Memo 1111: Total Confidence
When I was a child, we started every day in school with a Bible reading—and it was a public school (my, how times have changed). Since we were young, most of us knew nothing of the Bible so we often chose the only passage we knew and that was Psalm 23. It's only six verses long, but it's words have comforted many throughout the centuries and is a good place for us to pause this week as we search for clues to how David lived an abundant life. Let's look at two verses:
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows (Psalm 23:4-5).
Your enemies don¹t show up until you get serious about doing God¹s will. Consider these examples from the Bible. Genesis Joseph faced the enmity of his brothers when he shared his dreams with them. David incurred the wrath of Saul after David was anointed king. Daniel was a faithful public servant in Babylon, but then one day people conspired against him that ultimately sent him to the lions' den. Nehemiah had to regularly deal with opponents who tried to hinder his work as he rebuilt Jerusalem.
And Jesus didn¹t have an enemy in the world until He preached and healed on the Sabbath. After He did, there was a group of men dedicated to see Him die. After Jesus, the Apostle Paul was a devoted Jew who then preached that Jesus was the Messiah. After that, old friends and even family became his enemies, some devoted to his assassination. Your enemies are actually a sign that you're doing something right, not that you're doing something wrong. So where is your greatest source of external opposition? Is it from family, friends or associates? Identifying what you do that attracts the greatest opposition may give you a significant clue concerning your purpose. However, that's not the main lesson of this week's entry.
Let's circle back and examine what David wrote in Psalm 23. He made the bold claim that even if and when he walked through an ominous valley, the valley of the shadow of death, he would fear no evil. That's quite a statement! When I've walked through dark times, I have had plenty of fears. I've worried, cried out to God, and done what I could to turn the light on so the darkness would vanish. Yet David said he would keep on walking in those situations and not slow down or veer off course! That shows the confidence he had in His God.
Then David acknowledged that God had set a magnificent banquet before him, but look where it was—in the presence and full view of David's enemies! God didn't vanquish his foes, He flaunted His favor for David for all to see, including those who would despise the scene and what it represented. While God was at it, He anointed David, again in the presence of his foes, and would fill his cup at the banquet table to overflowing.
This week's PowerPoint for Living can be expressed as follows:
God may want to make you an example of His favor for all to see. That means you must learn not only to function in the midst of your enemies, but thrive there, having full confidence even in the darkest times that your God is with you.
The psalmist (it sounds like David) later wrote,
For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long (Psalm 71:5-8).
Is your confidence in God? Do you have peace in the midst of turmoil? Can you keep walking when you are surrounded by people, including some who neither have your best interests at heart nor celebrate your prosperity? Is God your guide and comfort in the darkest times? The abundant life isn't free of tough times, but God wants to teach you that you can be consistent in inconsistent times when you learn not to focus on the times but on Him. Have a blessed week and keep on walking, even if you are surrounded by your enemies and foes!