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Healing the Foundation of Who We Are

June 1st, 2018

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. (Psalm 27:10 NLT)

David was facing personal attacks when he wrote this psalm. Wicked people had advanced against him and he was revived through worship. He wrote:

One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4 ESV)

The worship of God restores us to ourselves. It begins by restoring us to God our Creator and then the inner healing of our soul begins.

But David did not stop there. He mentioned also that his mother and father had forsaken him. This is information that the Bible does not supply. We know that David was the youngest and was considered as least significant among his brothers. When Samuel came his father Jesse’s house to anoint the next king, David was left tending the sheep and had to be sent for. He was called “the youngest” by his father (1 Sam. 16:11), but that word also meant “the least important.” His brothers were also quick to criticize him (1 Sam. 17:28).

Parental neglect and sibling abuse, especially when experienced in childhood, are a combination that severely impacts people. It causes deep personal wounds, and researchers say that it leaves people with “an impaired sense of self.” This means that they don’t feel like a whole person. They tend to seek their identity through what others say about them, and they cannot hold to a consistent path in life. Was David like this? Many people are, sadly, deeply wounded in their own souls. Their foundation of who they are has been damaged.

In truth, this was more impacting to David’s peace of mind than his enemies were. What happens to us as children stays with us for a life time. The healing of God needed to not merely deal with the outward circumstances, but the inward condition of his heart. This is one of the reasons, I believe, that David wrote so many psalms. God inspired him to do it, but they also ministered to his own heart.

Only by meditating on the love of God are deep wounds of our souls healed. What wounds do you carry? The best way to handle these is not to deny them, but to rather admit them, to process them, as David did here, and then to choose forgiveness. We cannot really forgive someone until we have identified that they have done something wrong against us.

After remembering and claiming forgiveness – which can be quite a lengthy process in itself – then we are prepared to let God minister to our souls. We need to know who we are in Christ. The Bible repeatedly tells us that as believers in Christ we are members of God’s family. Let this reality build you up. And the hurts in your soul can be healed by God.

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Integrity in the Faith

March 21st, 2018

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O Lord, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house… (Psalm 101:1-2 ESV)

David’s psalm describes the source of his integrity and the manner in which it impacted his personal life and his relationships with others.

  • The source of his standard was God’s steadfast love and justice
  • God’s character impacted his personal life in his thoughts and private life
  • He then, as king, acted justly in dealing with others

These three are the basic steps we all need to take if we will be people of integrity.

God’s standard

First, the standard we use must not be our own capricious, flawed thoughts. It should be God’s standard, not our own personal preferences, or what others have told us, or what we may “feel” is the right thing to do at the moment. Some people’s thoughts of what is the right thing to do come from very shallow sources – their own anger and desire for revenge, the impure thoughts of our friends who are influenced by their own hurts and wounds, or the latest movie we might have seen or romance novel we might have read.

God’s standard is pure and holy. “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19) “The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works” (Psalm 145:17). David longed not only for the knowledge of the Word of God, but also the presence of God’s Spirit to guide him to understand it.

David’s private thoughts

The second essential element of living in integrity is to honor God’s standard, once we know it, in our own private life. He “pondered” on the truth of God, which meant his basic approach was positive – not merely to avoid the impure but to take into his heart and his mind the pure truth and pure ways of God. Within his own house he would walk with integrity before the Lord. The original Hebrew word was tome and it meant wholeness or integrity. When a ship does not leak or a building is solid and securely built we say they have integrity. To lose their integrity means that the ship leaks and will sink, and that the building is structurally unsound and might fall. Integrity is that quality in our life that keeps us solid, sound, and secure.

David went on to say in his psalm: “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless” (101:3). He protected his own thoughts. This seems like a description of a life that was free from enslavement to pornography, and it certainly included such a thought – that David did not have a wandering eye that lusted after women. (We remember the time that lust did enter his heart with Bathsheba and the tragedy that followed – 2 Samuel 12.)

But from the context we see that his protection of his heart did not end there. He also avoided gossipers, proud and arrogant men, liars and evildoers. Pornography is an evil addition of many people – one that God can cure us of if we will let Him – but it is not the only evil in the world. David realized he was subject to temptation, to be drawn away from God’s will, so he kept his heart with all diligence.

David’s dealing with others

As king he held a judicial role, a divinely given obligation to winnow out evil from his presence. From Moses onward, the leaders of Israel had an obligation to bring justice to the people (Exodus 18:13). Though this psalm focused on removing from his presence and even destroying evil men, this was merely a prelude to the greater goal, and that is to establish justice in the land.

Jesus summed this matter up by saying:

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matt. 7:3-5 ESV)

If we want to help others we must (1) know what God’s standard of right and wrong is, (2) we must adopt this in our own lives, confessing our faults, surrendering to God our ways, blocking from our lives all evil and impure influences, and (3) do and help others to do the right thing.

The biggest error we usually make in this process is to ignore the second step of personally adopting the principles and righteousness of God. We falsely think that all that matter is that we know what is right and tell others to do it. But unless we also embrace it personally, we are mere puppets and not true disciples or true followers of Christ.

 

 

Evening Devotionals, Uncategorized