Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy. Psalm 43:3 (NASB)
Recently my Sunday school class did a series on the names of God. El Semchah Giyl translated, the God of my exceeding joy, is one of my favorites. I found it most interesting because of where it is located. It is smack in the middle of Psalm 43. When I read the Psalm, I find that the author is not experiencing glad news. In fact, he finds himself in the middle of turmoil with a group of people that he deems evil. He is wondering why God, who had promised to be his deliverer, has not moved to bring swift justice in his cause.
It reminded me of times in my life when I felt that perhaps God was not listening to me. He did not swiftly move to do exactly what I wanted, and suddenly I found myself feeling confused. He was not acting like I thought He would! At that very moment, I began to have a great struggle within myself. I was trying to determine if God is really who He says He is. The problem with that is that I am looking with my human eyes and can't really see what God sees. He is far wiser than I and still, I want Him to work like I expect Him to, not in a different way. The Psalmist is also at that precipice.
When I look just a couple of verses down, I see that the writer is reminding himself of who God is, even though he is struggling. I love that he asks God to lead him in this situation even though he does not comprehend why God would let these events take place. This movement on his part can only be a prompt from the Holy Spirit. This tells me that even when I am confused, I must yield to God's Spirit. I must seek Him by asking Him to lead me.
The very next thing I see in Psalm 43 is that when I begin to yield to God, He is my exceeding joy. Wow! I am really overwhelmed by that because even in grueling situations, I can still have joy if I simply yield and remember that I have a God who is for me. It may not turn out like I thought, but He will never be out of control of what is going on.
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Action Item |
Are you experiencing a time that seems like God has left you? Read Psalm 43 and follow the steps laid out by the Psalmist. Pray for God's leading, yield to His Spirit, and remind yourself of the truth of who God is.
God, lead us even when we don't understand Your ways. Restore our joy in You even in hard situations where we lack the vision that You have. Help us to remember who You are to us. In Jesus name, Amen.
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