Ten Things God Does

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ever lived with someone you just can't live with? Ever had a friend that looked more like an enemy? Ever not gotten along with a co-worker or boss? Yesterday here on my blog we took a look at the Psalms of Ascent, chapters 120-134. If you have a moment read through them.  Yes, it is fifteen chapters, but some of them are incredibly short.

In these psalms, relational angst in prevalent. It is a running theme through the chapters. There is talk of being trampled by others, lied about, and attacked, but the more I read them {over and over} again I began to realize that the better theme in these chapters has to do with what God does for us when we face an enemy.  These psalms are really about God not us nor the people we are not getting along with.

Here are ten actions that God takes when we are in distress. This isn't an exhaustive list.  There are a few more in the Psalms of Ascent, but these are the ones that jumped out to me.

He watches over us. "He who watches over you will not slumber." {121:3} He never sleeps on the job when it comes to His care for us.

He keeps us from harm. "The Lord will keep you from all harm- he will watch over your life." {121:7} Does this mean that we will never suffer harm? No. I think he may allow some harm in order to protect us from a far greater harm. I have seen Him do this in my life...allowing a painful circumstance to protect us from something dangerous.

He shows us mercy. "So our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy." {123:2} He is gracious to us in our distress.

He is on our side. "If the Lord had not been on our side...they would have swallowed us alive."{124:2} He is on our side.  Here's the interesting thing though. If your conflict is with another Christian, He is on their side, too. He will use the angst to benefit both sides!

He provides an escape. "We have escaped like a bird." {124:7} With God, there is always a way out and a way up from the pit we are in.

He surrounds us. "So the Lord surrounds his people." He surrounds us to protect us. Nothing can get to us unless He allows it.

He restores our fortunes. "When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed." {126:1} If misfortune befalls you God remedies the situation.

He frees us. "But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked." Sometimes relational angst has a great (albeit, surprising) side effect...freedom. I know that after dealing with people attacking me I have become less afraid of others. It has given me the freedom to stand my ground...to not worry what others think of me.

He forgives us. "But with you there is forgiveness." {130:4} When dealing with conflict sin abounds. Not only does the offender sin, but there is potential for the one offended to have a sinful response. God forgives us in it all.

He redeems us. "For with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is FULL redemption." {130:7} In the end, He redeems us, our enemy, and the whole situation. He brings good out of the miserable.

What an awesome God we serve! Through all the conflict He walks with us. The Psalms of Ascent are songs of hope in the midst of conflict.

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