of a shepherd for his sheep. The theme is established in verse 1—that God will protect and provide for His people—and developed in the remaining five verses of this short psalm. The phrase “I shall not want” is a slightly antiquated way of speaking, but it means that, with God as his shepherd, he will lack nothing that he needs.
God cares for His children, as a shepherd cares for His sheep. He is loving and compassionate, and knows that we need Him. Entrust yourself to Him, and He will care for you. Lay before Him your needs and burdens, and look to Him for rest. The road may be uncertain and difficult, but if you let God be your shepherd, He will carry you.
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7, ESV).
Psalm 20 begins with a series of blessings or requests, that God would deliver those who hear from danger and distress (vv.1-5). God can save and protect, grant mercy and bless. Then the psalm, already optimistic, moves to confidence in God’s deliverance. The Lord brings salvation to His chosen one (v.6); thus the people of God trust in Him, rather than in the weapons of war (v.7). God will sustain His people (v.8), and so the psalm ends with another triumphant petition and blessing (v.9).
God is our confidence and hope. No power rivals His, no might can compare with His strength. No matter how weak we are in ourselves, if we rely upon the strength of God Almighty we have nothing to fear. In your trials, entrust yourself to your great God and Savior, and have good hope, for your heavenly Father is strong to save.
“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (Psalm 3:3, ESV).
These words of King David come out of a time of crisis and danger. Many enemies stand against him, and doubters call into question God’s reliability as Savior (vv.1-2). But David knows where his hope lies. The threats and lies of the faithless cannot change God’s power, nor His faithfulness towards His people.
No matter the odds, no matter the situation, no matter the dangers, God is able to save. He is, for all who trust in Him, their protector and hope. Look to God as your shield against the darkness of this world; find in Him your glory and joy; wait on Him, to lift you up in His good time. Take heart, and trust in the Lord Almighty.
Towards the end of the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul exhorts Christians, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Eph. 6:10, ESV). It is a charge to stand firm in the faith and fight the good fight, it is an earnest command–and yet it is remarkably comforting for the believer faced with “this present darkness” (v.12).
We are not asked to stand firm by our own strength. We are not exhorted to somehow muster the might to contend with all the powers of darkness. We are not expected to accomplish such impossibilities, and we would be foolish to attempt them. We are called “be strong in the Lord“. Whose strength will enable us to stand fast? The “strength of his might“.
And He is mighty! He stretched out the heavens and scattered the stars like gems in the vastness of space. He crafted the creatures of the earth. He designed this physics of maddening complexity and strange forces, and maintains all by the strength of His arm.
He raised Jesus Christ from the dead and exalted Him to Lordship for His people (1:20-23).
We are called to stand in His strength, to face the world in His power, to hold steadfastly in His might. That is a different matter entirely. It is a challenge of faith, but a comfort in the face of the storm. Stand firm. Stand in the strength of Almighty God.
God Almighty, you are our hope and trust. In seasons of waiting, in days of darkness, you remain our Rock unshakable. No power can contest you, no subtlety outwit you, no evil overwhelm you. Have mercy on our weakness, and point us always to your strength. Teach us to trust you, for you are supremely trustworthy, and to call on you, for you are strong to save. Shelter us, Mighty God—Amen.