Journal Entry ~ 11/09/17

40 He pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes; 
41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks.  - Psalm 107:40-41

We are almost to the end of our study of Psalm 107, focusing on verses 33-42 this week. These last few verses serve as a summary of how God works. They are a reminder of who God is, and they drive home the message of this Psalm. God is our provider. He can turn poverty into plenty, and plenty into poverty. He will turn our trials into triumphs, but He will also knock us right back off our self righteous horse if need be. He will lift up the needy who cry out to Him, but He will also bring the proud to their knees. 

The psalmist begins this section by describing people who live in abundance - they have fruitful land with plenty of water. These people think that have it all, and they see no need for Him. They disobey God so He takes it all. He turns their fertile land into a wasteland, just like He did with Sodom and Gomorrah. Some people read the Bible and think His plan is harsh. I suppose those may be the same people who thought the discipline of their parents during adolescence was harsh. God’s love for you is not a pampering love, it’s a perfecting love. He’s not after your happiness, He’s after your holiness. He wants a better version of you - one who is tender and compassionate, patient and filled with grace and mercy for others.  He wants you to be the most loving person the people in your life know. Are you?  I’m certainly not.  So, God uses pain as a central part of our lives to bring about change in our character. It’s the tool He uses to expose our pride, and lead us to a life of humility. 

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." - James 4:6.  We can be so blinded by our pride, we so often set off in our own thoughts and plans, and keep God on the sidelines. And when we are wrapped up in our prideful thoughts, the enemy doesn't have any problem waltzing right into our lives. If we truly want to resist the devil and the temptations in our lives - from negative thoughts to losing our patience - then we need to humble ourselves. But we can't do that alone - we are blind to our pride. We need to get on our knees and ask God to reveal our pride to us. When we see it, we are to confess and repent, then submit ourselves once again to our holy and mighty God.

We can be a stubborn, stiff-necked people when it comes to seeing our pride. We don’t give up easily.  We can be living the dream, everything going according to plan, enjoying our fruitful land and abundant waters when all of the sudden life changes. That can be so hard, and it can cause us to turn against God.  I’ve seen it so many times in my life that it breaks my heart.  I’ve been there so many times it breaks my heart. The problem in those moments is that we are viewing the desert as some sort of punishment rather than a refining tool of grace. God wants to grow you. 

The reality is God is a sovereign and just God who is faithful to fulfill His promises. All of them. He will dry up your abundant waters and fruitful lands if you do not submit your will to Him. At the same, He will bring the needy out of the desert when they cry out to Him. He will bless us abundantly when we finally get to the place of full surrender, but make no mistake about it - He will also take you to the desert to reveal your brokenness and draw you to the place of repentance. 

God is at work in my heart in this diagnosis. He has overwhelmingly blessed the areas of my life that are in submission to Him. I know what it means to be living in the land of plenty. I wake up every day feeling so incredibly blessed by the love and support He has surrounded me with in this community - the way you all serve and encourage me and my family humbles me to a place of deep gratitude. I have been absolutely blown away by His goodness. But, He also continues to work on the places in my heart that are not in complete submission to Him, the places that are prideful and want to be in control. Our God is a God of love and grace - He gives us what we don’t deserve, but He is also a just God who is merciful, He doesn’t give us all that we deserve, but He does allow us to experience pain so that we will come to the end of ourselves and find Him. 

Press on ~ you we loved 💗

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