Psalm 119:169–176, Psalm 121, 1 Peter 5:1–11
No matter how strong your faith, there has been (or will be) a time when you desire nothing more than to be relieved from your burdens. It may be a job, finances, family, health, death. Often we just want to escape.
Psalm 119 is full of many emotions and longings. Verses 169–176 are a plea that God will hear and rescue. It isn’t quite the bargaining phrasing, but there is a strong tone of, “I’ve been good, so please help.” It’s not bargaining with God, per se, but it does show a very human expectation of reciprocation.
Psalm 121 has more the tone of fulfilled expectations and resolute trust in God’s deliverance of believers. It sounds great. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. The danger of Psalm 121 is its context. Is it true 100% of the time for all believers? No. It is the ideal. Many Christians and Jews have suffered and died over the years. If they were to hold onto Psalm 121 at the exclusion of all else, then their faith could well be broken in times of trial. Psalm 121 is often used to comfort people, yet its very comfort could be what finally pushes a person from the faith.
This is why Peter’s words are so important. In these verses, Peter’s larger goal is humility. How we interact with people, especially when it comes to the mission of God, is important. We are to look at ourselves as caretakers and guides. Only clothed in humility can we honestly help one another. The other side of humility is being able to look at God and say, “your will be done,” and mean it.
Peter seems to also toss in a phrase, “…he may exalt you at the proper time…” Humility and waiting on God’s timing. This is why as we suffer, suffer with those who suffer, and try to console others, we need to be careful in our words and the use of the Scriptures. We have to be humble as we share and care, for we are not there and we are not those in need of love. We also need to understand timing, and that we don’t always get what we want, and if we do, not when we want it.
1) Is there someone you know suffering that needs to hear of God’s love for them?
2) How could pride get in the way of our perception of God’s deliverance?
3) Help, Humility, and Timing. How do you see those working in your life in regards to your faith journey, and in regards to your behavior toward others?