Psalms? Huh? I thought we were studying Samuel? Let me explain. I am going through the Bible chronologically. For instance, although I am only in Samuel, I have already read through Job because while Job is after Samuel in the Bible, he lived before him on the timeline. Now since many of the Psalms were written by David, we will find ourselves taking a break from Samuel occasionally as we jump into Psalms.
11 In the Lord I put my trust;
How can you say to my soul,
“Flee as a bird to your mountain”?
2 For look! The wicked bend their bow,
They make ready their arrow on the string,
That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart.
3 If the foundations are destroyed,
What can the righteous do?
4 The Lord is in His holy temple,
The Lord’s throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold,
His eyelids test the sons of men.
5 The Lord tests the righteous,
But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.
6 Upon the wicked He will rain coals;
Fire and brimstone and a burning wind
Shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous,
He loves righteousness;
His countenance beholds the upright.
David is feeling attacked and frightened, and he acknowledges that. Yet he reminds himself of the God he serves, and he perseveres in faith.
Verse 5 says “The Lord tests the righteous.”
But what is this testing for? What is the point? God already knows our every thought, so why does he need to test us?
When I was a math teacher in public school, there are so many phrases, and comments that you hear all the time. I have talked about one of these before being “The book is wrong.”
Another one I heard all the time either from students or from the parents was “I/he/she really understood the homework, but really didn’t understand the test. ” Now, of course there are exceptions and poorly written tests, but for the most part, what this means is, you were actually doing it wrong the whole time you thought you understood it, but never knew it. What a horrible waste of time. Right?
That is why we need tests. This same scenario happens outside the classroom all the time! People say things like “I was really a patient person until I had kids.” Or “I never used get angry until so and so came into my life.” But the reality is that the anger, the impatience, all of those negative character traits that show up may only show up when we are pushed to our limit,(tested) but (and this is the important part) they wouldn’t show up at all if they weren’t there to begin with. Pastor Bob always says that when you squeeze a tube of toothpaste, toothpaste comes out! Or if you bump into someone holding a full cup, whatever is in there is going to come out.
After handing back tests to my students, whether years ago as a school teacher, or now, as a home school mom, I always give them a chance to make corrections for partial credit. The reason for that is that taking a test gives us an opportunity to evaluate our response and our reaction. That is where such true learning can take place. So what happened when I gave them that opportunity? Well, I had students that would toss their test in the trash, and blame me, or their basketball game, or their parents, or lack of parents. But…. I also had students that would stay after class, spend time with me, and listen once again to hear my way of solving the problem, and leave satisfied. They would leave changed. Through it all, I made a surprising discovery. Quite often, the students that got it wrong, but came back for help, ended up understanding the problem even better then those that had gotten it right the first time around. Now that’ll preach!
When we are going through a test, or have gone through one, and feel like we have bombed it, we have that same choice to make. Are we going to play the blame game thinking about who we can blame for our reaction? Or instead, will we draw close to the One who has all the answers, and allow Him to walk us through, as He gently corrects us because He loves us.
I pray that as we start this new year, instead of crumbling up 2013 and tossing it in the trash, we would instead take it to Jesus, and spend time with Him, letting him change our hearts and teach us His ways, which are higher than our ways, as He molds us into who He has planned for us to be in 2014! Amen!