Changing Moods (Part Two)


Psalm 30:6-7, 11-12

When I was secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” Lord, when you showed your favor, you made me stand like a strong mountain; when you hid your face, I was terrified… You turned my lament into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, so that I can sing to you and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever (CSB).

Our topic is the changing moods of God’s people. When we first experience God’s saving grace, we usually experience great peace or exhilarating joy or a profound sense of acceptance or some other mood that flows from being right with God. Then we begin our daily walk with God, and as we walk by faith or a lack of faith, our moods can vary. Behind the scenes of the saint’s moods lie various actions of God that are the grounds for the saint’s feelings. Here are some examples from David’s experience.

  • When David felt secure (30:6), it was because of the Lord’s favor. It provided the stability that made security possible (30:7a). It is possible to misuse the provision of God, isn’t it? Oh, we know this too well! It is right to feel secure because of God’s grace, but we should not rest in our feelings of security.
  • When David felt dismayed (30:7c), it was due to the Lord hiding his face (30:7b) to correct David. In this condition a believer lacks felt testimony of God’s favor. He or she does not enjoy the light by which he or she can discern God’s nearness.
  • When David felt joy (30:11c), it was because God had intervened in his life (“You turned… you removed… and clothed…”). As we have said, the Spirit of God wants to lead us into the joy of the Lord.

As God’s people, we need to be more God-centered in the evaluation of our lives. Surrounded by the worldview of the ungodly, we tend to adopt its philosophy about the events and condition of our lives. They do not see the sovereign God involved in human life, and so they attribute everything to the action of people, luck, the forces of nature, or determinism (“what will be will be”). Sadly, many believers fail to function like believers; they do not change their minds and view the God who really lives acting in our lives.

Our varying moods need to be owned or acknowledged by us. We ought not to expect other followers of Jesus to wear “Christian happy faces” at our local gatherings. Yes, there are times when we stand like a strong mountain. We want to see others in that condition. However, let’s not be shocked when a brother or sister admits that they are terrified. A local church will only grow when we allow others to act in a real manner in our fellowships. This can make things “messy”, but I’d rather have messy and real than tidy and fake.

We need to take action to develop a “God-involved in our lives” outlook. For example, let’s listen to how Paul speaks about God being directly involved in his life. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10). During the week think through Matthew 6 in this way. What does Psalm 29 teach you about a “God-involved” outlook?

Grace and peace, David

The Godly Person Looking at Life (Part Two)

Psalm 36:1-12

Next, David turns his attention to the character of God (36:5-9). When we think of all that God is, well we might say, “Here is a whole world to explore” (Kidner). David directs those who listen or read to three specific areas.

Consider the Lord’s immeasurable love and faithfulness (36:5). These two qualities of God are joined in various places (cf. Psalms 57:3; 61:7; 86:15; 89:14; 115:1; 138:2). How can you think of love apart from faithfulness? There is no need for uncertainty about God’s character. David wants us to fill our souls with the grandeur of God’s love and faithfulness. Go outside on a clear night; gaze upon the wonder of deep space; understand that God’s love and faithfulness reach beyond what you can see and comprehend.

Ponder God’s incalculable righteousness and justice (36:6a). We see these two joined in other places (Psalms 33:5; 89:14; 97:2). Have you ever seen the Rocky Mountains? Great mountains are “firm and unmoved, lofty and sublime” (Spurgeon). Mighty winds disturb them not, and so nothing affects God’s righteousness and justice. “Not even to save his elect would the Lord suffer his righteousness to be set aside. No awe inspired by mountain scenery can equal that which fills the soul when it beholds the Son of God slain as a victim to vindicate the justice of the Inflexible Lawgiver” (Spurgeon).

Survey the Almighty’s active involvement with his creatures (36:6b-9).

  • God preserves life. Since the fall, we pursue destruction, but God keeps life going, constantly providing and restoring the balances of nature.
  • His love is precious. Think of valuable coins and costly jewels. The regalia of a mighty emperor is a shabby rag compared to the love of God. The value of God’s love surpasses all! What can be compared to having the almighty, eternal, all-wise, everywhere present, Sovereign Lord fully committed to love and cherish you?
  • He provides secure shelter. We can hide under the shelter of his wings (cf. Ruth 2:12; Matthew 23:37) during life’s scariest times. Sometimes we all need a hiding place. We need to be kept safe until the storm passes by. Listen my friend; the Lord Jesus invites you to find refuge under his wings. Why will you tremble naked and defenseless before sin, condemnation, and death? Run to Jesus while you may!
  • He gives abundant joy. Since sinners are at war with God, they view him as sour and dour, as full of gloom and doom. But when we see God’s justice forever satisfied in the cross of Christ, we understand his kindness and sternness (Romans 11:22). God is good and joyful; at his right hand are eternal pleasures (Psalm 16:11). When we trust him, we may drink from his river of delights.
  • He is the source of life and light. God is self-existent, having life in himself. He chooses to give life to his creatures. To have life, we must connect with God himself. This happens when you turn from your sin and trust in Christ for salvation. In a world of darkness, God is light in the full biblical meaning of purity, clarity, truth and joy.

Life apart from the living God is very uncertain and troubled. But why continue in that path? You may have joy and peace as you trust in Jesus Christ!

This produces the response of prayer (36:10-12). This prayer flows out from the truth already presented. Three ideas in his prayer:

  • A request for love and justice (36:10). We need both. We were made to experience and to share the love of God. Our lives are empty apart from his love and sharing it with others. As we live forever with the Lord, we will know more and more of how infinite his love is. And we will share this with others loved by the Lord. It won’t just be “God and me”; it will be “God and us”. And we need his righteousness at work to put our world to right. So much is wrong now! This is like the days of Noah; violence fills the earth.
  • A request for protection from the wicked (36:11) – Since we are frail, we need God to protect us from those who would harm us. “Our best defense against violence is still prayer” (Leupold).
  • An affirmation of faith (36:12) – David concludes with a look to the future. He talks about the destiny of the wicked. Many times, it seems as if evil is sure to win. But this verse calls us to look to the end of God’s story. The Sovereign Lord will triumph, and we will share in his final victory!

Keep these two contrasts before your view: the wickedness of the sinner and the incredible goodness of God. The way of life is to turn from sin and trust the life and joy giving Savior. Call on him without delay. We need to share the God of faithful love and righteous justice with others. We will have many opportunities, if we are able to stir ourselves to action. Warmer weather is on the way. We can invite others over for dinner, to go for a walk together, to attend a ball game or an outdoor concert together, or perhaps to go on a day trip together. Go where people are gathering, like some of the new town centers or special evenings in the gardens.

Grace and peace, David

The Helmet of Salvation (Part Two)

IMG_4272Ephesians 6:17

The present tense of salvation is that we are now saved. We are being rescued from sin, condemnation, and death. We ought to enjoy the present blessings of salvation. I will mention two of these. The first is adoption. We all have the position of adult sons and daughters in God’s family (2 Corinthians 6:18). When God saved us, he did much more than to guarantee us an eternal home in heaven. God also provides us with an honorable place in his family, placing us as adult members. We can learn this from a careful reading of Galatians 3:26-4:7. There we see that though old covenant believers had the position of minors in God’s family, we new covenant believers are adults. So then, we ought to have a filial attitude at all times. “My Father loves and cares for me. I ought to live in such a way as to glorify my Father in heaven.” This kind of approach is absolutely essential in spiritual warfare.

Since we are adult sons and daughters, we have been given the promised Holy Spirit, who now lives within us—to help us, to assure us, and to lead us (Romans 8:14-17). This means that we must look at our struggle within the context of being Spirit-led sons and daughters of God. We are not slaves to sin or minor children under the law. We are adults in God’s family! Live like an adult sons and daughters, which means living a life of love to God, striving to conform to be like God in holiness.

A second current blessing is security. We are kept by the Lord Christ and we continue to follow him. One of the great energizing factors for any soldier is the expectation of success. An army that anticipates conquering will take the field more readily than one that expects defeat. The Lord Jesus has saved us with an eternal salvation (John 6:37-40, 47; 10:27-30; Romans 8:29-30, 35-39; Ephesians 1:13-14; Colossians 3:3-4; Hebrews 9:12, 15; 10:14; 1 Peter 1:3-5). It is certainly true that only those who continue in the faith will be saved (Matthew 24:13; Colossians 1:23; etc.). Although such verses teach the necessity of the saint’s perseverance, they do not imply that a saint may not continue. All those who truly repent and believe will continue, because God keeps them (Philippians 1:6; 1 John 5:4; Jude 1:1, 24-25). Therefore, with salvation as a helmet, we hope or confidently expect total victory. This fills us with energy to do battle—to press on after holiness (1 Jn 3:1-4).

The future tense of salvation is that we who trust in Jesus Christ will be saved. Consider two future blessings of salvation. The first is glorification. We have the prospect of sharing eternal glory with the Lord. From God’s point of view, this is so certain that he speaks of it in the past tense (Romans 8:29-30), though in the present state of things, we still wait for that time (Romans 8:18-19). Our glorification rests firmly on our union with Christ. Since he was raised from the dead, we too will be raised (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 42-49). In answer to Christ’s prayer, we will see his glory (John 17:24). As Colossians 3:4 says, when he appears, we will appear with him in glory. At times the battle is very rough. The enemy seems to have beaten you down into the mire and the mud. But do not give up (Micah 7:8).

We will enter into our inheritance. Sharing glory with the Lord is surely enough, isn’t it? Not to God! You see, we are not only sons of God, but also heirs (Galatians 4:7; Romans 8:17). Since we are in Christ and heirs with him, we have an inheritance (Ephesians 1:14). What is it? Yes, yes, I know that it includes the new heavens and the new earth (2 Peter 3:13), but our God is a greater giver than that! He gives us all things (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). God Almighty gives us Himself (Psalm 73:25-26)! This should fill us with hope (confident expectation). But do you have this hope? You may have it today by turning from your empty way of life that leads to judgment and by trusting in Jesus Christ for eternal life (John 6:35-40).

Grace and peace, David