Friday, June 28, 2013

Where Are You, God?

Where Are You, God?
Psalm 42:3-11
My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.  Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.  I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?  As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Read II Samuel 16:15-17:23
The King of Israel, King David, was going through some very troubling times at this point in his life. His family was disintegrating, his kingdom had been disrupted, and he himself was on the run from his own son, Absalom. Adding to his misery, David was continually badgered by those who mockingly asked him, “Where is thy God?” (Psalm 42:3,10).

David was informed of the sedition of Ahithophel, the king’s counselor, inciting the people to rebel against his authority as king. David prayed that God would “turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness” (15:31). God answered that prayer when Hushai, another of David’s counselors, offered himself in service to David. The king sent Hushai back to Jerusalem with instructions to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel but, before this could be done, Hushai had to win the confidence of Absalom. Through carefully chosen words, Hushai saluted Absalom, “God save the king, God save the king” (16:16), and most likely did homage with the customary bow. Absalom, knowing Hushai’s former loyalty to David, caused him to be suspicious and didn’t understand why Husahi would leave David at this critical moment. Hushai’s mission was to contradict the advice of Ahithophel and to communicate Absalom’s plans back to David. 

Ahithophel’s advice to Absalom was to go into his father’s concubines and have sexual relations with them and assert his right to his father’s throne. In the Near East, possession of the harem came with the throne and Ahithophel knew this. The second piece of advice given to Absalom was that he immediately kill David to remove any possibility of David reclaiming the throne. Ahithophel wanted to overtake David while he was weary and exhausted.  The plan, terrify the people who were with David so that they would run away from the king leaving him alone and venerable to physical attack. Absalom and his elders had regressed so far in their rebellion that they saw the death of David as the right or lawful thing to do.

God, in His providential care of David, took control of the situation through the counsel of Hushai giving David time to prepare for war against Absalom. When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not taken, he went home, set his house in order, and in shame and despair, took his own life. Ahithophel, in all probability, assumed that Absalom would not win the battle and would be accused of being disloyal to the king. Ten centuries later another traitor would betray a greater King from the house of David. He, too, would die at his own hands with a rope around his neck.

Thought:  Have you ever asked the question, “Where are you, LORD?” when you were facing unsurmountable problems? Did it seem that during those troublesome times in your life that God was not there? Despite the appearance of what is happening, He is there with you and is at work in your life. Don’t be fooled into thinking that God is not around when the going gets tough, or allow your problems to drive a wedge between you and your God. He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you but to guide, direct, and bring about His purpose in your life (Romans 8:28; Philippians 2:13).

Have you committed every trial totally to God and used your circumstances as a springboard for richer fellowship with Him? Every situation has two sides, a dark side and a bright side. Troubles should not drive us away from God but to Him. God is in control of every circumstance–––good or bad! When things around you are overwhelming to you, hear the cries of David in his most troublesome times–––”My tears have been my meat day and night...I pour out my soul in me...Why art though cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?...Why hast thou forgotten me?...Why dost thou cast me off?” (Psalm 42:3,4,5,9; 43:2). David learned it was critical for him to have a deeper trust in his God and at the end of Psalm 42 he wrote, “Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance (deliverance), and my God.”

I cannot image what it would be like to have my own son rebel against my God given authority and then plot to take my life. David was experiencing tremendous difficulty during this time of his life and in Psalm 42 he reveals the strength and hope he has not found in his earthly kingdom, but in God and God alone.

Note: Ahithophel was Bethsheba’s grandfather and David’s chief counselor. It is not certain why Ahithophel turned against David but he must have felt shamed and betrayed by David when the king had taken his granddaughter, another man’s wife, and had her husband killed in battle. Revenge may well have been at least part of his motivation for his treason and rebellion against David.

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