“The Mighty One, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
Our God comes; he does not keep silence;
before him is a devouring fire,
around him a mighty tempest.
He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
‘Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!’
The heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge!..
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.’
But to the wicked God says:
‘What right have you to recite my statutes
or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline,
and you cast my words behind you.
If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
and you keep company with adulterers.
‘You give your mouth free rein for evil,
and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your brother;
you slander your own mother’s son.
These things you have done,.. now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.’
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!” Psalm 50:1-6,14-21,23
The psalmist has obviously had difficult dealings with the wicked who hate discipline, cavort with and condone rebels against God’s word, deceive and slander, yet they and their repercussions are not his focus in life. He is absorbed with God. From beginning to end, God is the Mighty One, perfect Judge, and worthy of praise. From the rising of the sun to its setting on every day of trouble, his God shines forth.
How easy it is to be absorbed in our trouble. We suffer consequences of another’s unruly actions, we are stolen from, or betrayed, deceived, or slandered, and all thought and emotion turns inward. I am wounded, I am the victim, I hurt, I have a right. While these are true, and our troubles with attending pain and suffering are deep and real, the hope of the Christian is that right in the middle, God shines forth. Our deliverance, and God’s promised glory, come as we turn from concentrating on what ails to offer God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, continue in obedience, and call on Him.
Our God comes, and is near, in our every trouble. We own Him as our anchor and stronghold, and can trust Him as upright Judge who will one day make all things well and right. He is neither silent nor inactive, and will never forsake His own. (Psalm 9:9-10; 18:1-2; 94:14; Revelation 21:4)
Would we resolve to look for God’s beauty in our trouble? Can we trace His hand of glory? Would we turn days of hardship into days of intentional thanks, and doing the next right thing, and calling upon Him through the hours? There is nothing we suffer that He has not carried and from which He will not deliver. (Isaiah 53:4)
God, my God, in my days of trouble, keep me trusting and thanking You, and making clear the way for Your glory to shine. (Job 1:20-22)