Reflections on Psalm 52. (Perspective matters)

‘I will hope in your name, for your name is good.’

I have been reading the Psalms over the past week. I wanted to write a small reflection on one of them. I am learning a lot from reading the Psalms this time around, epescially how important perspective is. In many of these Psalms, David is being hotly pursued for his life. While he does not disregard the situation he is in, for in the Psalms we see how he lays it before the Lord. He keeps his eyes fixed on the steadfast love of God and the truth of his promises. It has been something that has challenged me, in my day to day living. Am I more focused on the issues in front of me or I am able to lay them before God and keep my focus on his truth.

Psalm 52 comes from the events which unfold in 1 Samuel 21-22. We see David seeking help from Ahimelek the priest, who gives David and his servants the consecrated bread to eat. Also, the sword of Goliath. Among those servants is Doeg who goes on to betray the whereabouts of David to Saul. Who is in pursuit of David at that time. 22v9 ‘But Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul’s officials, said, “I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelek son of Ahitub at Nob. Ahimelek inquired of the Lord for him; he also gave him provisions and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”‘ Saul gathers the Priest and his family together and inquires of the events, only for Ahimelek to act none the wiser to the whole affair. Which leads to his death and also the death of eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. All at the hand of Doeg, who was the only one willing to kill the priests of the Lord.

The only one who escapes is Abiathar the son of Ahimelek, who was able to join David. David after hearing of the events responds. V22v23 ‘Then David said to Abiathar, “That day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your whole family. Stay with me; don’t be afraid. The man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me too. You will be safe with me.”‘

Entering into the Psalm, we see throughout the Psalm how David questions why Doeg puts so much hope in himself. Why he delights in evil and in making others suffer. V1′ Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace to God? For Doeg his success is in his own strength and victory. That is the way that he has meaning and purpose.

For David, he rejoices that it is God who will have the final say over Doeg’s life. While Doeg may think he is succeeding now, his time will come to an end. V6-7 ‘The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at you, saying, “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others.”‘ David has heard of the malice and hate that pours out of Doeg. Has seen the impact it has had on peoples lives. The lack of mercy that Doeg has. For David to be able to proclaim that his end will come, that all his successes now will come to nothing. Reminds himself and the reader, how mighty God is. It can so hard to see God when terrible things unfold before us. Like David, we need to remember to speak God’s truth and victory over the situation. David’s trust stayed firmly in the Lord through it all. This is what allowed him to have a positive outlook on his own life, even when he was surrounded by danger and turmoil.

V8-9 ‘But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.’ This is what struck me the most in the Psalm. Through all of the turmoil, David’s perspective was on something greater. Allowing his mind to rest on the presence of God, he was able to thrive even in all his adversities. He was able to keep the praise of God in his mouth and to trust in his unfailing love. His hope rested in God, even in his toughest times.

I find this Psalm encouraging because David was able to see the goodness of God even in his greatest sufferings. He kept his hope in him. I know, personally, that when I go through hardships I can find it hard to see God in it. I think being able to learn from David, especially from his perspective. That no matter what circumstance we go through, that God’s love and promises do not fail. That I can put my hope fully in him and trust that in all things, God can still use it for his good. To find rest in his presence, through all my storms.

My blogs have been a little delayed since coming to Amsterdam. I hope you will not mind. I pray that this will encourage you to read the Psalm yourself or to read others.

May you have a blessed week. Remember you are loved and cherished. God bless, Victoria.

Amsterdam Ministry: What am I allowing my life to be filled with?

This is something I have been challenged on over the past few months. To truly think about what I am filling myself with and what I need to surrender to God.

As I was reading through Matthew 12, there was the use of the imagery of a tree. A tree which can only bear good fruit or it can only bear bad fruit. It cannot do both. 12v33 Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognised by its fruit. The fruit that we produce truly comes down to what we fill ourselves with. This is similar to a post I did about what my heart was pursuing, earlier on in the year. I hope in this one to go a little deeper and to share what I have learned over the past few months.

What I am choosing to fill up on, is something that has been challenging me in all areas of my life. My emotions, my thoughts and my actions have all been impacted with what I am choosing to fill up on. I feel blessed to be in the place that God has put me in at the moment. I live in a Christian community and work at a Christian shelter; it is essential that the words and actions I pour out are in accordance with principles and morals of my faith and that of the shelter. In being pushed to share my faith with people, it has allowed me time to reflect and pursue Jesus more. I want to know more and more about him so that I can share the gospel message in its fullness. In spending more time in God’s word it has also led to healing over my life. Especially over past hurts and spiritual wounds. Once they are surrendered to God it has made room to be filled with God’s truth and love.

In surrendering, it has led me to think about all the things that I was consuming. Especially the media, books and what other things I was spending my free time doing. I have taken some time to fast a lot of the media I was consuming. Especially on Netflix where I would spend hours watching and rewatching things. I was using it as a way to relax but then it began to take over a lot of my time. Having given it up for the time I am in Amsterdam, has allowed me more time to explore and spend with people. It bought me out of a comfort zone I had placed my dependence on. It has gave me more time to read too, especially books on faith. Which has not only enabled my faith to grow, it has been an encouragement to people I have shared it with. In filling myself up with God’s truth and love, it has enabled me to serve and understand people better.

There has been such beauty from allowing my mind to focus on something different. This is what Paul teaches in Romans 12v2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but he transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. To learn to find freedom from the things we put out trust in, is not easy but there is real blessing. Being able to enjoy the activities we enjoy, is not a bad thing. When they are the only way we find or fulfilment, we will always fall short. We will never be enough or what they are offering will never be enough. We will always want more. What occupies our mind is what will pour out of us. It will either be that of truth and love or that of darkness and death. Our words are the true fruit that show where our roots are, what we have filled our life with. Our fruit will either be that which bring refreshment or poison to those around us.

These verses in Colossians have impacted the way that I want to use my life. 4v5-6 ‘Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation, be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.’ To live out these verses, means making a conscience choice on what I am pursuing and filling my life with. To make the choice each day to deny myself and glorify God with the life he has given me. To serve people well and to allow God to love through me. That means surrender, it means trust. In pursuing God, it allows me to pour out more of his love and truth to his people. I would rather be pouring out that, than trying to pour out the worldly wisdom that I have been doing.

Sometimes we need to take time to check out hearts. To allow ourselves to see what it is full of. To make the choice whether we would like to surrender our will for his will or to continue on our way. I have learned, that in pursuing our way we will always want more and will never be filled. When we pursue God, we find much more purpose and life to pour out. For Jesus teaches that it is only through him that true fulfilment is found. Everything else, will not satisfy.

John 4v14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

I am still learning. Each day I am making choices, some days I still make the wrongs one. I never forget that God’s grace never fails to meet us in the place where we are. That it is by his guidance and strength that we find freedom. Keep pursuing God and filling up on the things that only he can provide.

May you all have a blessed week. You are truly loved and cherished. Always feel free to leave a message, question or even just say hi. God bless, Victoria. Xx