Psalms 43, 5, &8

Surrender and Peace

 Back in Genesis 43 Jacob was faced with the possibility of losing another son; the second son of his wife Rachel. He had already lost the first son, Joseph. Jacob thought Joseph had been attacked and killed by a wild animal. At least that is what his other sons told him. The reality was he had been sold into slavery by his brothers. Dysfunctional families have been around for a long time.

 Much of Jacob’s problems were a result of his and the boy’s sinful dysfunction. Now, faced with a famine in the land, Jacob is forced to send the boys back to Egypt to buy food.  They have been there once before and Joseph was in charge of the food distribution but they didn’t recognize him. Joseph wanted to know what the brothers did to his younger brother so he kept one of the brothers in jail knowing that the famine would force them to return. That is where we are in Genesis 43. They are out of food and need to go back but Joseph told them last time not to come back without his other brother. Jacob does not want to send the boy but the circumstances leave him no choice so he surrenders his opposition and says if he is bereaved of his sons, he is bereaved.

 David is facing a similar situation. He was forced to run from his son Absalom who is trying to take over the kingdom and kill him.

 When life’s circumstances get so out of control in our life the soul goes into despair, Psalm 43:5.

When our soul goes into despair our emotions are in danger of going out of control.

 Jacob did not realize that God was working and taking him and his sons through what they needed to go through in order for Jacob to receive what he needed and to be blessed with being reunited with his lost son (s). Jacob was forced to surrender his will by his circumstances and is worried.  David was also forced to surrender because of the circumstances, but there is a difference. When David chose to surrender he chose to trust the Lord. Jacob did not have that hope at that time.

Sometimes when we don’t understand the what or the why of the circumstances we are going through, we just have to surrender our will and control. The best way to surrender our will is to trust that God is in control.  That surrender comes with peace.

 We do not see the big picture. Indeed, when the circumstances begin to take control our vision narrows to just what we are going through. God sees the broad picture. In Jacob’s case, the narrow vision was the need for food and keeping his youngest son at home. God was working to not only  provide food but to reunite Jacob to his son Joseph, reunite the family, heal the family dysfunction, provide for the family, and show that He is God and has a good plan for them if they will just seek and follow Him.  

 David didn’t see the big picture either but he knew that God did. This is surrender with peace. It is not that the crisis went away, it did not. David still felt the emotions, but in Psalm 5 we see him releasing them in a healthy way by giving them to God, trusting that God has everything in control. David didn’t stuff his emotions to his harm, but he didn’t act on them to his harm either. Giving his emotions to God releases the pressure and gives room for God to guide and act. God may well lead us to act but He will guide us to do it in a healthy way.

 In Psalm 8 David reminds us of who God is and that He is a God of order. When we elevate ourselves to the place of god in our life, crisis and dysfunction are sure to result and there is no order. Self-discipline helps but mostly with little things or when things are going well. Attempting to control any and everything is a recipe for misery and dysfunction. When a crisis comes or the circumstances of life get intense, self-discipline and our attempts to control everything and everyone can fail and emotions can be quick to take over.

 For order in our life we need to let God be God. If God is truly guiding our life then we have self-control because self-control is part of the fruit of the Spirit of God living in us, BUT, we need to surrender our will to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Our other choices are to try to control everything ourselves, self-control, or let our emotions loose and let the chips fall where they may. It should be obvious that there is no peace in these choices, and the potential is for our lives to become a big mess.

 In these Psalms David is showing us the pathway to peace in crisis. The Apostle Paul tells us how in Philippians 4:4-9 which is our homework for today.

May the God of order guide you in the path of peace.

Pastor Dave