Friday, 18 December 2020
Title: God’s ways are not our ways
By: Ps Cheng Cheung

Psalm 139: 5 & 6
You have encircled me behind and in front,
And placed Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot comprehend it. (NASB)

You barricade me behind and in front,
and set your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.
It is set high; I cannot prevail against it. (LEB)

Those words in bold used to baffle me. Other translations use verbs such as hedged me behind and before and hem me in. Hem: is this similar to how a seamstress would hem all around the edge of a new skirt to prevent the garment from fraying?

Job chapter 1 throws light on the matter.

In that account the Lord asked Satan to consider Job, “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil.” But Satan sneered and countered, “9 . . . Is it for nothing that Job fears God? 10 Have you not made a hedge around him and his household and all that he has on every side? ” The word in question (encircle, barricade, hedge, hem, enclose) is the same term used for the besieging of a city in battle so that all the escape routes are closed, thus ”hemmed in” or ”shut in” inescapably. Interestingly, it is a very strong statement of security for God’s child.

But it is not imprisonment or bondage. The idea is that God has kept us there to steady us, to direct us, restrain us and keep us from running and escaping the situation¹.

Let us not be mistaken – there w͟i͟l͟l͟ b͟e͟ times when our Heavenly Father d͟o͟e͟s͟ n͟o͟t deliver us from a very stressful predicament although He obviously can. On the contrary, in s͟o͟m͟e͟ situations He may even shut off all easy escape routes. But He stays close and guides us as we seek Him and place our trust in Him. This grows our faith and our understanding of God’s ways. Through these invaluable, sometimes painful lessons, our relationship with our Heavenly Father is ultimately deepened.

This poem describes those difficult but familiar situations well:

Pressed out of measure, pressed beyond all length;
Pressed so intensely, it seems beyond strength;
Pressed in the body, pressed within the soul,
Pressed in the mind till dark surges roll.

Pressure by foes, and pressure from friends;
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends;
Pressed into loving both the staff and rod.
Pressed into knowing no helper but God,

Pressed into liberty where nothing clings,
Pressed into faith for impossible things;
Pressed into living a life in Christ the Lord,
Pressed into living a life for Christ outpoured. ²

This explains ”You . . place Your hand upon me” or ”set Your hand upon me.” It speaks of the palm of God’s protective hand “cupped” over us, so that all our movements are within Our Father’s protective grip. This is a wonderfully reassuring thought. The picture is similar the promise in John 10: 28 and 29 – . . no one will snatch them out of My hand. . . and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

On realising God’s wonderful knowledge of his situation and how He helped him overcome the predicament, the psalmist could not help but exclaim in awe and wonder. ”Such knowledge is too wonderful, too marvellous for me.” N͟o͟w͟ I͟ u͟n͟d͟e͟r͟s͟t͟a͟n͟d͟ w͟h͟y͟ I͟ w͟e͟n͟t͟ t͟h͟r͟o͟u͟g͟h͟ w͟h͟a͟t͟ I͟ w͟e͟n͟t͟ t͟h͟r͟o͟u͟g͟h͟. God’s knowledge of my frailties is beyond my range, beyond my reach and beyond my power. If He had not dealt with me the way He did, I would not have grasped the end result and could not have accepted it.

My Prayer

Gracious Heavenly Father, I praise You for all that You are. Most of all, I am thankful that You are my Heavenly Father. You guide and teach, and You direct. You help me see me for what I am, and yet You do not condemn.

Thank you that You deal with me patiently, showing me my shortcomings. May I always be Your willing student. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


¹ ”Living the Psalms” – Charles Swindoll

² “Pressed Out of Measure” – Annie Johnson Flint

每日灵粮
星期五,2020年12月18日
标题:陷入困境
作者:张祯祥传道
翻译:陈月妃姐妹

诗篇139:5-6
你在我前后环绕我 、按手在我身上。这样的知识奇妙、是我不能测的。至高、是我不能及的。

那些粗体字曾经让我感到困惑。其他的翻译版本使用动词,例如在我前后环绕我,并把我镶起来。裙子的镶边:这是否类似于一位女裁缝在新裙子的边沿缝上镶边以防止衣服磨损?

约伯记第1章阐明了这件事。

在这种情况下,上帝要求撒但把约伯视为是一个“完全正直、敬畏 神、远离恶事的人。”但撒旦冷笑着说,“9。。。约伯敬畏 神、岂是无故呢?你岂不是四面圈上篱笆围护他和他的家、并他一切所有的么?“这个词(包围、栅栏、树篱、边沿、围起来)与在战役中围困一个城市时所使用的术语是相同的,那么所有的逃跑路线都被封闭了,因此不可避免地“被包围”或“禁闭”。有趣的是,对上帝的孩子来说,这是一个非常有力的安全宣告。

但这并不是监禁或奴役。上帝把我们留在那里,是为了坚固我们,指引我们,约束我们,阻止我们从这个情况中逃跑¹。

请不要误会—有些时候我们的天父虽然明明可以把我们从高压的困境中解救出来。相反的,在有些时候,祂甚至可能关闭了所有容易逃生的路线。但当我们寻求祂,并信任祂时,祂就会与我们亲近及引导我们。这就增强了我们的信心和对上帝方式的理解。通过这些宝贵的,有时是痛苦的教训,我们与天父的关系最终得以加深。

这首诗很好地阐述了那些困难而又熟悉的情况:

压得过大,压得过长;
压力如此之大,似乎力不从心;
压在身体里,压在灵魂内,
压在心里直到黑暗涌动。

敌人的压力,朋友的压力;
重重的压力,直到生命几乎结束;
被迫爱上了竿和杖。
被迫知道除了上帝别无拯救,

在没有任何东西依附的地方被压迫得自由,
对不可能的事情坚信不疑;
被迫在主基督里生活,
被迫为基督而活。²

这就解释了“你。。。把你的手放在我身上”,这是说上帝的保护之手有如“杯状”把我们罩住,这样我们所有的行动都在我们父亲的保护之下。这是一个非常令人安心的想法。这幅图和约翰福音10:28和29节相似。。谁也不能从我手里把他们夺去。。。谁也不能从我父手里把他们夺去。

当诗人意识到上帝对自己处境的奇妙了解以及祂如何帮助他克服困境时,诗人不禁惊叹不已。“这样的知识对我来说过于奇妙,是多么的不可思议。” 如今我才明白我为什么要经历我所经历的一切。上帝对我的弱点的了解超出了我的想象。如果祂没有以如此的方式对待我,我就不能掌握,也不会接受最终的结果。

我的祷告

慈爱的天父,我因你的一切而赞美你。最重要的是,我感谢你是我的天父。你指导我、教导我、引领我。你帮助我看清我的本来面目,却不定我的罪。

谢谢你耐心地对待我,让我看到我的缺点。愿我永远是你心甘情愿的学生。奉耶稣的名。阿门。
_
¹ ”Living the Psalms” – Charles Swindoll
² “Pressed Out of Measure” – Annie Johnson Flint

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