- Fruitful Life @ Trinity published a newsletterReadDecember 2019Advent Adventure with Psalm 25 ~ Sam Stone
December is the darkest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the Winter Solstice is on December 21st this year, which is the shortest day of the year. In spite of the darkness, December is also a month of hope because of Advent and Christmas.
There are seasons of life when we struggle with fear, loss, guilt, and loneliness because we live in a fallen world in which God’s will is not always done. What’s even worse is, when we try to do the right things, we often encounter all kinds of obstacles, threats, and hardship. If you don’t know what I mean, try to eat right, exercise right, or get rid of a bad habit. Doing the right things is like swimming upstream.
It’s easier to go with the flow, join the rat race, and bury our lives in the indefinite busyness than making tough decisions to fulfill the God-given purpose for our lives. The moment we stop burying our heads in the sand, we need a way to manage the elements of devolution around us, such as fear, loss, guilt, and loneliness.
Advent is a season for us to intentionally plug our heads out of the sand and cleaning up at the mess around us. This year, let us tap into King David’s admirable wisdom in handling these dark elements.
In Psalm 25, David revealed his secret of handling his fear, loss, guilt, and loneliness. He feared that his enemies would overpower him, “do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.” (v.2); he lost his direction in life, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.” (v.4); he struggled with his past guilt, “Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions.” (v.7a); and he encountered loneliness, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.”
The key wisdom of the entire Psalm 25 is in verse 1, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” My soul represents my entire being or my life. To lift up my soul to the Lord is to give up my being (my life) to the Lord as an offering. I know it’s easier said than done.
One of the most difficult tasks in life is to let go and let God. But when we can give our entire being to God, it eliminates a myriad of problems in life. Jesus said, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Mat 16:24-25). When you offer up your life to God as a living sacrifice, you end up finding it.
Lifting up our soul to the Lord includes denying ourselves and taking up our cross and follow Christ. David did this by admitting that he was a sinner and humbling himself to God, and, in return, he received God’s guidance and instructions, “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” (v.8).
David used several other expressions to lift up his soul to the Lord. He waited for the Lord, “Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.” (v.5). He feared the Lord, “Who are they that fear the Lord? He will teach them the way that they should choose. They will abide in prosperity, and their children shall possess the land. The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes his covenant known to them.” (v.12-14).
David lifted up his soul by focusing on the Lord, “My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.” (v.15). He also took refuge in the Lord, “O guard my life, and deliver me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.” (v.20).
Advent is a season of confession, preparation, and waiting for the coming of Christ—the Light of the world. How do you prepare yourself for the coming of Christ? Learning from the wisdom of David, let us lift up our souls to the Lord and let the Lord make straight the paths of our lives to prepare the way for the Lord to come into our lives and wipe out all fear, all confusion, all guilt, and all loneliness, so that the darkest time of our lives becomes the brightest!
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
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