“O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise” (Psalm 51:15).
For some time, David’s lips have been closed because of his blood-guiltiness—that is, he has not been able to come before God freely and “own” the sin he committed as a result of his orchestrating the murder of Uriah.
Having now come to a full realization of his guilt, he is finally able to approach God in prayer, begging Him to extend His grace and give him the opportunity for full repentance and confession. Only then does David feel he can be free to use his mouth in praise and honor of God.
Like David, we as God’s children sometimes try to bury our sins in the burrows of our minds, thinking they are out of sight, out of mind; but realizing deep down they need to be confessed and made right with God.
The wonderful benefit of being with Jesus is that, based upon our heart-felt repentance and confession, God stands ready and willing to forgive us. It takes only the courage to open our hearts and come to Him in full trust.
“But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
“My steps had nearly slipped.
“For I was envious of the boastful,
“When I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:2-3).
In a period of self-reflection, the writer, Asaph, has just declared his conviction that he realizes God is good. Before that realization, he went through a period of doubt, almost giving up his faith.
The reason for his doubting was his observation that the wicked prospered, causing him to question God’s goodness and righteousness for allowing that to happen. He was as one on the edge of a cliff, almost falling over.
How many have been right there with Asaph, allowing some hurt or disappointment in life to cause doubts to arise and thinking that if God really cared He would bless the righteous and punish the wicked?
To think in such a way not only shows a materialistic way of thinking but a serious doubt of God—it shows a lack of trust in Him to allow situations to work out in a way that will be the best spiritually in the long run.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwelling;
Do not spare,
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes (Isaiah 54:2).
When Israel came out of Babylonian captivity and returned to her homeland by the decree of Cyrus, she was a much smaller nation than she had been before.
Here, however, God tells her that she should prepare because she is about to enjoy a period of rapid growth. The word “tent,” used as a reminder of her former nomadic life, is used to signify her dwelling place.
Her expansion will be so rapid and significant that she will have to gather more “cords” and “stakes” so that she can take care of the increase.
Scholars believe this passage has a second level of meaning: they believe it is a prophecy about the coming church that would enjoy a period of rapid growth after her establishment following the death of Jesus on the cross. And, of course, that’s what happened in the first century.
“If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10).
Life is not always laid out for us in a smoothly-wrapped package. The reality is that life can have wrinkles. Sometimes these wrinkles are small and only somewhat annoying, but sometimes the wrinkles are big ones that make our package look surprisingly messy.
Wrinkles represent adversities in our lives. So, what do we do when adversity comes along? The preacher here tells us how not to react. We are not to allow adversity to defeat us because such action indicates weakness.
Rather, hopefully, we allow our reasonable, logical self to take over: we assess what has happened, give attention to the part of the package where we find wrinkles, and take steps to smooth them out.
In doing so, we rise up from the ashes of a discouraging situation and use the lessons learned to become a better, stronger Christian. We allow ourselves to be empowered by the challenges the adversity presents to us, and we show our strength of faith by meeting the difficulties positively.
“You will show me the path of life;
“In Your presence is fulness of joy;
“At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11).
Contextually, David speaks of Jesus in this verse, describing His relationship with His heavenly Father who would guide Him through the path of suffering and sacrifice He would go through here for the benefit of all mankind.
After His mission in this life is completed, Jesus will ascend to be at the right hand of His Father in whose presence He can experience all of the joy and pleasures heaven has to offer.
Beyond the context, all Christians can take a firm grasp on the hope that lies within our hearts: God indeed guides us through the path of life through the power of His word. And we, too, can know through inspiration that whatever sacrifices we must make here, they will be worth it when we enter into the presence of divinity and enjoy heaven for all eternity.