A prayer for guidance is self-centered if it is not accompanied by a recognition that God has the power to redirect our path. Wanting guidance to fit out wants and ignoring God’s will is not obedience. Psalm 143:10 says, Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. David asked God to teach him to do God’s will and not his own. We should be asking God to open our eyes to His will so that we may know the right direction for our lives and align our wills with God’s.
We all get overwhelmed by our circumstances and stress. And while we don’t always turn to God as our first response, He is the best solution to all our problems in ever situation. In Psalm 142:1 David begins the Psalm with a plea for help, I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. There is no question God is the only guaranteed solution to all our problems. We may not always like the answers, and our requests may not be answered exactly as we had envisioned in our minds, but when God answers our prayers, it is the best answer in the light of eternity.
Sometime, in our sorrow, we forget what it’s like to be joyful. When the Israelites were exiled or in captivity, they would work hard to maintain their culture and their identity as God’s chosen people. Often that identity was tied to their life back in Jerusalem. In Psalm 137:5 the author wants to desperately remember his identity as God’s chosen and what it meant to live as a free and sovereign nation under God: If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. For us, when we are far from God or when we have lost our joy because of the sorrow in our lives, we should cling closely to our identity in Christ and the freedom we have from salvation, regardless of our present circumstances. While this is easier said than done, there will be times when this is all we have.
In today’s reading we see two things. First, in Psalm 132:2 where it talks about David and says, He swore and oath to the Lord and made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob. Second, in Psalm 132:11 it says about God, The Lord swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke. The Psalm was written when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem and David danced and sang praises. It was returned in keeping to a promise God made to David for his faithful service. The message of this Psalm is simple; Honor God and He will honor you.
Pride creates a sense of self-importance that takes away God’s glory. It also removes our ability to see the simple things in our lives as what has true value. In Psalm 131:1 David says, My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. If we are able to look to God for the simple things and trust in Him for what’s important, then we are able to relax and know He is ultimately in control and all glory goes to Him.
It’s hard to imagine how a burned down forest is restored in just a few short years. God’s ability to restore is beyond our ability to comprehend. In Psalm 126:5-6 the Psalmist paints a picture of a farmer sowing seeds with faith they will turn into a harvest, 5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. 6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. If we have faith, we know God can turn even the greatest sorrows in our lives back into joy if we allow Him to restore us. Remember: God’s harvest of joy will come because He has the ability to fully restore us if we let Him.
There is no problem which is too big for God. If He is the creator of all things, then our problems are not too big for him. David says in Psalm 124:8, Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. God knows the way out of your circumstances. He is able to guide you through it. In the previous verse, David compared this to God’s ability to guide a bird through the escape of a fowler’s snare. We just need to trust Him and obey His guidance and we will make it through.
The Psalmist gives us a great example of looking in the right direction when we need help; up! Psalm 123:1 says, I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven. When the world seems to be closing in around you, remember to look up to heaven for God’s guidance, leadership, and love.
When we are at our lowest point, it’s easy to wonder where God is. Psalm 121:1-2 says, 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. If we believe God created the heavens and the earth, then we must remember God is with us no matter the circumstances. Nothing is too big that God can not fix it.
If we truly know God is with us always, we should never walk in fear. Psalm 118:6 says, The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The first part of this verse states the obvious. But the last sentence shows us the practicality of what the author is saying. What can man do to me? It’s an honest question with an obvious answer: Nothing if God doesn’t allow it. And if God allows it, it is to fulfill His perfect plan, which He chose to include me in! What a privilege and honor it is to be included in God’s plan. Let us not take that lightly.