Thursday, January 28, 2016
Psalm 70:4-5 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!
The Bible is filled with either/or statements. For example, Jesus said, “You cannot serve two masters. Either you will love the one and hate the other, or you will hate the one and love the other.”
Either/or statements are powerful choice-making motivators. We latch on to them because they tend to give us a sense of pride that we are in the right. However, they also alienate us from others who haven’t reached the same conclusion or made the same decision. And we certainly lack understanding of the people who are stuck in the twilight zone known as indecision.
That’s why I am so thankful that the Bible also includes both/and statements. Today’s Psalm is one of them. Let me explain.
There are five verses in this prayer of David. It was a prayer he had turned into a song to be sung in worship by people who were feeling the stress and trials of life’s circumstances. That’s why it is called a memorial song – it is a song that reminds us of who God is when life tends to make us forget.
Of the five verses in this Psalm, the first three relate the trouble King David is experiencing and his suggestions for possible solutions.
- He feels that God is not working fast enough to resolve his issues (vs. 1).
- He shares somewhat boldly and bitterly that he wants God to cause problems for the people that are bothering him (vs. 2).
- He asks God to have the people that are making fun of him to stop their activities and to feel the shame of what they have done (vs. 3).
Then, in a moment of spiritual enlightenment in the midst of the darkness of his trouble, David says this – May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”(vs. 4). David recognizes that his circumstances have not changed the very nature and character of God. God is still great even when life isn’t.
Immediately David returns to the sorrow of the day and confesses to God that he is poor and needy, and that God should hurry up and fix this (vs. 5)
Here’s my point – Having trouble and praising God is not an either/or proposition – it is a both/and reality. It’s totally fine with God to be both upset with life’s circumstances and at the same time recognize and rejoice in His greatness and His salvation.
Bottom line, it is possible to be mad and glad at the same time. It think if we would accept that, and understand that God has declared a both/and truth rather than an either/or truth, we might find a little more patience and perseverance in the midst of the problems because we have learned how to praise him in the storm.