Journal Ps 30-32 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation and notes are mine)
Scripture: (various from David) As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” (reflecting) By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; (however) you hid your face—I was dismayed. (Ps 30:6-7)
Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! (Ps 31:23-24)
(the Holy Spirit) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, (a horse or a mule) which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you… (Ps 32:8-9)
Observation: Pride. Admonition and encouragement. Lastly, a clear picture of prideful stubbornness.
All together is showing what kind of state my heart struggles with daily.
Application: I don’t usually take three examples from the Daily Bible Reading Plan and combine them in a posting. Today, it appears that the Holy Spirit clumped them together for a reason.
In each selection, I recognize I struggle with a particular issue. (For those reading, these are not little issues—I am following the principle Jesus taught in the Beatitudes, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart…” (Matt 5:28) In other words, if I am committing X sin a little bit in my eyes, it is enough in God’s justice to condemn me as if I committed the maximum.)
- As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” How often do I take comfort in having enough money in my pocket, or having enough this or that—so that I neglect remembering that all I have is from the mercy of the Most High God?
Eventually, God will hide his face; my prayers will feel like they are rocks thudding to the ground, never reaching past the ceiling in my room. Will I go from feeling safe in my prosperity to dismay calling, “Where are you, Lord? When will you show your Face again to me?”
- Love the LORD, all you, his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. “I love the LORD, because He hears my prayers and answers them,” is a verse from an old worship chorus from my youth. I also remember from James, “…Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble…” (James 4:6b) Huh! Humility is the opposite of pride? How then do I cultivate humility? Time to ask from God, who will abundantly answer these kinds of prayers—again, another principle: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he WILL hear us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we KNOW that we have the requests that we have asked of him…” (1 John 5:14-15)—like asking for humility…
- Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, (a horse or a mule) which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you… The Holy Spirit is good with word pictures (similes). I automatically change “mule” to “jackass” in my mind because I think that describes me more accurately. Look how Isaiah calls Israel out (in the Holy Spirit): “Because you have RAGED against me and your COMPLACENCY has come to me ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came…” (Is 37:29)
I must look at the two bookends Isaiah illuminates: RAGE and COMPLACENCY. I can be overt in opposing God by feeding my sin (Rage) or covert by just not thinking or considering my sin (Complacency).
Prayer: Triune God, I ask you for humility and to make me want humility. My character opposes your will (the inner man) and I don’t want that. Thank you for your redemption; thank you for setting me free from the chains of Sin. I ask for an increasing ability to resist sin and grow in obvious godliness.
Ricky Two Shoes