Our church has daily Bible readings during Advent and today’s reading was Psalm 27:1-4. David shares about a very challenging time in his life. He speaks of the wicked advancing against him (v. 2) who wish to consume him. He tells of an army (v. 3) which surrounds and besieges him. He even refers to all-out war against him. Obviously, David was not having a good day, but he was!
He only asks God for one things during this time of testing, He says that there is only One Thing I Seek. He wants to dwell in God’s house, gaze on the beauty, and seek Him. He does not ask for defenders and revenge on his enemies. He does not even ask for deliverance from his trials. He asks to dwell, look, and seek. These are all very passive stances for a man of action, such as David, to take. Instead of rushing into battle, David wants to stay, look, and watch for God.
I am reminded of how quick I am to immediately ask for God to take things off of me. I am one of the first to cry “holy foul” when things do not go my way. Perhaps, my life could be fuller and more complete, if, during my toughest moments, I would stay, look, and watch for what God is doing in me and in my situation.
Deuteronomy 29:5 NLT – “For forty years I led you through the wilderness, yet your clothes and sandals did not wear out.”
If you are anything like me, reading through Deuteronomy can take the wind out of your sails! If you have not read Deuteronomy 28:57 yet, I would not start my morning devotions with it. There are a lot of rules and a lot of laws covered in those chapters. But, when you essentially read between the lines of some of the passages, great truths leap out at you. Such a truth is Deuteronomy 29:5!
Moses is reminding the people about the time that they wandered forty years in the wilderness. He had led them through the hardest time in any of their recent memories. All of those people of Israel who has escaped captivity from Egypt were dead, except for the two faithful spies and Moses. The Wilderness was the latest and most memorable test the current people had experienced. It was their Waterloo, their Pearl Harbor, or to take a page from recent history, their 9/11 or Katrina. They did not look back fondly at that time. Nobody was running around screaming to go back to wandering in the wilderness. They had done that, and had the t-shirt! While Moses has now run down all of the requirements that God has set for the people and reminded them of the punishment that they would endure if they did not listen, he prepares them to cross over into the reward that was promised to their ancestors. Frustrated beyond belief, he looks at the people and in verse 4 screams at them that they still did not understand everything God had done for them, will do for them, and is currently doing for them. He goes on in verse 5 to say even when you were being punished by wandering the wilderness for forty years your clothes did not wear out, your shoes did not wear out. Even then, God was taking care of them.
God is teaching the Israelites then and teaching us now that caring for others is a big job. When we just meet someone’s current needs, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Truly caring for others and wanting to help them requires helping realize how they got to this place. It means showing them that even when times were hardest, God was still looking out for them. It means showing them that it might take just as long to get out of a situation as it did to get into the situation. That is how much God cares for us! That is how much God loves us! Not just the tip, but all the way to the bottom!