Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

1 Trust

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1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. 2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore. 3 The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil.

As we start a new 30 day challenge I want you to answer this question, “do you think we live in a secure world?” If you don’t then you’re not alone, because this world doesn’t give us much of a reason to feel secure. Yet in Psalm 125 God tells us about real security and where we can ultimately find it. To describe the sort of security available for God’s people, the psalm uses the image of the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was surrounded by a circle of mountains “as the mountains surround Jerusalem,” and the psalmist reveals that this is an image of God’s relationship with us “so the Lord surrounds his people.” As you read this psalm imagine the pilgrims arriving at Jerusalem for one of the yearly festivals, looking at the panoramic view of those mountains and interpreting it as a metaphor for God’s eternal protection. Our security comes from God as He surrounds us and these mountains demonstrate the reality of His secure love and care. So as they look at the mountains and they sing Psalm 125, the song of security, it is based on the power of their God to protect and provide.  There are many things that can take our focus away from the reality of God’s security and create insecurity within us, things like the insecurity of:

  • Doubt

The psalm starts out by stating “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever” This is a powerful image of God’s people, confident in their trust and steadfast in their faith, virtually unmovable. But the real question is how many of us feel like Mount Zion right now? How many of us feel unmovable and as steadfast and confident as the description of Jerusalem in this verse? We all have moments, times and even periods of doubt and despair. Despite what Psalm 125 says, we do feel moved and we don’t feel at all like Mount Zion. We feel anything but steady, because one moment we feel filled with faith and ready to take on the world, and the next moment dragged down by doubt and discouragement. So it would seem that God’s people are never the steady rock that God Himself promises us to be. But our security is not dependent on us, it comes from the One who is steadfast and even when we do not feel like a steady rock, He is our foundation. Thankfully God is always forgiving, merciful, loving, and gracious, even in His judgments. Singing this song, we are called to trust in God’s promises even when our feelings fail us. Because while our feelings are important for many things, they tell us next to nothing about God or our relation to Him. God is the source of our security not our feelings and we need to remember that our security comes from Him, not from how we feel. To decide to follow God in whatever circumstances come our way is to live by what I know about God from Scripture, not by how I feel about Him at any given moment. My feelings will fail me, even betray me, but God never will. I may be temporarily moved by doubt, but I am still unmovable and secure in God’s hands because “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people.”

  • Evil

Our feelings of doubt are not the only thing that shakes our sense of security in God, pain and suffering do a good job of this too. Bad things happen, and we wonder how we can trust in God’s secure care if His care doesn’t keep bad things from happening. The reality of pain and suffering provides theologians with some of the most challenging and unanswerable questions. How can a God who is infinitely loving and powerful permit the reality of evil and suffering? This is such a significant question that it has its own technical theological word used to describe the intellectual attempt to deal with such a question, theodicy. But no matter what kinds of answers theologians come up with, they never completely satisfy the heart and we can still be shaken. The psalmist was no stranger to suffering and pain and the people of Israel were not immune to problems and pain, they had their fair share of hard times. We read about their hardships on page after page of Scripture, sickness, disease, death, persecution, oppression, and military invasion. They lived in a world where it looked like the wicked were always in control, so why did the reality of the situation not obliterate his confidence and trust in the security of God? The answer is in verse 3 where we see the key word, remain, the reality of wickedness will not remain on the righteous, evil, pain, suffering none of these things are permanent. If they were permanent, even the most faithful person would break under the pressure, “for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil.” If evil is permanent, why not throw your lot in with it, but that’s not the reality of faith and that’s not the witness of our faith. Never forget there is nothing that is in opposition to God’s justice that is eternal. The kinds of evil we face in this world are not too much for faith, they were not too much for Job, they were not too much for Jeremiah, and they were not too much for Jesus. “The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous” because “as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people.”

  •  Deception

Have you ever questioned your salvation? We all have moments where we wonder am I saved or have I shipwrecked my faith? We question if we have betrayed the Lord, denied Christ, and condemned ourselves? Will I someday turn aside to my own crooked ways? Or maybe, worse, I already have and don’t know it. How do I know that I haven’t already lost faith, we question, especially in those moments of doubt when feelings of uncertainly seem to overtake us, or in those periods of pain and difficulty? We all have our ups and downs, we wander, we are sheep, and sheep sometimes get away from the shepherd, but the shepherd calls out and looks for and finds His sheep. Have you ever heard the phrase “once saved, always saved” this is another way of saying “eternal security.” This should provide a peace and security in our life knowing we can’t lose our salvation but sometimes it creates insecure because then we wonder was I ever saved? It is good for us to evaluate our lives spiritually but salvation is something we need to know not feel. Acts 2:21 says “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” It doesn’t say they will feel saved. Are you saved, do you know that Jesus died for your sins? Have you admitted that you’re a sinner, believed that Jesus died and rose again and confessed your need for Him to save you? We can backslide but like discipleship it is a decision, defection is a deliberate act of rejection, it is a choice, not chance. We are all sinners, wanderers, and doubters, but God is faithful and worthy of our trust. We are secure because of Him and not because of ourselves. “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people.”

When we as believers trust completely in God, and let Him handle things, we will always come out on top because our God never fails. God always delivers, and He always has our best interests at heart. When we trust in God, like Psalms 125 says, we will be like the city of God, mount Zion, we will endure forever, and not be moved, and nothing will be able to shake us, or our faith. When we let God be God in our lives, we will see His will fulfilled in our lives. When we learn to listen to Him and let His Holy Spirit lead us, there will be little room for doubt. But trusting God is not a spectator sport, it is something that we must be involved in fully and daily. If we truly want God’s blessing to abound in our lives, then we need to trust Him knowing that He has it covered. The mistake we often make is that we try to figure things out in our own strength and ability, and when we do we end up relying and trusting in our flesh. The flesh will always try and talk you out of trusting in God. What song are you singing today is it the song of security, is the chorus “the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore” Is your song based on God and His power to protect and provide or are you singing the song of self?

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