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June 15, Day 167 – Reality from God’s Perspective


Today in our readings we come to 2 Samuel 22:1-23:7, where we see David’s song of praise to the Lord. This song is also found in Psalm 18. David praises God as his “Rock – his Fortress and his Deliverer” (verse 2). In verses 1-4, we see that David was delivered from “all his enemies and from the hand of Saul,” which caused David to rejoice and proclaim praises to the Lord. In verse 5-7, we see that David found himself in “the waves of death and the torrents of destruction … and in his distress, he called to the LORD” (verse 7). The prophet Jonah also made reference to these same words (cf., Jonah 2:3), and when we are in distress, we should also call upon Him. This section prophetically foreshadows the rejection that Christ – David’s greater Son – also faced during His time on earth. Verses 8-20 reflect God’s intervention for David: “He reached down from on high and took hold of me … He rescued me from my powerful enemy … from my foes, who were too strong for me” (verses 17-18). Pointing ahead to Christ, David writes, “The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded … He brought me out into a spacious place and rescued me because He delighted in me” (verses 14 and 20). The entire section is a great hymn of praise to the Lord, and as David now nears the end of his life, we see how much his life represented verbal and visible praise to God for His help. We sense how David could be called “a man after God’s own heart” (cf., 1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). In chapter 23:1-7, we read “the last words of David,” through which he celebrated the Lord’s hand of anointing on him – praising God for giving him a “house” (i.e., his continual kingdom; cf., 2 Samuel 7:1-16) and “an everlasting covenant” (verse 5).


Like Asaph in Psalm 73:15-28, I, too, have often thought about how the “arrogant” seem to “have no struggles; they seem healthy and strong – free from the burdens common to man and not plagued by human ills” (verses 3-5). It’s easy to think this way because, so often, unbelievers seem “always to be carefree – increasing in wealth” (verse 12). It’s easy for us to become troubled at heart by things we don’t understand, but notice what Asaph wrote: “When … I entered the sanctuary of God, then I understood their final destiny” (verse 17). As we enter into the “sanctuary” of God’s truth (i.e., His Word, His promises, and His presence), it becomes for us the turning point that helps us to see reality from God’s perspective. Suddenly, our discomfort is comforted by His Word; our discouragement is alleviated by God’s encouraging promises; and His presence helps to ease our troubles. Through the eyes of God’s truth, we are now able to see “their slippery ground; their sudden destruction; and the terrors that sweep them away” (verse 18-19). This Psalm should always remind us that “He is always with us; He is the strength of our hearts; He holds and guides us; and He will take us into glory” (verse 23). He is greater than all our troubles, and “it is good to be near God” (verse 28).


In Acts 9:1-31, we see that Jesus confronts Saul on the road to Damascus, we see Paul's subsequent conversion to our Lord; and we see the incredible turn-around in his life. As we said before, Paul is converted from being a Persecutor to the Apostle Paul (cf., June 13, Day 165 – Two Case Studies on Mercy). What would cause someone to be so militant about his or her belief system as to persecute and even kill others who believe differently? What causes people to conclude that they have “the authority” (verse 14) to kill those who hold beliefs different from their own? We see that this ideology has filtered down into present-day radical Islamic ideology whereby Muslims are taught to kill “infidels” – those who do not accept their beliefs. God has given each individual the most basic of all human rights - to believe freely (or not to believe) as he or she so wishes without infringement. Jesus Himself did not coerce or force people to take up His cross - he allowed individuals the freedom to think for themselves and make their own choices – good or bad (cf., Mark 10:17-27). I’m sure this is a lesson of grace and mercy that Paul had to learn through his own conversion (cf., Romans 12:19).


Note about the Artwork: For the next ten days, we are displaying a series of pencil sketches that Terri did to show one process of development for creating works of art. In this series, she celebrated Vermeer - the Dutch artist - who painted "The Milkmaid."

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