Scripture: Psalm 141:
4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
do not let me eat of their delicacies
5 Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it,
for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.
Observation: God hears our prayers, and answers them in ways we don’t always expect.
Application: This is one of those Psalms that I imagine David wrote while thinking about some of his many confrontations on the battle field. He was a mighty warrior and every battle he fought, he fought with God in mind. His desire was to please God in all his actions, and I think that David really tried to do that, but like all of us he had his times of weakness. I think I can pinpoint an answer to the prayer of Psalm 141, although I don’t think it was answered as David had expected it would be. The story is from 2 Sam. 12, David had sinned, and he had not yet accepted that fact. God’s “righteous man” was Nathan who showed David the ere of his ways through a story about a wicked man who had stolen a beloved sheep from a poor person, even though he was rich and had more than he needed. It was a story that spoke directly to David, as he had himself once been a Shepherd for his father. When David decided that this wicked man should be punished and demanded to know who it was, Nathan told him that he (David) was that wicked man. David was broken before God, its really a great story and I’m sure I’ll want to write more about it later on, so I won’t go into more detail here today. My point is that God answers our prayers in ways that we often don’t expect.
I jokingly titled this post “If You Ask, You Will Receive – So Be Careful What You Ask!” And I meant for it to be a little funny, but at the same time its very true. We just have to be sure that when we ask God for something, that we are going to be willing to accept the way that He decides to bring it about. It may not happen in just the way we imagined, but God knows best!
I felt called into the ministry as a teenager, and I started on the path I needed to go to make it happen. As I saw the goal getting closer and realized that before much longer I would be a pastor, I became very afraid and thought that because I was young and inexperienced in life that I didn’t have what I would need to be a pastor. Looking back now, I know God would have carried me through. But through my own feelings of inadequacy I prayed a prayer that went something like this, “Lord give me the life experience that I need in order to be the pastor you want me to be.”
This was a prayer that I have always remembered as one that God truly answered, but not really in the way I expected. Because shortly after praying that prayer, I allowed my own fears to make me swerve from my path. I dropped out of the training to be a pastor, and started down a road of what would end up being ten years of running from my true calling. I tried to convince myself and God that I was NOT supposed to be a pastor. During that time I jumped from job to job, I was just never satisfied with what I was doing, I have had so many different jobs I really can’t count them all. I got married, and we were blessed with a Son, but I was still running. The marriage didn’t last even three years, and I’m sure that my running from the calling in my heart played a big part in the reasons why it didn’t last.
I’ll make a long story short by saying that I’m only skimming the very top layers of what I went through during my running years. But after I had been completely broken, and my family had been shattered, God brought me back to that original call. When He led me back, he blessed me and gave me a second chance at having a happy family and I am so blessed now to have a loving, supporting wife and three respectful children whom I love with all my heart. I wouldn’t change a thing about what happened, but I never expected God to answer the prayer of that frightened teenage boy in such a powerful and profound way. I do feel that the experiences I had during those years of running made me more prepared to serve; However I now realize that had I been faithful to the call in the first place that God would have enabled me in every way.
David messed up, so did I, but his prayer was answered and so was mine, and God was and is faithful in carrying through to completion that which He has begun in us. Sometimes we stumble as we travel along the path, but isn’t it good to know that God is always there with us to set our feet back toward the goal ahead.
Prayer: Lord God Almighty,
You alone Father know the perfect plan for me. I trust that you will lead me in the ways you would have me to go, that you would open up the opportunities you would have me to accept, and close those which I should reject. Help me to always lean on your everlasting grace and mercy and to fall into your arms when I feel week and discouraged. Let me not run in fear from that which lies ahead, but help me to continue knowing that you are with me.
Yield: I give up trying to figure out how God is going to accomplish the purposes He has for my life, and desire to trust Him through it all.