1 Chronicles 2:18-55; Acts 24:1-23; Psalms 4:4-8; Proverbs 2:6-15
Psalms: “Be angry and do not sin; reflect in your heart while on your bed and be silent. Selah Offer sacrifices in righteousness and trust in the Lord. Many are asking, “Who can show us anything good?” Let the light of your face shine on us, Lord. You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound. I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety.” (Psalms 4:4-8 CSB)
When times are dark and it seems like more is going wrong than right – when news report after news report is nothing but doom and gloom, it is easy to become discouraged and hopeless… thinking and even muttering out loud, “is there anything good to find in all this mess?” The word translated here as ‘be angry’ has more to do with being deeply disturbed than just mere anger. It means to be moved with grief… to be deeply disturbed… to be fearful and unsettled… to be upset and angry. That word accurately describes how most people feel in the midst of current circumstances – regardless of what side of the political spectrum you fall on… regardless of what position you hold in society, what race or gender you belong to, what nation you call home, or what socioeconomic demographic you fit in. Honesty, that word describes how I have felt recently. That is how King David felt as he lay in his bed at night while his kingship was being threatened and the state of his nation was in turmoil. As David wrote in this psalm, it is ok to feel that way, for that is normal – but it is not ok to stay that way… for when you stay disturbed and discouraged, that will lead to sin: a loss of faith and a lack of obedience as we try to take matters into our own hands and save ourselves. What is the remedy for despair and hopelessness? Offering ourselves, our fears, the things that disturb us, the things that anger us, the things that grieve us to the Lord and trusting in Him. When we cast our cares on Him, trust Him, and place our faith fully in Him, He will let the joyful, peace-filled, reassuring light of His presence shine through the darkness that surrounds us, and allow us to see things clearly from His perspective. When we trust in the Lord, our dis-ease is transformed to steadfast joy, and we are able to sleep peacefully in the midst of the surrounding storms.
Proverbs: “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up success for the upright; He is a shield for those who live with integrity so that he may guard the paths of justice and protect the way of his faithful followers. Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity — every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will delight you. Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you. It will rescue you from the way of evil — from anyone who says perverse things, from those who abandon the right paths to walk in ways of darkness, from those who enjoy doing evil and celebrate perversion, whose paths are crooked, and whose ways are devious.” (Proverbs 2:6-15 CSB)
When we, instead of fearing our surrounding circumstances, fear and trust the Lord, He will fill us with His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Discretion (the quality of showing discernment and good judgement) will watch over, guard, and save us. By gracing us with His wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and discernment; we will be directed away from sin, deception, and darkness; and led on the path that leads to protection and success. So much of what we see in the news and on social media these days is a by-product of not fully trusting in the Lord and honoring His word, will, and ways. So many, because they do not fear the Lord fully, have been led into perverse thinking. They have blindly ended up on crooked paths that lead away from discretion and end up in deception. Those who truly call Jesus Christ their Lord should be the clearest thinking, level-headed, most discerning people on the planet. Are we? We can be if we do not allow ourselves to fall into sin, but instead, cast our cares on the Lord, trust Him, and allow His light to shine on us.