Imagine (Psalm 129:1-4)

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Imagine how many people have treated you wrongfully because of your spiritual beliefs or disposition. People who would not forgive you, who hold back from helping you, deny you an opportunity for advancement at work, talked about you, plot against you or maybe just don’t like you all because you are a Christian. Now imagine what life would be like if God executed immediate vengeance upon those individuals. Maybe not kill them, but bring negative circumstances in their lives for how they have treated you. What would your life be like? Some may think, “Life would be awesome!” But would it really be? It may seem that life would be good because of God’s intervention in our lives, but we could also begin to feel invincible. When anything would go wrong, look out because God will be on the move. Life would quickly deteriorate into a selfish existence. Instead of God protecting us from what he doesn’t like, we would begin to think God should protect us from what we don’t like.

Imagine further now, that God would also take vengeance on you for each and every wrong doing that you do towards others. Life wouldn’t be too happy would it? Throughout every day, God would be zapping you and everyone else for your wrong doings. Behaviors wouldn’t change because we daily live with our sin natures and regardless of how much we try not to, we would still do wrong. Each of us would walk in fear for the next big whack from Heaven. Doesn’t sound too promising does it?

Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say: Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows. The Lord is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked. (Psalms 129:1-4)

What God does instead of working against those who do us wrongfully, is to works for us. Sinners will do their wrong, but God will hinder or cut back what they try to do to is. He will keep them from being successful at destroying us. In other words, their hypothetical whip of anger will have the cords cut short. Oh it will still hurt, but we will not be destroyed. Paul understood this when he said, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

God is always righteous and because of that his works towards us and for us will always be righteous. There will come a day when he will righteously execute complete vengeance upon sin, but for now his righteousness works in a different way. People will continue to hate, kill and oppress others, but we must remember in the midst of it all that we have a righteous God supporting us and cutting back the cords of the wicked.

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Learning God’s Statutes (Psalm 119:71)

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A purpose for the trial or affliction may be to teach us to live by God’s statutes. It is easy for us to declare how we would live in certain situations, but to be in them and then live by God’s statutes is a different matter. Because of our sinful nature, each statute of God goes contrary to our natural instinctive response. Therefore, we need God to move us into the direction that he would want us to go. This teaching processes is much like when a herdsman goads his animals so as to move them in the direction that he desires. We too must be goaded by God so as to live like him. The trial of affliction with the Holy Spirit’s leading is the goading that we need. Without the trial, we would miss opportunities to learn of God and to live by his precepts.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (Psalms 119:71)

Trials are never pleasant, but God wants us to learn of him. Life may be difficult with the trial, but a life of disobedience or away from God is always empty, troubling and sorrowful. We need to begin viewing trials as opportunities for knowing God better and to be drawing closer to him.

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Deliver My Heart (2 Samuel 22:28-29)

Sometimes life is just depressing. Like huge waves, the circumstances of life overwhelm and press upon the soul burying it in the waves of sorrow, sadness and dispair. Is there hope for this type of depression? In 2 Samuel 22:28-29, The Lord touches on just one aspect of this broad condition.

And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down. For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness (2 Samuel 22:28- 29).

One of the Biblical terms for depression is the word affliction. The various words used for affliction convey the idea of being depressed, poor and crowded in. In other words, the circumstances in life crowd a person’s heart creating depression and a perceived inability to escape. For this condition, The Lord declares that help will be found in his word. By his word, he promises to save or as the word is defined: to be open, wide or free. God’s word promises to remove the constraints upon the heart that were caused by life’s difficult circumstances. He accomplishes this by bringing light into the darkness of the heart. The light may bring guidance or comfort. This light and wide open freedom in the heart comes from hope provided by his word. Remember, hope is not something longed for that you wish would happen. It is the expectancy in the heart that God will do what he has promised.

Elijah had hope when he said that it would not rain until he would speak it to happen. Abram, even in his old age, hoped when he received the promise of a son through Sara. David had hope after receiving the news of his newly born son’s death. Zacharias had hope after hearing that Elisabeth would bare him a son. Hannah, Joseph in Egypt, the centurion and the woman with the issue of blood all had hope. And the list can go on.

As you struggle with the circumstances in life, look to God and his word. From it, you will find the hope needed to deliver your heart from being crowded in.

For those who are chronically depressed, a network of support will be needed. It will not be something that you can face or overcome alone. Seek guidance from those who have been successful at aiding depressed individuals overcome. Professional help may be needed and you will not be faithless in seeking their aid. Faithless people either cease from striving to overcome or place their faith in sources other than God. As these people guide you, look to God for strength as you take each step. This is all that he expects from you.

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