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God Lovingly Leads Us in His Will (Insights From Psalm 32)

 

Being humble, teachable and submissive to God’s leading can be a challenge throughout our lives. I think it becomes easier to do the more we realize how good and loving God is; that His plans for us are good, and that challenges He allows in our lives are opportunities to refine our character to become more like Jesus. Last week we looked at the first seven verses of Psalm 32. Take a moment to re-read Psalm 32 here to remind yourself what it says. Then we’ll look closer at the rest of the verses.

Verse 8   
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way (journey, manner, habit, course of life) you should go (proceed); I will counsel (advise, consult, plan) you with my loving eye on you.”

 

+I have always thought about this verse as only talking about what I should do with my life; as in what should my career be? What area should I focus on in ministry? Is this the right person to marry? But I love that the original Hebrew for this word “way” is also defined as “manner” or “habit”. Meaning that God will instruct us in the way our character should be, in how we should respond to people, what healthy habits we should cultivate. It’s not simply about going somewhere, it’s about who we should be while we’re on the journey. Also, remember that God’s “loving eye” is on you. He’s not watching so He can bash you when you mess things up from time to time….He’s watching out for you with great care and affection much like a mother would keep her eyes on her baby who has just learned to walk.

Verse 9
“Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”

+Wouldn’t it be a nightmare if your child never obeyed one word you said, didn’t trust you, and had to be physically bound in order to do anything in a healthy manner? (Did I just hear a mother of a two-year old say Amen?) But sometimes we behave that way toward God. We have got to be humble and teachable. Always. If we want to grow at a healthy rate–and have healthy relationships–we cannot be constantly hemming and hawing, bucking against the things God has for us and what He teaches in the Bible. Sometimes the route God leads us down really tests our perseverance, character, and faith. But if one of our main goals is to become more like Jesus–having His character reproduced in us–then it’s so much more beneficial and “easier” to trust God and surrender our will to His.

Verse 10
“Many are the woes (sorrow, physical/mental pain) of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love (goodness, kindness, faithfulness) surrounds (encompasses) the one who trusts (boldly, secure, confident in) in Him.”

+God’s love, goodness, kindness and faithfulness that will not fail encompasses us as we boldly, confidently trust in Him. It’s like walking in a surrounding “forcefield” of God’s love that will never run out or falter! We are secure in His love. As Psalm 103:8 says, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” He is good.

Verse 11
“Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”

+It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness and problems of the day but I want to encourage each of us to make a an effort to “practice the presence of God”. This means to be aware that God is with you at every moment. In the exciting and mundane moments as we remember God is with us, let’s offer up praise to Him, let’s be glad, let’s walk in joy knowing that He is with us. As Psalm 33:1 says, “It is fitting for the upright to praise Him.”

So….

+Do you believe that God has good plans for you and that He will show you what those are and lead you into them?

+Have you been fighting against God’s leading in your life? Are you being more like a horse or mule than an obedient son or daughter of God?

+Are you walking in the truth of God’s love that never fails? His love is surrounding you at all times! Let’s remember to thank Him and rejoice in Him throughout each day.

Prayer

God, I thank You that Your love never fails, that You are always with me, guiding me with Your love and grace. Help me to be humble and submissive to Your ways, so I can easily be led by You into the good things You have planned for me. Help me to take after Jesus’ character and the manner in which He lived. Amen.

 

 

 

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Accepting Forgiveness From God and Forgiving Yourself (Insights From Psalm 32)

 

Ever felt like God could never forgive you, or you couldn’t forgive yourself, because of something you’ve done? Ever felt sick because of the sin in your life? Have you lost the simple joy of being redeemed by God? Psalm 32 is short but it’s packed full of great truth and encouragement and addresses all of those issues. Let’s spend the next couple of weeks looking at it more in depth. Take a moment to read the entire psalm here and then let’s dive a little deeper into the first seven verses.

Verses 1-2

“Blessed (happy) is the one whose transgressions (rebellion) are forgiven (to lift, bear up, carry, take), whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”

+As followers of Jesus, we are blessed! We are forgiven! We are redeemed! Isn’t it so easy to get caught up with all the problems and annoyances you encounter on a daily basis? Yet, when we put our focus on those problems it takes our focus off of God and often makes the problems seem bigger and more powerful than they are. Let’s take time every day to meditate on the joyous truth that Jesus brings and to walk in the blessing He has poured out on us!

Verses 3-5

“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 
For day and night your hand was heavy on me; 
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. 
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” 
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

+The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and I believe that when we hold on to a pattern of sin it will create a feeling of death and decay in our daily life; in how we perceive God, ourselves and in how we relate to others. It takes a physical toll on your body as well as your mind. Sometimes we are afraid to confess and acknowledge sin to God, and yet He knows what’s in our heart, so let’s come clean before God and receive the freedom of forgiveness that only He gives!

+Now, even when we ask for forgiveness sometimes we have a hard time believing that God has forgiven us. But the truth is His word says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). When we come to Him in repentance (to make a decision to change our behavior going forward), He doesn’t even think twice about forgiving us….it’s a done deal!

+Even when we believe that God has forgiven us there can still be lingering guilt because we haven’t forgiven ourselves. This is where we need to realize that the God of the universe, who uniquely and specially knit us together in our mother’s womb, has shown us abundant grace and forgiveness. We need to take a leap of faith and extend that forgiveness to ourselves. If God thinks it’s appropriate to forgive us…..then we don’t need to hold a grudge against ourselves.

Verses 6-7

“Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; 
surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

+Let’s not hesitate to come to God in prayer, to ask for forgiveness, to receive His forgiveness. That way when trouble comes we are bolstered in our spirits and we will be secure in Him. God is our refuge, protector, and joyous deliverer. Hebrews 4:15-16 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” God is for us and He is approachable! He is there to help us in our greatest need. Let’s walk in the confidence of knowing that the God of everything is our friend and helper.

So….

+Are you taking time to be happy simply that you are forgiven and redeemed?

+Are you feeling dead because of your sin? Make a decision to repent, receive God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself. It’s time to joyously live the abundant life Jesus has given you!

+Are you regularly “buoying” your spirit by spending time with God? Let’s celebrate the truth that God is our refuge and deliverer!

Prayer

God, You are my everything! You forgive, deliver, save and renew me. You show me grace in every circumstance. Thank you for the awesome instruction and words of encouragement in Psalm 32. Help me to receive Your forgiveness, forgive myself and be encouraged by spending time with You. Amen.