DayBreaks for 3/11/16: Vision Correction
NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next 10 days or so. You will be receiving messages from the DayBreaks archive during that time! From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:
As of 3/9, a friend of mine just had his eyes operated on so that he will no longer have to wear glasses. I’m so very happy for him – it seems to have been very successful so far! Why did he do it? He wanted better vision. Maybe we all need better vision…
Psalm 57:1-3 (NLT) – Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills [his purpose] for me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; Selah. God sends his love and his faithfulness.
This Psalm was written by David when he was hiding in the cave from Saul. We may think of David as having a fairly idyllic life – a shepherd, a national hero, a king – the most beloved of all the Israelite kings. I suppose we like to idealize heroes. But David had a hard, difficult life – perhaps more difficulty than green pastures in sum total.
I see two distinctly different thoughts in this passage. First of all, we can all identify with the human emotions that David was feeling. In verse 4 he claims to be surrounded by men (David calls them beasts in the first part of verse 4) with sharp teeth and arrows, just waiting to devour him. Certainly our problems can be seen that way, if not our enemies, too. And so it was for David – quite literally his enemies were waiting to cut him up and tear him apart – and his main enemy at that moment was the king of Israel! Taking refuge in the shadow of God’s wings is a beautiful picture. It reminds me of how the mother hens would take their little chicks under their wings at the first approach of danger. That’s an image from my childhood on the farm that I’ll never forget. Verse 2 reminds us that God’s purposes for our lives will be fulfilled, not by us, but by the One who has purposed for us. This is a tremendous relief from responsibility in a way, since we control nothing and could not make His purposes work out for us even if we knew in advance what they were. We’d make too many wrong choices along the way, have to many distorted and erroneous perceptions of what His purpose is for us. So if it depended on us to fulfill God’s purposes for us, well, we’d be a sorry lot, indeed.
The second view of this passage is to see it in a Messianic light:
- Christ, in the garden and on the Cross, sought refuge for his soul in His Father, pleading for mercy to allow the cup of sorrow to pass and the cup of God’s wrath that was poured out on Christ against our sin to be lifted from his shoulders if possible.
- He takes refuge in the shadow of God’s wings until the disaster has passed. What was the disaster? From one perspective, it could be the death of the Sinless for the sinful, the death of God for man. (From a human perspective, however, it was anything but a disaster – it would have been a disaster for us if it hadn’t happened!) We are told that darkness covered the face of the earth during the time that Christ was on the cross – could that have been the shadow of God’s wings passing over the scene of the mutiny against Love that was happening on the cross? Once Jesus died, there is no indication that the darkness continued – once the “disaster has passed.”
- He certainly cried out to God, and God fulfilled His purpose for the Incarnation upon the cross. Yet his cry was, “Where are You? Why have You forsaken me?!” And in that very forsakenness, God had indeed fulfilled His purpose in Christ, in the Incarnation, for the separation was required due to the sin that Christ had become (2 Cor. 5:21).
- How did God send from heaven and save Christ? Through his death and his Spirit being committed into the hands of the Father. In so doing, by his relatively quick death (crucifixion could sometimes take days to snuff out a life), those who pursued Christ and fastened him to the cross were rebuked – they were deprived of prolonging the torturous scene and of tormenting Jesus even more, of taunting God Himself with their evil gloating and celebrations.
- God sent his Love in the person of Christ and in the faithfulness of His promises being fulfilled – promises made to Adam/Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, the prophets, i.e., to all mankind. And certainly, He sent His love to gather up the spirit of Jesus that was so recently committed into His care.
I’m all to prone to take the Psalms and try to apply them to myself. Of course, when the writer penned these words, he didn’t know anything about Christ’s coming and suffering and death, so they were very personal to the one who wrote them so long ago. It is in hindsight (even with hindsight, our vision certainly isn’t 20/20) that we can see the applications to Jesus. As I read such passages as this and meditate on them, I need to remember that the story of the Bible isn’t about me and my myriad of problems – it’s about HIM and what He did for us!
TODAY’S PRAYER: We are so prone to thinking that life and death and struggles and victories are all about us, Father. We are so consumed with our own issues that our first inclination is to think about ourselves – rather than about You and what You have and are doing. Help us see Jesus more clearly in the Word each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen