Turn to God in Trust

AUTHOR: Holy Scripture

READ:

Read or listen to Psalm 13 and Ezekiel 37:1–14.

For the choir director. A psalm of David.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long will I store up anxious concerns within me,
agony in my mind every day?
How long will my enemy dominate me?

Consider me and answer, Lord my God.
Restore brightness to my eyes;
otherwise, I will sleep in death.
My enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,”
and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your faithful love;
my heart will rejoice in your deliverance.
I will sing to the Lord
because he has treated me generously.

 

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by his Spirit and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.  He led me all around them. There were a great many of them on the surface of the valley, and they were very dry. Then he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I replied, “Lord God, only you know.”

He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I had been commanded. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. As I looked, tendons appeared on them, flesh grew, and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man. Say to it: This is what the Lord God says: Breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live!” So I prophesied as he commanded me; the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army.

Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Look how they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ Therefore, prophesy and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord God says: I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them, my people, and lead you into the land of Israel. You will know that I am the Lord, my people, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I am the Lord. I have spoken, and I will do it. This is the declaration of the Lord.’”

The written Scripture is CSB, however, the audio Scripture is ESV.

FOCUS:

Turn to God in Trust

By Jonathan Neef

Do you want to know why you are suffering? Most of us do, but the hard news is that Scripture doesn’t give us the “why” of suffering. Throughout Scripture we are given possible results of suffering, or possible ways God uses suffering, but we are not given a reason for the suffering.

Do you know what Scripture does give us? HOW. We are not told why we suffer, but we are told how to suffer. In the final two verses of this psalm, notice the words, “but I have trusted.” This final movement in lament is the movement of trust.

How can we trust when we feel abandoned and forgotten? This is an important question. The trust is in “your faithful love.” This is the love of God that he has displayed time and again for the psalmist. This means that trust is rooted in a relationship and is a response that must be chosen.

The circumstances surrounding the pain of the previous verses have not changed. What has changed? The psalmist’s attitude. He chooses to trust, he chooses to rejoice, he chooses to sing because he knows how God has treated him in the past. He knows that despite the circumstances of pain and suffering that he is currently facing, God is still for him. This can only happen because of a relationship built on trust and belief in God’s character.

How do we know God is for us? How can we trust in his faithful love? Because we see how he has “treated us generously.” The main way we know God has treated us generously is through his actions in the person of Jesus Christ.

God saw our pain and suffering as a result of the fall, so he took on flesh and became human. Jesus then lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the cross to defeat sin and death. A God who has gone to such great and extravagant lengths for us is a God in whom we can trust. So while we do not understand our current suffering we can look to what he has done for us in the work of Christ. We can also choose to sing and rejoice because we know how the story ends. One day death will be defeated as will pain and suffering (Revelation 21).

We may not have the WHY behind suffering. But we do have the HOW (lament) and the WHO (Jesus). Because we all experience pain and suffering, the example of lament in Psalm 13 is valuable to every one of us.

What do we do when difficulty hits us? In Psalm 13, we learn that we can turn to God amidst our pain. We can tell him how we really feel and what we really want. Finally, we can choose to trust him based on what he has already done for us in the person of Jesus.

As you experience the pain and suffering of this world, may it drive you to God and not away from him. Let your pain drive you to God.

PRAY:

Think about the people that are closest to you. Write down the name of someone who is suffering. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the person you named with his eyes and to fill your heart with empathy. Pray for him or her according to the insight you gained.

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Day 4 of 7 Holy Week Contemplation

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