June 17, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Nancy Cheung, Gracepoint Berkeley

Psalm 16:1

What truths about life, about man and about God are revealed in this verse? Life is fragile. Man is weak and vulnerable. God is the only true refuge against life’s uncertainties and threats. He holds our lives and the whole world in his hands, so when we look to him for security, then we find a completely safe place.

Pause to reflect on life’s fragility and my own weakness, and pray this prayer to God as my sole refuge. Life is full of tumult and uncertainties, setbacks and difficulties and disappointments. I get so anxious b/c of the setbacks I constantly experience, get disappointed by myself and others. I keep getting hit with my incompetence, untrustworthiness, ongoing sins and issues. My resolve is no match for these. This verse reminds me that it’s only in God and his unchanging character and unconditional love that I can find true and lasting safety and security.

Psalm 16:2-3

“Calvin writes, ‘We ought, therefore, highly to value and esteem the true and devoted servants of God, and to regard nothing as of greater importance than to connect ourselves with their society; and this we will actually do if we wisely reflect in what true excellence and dignity consist, and do not allow the vain splendor of the world and its deceitful pomps to dazzle our eyes’.”[1]

What is the relationship between the psalmist’s confession in v.2 and his attitude towards the saints expressed in v.3? The psalmist’s confession – that God is his Lord and that apart from him he has no good thing – leads to this attitude of valuing and delighting in those who are righteous. Being convicted that who God is and what he wants is best for my life would cause me to gravitate toward those “saints” that I can learn from. I would feel deep kinship with them and consider my relationships with them to be the most precious.

Assess the degree to which I share the psalmist’s sentiment towards the saints in v.3.  What does this reveal about what I value? When I hear accounts of saints from afar, I am moved and inspired by their lives and want to be like them. From these passing sentiments, I may think that I want the right things. But when the rubber meets the road, it’s not like that. Regarding the saints who are much closer to my life, namely my leaders, those who are living out starkly a life of righteousness, I don’t quite gravitate toward them, b/c their lives and wisdom show my life for what it is. Getting closer to them means that the messy details of my heart and life will get exposed and dealt with. I find that the people I move toward are those who won’t challenge me, who will let me remain comfortable. What this shows is that I value my autonomy, privacy, comfort, rather than having genuine closeness with God and seeing his good will be done in my life and around me. My relationships with the saints in my life are the test for how I view God and whether I really think that apart from him I have no good thing. Do I value relationship with God, or my personal comfort? This is what I keep needing to ask myself, so that I stop giving into my natural tendencies and instead fight for the most precious thing, which is to be near God and his people.

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