God is my shield, saving those whose hearts are true and right. God is an honest judge; He is angry with the wicked every day. (Psalm 7:10-11, NLT)
[The book of psalms is our songbook of life—in celebration or grief, in confidence or confusion, in joy or anger or despair. I invite you to read and reflect on these songs of life wherever YOU are this week. Read the psalm, read my reflection below, then consider posting and sharing your own observations at the bottom of the page.Today’s devotion is adapted from the post on September 20, 2018]
A Sword and Shield
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida two weeks ago, the “cleanup” is almost done, but the “damage control” is far from over. The streets of New Orleans are cleaned up, businesses are reopened, those who were evacuated have returned home, and power has been restored. But now comes the inevitable questioning, second-guessing and finger pointing, and with those things comes “damage control.” Whenever tragedy or disaster strikes, people are hurting, angry and frustrated. They demand that something or someone be held accountable. They want someone to DO SOMETHING!
Psalm 7 is another song of David written from a place of pain, anger and frustration.But it is also a song of faith. Like we have seen in Psalms 3-6, David doesn’t lack the faith to know that God is his only source of hope, deliverance and shelter from life’s storms. And yet, each song also reveals a certain frustration that, quite frankly, God could be doing a little more to get him out of this mess!
In verses 6-9 he hurls his frustrations at God, “Arise, Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies! Wake up, my God; decree justice…judge the peoples…bring an end to the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.” Do something about my problem, Lord!
But he follows his frustration with a declaration of faith, “God is my shield, saving those whose hearts are true and right. God is an honest judge; He is angry with the wicked every day.”
David doesn’t stop with the assessment that things are bad and God ought to do something about it. He believes that God is doing something about it, and if He wasn’t things would be hopelessly and immeasurably worse. David anticipates the words of the writer of Psalm 124 written in the aftermath of judgment and exile, “If the Lord had not been on our side we would have been swallow alive by our enemies, destroyed by their anger, drowned in a flood of their fury and pride.”
One time, when Jesus was crossing the lake with his disciples, a storm suddenly came up and threatened to capsize the boat. Jesus was sleeping comfortably during the storm, but his disciples woke him up and shouted, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” Jesus got up and calmed the storm with a word. Then he turned to his disciples and said, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:35-41) Jesus wanted to turn their frustration into faith.
It’s okay to be afraid at times, and it’s okay to be frustrated with God—David and the disciples were! But God want to turn our fear and frustration into faith. When we believe that God is continually providing a shield around us, and that His sword of judgment will ultimately bring the world to rights, we can ride through the worst storms with a confidence and faith the Lord is on our side…and thank God He is!
We don’t need to live in fear, but we do need to keep offering our frustrations and our faith-filled dreams to God. He is the shelter in a time of storm…he is Living Water…stay thirsty, my friends!