Today is the start of A Message for the Messenger’s One Year Anniversary celebration week! As I said in a previous post (here), I will be having five guest speakers with us this week. To begin the conference, I have here a speech Taylor B. composed on the topic of “Faith”. So join me, if you will, for the first day of A Message for the Messenger’s Online Bible Conference!
“‘Hear my prayer, O Lord! And let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress; incline your ear to me; in the day when I call answer me quickly. For my days have been consumed in smoke, and my bones have been scorched like a hearth. My heart has been smitten like grass and has withered away, indeed, I forget to eat my bread. Because of the loudness of my groaning my bones cling to my flesh. I resemble a pelican of the wilderness; I have become like an owl of the waste places. I lie awake, I have become like a lonely bird on a housetop.’ (Ps. 102:1-7)
David is, after Jesus Himself, my favorite character in the entirety of Scripture to read after. He was so undeniably, unashamedly human, and his psalms cry out to meet us in our struggles. As I read through the Psalms, over and over I come to a psalm like the above one and say, “Yes, I’ve felt that way before!” Then, perhaps another day we see a psalm like 100, where we see the joy and worship evident in David’s words and again, we think “Yes, yes, yes, I know that feeling!”
In David’s humanness, I see two things really come alive from it. The first is David’s faith. David’s faith was no rationally thought through, neat little package tied up with a bow that he talked about on Sundays. David’s faith was a reckless reliance on God that David exercised with such apparent rashness (for example, 1 Sam. 17 against Goliath) as to put God on trial. David’s faith forced him to put God in a position where he would be lost if God did not come through for him.
See, when David walked out to battle a giant towering 3 1/2 feet above him, he had no promise of God that we see recorded in Scripture that God would protect him. Instead, we see him walk out, seemingly rashly, and put God to the test. If God had not come through for David, he would have been the one bleeding in the sand at the end of the battle, not Goliath.
What we see David do, from a teenager to an old man fleeing from his rebel son Absalom, is exercise a faith in God, regardless of circumstances. Despite massive moral failures and incredibly low times, David clung, with a faith some would call irrational, to God with a fervency that I can only pray that I will one day have. Despite the feelings such as those he wrote at the top of this article, He clung, resolutely to his God and his faith in a one day Messiah.
But there’s a second quality that this clinging to faith personifies as well, a rugged perseverance that defies human explanation. For example, in Ps. 22, David opens the chapter with a salvo of personal anguish, expressing his own low estimation of himself, the apparent desertion of God, David’s repeated depression, and his shattered reputation. Possibly the best description of the psalm is the small, italic text recorded underneath Ps. 22 by my Bible publishers that says simply, “A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise”. This is indeed the heart-rending cry of a crushed servant.
But a psalm of praise? If you read from 22-31, we see an incredible song of praise come from David about the very God who has seemingly deserted him. David is praising, despite his depressing circumstances and unsure future. David is desperately clinging to his faith, through the hardest times, with a stubbornness incredible to see recorded.
Life is going to hurt. Any life lived for Christ is going to drag us down sometimes. But in those hard times, seen or unseen, God is there. And the rugged clinging to God that David shows should be our aim. Praise Him in the storms that surround us, and recognize His sovereign hand in the events in our lives, whether or not we may find them pleasant. Because He is worthy.”