By Julie McDonald
Scripture: Psalm 61
Central Thought: Finding ourselves far from the presence of God is a good place to assess our priorities.
It is no wonder the first few verses of this Psalm have become part of such a popular Christian chorus. The imagery speaks so vividly to us all. Like David, we have all found ourselves seemingly at the end of the earth—feeling far from the presence of God, exhausted by our wounds, our hearts faint. Perhaps even now we are in deep, rushing water, frantically searching for a high rock that will lift us above the forces that threaten to overwhelm us. Or maybe the weapons of our enemy are hitting their marks, and we long for the protection of our Strong Tower. What do we pray for?
Once again, the Psalmist teaches us about priorities. What impresses us most, and what we cannot help but feel, is David's great longing for God, a longing to dwell in His presence. Unlike many of the Psalms that plead for deliverance, David expresses a longing to dwell in God's tent—His home—to be enthroned in His presence forever. Refuge and rest may be desired, but his priority is to be with God—to have a long life and 'let all of Israel experience Your love and faithfulness!” Which is greater in our own lives—the desire to escape unpleasant circumstances or the desire to be in God's presence? It is important to realize that sometimes God moves His tent right next to, if not smack dab in the middle of, the unpleasant circumstances. We must not give up, but stay the course. We must give God a chance to show Himself strong and mighty.
Do we have a heart that longs for God more than victory? Do we desire to share with others the joys of our relationship with Him and use our trials as opportunities to proclaim Christ as Shepherd, Savior, Healer, and Friend? Do those around us see God's goodness and blessings in our lives when we are in the middle of the storm as well as when we are enjoying times of peace? Do they recognize in us 'the heritage of those who fear His name”?
Devotional Prayer: Dear Father, in every situation, let my desire first be for You. Let the desire to be in Your presence be greater than the desire to escape my circumstances. I praise You because I know I can endure all things from the safety of my Strong Tower!
Today's Bible Readings: Numbers 26:52-28:15; Luke 3:1-22; Psalm 61:1-8; Proverbs 11:16-17