Promises Promises Promises

8 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day. Psalm 61:8

Have you ever been asked by a preacher to stand up or come forward if you are willing to do xyz? For instance, he just gave a moving message on local outreach, and then says, “if you’re willing to commit just one hour a week in reaching out to your neighbors, stand with me.” It’s usually presented in a way that makes you feel guilty if you don’t commit to it (and it’s spoken much more eloquently than I’ve presented here).

I rarely if ever make those kinds of stands or commitments even if the entire congregation is standing around me. Why? I always take my cue from Ecclesiastes 5:5 “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.” Some could argue that I’m not allowing the Holy Spirit to move, and they may have a point. However, two months later when most people have forgotten what they’ve committed to, I’ve not broken a promise. Which is worse?

You see, I have a tendency to forget what I’ve promised. It’s not that I don’t want to fulfill it, it’s just that I forget. Or perhaps I’d like to do what is asked but I’m not gifted in that area.

I believe we have to be very careful what we promise to the Lord. Otherwise we get caught up in a works-oriented life that is not joyful nor honoring to God. I’m not at all saying NOT to promise anything, just be careful how much you promise.

Doing the Right Thing

Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations.
May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. Psalm 61:6-7

These two verses are a prophecy regarding the royal line of David. The prophecy was fulfilled in the birth of Christ. The Lord did protect the lineage of David. There were so many things that could have derailed that line but the Lord was faithful.

While David is, in essence, praying for himself and those who came after him, it’s still an important thing to pray for leaders who are currently in office.

No matter which party is in power, we all can agree that they need wisdom, because quite frankly, they don’t always make the wisest choices and for the best of reasons. They have highly paid lobbyists, constituents, internal power structures, budgetary constraints, and political peer pressure to NOT do what is right for their constituents.

They get criticized for whatever decision they make and are often in no-win situations. Granted, they aren’t to be pitied because they ran for office knowing many of the pressures that went along with the power, but still, they need wisdom to do the right thing. Focus in on a politician and pray for that person, then drop them a line letting them know you’ve done that.

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A Great Heritage

5 For you, God, have heard my vows;
    you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Psalm 61:5

Through the ages millions have feared His name. They passed the mantle on to us, and it’s our job to pass it on to others. This is the heritage David is writing about. When we get to heaven we’ll understand more fully about that heritage so we can only speculate what that is all about.

Only one time in my life have I been in a crowd of a million people. There were people everywhere, and still it was “only” a million people. What is it like to be among millions who fear His name? Right, we can only imagine it.

I am reminded of that famous New Testament verse about that heritage of people in Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

The general idea is that there are people “cheering us on”. They’ve been through similar struggles. They’ve fallen like we have. They’ve been victorious. But the bottom line is, they know what kinds of things we’re experiencing.

Praise the Lord for those who have gone before us and shone the light for us. Where would we be without them?

God is Our Refuge

I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61:4

King David uses these story-pictures to drive home a very important theme throughout the Psalms: God is our refuge against the storms of life, the attacks of the enemies, and against our errant thoughts and waywardness.

I think the point I am trying to make in a number of posts has been that God wants us to come to Him. Yes, He chases after us and pursues us, but it would be so much better if we were running to Him, and so much more enjoyable.

So the question I have to ask myself is, “why don’t I do this more often? Why don’t I run to Him every hour of the day?” I could lay down any number of excuses as answers but none of them really hold up.

Fear and anxiety are two biggies, but what am I afraid of? Seriously.

Not enough time? I can make the time.

Not passionate enough about who God is and who I am? Probably closer than I think.

Those are some of my excuses, so what about yours?

A Refuge Against the Foe

For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. Psalm 61:3

A tower is a wonderful thing. You can go up and look out at a distance. You can see things you’d never be able to see if you were on the ground. Plus it has the added advantage of protecting you from whatever approaches. If the enemy wanted to get to you, they’d have to break down the fortress door first, and then scale the tower.

David uses this story-picture to illustrate a similar point. When we seek the Lord as our refuge, He is a mighty tower. The arrows and spears the enemy throws at us fall short.

Today, as you go about your day, rest in that knowledge. It’s simple truth that can really comfort your soul.