Scripture Reading: Psalms 15 - 17 …
I have never experienced a large earthquake. It must be a terrifying thing. But I have experienced moments in my life when "my world" was shaken by the events going on in my life and in the lives of those around me. If your eyes are open and you have a heart of compassion it isn't difficult to see the misery of those around you and to feel the pain they are going through. As you read through the Psalms you quickly discover what we have already seen, that God places people into two categories: those who seek righteousness and those who delight in wickedness. We know from the rest of God’s Word that unless God produces new life in your heart and mine we will by nature fall into the second group. These reject God and His Word and build their houses on the sand. The rain falls and the wind blows and the waves crash against their house and it falls (Matthew 7:24-27).
Each of us has experienced or is experiencing or will experience circumstances and events that have the potential to SHAKE the foundations of our lives. When that happens, how are you affected? Do you stand firm or do you lose your hope and panic? Perhaps, like many, you become stressed and anxious, depressed and overwhelmed … you are shaken … and your emotions begin to control your thoughts and your actions. Like so many, these reactions are evidence that you are not building your house on the ROCK! The Psalms began by calling God’s people to delight in the law of the Lord, to rejoice in doing good, to pursue righteousness. Jesus told His disciples and the crowds the same thing: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
For those who have been born again by the Spirit of God and who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, life doesn’t have to be lived with such uncertainty, waiting for the next earthquake to strike, all the while wondering if your house will stand. There is a better way! David begins Psalm 15 by asking a question: "LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?" The answer makes it clear that there is no one who has the "key" to open the door into God's sanctuary. None of us has been or is blameless or righteous; none of us has always spoken truth or treated our neighbors as we should. There are some things that we have done "right," but Psalm 15 might leave us wondering how to stand firm, because it ends with the words, "He who does these things will never be shaken" (15:5).
Ultimately, David is saying the same thing Moses said centuries earlier and the same thing Jesus said centuries later: Obedience brings God’s blessing. Knowing God, loving God and serving God doesn’t mean that you won’t face trials and struggles, but it DOES mean that your Father in heaven will be with you in the midst of them and that He will strengthen you. That’s what David means when he says, “He who does these things will never be shaken” (15:5). Setting your mind on God and His goodness and His promises prevents your heart and mind from being shaken when the earthquakes of life come.
I have many favorite verses in Scripture, and one of them is I Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” Allowing your heart and mind to be shaken is a temptation that comes upon every one of us from time to time, but we don’t HAVE to give in to it!! Declare your faith in God and trust Him!
That’s where Psalm 16 begins, as David now speaks of God's grace and points to Jesus Christ. "Keep me safe, O God, for in You I take refuge" (16:1). David finds his hope in the LORD, and speaks words of encouragement to all who find their hope in Him. He testifies, "LORD, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance" (16:5-6). These words were true for Jesus when He came, and they are true for every believer. By God’s grace all who believe can and should testify to God’s goodness and mercy at work in our lives in multiple ways.
Therefore, "I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because HE is at my right hand, I will not be shaken" (16:7-8). Do you hear what David is saying? Acknowledging God as Lord through faith in Jesus makes you SECURE and UNSHAKEABLE!! Verses 8-11 are said to refer to Jesus in Acts 2:25-28, and since we as believers are united to Jesus, they also refer to US!! God will fill us with joy in His presence, with eternal pleasures at His right hand!! Don’t just read these words as David’s testimony; make them YOURS! “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices!” (16:9). Why? “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence!” (16:11). God has promised and He will do it.
Psalm 17 follows with a prayer to the God who is faithful: “Keep me as the apple of Your eye" and "hide me in the shadow of Your wings" (17:8). Through union with Christ I have become the apple of God’s eye. Through faith in Jesus I know that in HIS righteousness I will see God's face (17:15), and after I take my last breath in this life, I will awake in His presence and "be satisfied with seeing Your likeness" (17:15). I will not be shaken!
I pray that whatever is going on in your life at this moment, or whatever may happen tomorrow or in the future, you will stand firm and NOT be shaken! When you come to God through His Son Jesus Christ you can KNOW that you will NEVER be shaken. He is working all things together for good for you (Romans 8:28), and He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). May you find His peace and His strength sufficient for your every need as you put your trust in HIM today!!
"O LORD our God, surely You reign over all things and are intimately involved in the details of my life. Give me faith to trust You when the earth begins to shake and help me to know that You are near. May You receive glory as I testify to Your faithfulness and find my hope in You. Keep me safe, O God, for in YOU I take refuge! In Jesus' name, Amen"