Tuesday, 9 June 2020
WHEN LIFE FALLS APART
Pastor Isaac Yim
A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
3 O LORD, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah[a]
3 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
“If all the trials which come from heaven, all the temptations which ascend from hell, and all the crosses which arise from the earth, could be mixed and pressed together, they would not make a trial so terrible as that which is contained in this verse. It is the most bitter of all afflictions to be led to fear that there is no help for us in God.” Psalm 3.2 (Spurgeon)
The daily news seems to indicate the world is like falling apart. None of us has anticipated the onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has caused havoc with Governments, businesses, employment, family life, even religious gatherings. The climatic changes have caused natural disasters in flooding in some areas and extreme dryness in other regions. Social, racial and political riots spread like wildfire. The world is like falling apart. That is the global picture.
What really concerns me greatly, is individuals young and old feel their lives are falling apart during this pandemic. Many have become emotionally disturbed and are unable to think calmly to be able to deal with the difficult situation they are in. What do we do when life is caving in?
King David was in such a situation. David went through the most trying situation in his life and came out stronger and better. The background of Psalm 3 is recorded in 2 Samuel 15-18. Absalom just cannot wait to be the king. The only way to usurp the crown from David is to start a rebellion against his father. He was forced to run for his life with a small group of faithful soldiers as compared to the large followers of Absalom. Beside Absalom, there were a host of traitors going against him. While on the run, David came to Bahurim, a man called Shimei from the family of Saul, cursed him and threw stones at him and his followers. The situation was so bad that many people said, “God will never rescue him!” When the chips are down, looks like even God is unable to rescue or deliver you. Psalm 3.1-2.
Yes, when life falls apart, everywhere we look, all we can see is our enemies in increasing numbers. Nothing but darkness! Not only physically we are down. We are also spiritually attacked. Even God will not listen to our prayers. ”There is no salvation for him in God.” Absolutely no way out!
At the end of verse 2, there is a word “Selah” this Hebrew word occurs 74 times in the Old Testament, of which 71 times is in Psalms and 3 times in Habakkuk (3.3, 9, 13). “Selah” is translated in English as pause or interlude. The precise use and meaning are not certain. It is like a rest note in our musical score. In Psalm 3 alone “Selah” is used three times at the end of verses 2,4 and 8.
We must remember, David is praying to God. After verse two, he took a reflective pause to meditate on the words just spoken. It may even be a musical interlude of some kind. After a few moments, he reminded. himself, and said to God “But”. The world around me may say that I am doomed. They said, “Even God cannot save you.” My God is not like that. He will never leave me nor forsake me even in the worst of time. When David focused on God rather than the broken pieces of his life, he found God is his comfort, his protection and his joy and deliverance. For God is our shield. We think of the shield is just the protection in the front. The shield of God surrounds us when God is our shield we are totally protected. God is our glory. When we are down, everyone treats us like dirt, but God put on true honour on us. He bore our sin and shame. He holds up our heads as we experience the joy of deliverance that comes only from God. When we fix our eyes on God, our faith is strengthened and our confidence grows. We are not afraid. David cried out with a loud voice in praise because God answered his prayers.
2 Samuel 22.7 “But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I cried to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears.” NLT
He took a pause again “Selah”. His faith in God gives him peace to sleep at night. Others were taunting him of his past sin committed with Bathsheba. He murdered Uriah the husband of Bathsheba. God had forgiven him. When you are down Satan and many fair-weather friends will try to bring up the sin of your past that are already forgiven and forgotten by God. When we are saved, our sins are already be cleansed by the blood of Jesus the Lamb of God. Don’t let ourselves or anyone else take us back and drag out our past again. Praise God we are set free from our sinful past when we repented of our sins by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
How can one sleep when one’s life is falling apart? David lay down and slept knowing that he will wake up in safety. This is what we need to do in these tough times. He put his confidence in God. Having done all he could, he prayed and let God take over. This sleep is not fitful sleep but peaceful rest in God. We need to ask ourselves do I have the confidence that David had in his God. Yes, the broken pieces are still strewn all over but we know that God will help us pick them up and He will put them together in His own way and time. When God answers our prayers, He gets the glory, we get the joy and the blessing.
Psalm 3.5-8 ESV
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O LORD!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the LORD;
your blessing be on your people! Selah
Prayer for today
Our Father, we thank you that you have led us through many storms in the past. We thank you have been our shield, our provider and our deliverer in time past. Lord, we ask for your forgiveness that we look at the raging storm all around us more than we look at you. Help us to put our confidence in you and leave all the tomorrows to you. Lord, we thank you in the midst of the storm, we can find peace in you, by laying hold of you in prayer.
We commit these concerns to you, Lord, Make your prayer personal and specific.
- Those who have lost their jobs and look for new ones
- Those who have a pay cut, facing financial constraints
- Those who are in business facing cash flow problems
- Those who are schooling adjusting to the New Normal
- Those who are taken ill
Tell God the crisis you are facing and ask God to give you faith in your time of need.
There is power in Jesus’ Name! Amen.
“凡是天上的审判，凡是从地狱上升的诱惑，凡是地球上的十字架，要是混在一起、压在一起，也不会像这首诗所写的那么可怕。 痛苦中的痛苦就是人惧怕得不着上帝的帮助。” （司布真）诗篇3：2
每日的新闻似乎表明世界正在分崩离析。 我们中间没有人预料到新型冠状病毒的爆发。 这次的疫情给政府、企业、就业、家庭生活、甚至宗教集会造成了严重破坏。气候的变化引起在一些地区发生洪涝灾害，其他地区造成极端干旱。 社会、种族和政治骚乱像野火一般蔓延。 世界好像分崩离析，这就是全球的图景。
真正让我非常担心的是，年轻人和老年人都感觉到他们的生活在这个疫情中正在崩溃。 许多人情绪不安，思维不平静，无法应付困难。 当生命崩溃时，我们该怎么办？
大卫王曾经处在这样的境地。大卫度过了他一生中最艰难的阶段后变得更加强壮。诗篇第三篇的背景记录在撒母耳记下15-18章中。押沙龙迫不及待地登上王位。 从大卫手中夺下王冠的唯一办法是造反，推翻他父亲的王国。 由于随从押沙龙的人民势派甚大，大卫只好与一小群忠心的士兵一起逃生。 除押沙龙，也有不少叛徒攻击他。大卫在逃亡期间来到巴户琳，扫罗族的一个叫示每的人诅咒他，拿石头砍大卫和他的跟随者。 情况如此糟糕，以至于很多人说：”上帝救不了他！” 在这种危急时，似乎连上帝也救不了你。 (诗篇3：1-2)
是的，当生活分崩离析时，无论我们看什么，都只能看见自己的敌人越来越多。 只有黑暗！ 我们不仅在身体上气馁，我们精神、属灵上也受到攻击。 连上帝也不听我们的祷告。“他得不着神的帮助。” 绝对无路可逃！
在第2节的结尾处，有一个词“细拉”这个希伯来词在圣经旧约中出现了74次，其中71次在诗篇，3次在哈巴谷书（3：3、9、13）。“细拉”被英语翻译为暂停或插曲。 其确切用途和意义还不确定。 就象我们乐谱里的休止符号。 “细拉”在诗篇第3篇就出现了3次：2、4和8节的结尾。
我们必须记住，大卫是向上帝祷告。 在第二节之后，大卫沉思了一下，默想他所说的话。甚至可能是某种音乐插曲。 经过一段时间，他提醒自己，对上帝说”但” 。我周围的一切都说我注定要失败。 他们说”连上帝也救不了你“。 我的上帝不是那样的。 即使在最困难的时候，他也不会离开我，也不会放弃我。 当大卫把关注转移至上帝而不是他生命中的碎片时，他感受到上帝是他的安慰，是他的保护，是他的快乐和拯救，因为上帝是我们的盾牌。 我们想的盾牌只提供前面的保护。 上帝的盾牌是环绕着我们的，当上帝是我们的盾牌时，我们完全受到保护。 上帝是我们的荣耀。 当我们气馁时，人人都看我们为粪土时，上帝给我们的才是真正的尊荣。 他担当了我们罪过和耻辱。他抬起我们的头，我们能感受到只有从上帝而来的救赎喜乐。当我们定睛在上帝时，我们的信心就会坚强。我们不惧怕。大卫大声地赞美神，因为上帝回应了他的祷告。
人生分崩离析，怎能睡得着？ 大卫躺下睡觉，知道他会安然起来。这是我们在这困难时期需要做的。他对上帝充满信心。他尽力祷告、尽好本分、把事情交托给神。这种睡眠不是断断续续的睡眠，而是安息在上帝里面。 我们需要扪心自问，是否像大卫对他的上帝有信心？是的，碎片仍然散落在各处，但我们知道上帝会帮助我们捡起来，祂会用自己的方式和时间把碎片拼在一起。当上帝回应我们的祷告时，祂必得到荣耀，我们将得到喜乐和祝福。
天父，谢谢祢带领我们度过了许多风浪。 我们感谢祢曾经是我们的盾牌，我们的供应和我们的救主。 主啊，我们恳求祢饶恕我们在这个时期专注周围的狂风暴雨过于专注在祢。帮助我们对祢有信心，把每个明天都交在祢的手里。主啊，我们感谢祢在风暴中，我们仍可以在祢里面找到平安，祷告中牵着祢。