For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Psalm 32:4
California is a dry state that needs water to be transported over many miles to population and agricultural centers. Snowfall in the winter and melting snow in the spring are critical factors in replenishing shrinking reservoirs. In periods of modern droughts, aerial photographs document the receding water levels in reservoirs around the state—shorelines growing wider and drier as water levels fall.
Such is the picture David paints with his words in Psalm 32—a drought of spiritual vitality brought on by his own sin. When he failed to confess his sin to God, his “bones grew old” and he groaned “all the day long” (verse 3). It was like his soul was being evaporated by the heat of his own guilt and shame. But then the rains of grace came and David confessed his sin and God forgave him (verse 5). And he encouraged his readers not to make the same mistake he had made (verses 9-10).
Confession and repentance reveal the access to restoration. Hiding sin does not remove it from God’s sight; but when we seek God’s forgiveness, the refreshing living water from the Father is poured out on us and we are restored—that is the power of confession.
The way to cover our sin is to uncover it by confession. Richard Sibbes
The Heavy Hand of God, Psalm 32 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study
Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24
In the 1994 fictional movie Forrest Gump, Forrest becomes famous for running. What began as a jog “to the end of the road” continued for three years, two months, fourteen days, and sixteen hours. Each time he arrived at his destination, he set another one and continued to run, zig-zagging across the United States, until one day when he no longer felt like it. “Feeling like it” was the way his running began. Forrest says, “That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run.”
In contrast to Forrest’s seemingly whimsical running, the apostle Paul asks his readers to follow his example and “run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Like disciplined athletes, our running—the way we live our lives—might mean saying no to some of our pleasures. Being willing to forgo our rights might help us reach others with the good news of our rescue from sin and death.
With our hearts and minds trained on the goal of inviting others to run the race alongside us, we are also assured of the ultimate prize—eternal fellowship with God. The victor’s crown God bestows will last forever; we win it by running our lives with the aim of making Him known while relying on His strength to do so. What a reason to run!
Reflect & Pray
What is your “aim” in life? How is it similar to or different than Paul’s?
Jesus, help me stay focused on the reason I run: to share about You with those around me.
Where do you place your hope and security? If it’s in governments, financial markets, or education, you will be disappointed. Our world is always changing. Trusted governments fail, great economies falter, and strong institutions prove to be unstable. When this happens, people struggle with fear and insecurity.
The world, however, won’t become more trustworthy. Ever since the time of the tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-32), people have been promising a better civilization, but no man-made advance has permanently enhanced life. Certainly some institutions go through periods in which humanity is greatly benefited, but ultimately any part of society that challenges God won’t last. It’s because the talented and knowledgeable people involved are also sinful people. Greed, pride, and lust have brought about the downfall of many civilizations.
Brilliant, charismatic leaders may claim to offer a better tomorrow, but no man or woman is the solution to the world’s problems. Only Christ can deliver on His promise of hope to those of us who trust in Him. He lives in us, guiding our path, comforting us in loss and sorrow, and promising an eternal future of heavenly bliss.
This changing world can be a scary place—especially for people who trust in themselves. But those who trust in God can have hope and confidence because even in a chaotic environment, He is the one constant. His Word is always true, His power is absolute, and His promises are certain. Human institutions fail, but when Jesus Christ returns to rule the earth, all will be made right.
“And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)
It is significant that although Christ clearly taught that He was the unique Son of God, He most frequently referred to Himself as Son of man, earnestly desiring that people understand His true and representative humanity.
The first use of the phrase is in Psalm 8:4: “What is . . . the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Although David may have been thinking of all “sons of Adam” in general, the writer of Hebrews applied the passage specifically to Christ (Hebrews 2:6), “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). In order to save lost men, God in Christ had to become man through supernatural incarnation. Then, as perfect, sinless man, He could represent us before God, finally tasting death for every man.
The vital importance of the incarnation is affirmed by John: “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God” (1 John 4:2-3). It is noteworthy that Satan and his evil spirits would recognize Christ as the Son of God (Matthew 4:3; 8:28-29) but never as the Son of man! This reluctance seems also to characterize all the occultic philosophies of the so-called “New Age” movement, as well as all ancient and modern pantheistic religions. They speak glibly of “the Christ” as a spirit that might come on many, but bitterly refuse to acknowledge that the man Jesus was actually the Son of man, God incarnate.
Finally, it is thrilling to realize that, although He only became the Son of man through His incarnation, He will always remain the Son of man! John saw Him in His glory—as we shall see Him in eternity—as “one like unto the Son of man” (Revelation 1:13; 14:14). HMM
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them. The grosser manifestations of these sins—egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion—are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy. They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become identified with the gospel. I trust it is not a cynical observation to say that they appear these days to be a requisite for popularity in some sections of the church visible. Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice….
Self is the opaque veil that hides the face of God from us. It can be removed only in spiritual experience, never by mere instruction. We may as well try to instruct leprosy out of our system. There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgement. POG043-044
I pray that the cross would obliterate the self-sins in my life and let me live only for Jesus Christ and His glory. Amen.
Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me; yet Thy commandments are my delights.—Psalm 119:143.
When black despair beats down my wings,
And heavenly visions fade away Lord,
let me bend to common things,
The tasks of every day;
As, when th’ aurora is denied,
And blinding blizzards round him beat,
The Samoyad bends, and takes for guide
The moss beneath his feet.
WhatEver bad times may come, or whatever perplexity, there is almost always close at hand, waiting for one, some plain thing to be done. It may be a mere matter of routine, an item in the day’s regular business, it may be the exercise of some consideration for another; it may be only silent patience, but it is always something. And always one has the choice to do it or decline it. One can go through his work well or shirk it. One can consider his neighbor or neglect him. One can repress the fever-fit of impatience or give it wild way. And the perpetual presence of such a choice leaves no hour without guidance.
George S. Merriam.
“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19
Paul’s God is our God, and will supply all our need. Paul felt sure of this in reference to the Philippians, and we feel sure of it as to ourselves. God will do it, for it is like Him: He loves us, He delights to bless us, and it will glorify Him to do so. His pity, His power, His love, His faithfulness, all work together that we be not famished.
What a measure doth the Lord go by: “According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The riches of His grace are large, but what shall we say of the riches of His glory? His “riches of glory by Christ Jesus,” who shall form an estimate of this? According to this immeasurable measure will God fill up the immense abyss of our necessities. He makes the Lord Jesus the receptacle and the channel of His fullness, and then He imparts to us His wealth of love in its highest form. Hallelujah!
The writer knows what it is to be tried in the work of the Lord. Fidelity has been recompensed with anger, and liberal givers have stopped their subscriptions; but he whom they sought to oppress has not been one penny the poorer, nay, rather he has been the richer; for this promise has been true, “My God shall supply all our need.” God’s supplies are surer than any bank.