Saturday, May 4, 2013

BOLD Christian Outreach Reflections from Psalm 17

Sub Title: The eye of God

"I have called on you because you answer me. Turn your ear toward me. Hear what I have to say. Reveal your miraculous deeds of mercy, O Savior of those who find refuge by your side from those who attack them. Guard me as if I were the pupil in your eye. Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Hide me from wicked people who violently attack me, from my enemies who surround me.

"I will see your face when I am declared innocent. When I wake up, I will be satisfied with seeing you."
Psalm 17:6-9, 15 (God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society,

In this psalm David goes before the LORD with a heavy heart, men are hunting him down and treating him like a criminal. He is on the run, hiding out, a fugitive with a possible bounty on his head. He has few allies that he can trust. Everywhere he turns, every encounter he makes is a risk to his safety. David finds himself surrounded by greedy people, who, for the sake of financial gain, would turn him over to his enemies (quite possibly King Saul).

Have you been there? ...caught between a rock and a hard place? ...with no-one to trust and no foreseeable way out? Or maybe you know of someone who is there; they are filled with desperation, discouragement, depression, emotionally empty, or financially ruined.

If so, then this psalm is for you and for them. There are two promises of salvation in this psalm. David prays, "I have called on you because you answer me." David's faith in God has a track record. When he was a boy herding sheep, the LORD protected him and his sheep. When David fought Goliath, the LORD gave him the victory over the giant. David is not without hope. He knows that the LORD can and will deliver him. In the LORD, his Savior, David will find rest.

The second promise relates to eternal life. David knows that his salvation is in the hands of the LORD and that he will be declared innocent by the mercy of the LORD; for those who place themselves at the LORD's mercy shall receive it. So David concludes his psalm with these words of comfort, "When I wake up, I will be satisfied with seeing you."

Paul said something similar when he stated, "Whether I live or die it is all gain." We cannot lose in Jesus Christ, our LORD and Savior. With Paul and David we can boldly say, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." We have this promise, in the mercy of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ, that those who call on His name shall receive forgiveness of their sins and the assurance of eternal life.    

P.S. Just a footnote to add… “Guard me as if I were the pupil in your eye.” Our eyes are important to us. We take measures to protect them. Skiers and swimmers wear water proof goggles. Carpenters and construction workers wear specialized protective glasses. A welder wears a helmet with a heavy dark glass window to protect his or her eyes from the burning bright light of the electrical welding arc. I’m sure you can think of many other examples, but the point is that, eye protection is very important for the safety of our eyes and the future of our sight. Sometimes we take our sight for granted, but to lose it could totally change the way we live out the rest of our days on the earth.

David calls on God to protect him as if he were the pupil of God’s very own eye. The request is bold. The request indicates trust and relationship, closeness, a sense of belonging to God, of being a part of His body. And that theme is picked up in the New Testament by Paul when he spoke of us being the living body of Christ, the eyes and ears, the mouth and nose, the hands and feet, all those parts that serve Christ here on earth. Jesus Christ lives in us as we live in Him. He provides for us and protects us as if we were His very own. His death and resurrection provides us with the ultimate protection against sin, death, and the devil. He values us as He would His very own eyes. That thought fills me with a great sense of peace.

As you tell others about Jesus Christ, we can be confident that He will listen to their pleas for mercy. He will forgive them and call them His own. He will treat them as He has treated us. He will value them as a member of His own body. And He will be waiting for them in heaven when they leave this world behind.

We can count on God's mercy and salvation. That is what David did! When everything else is stripped away – every material possession, everything that might give us security, meaning, or identity (all those false idols in our life), nothing is left but God's promise to be merciful and grant us salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. God rescues the broken hearted. The humble He does not despise. Those who call out to Him for mercy are saved! We can BOLDly count on this outreach promise as we share the good news of Jesus Christ with others.   

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