2 Kings 4:18-44; Acts 15:22-35; Psalms 141:3-10; Proverbs 29:24-25
Psalms: “Lord, I call on you; hurry to help me. Listen to my voice when I call on you. May my prayer be set before you as incense, the raising of my hands as the evening offering. Lord, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips. Do not let my heart turn to any evil thing or perform wicked acts with evildoers. Do not let me feast on their delicacies. Let the righteous one strike me — it is an act of faithful love; let him rebuke me — it is oil for my head; let me not refuse it. Even now my prayer is against the evil acts of the wicked… But my eyes look to you, Lord, my Lord. I seek refuge in you; do not let me die. Protect me from the trap they have set for me, and from the snares of evildoers. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely.” (Psalms 141:1-5, 8-10 CSB)
Many times in King David’s life, people tried to snuff him out or overthrow his leadership. During those times when he was on the run for his life, though he was not near the tabernacle, he knew that he could still seek the Lord. He knew that his words of submitted prayer were like incense to the Lord, and his surrendered life was the sacrifice that the Lord truly sought. David’s desire, even in the midst of frightening times and threatening circumstances, was to honor the Lord. He wanted justice, but he only wanted justice on the Lord’s terms and was not willing to compromise the Lord’s name or character. He was not willing to repay evil with evil… to retort against his enemy’s accusations with evil accusations of his own, so he asked the Lord to guard his heart and his mouth so that he wouldn’t say or do anything that would dishonor God. He even invited righteous rebuke into his life if he did slip up and act unbecoming of a representative of the Lord. He refused to get embroiled in the world’s way of doing things, but instead, kept his eyes on and sought refuge in the Lord. He knew that if he remained faithful to the Lord, the Lord would be faithful to him and preserve his life from the traps set by those around him. What a lesson for followers and disciples of Christ today. There are so many things in play that threaten us or have the potential of threatening us in the future. There are so many evil, angry, accusatory words in the air. It is so easy to take the bait of the enemy and feast on the “delicacy” of taking our idea of justice into our own hands… repaying evil with evil, saying things that sully God’s glory in us, and doing things that compromise God’s righteousness… all the while, rejecting the loving and righteous rebuke that comes to correct and get us back on the right path. Instead, we need to come to the Lord in submitted prayer with our hands and lives lifted to the Lord in surrender to Him. We need to ask the Lord to guard our mouths and our hearts. We need to welcome the Lord’s guidance and correction. We need to turn our eyes completely to Him and seek the refuge that He provides us. Then we will be at peace, and the Lord’s justice (not our justice) will have opportunity to flow down in His way and in His time.
Proverbs: “The fear of mankind is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected.” (Proverbs 29:25 CSB)
When we fear what man can do to us more that we trust in the Lord, it becomes a snare… it traps us into unrighteous attitudes, unrighteous thoughts, unrighteous words, and unrighteous actions…. All which take us out from under the mighty hand of God and place us exposed and on our own. However, if we maintain our trust in the Lord and remain faithful to Him, He will protect us from even the most vile and dangerous threats.