More often than not, we are inundated with all the wrong and misery happening in the world. How much ever we filter what we watch, we cannot deny the ever-present awareness of the state of crumbling humanity when it functions outside of God.
It is at these times more than ever I need to be reminded that God is good and that He is Sovereign. And in the midst of all this chaos, we do not want our graze transfixed on all that seems to be hurtful and wrong because it shifts our focus from the goodness of God. And when that happens, we are more than likely to give in to those feeling of fear and worry. Those feelings can overflow in how we pray, worship, react and respond to people around us.
I am reminded of Daniel. He literally lived in the enemy camp. He never belonged there and neither did he want to. Just because he did not want to, did not mean that he did not do a good job of whatever responsibilities he was called to do. He did them exceedingly well and he flourished in all that he undertook.
In Daniel 6:20, we read King Darius say “Daniel, servant of the living God, whom you serve continually.” Now that is some credential isn’t it. To live life characterized by your faith and worship of God. He always knew he was the Lords and that remained his identity throughout his life. Daniel never doubted God’s goodness with all he went through and he continued to walk diligently in God’s ways, all of his days.
As I was pondering on staying focused on being diligent in our daily walk with all that the world can throw at us, I came across Psalm 25: 8-10.
Psalm 25:8-10 says “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore, he instructs sinners in His ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of the covenant.”
First, I love how God is described in these verses. He is described as Good, Upright, Loving and Faithful. These are just some of the beautiful characteristics that are just who God is. Let us rest in that and allow it to give us comfort and peace.
These verses also say that the Lord instructs and guides. And His ways are always loving and faithful.
In verse 8, it says “Good and upright is the Lord, therefore he instructs sinners in His ways.”
Because of His goodness and righteousness, he chooses to instruct us, sinners in His way. We are in no way worthy of anything but he chooses to love and teach us His ways that are good. Those around us, are as much in need of His grace as you and I are. May we who so freely receive His grace and love, extend the same to those around us.
Psalm 25:9 says “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his ways.”
As we journey everyday requiring His grace afresh every morning, may we remember that He guides us every step of the way in what is right. It is not our intellect that directs and sustains us on the right path, but it is God who does that. Christ is the one who is our wisdom (1 Cor 1:30) and gives us discernment (Phil 1:9).
And as he guides, our posture has to be one of humility acknowledging that we completely rely on Him in every way, for His word says that he guides the humble.
He teaches us his ways – Just like Saul who was convinced when he was persecuting the Christians that he was doing the work of the Lord till God taught him differently. We have to look to Him to know that our path, our decisions, our opinions and perspectives are right in His eyes.
Verse 10 says “All of his ways are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of the covenant.”
All of his ways, not just some of his ways, but all. Whatever he does for us stems with love. We might not feel it at times as we go through a trial, but we have to trust His word and His character. We can be assured that He is with us from the very start to the very end and helps us walk diligently in His way.
But all of this comes along with the stipulation – for those who keep His ways.
Let’s just think of Daniel again, he was taken from his home and family and was in a place (Babylon) not out of choice, but circumstances led him there. He longed to return to Jerusalem but never could. He was strongly influenced to follow their ways but he did not forgo his identity as one who is Gods. He was more than once forcefully compelled to worship another but even with the risk of death, he continued worshipping God and only God. There were his three friends Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego, who I am sure were much encouragement and comfort to him, but to be surrounded by people and their ways that go against your grain of faith and many a times meant him harm because they got jealous when he found favour with the king was not the most peaceful situation to be in.
Through it all Daniel’s gaze was fixed on God. And God was with Daniel every step of the way. God was good, loving and faithful to Daniel. Daniel wished he could return to Jerusalem, but he surrendered his situation to God and God used him magnificently right where he was placed. We are not provided with details of any inner turmoil or doubts Daniel could have gone through. If he did have those moments, after all he was human, his life marked by prayer carried him through those moments and sustained and strengthened his faith. We do not see him lashing out at the court officials who got him thrown into the Lion’s den. His responses were never disgruntled or laced with anger and never about him. His actions always allowed room for God’s name to be known and His power to shine through.
As we strive to stay focused on being diligent in our walk everyday where so much happens that can so easily discourage us, may we rest our gaze on God who is good, loving, faithful and sovereign. Surrender to Him our situations and temper our responses with grace and love to allow His name and His power to shine through.
“Let your faith not rest on man’s wisdom but on God’s power” (1 Cor 2:5).