Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Leanin' On The Everlasting Arms

Psalm 16, Verses 8-9 says:
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad,
my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.

Have you ever read something so many times, that it just becomes words on a page rather than sparking any light of understanding in your brain? Like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. You learn it as a kid, you say it until you have it memorized, but you don't really know what it means. And then one day you become a parent and you're helping your kid memorize it and suddenly you realize what you're actually pledging allegiance to, and what exactly that phrase means.

This verse had become like that pledge in my mind. "I have set the Lord always before me..." Yep, I set him right down on that imaginary pedestal in front of me and like the monks of old, I prostrated myself (laid down flat on my face) in my mind and my will, worshipping the almighty God sitting on the pedestal in front me...Wait a minute, that's not right! He's not a little statue that I carry around in my pocket and rub when I need a miracle! I re-read this scripture recently and was struck at how I'd been reading it wrong all this time.

The first phrase says "I have set the Lord always before me" but it's immediately followed by the statement that "he is at my right hand..." - how can that be? How can he be "set before" me and yet right beside me? Because in this instance, 'to set before oneself' means 'to give higher priority to'. He is not a statue on a shelf in front of me, He's my Lord and I must choose daily to give His will priority over my own.

Now, there are times when we would say that He goes before us - He leads the way and our job is simply to follow and obey. But there are other times when we are not strong enough to simply follow unaided. In those times, in my life, I've found that God steps back to walk beside us - "at my right hand" - he takes our hand to steady us, to give us strength and courage, and walks WITH us.