Enjoying Favor with God

But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Psalm 69:13

The favor of God is often elusive to some people. The very fact that you are saved by God means you have favor with Him.

In the New Testament in Ephesians 5:10 it say to “find out what pleases the Lord.” How is this different than favor? In the Psalms passage, it’s clear that His favor is His salvation. Pleasing God is another matter altogether. It may seem like I’m “splitting hairs” but I’m not. In this context favor is eternal; whereas pleasing God is a daily pursuit.

Think of it in a parent-child relationship. Parents love their children. No matter what the child does, the parent will love the child. Now, does the child always please the parent? Absolutely not. But loving the child despite the child’s behavior is the only option for the parent. Sometimes he’s good and the parent smiles. Sometimes he’s bad, and the parent frowns.

Rejoice today that despite our sin and lawlessness, God had favor with us and saw fit to save us from ourselves!

The Basics

7 For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face.
8 I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children;
9 for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.
10 When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn;
11 when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me.
12 Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards. Psalm 69:7-12

Tucked inside these verses is a prophecy that Jesus fulfilled (verse 9) when he overturned the moneychangers’ tables in John 2:17. The rest of the passage details the humiliation he endured at the hands of his former subjects. It’s difficult for non-royalty to imagine what it was like to go from having everything to having nothing, from ruling over hundreds of thousands to being the scorn of the lowliest. It’s pretty bad that even the drunks were singing songs about him.

At some point in his life, David had to think that there was no stopping him as king. He probably thought his reign would never end.

Even though we are from being kings and queens, we think our nation as well as the comforts and freedoms we enjoy will never end. Well, unless we are completely different from hundreds of civilizations before us, we too will fall. It’s not a warning or threat or prophetic utterance, just an informed guess based on my view of history.

Having said that, what do we take for granted in this life? As I stated, we often feel that nothing’s going to stop us now! But as people’s hearts grow cold and as new generations of Believers are rising up in South America, Africa, and Asia; the world could see a dramatic cultural, monetary, and religious shift away from the West. Are you ready for it? What would it take to get ready for it? It’s hard to know, isn’t it?

If you “keep short accounts” of your sin, continue to read the Bible and pray faithfully, you should be fine. That’s a few of the basic tenets of the Christian faith that has been practiced for the last 2000 years. Pray for the church that is rising to the occasion in those three continents. We see massive persecution in Africa and Asia, but I believe a great and mighty harvest will come as a direct result to the persecution. Instead of getting upset over the changes, we really should be doing what we can to support the Church outside our borders.

May the Church of Jesus Christ grow and be strong throughout the world!

Lord, Let Me Not Blow It

Lord, the Lord Almighty, may those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel, may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me. Psalm 69:6

David’s words can be summed up by the title of this devotional, “Lord, let me not blow it.” As a leader David knew what it would be like for his followers when he fell out of favor with new leadership: scorn and derision. It’s like that anywhere. If you are following a political leader and that leader lies, since you associate yourself with that person, you are immediately painted with similar accusations and worse for following that person. David understood true loyalty – Jonathan (son of the leader who was chasing David) being a perfect example of loyalty.

Most people reading this have been loyal to people who have “fallen” so to speak. You’ve endured scorn and derision. As followers of Christ, we understand scorn. And yet we still follow.

It’s becoming increasingly unpopular to be a Christian in American society. Christianity is fair game for derision in Hollywood, on TV shows, and in politics. Currently there is very little “push back” from the Christian community but that’s starting to change.

As loyal subjects of the King of Kings, pray for wisdom when and where Christ is openly mocked and scorned. As Jesus Himself said in Luke 12:12

“When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

We’ll be given wisdom and the exact words to say.

Peek a Boo, He Sees You

You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you. Psalm 69:5

In the midst of King David’s prayer against his enemies, he confesses his own guilt and foolishness. It’s actually a very wise man who does something like this. After all, we are not, as they say, as pure as the driven snow. But David confesses based on acknowledging that God knows it all anyway, so why try to hide it? And yet, it’s clear that throughout Scripture people tried to hide from God. Adam and Eve did it. David tried. Peter tried. Jonah tried to run. Elijah curled up like a little child and bemoaned his plight.

We would certainly do well to learn from these men and women of God, for though the dress, customs, language, and culture has changed, sin and the ability to try to hide from God hasn’t.

From Blessing to Blessing

3 I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched.
My eyes fail, looking for my God.
4 Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. Psalm 69:3-4

There are seasons of “dry spells” in our lives and seasons that are just flooded with the rich blessings of God. Look no further than the Old Testament to find scores of characters who went through these cycles. David, Elijah, Jonah, Moses, Joseph. The list could go on for pages. If someone tells you they go from mountain top to mountain top experience and don’t experience the dry spells, they’re probably not being honest about it. God can AND does walk us through these times but they do occur.

Why does that happen? Let’s look at it like this. I like rain. I do not mind thunderstorms and rain showers at all. However, I would not want to live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains 300+ days a year. Why? Because I like the sunshine that follows the rain. If you had sunshine 360 days a year you’re probably in a drought like California is experiencing. The rain makes things grow. It waters the ground and replenishes water supplies. Sunshine is important for growth, but so is rain.

So, how does this relate? If you only experience mountain top blessings (where nothing at all ever goes wrong in your life), then you really can’t understand pain and suffering and dependence on God, because you’ve never really had to reach out to God for help. The blessings were always there.

If you’re in the midst of crying out to Him, continue to do so! It’s never a bad thing to be desperate for God.