Sure and Steadfast

Psalm 125 is a wonderful psalm that tells us we can trust in God, that His care for us is the best security there is, that we can be assured of God’s presence with us in every situation.

All who have faith in the Eternal stand as Mount Zion:
    unmoved, enduring, eternal.
Just as the mountains around Jerusalem embrace her,
    the Eternal, too, wraps around those who belong to Him —
    for this moment and for every moment to come.

Psalm 125:1-2

It was this confidence that the disciples had when they went about in Jerusalem preaching and teaching all they had learned from Jesus. These men had been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit from fear-filled fishermen to fearless fishers of men. They knew the security that comes from trusting God.

In Acts 5 we read about the believers. It says people were afraid of publically joining them but, because of their example, their witness, more and more of these people became believers. Despite threats, despite what they would have to give up, they could not resist the Good News.

All of the apostles were imprisoned because of the jealousy of the Jewish authorities. When God sent an angel to open the prison door and send them back to preaching the message of life they didn’t take the opportunity to run away and hide; instead, they went back to doing what Jesus had commanded. They went to the Temple, one of the most public places and continued to share the hope of the Good News. They were rearrested, threatened and beaten before being released.

They didn’t stop even after that, they were so filled with love for God that they continued doing all the things that had just got them arrested.

On Sunday, our pastor taught us that suffering can be used to purify us, to remove things that get between us and God, to help us prioritise what really matters. That was the experience of the Disciples here. They rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus. Their confession of faith didn’t change but was made stronger as they saw God’s power surrounding them. They knew that they rested in God’s hands despite what circumstances might come. The suffering, the persecution drew them closer to God because He was all they could rely on but also because they knew Him, knew Jesus and knew that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead was working in them.

It’s common sense to us to avoid situations where we are uncomfortable, to try and make our lives easy and straightforward. Today’s proverb speaks about that, the way that seems wise to me is sometimes the worst way I can go. Following Christ, living a Christian life can demand uncomfortable decisions. We can be faced with choices that cause us to squirm and look for a way out. But we can be sure that God surrounds us in those situations just as He does when things are fabulous. He surrounds us, hems us in and if we trust Him, will lead us to a result that will end in blessing for us and for those around us.

The psalm promises us that God’s presence is as sure and steadfast as the mountains. Let’s rely on that when those hard decisions and situations arise. Rely on the God who has never and will never let us down.

(I have been asked to write a devotional on Tuesdays so – unless God says differently when I am praying beforehand – I am going to use that here. FYI if you receive the devotional this may or may not be identical :))

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