Wednesday, 8 July 2020
Title: Get Real!
Author: Pastor Wallace Ong
Psalm 38:9 – O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.
Should we sneer at Christians who have backslidden hence become carnal, lukewarm and barren? Are all children of God perfect saints and can do no wrong? Are there no sinners among all the saints? In contrast, the Bible shows us many genuine, authentic, and stories of real struggles of HIS saints. One of the biblical examples recorded for us serves to illustrate this point. He was not just an ordinary person, but the mighty king of Israel anointed by God – King David. He fought bears and lions with his bare hands, and fought the mighty Goliath – whom none of the people in Israel would dare to stand up against his extraordinary power. He also killed tens of thousands of his enemies by trusting that God would always be on his side. (1 Samuel 18:7) This great king David wrote most of the Psalms in the Bible. He was the one who set up a 24/7 worship altar to worship God and was credited with the title “the man after God’s own heart”. However, when we read Psalm 38, we find that he was groaning in pain, suffering in sins to the point of failing in his strength and the light of his eyes growing dim.
Paul was another great man of faith chosen by Jesus to be His Apostle. He wrote more than half of the books in the New Testament. He was a great missionary, a teacher of the Word, and an evangelist for Christ. Yet he had admitted that he was the worst sinner of all, and he didn’t have it all together. “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Phil 3:12) “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:18-19,24-25) “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor 12:9).
When psalmist David told God that “O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.” He exhibited the similar attitude of the Tax collector: “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” (Luke 18:13). It is also like Paul’s acknowledgment, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). David longed to do the righteous things according to God’s commandment, but he failed and fell into temptation. His sighing came from a repented heart filled with regret and agony.
God sees our struggles and intimately knows our hearts, just like how He intimately knows all that in David’s heart and understands David’s afflictions. Therefore, we should not stay at a distance from God with a fake holy mask on as though He would prefer the pristine over the authentic. We will fall prey to the lie of ourselves if we think that, “Well! Just swallow it all in. Let’s fake it until I make it, and not to let anyone see my weakness.” However, God has revealed to us in His words that He knows all our shortcomings. He understands our struggles. He longs to be gracious to us as we seek Him. If we keep holding on to the fake holy mask, most likely we would miss out on the needs for God (Hosea 6:6) with the genuine prayer to God like the tax collector in Luke 18:13. Lest we forget that we are sinners who are helpless, needy and desperate for His grace like David in Psalm 38.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you for Your words and the Holy Spirit who confirms to us that by grace through faith in Jesus Christ our sins have been forgiven. And we humbly come before Your throne to receive this grace and mercy. You are our Father who knows us by our names and knows everything in our hearts. You do not despise us for our weaknesses, our struggles with sins, or even when we fall. Please forgive us when we succumb to the trap of Satan – being prideful with self-righteousness, doing things with our own strength, and worse of all, measuring ourselves better than others. Help us to surrender ourselves daily to You in order to live a life that is pleasing to You. Help us not to be self-centered but to edify, encourage, and lift up one another for your glory. Thank you, Father. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
诗篇的大卫告诉上帝说：“主啊，我的心愿都在你面前，我的叹息不向你隐瞒。” 他表现出了与税吏一样类似的态度：“那税吏远远地站着，连举目望天也不敢，只捶着胸说：‘神啊，开恩可怜我这个罪人！‘”（路加福音18:13）。就像保罗所承认的，“我真是苦啊！谁能救我脱离这取死的身体呢?” （罗马书7:24）。大卫渴望按照上帝的诫命去做义事，但他失败了，陷入了诱惑。他的叹息来自忏悔的心，充满了遗憾和痛苦。