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Singing Psalm 57 you are not alone

Singing Psalm 57 you are not alone though it sure seems like it some days

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Ever listen to the radio and hear the soul of the singer? Your heart aches for modern (and not so modern) day musicians who sound depressed, detached, and defeated as well as for those who sound angry and vindictive to cover up their anxiety and anarchy.

It seems that their soul is imprisoned by their own desires that lead them away from the source of peace and joy. Many mask their aloneness every December and sing as if they believed in and had a connection with the Word who became flesh.

Some actually do believe it, but those who masquerade are left as lonely as ever. What they want deep down is to be sure that they are not only not alone but are always in the presence of real, true, and unimaginable kindness and greatness. Their identities stem from that great desire. Hopefully their listeners will catch a more meaningful deeper desire than the one they display through their eyes if not their voices.

Do you ever find yourself feeling alone although people are all around you, disconnected in spite of having sincere desire, earnest effort, and decent social skills?

Ever found that you are not close to those you most want to be close to? You are alone though you’d rather be not alone.

When you love someone, really love him, there is nothing he could do to get you to stop loving him so that he is not alone. There’s nothing she could do to cut off your desire to pursue a relationship with her so that she is not alone.

Why is that?

When God sets his love on you, there is nothing you can do to stop him from pursuing you. You are like that because he made you like himself in that way.

The possible reasons for disconnection are too numerous to peruse here. One thing’s for sure, relationships are gifts from God — both the giving and the removal of them — each person who is placed in your life for however short or long a time is of great value as an image bearer of God. This is why you aim to treat each person you encounter with the utmost respect.

Each person is God’s person and not your person. He brings relationships, delays them, extends them, and removes them as he pleases for his glory and the good of those who love Jesus.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —- all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” ~ Colossians 1:15-17

But how can you be not alone when disconnect happens and then when it happens again?

Is your only recourse to seek and find lonely others to commiserate?

Singing Psalm 57 clues you into a skill that the Lord will help you master in time that will serve you well so that you would know you are not alone when relational disconnections threaten to undo you:

“I’m safe in shadow of your wings‘Til ruin passes by;”

When you feel alone, check to see if you might have drifted away from the Lord intentionally (you wrongly see him as an uncaring master) or unintentionally (your faith in his promises and sure reward is weak). You’re not alone because he doesn’t leave you. He promises to never do that, and he never breaks his promises.

Jesus promises that if we who are evil know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! When Moses asked God to show him his glory, what God showed him was his mercy. What is God’s glory, then, if not his mercy? “Every time we draw our breath, we drink in mercy.”*

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” ~ Titus 3:4-7

There’s a place in your mind that Jesus would bid you to go to hide yourself in the triune God where you can put off your old self. Secure that you are not alone, you keep your feelings in a sort of suspended animation, your old self enters a welcome dissociative fugue state, as you wait in trust for his deliverance while at the same time you avail your new self present in Christ to offer support to those in your care.

“I’ll cry to God who gives me help,I’ll call to God Most High.”

He embraces you with a renewed mind that assures you that you are not alone. The Lord your God is carrying you through the rubble to the other side of disaster. When you are sure of this, you wait for it. It’s as if time is playing a game of hide and seek with you. Time stands still until it rushes by. Though it might seem capricious, God’s timing is never off, not even by a millisecond.

During those times you might find yourself crying out to him, but incrementally he strengthens your transforming faith muscles such that you are no longer bitter and needing to commiserate but thankfully you supplicate as you wait for his answer. You trust that you are not alone .

Because your soul has found its true security in the Lord your God, you approach his throne of grace with confidence, pleading with him to be merciful to you and to protect you from the despair that can result when you are rejected, cast aside, or maligned. You have a sure hope and can comfort others with the comfort you have received from the triune God in the midst of distress and discomfort.

Several of us were recently in the presence of a screaming two-year-old for about half an hour. He was inconsolable without his mother and father despite herculean efforts to engage him in various ways until he soothed himself with the fact that the class where he was wasn’t all that bad and his mother and father were coming back soon. It occurred to me that this little boy actually blessed us more when he was inconsolable than when he calmed down.

Why? This little child gave us an object lesson displaying the visceral reaction we should have when we start to notice we are drifting away from God and find ourselves not in the presence of our heavenly Father. No one and nothing else could satisfy that child or console him that he was not alone. In the same way, only the presence of the triune God secures you that you are not alone.

The triune God is not alone, never was, and never will be. Therefore you are not alone. “We are divinely uttered syllables from the speaking God. We were created only in relation to the Father, Son, and Spirit.”*

Just as your favorite meal is most likely more pleasing than milk to you, God is weaning you off the milk of living to please yourself and onto the far better way to live to please him, to follow Jesus who completely satisfies you as the living water and the bread of life.

You are being made into a new creation. Like there is pain in childbirth, you will experience pain and discomfort as you are being renewed in knowledge after the image of your creator. God is recreating you after his likeness in true righteousness and holiness where you are learning obedience the same way Jesus learned it: on the bed of suffering. What before seemed like abstractions is becoming quite concrete. Dying to your old self is nauseating and lonely until your new self emerges clothed with Christ, and you know you are not alone.

Singing Psalm 57 you are not alone and that’s a welcome thing

Some days you might wish that everyone would leave you alone so you can have some peace. These are days when your soul is bombarded with those who seem to be lurking, crouching, and ready to pounce. Words dart out through clenched teeth, like spears, like sharpened swords. The attack can come from someone else’s words or even from words you tell yourself that you have been trained or that you have trained yourself to believe.

Knowing that the Lord is the author of poetic justice and mercy, your heart remains solid and firm, even while your soul is bowed down with a mix of dread and pity at the sound of false accusations, of true but unforgiving accusations, as you hear your motives impugned, as if about to be ensnared by someone lying in wait, hounding you to catch you in your words, shaming, speaking of you to get you to believe that you are an uncaring phony and that there’s no hope for you. Most likely, this hateful speech is merely a projection of what he fears about himself but cannot yet face.

Wanting to exercise your newfound understanding of time’s games, you desire to welcome the presence of others who might inadvertently or even purposely poke you in the eye in this way because you entrust yourself to the Lord’s unfailing faithfulness and to his covenant love in the midst of such ill will knowing it will soon pass and be behind you.

On the other hand, it’s so easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and shout out your defense as if the Lord isn’t there at all, doesn’t hear, and doesn’t know the truth and the lies that fuel these accusations. It feels as if you are all alone as the only target at the shooting range.

It’s natural but unwise to seek to reason with your accuser directly after he has just shown himself to be in attack mode, unfavorably comparing you to others, guilt slinging, setting up scenarios where you smell like trash while he comes out smelling like roses.

When someone maximizes the failings of others, he usually minimizes seeing his own in turn. Unless someone sees his own failings clearly, he will have no mercy on you or on anyone else.

One who does not reflect on his life, contemplate his ways, and meditate on the Word of God, the stories of the many lives who have walked with God or not, is like a live wire under the influence of the spiritual forces of evil by default. He is self-deceived and unaware of the instructions, commands, warnings, and promises of God, or the battles he forfeits rather than engages in.

He is a danger to himself and to those around him. He has only himself as his standard and ever so thoughtfully manages the unreal impression of himself that he has so carefully constructed, except it’s a house of cards. Eventually, he will either change by the Holy Spirit’s prompting to know and love the truth, or he will be exposed as a wolf in sheep’s clothing and will have to watch what he painstakingly built crumble to pieces.

If you think you can stand firm in the frequent company of one like this, be careful lest you also fall.

You fall hard when you distrust those who love and care for you and become an easy mark for so-called experts who not only can’t help you engage in the spiritual battle since they are not engaged in it themselves but also will happily take your money while luring you to trust them by flattering your individualism, saying things you want to hear.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” ~ Luke 13:34

Yet the Lord ensures you are not alone by supernaturally transcending you above your initial unwillingness so that you see his love and his presence that is right there with you as more real than those gnarly fingers in your face, more real than hurtful words hurled at you like Saul’s jealous javelin at David and his son, Jonathan, more real than Joseph’s brothers’ envy or the lying words of Potipher’s wife, more real than the gallows that Hamon built for Mordecai, more real than the stones thrown by religious Israelites who murdered Stephen whose face was like the face of an angel, more real than the cross and grave that couldn’t contain Jesus for more than 72 hours.

O Lord, would you make the hearts of your servants firm, that we would know your presence and your care as real in the midst of distress, in the midst of living with the enemy whom we are to love, that we would, like Jesus, neither ask to be saved from our distress nor ask for our own glory, but ask that your name be glorified as we stand in awe of your mercy?

As you wait for the dough to mature, you perceive it is working because as it rests, it grows and rises.

The caterpillar voluntarily spins and enters the chrysalis, rests, and waits before the butterfly inevitably emerges. It can’t leap over the pupal stage and go straight to being an adult.

Especially in that time of inactivity and immaturity, you are not alone.

May you welcome Jesus to work in you as you rest in him through the work he has prepared in advance for you to do, not alone, but alongside those that he has chosen for you to do it with, and cause you and them to grow in him.

Singing Psalm 57 you are not alone even as you face uncertainty, loss, and sorrow

Formerly you would wallow in misery upon having to face uncertainty, loss, and sorrow alone. But now you break into praise with a song that would wake the dawn, offering thanks to the Lord, not alone, but with him among the peoples, among the nations, among the angels.

Yes, even the angels can hear your trust in the Lord through your suffering, and they rejoice as you sing his praises with all your heart in the midst of it.

May many peoples, many nations, and many angels exult him at the sound of your singing, sing God’s praises with you, and you with them. When you gather to worship, you are not alone, but together with the body of Christ, with members that are both visible and invisible to you: “O be exalted high, O God!”

You thankfully say along with the forerunner sent before to prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry on earth: “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven…He must increase, but I must decrease.“ ~ John 3:27,30

“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” ~ CT Studd

What rings even truer is the idea that only what’s done with Christ or by Christ will last. You want to be where God has you, where he will direct you to use the gifts he gave you for himself. You want to run the race the triune God has marked out for you and to run it, not alone, but with him. You don’t want to run anyone else’s race.

“Because Your cov’nant love is great,It reaches heaven high;And Your unfailing faithfulnessExtends up to the sky.” ~ Psalm 57:10

In the midst of an unforgiving, poisonous cancel-culture that amounts practically to relational murder, you recall the greatness of God‘s covenant love, the only antidote for life. Your eyes are fixed on his unfailing faithfulness that reaches the high heavens, that extends up to the sky. “My heart is firm. My heart is firm.” You will not be moved.

You trust that God is with you, fighting for you. He is either defending you for your good intent or he who is greater than your heart will redirect you when you are off the mark and straying. Both your eyes and your words are set on exalting him who stands above the heavens.

This translates into an eagerness to forgive others as you have been forgiven. Your heart of stone has become a heart of flesh. You consider others and their dignity more important than yourself and your dignity.

Though you ask to glorify God, even in our best efforts to do this we fall terribly short. Therefore you ask that he glorify himself. Singing Psalm 57, you ask that he would let his glory be above all the earth, both sea and land!

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” ~ John 12:27-28

“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:32-33

There is no peace better than being with the God of peace himself!

You are not only not alone, but also you are chosen, you are sent for, you are wanted.

Those who love the Lord whom you weren’t close to here, you can look forward to being close to there. Perhaps like Paul and Barnabas and like Euodia and Syntyche, you set your mind on the perfect unity-in-diversity your relationships will have above when sin is no more. You surely will not set your mind on how separated they can sometimes be on this earth. We will wholeheartedly agree with each other there that the triune God accomplished our great salvation!

Nevertheless, may the Lord grant those estranged from you to have close godly others on this earth to run the race the Lord has marked out for them in whatever ministries he has for his people here until he takes us home.

Though Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways, God used that disconnection to expand the gospel’s reach. Barnabas and Mark went to serve in Cyprus while Paul and Silas strengthened the churches in Syria and Cilicia.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” ~ Colossians 3:1-4

You can face any uncertainty, loss, or sorrow with hope because you are not alone as you face it. You are not fighting against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil. Realizing this, you have compassion on those who are taken captive by the devil as you strive to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. The Lord will give you what it takes to love your enemies. He will also give you what it takes not to forsake your friends.

When looking to buy real estate, realtors emphasize the goal so you can keep your eye on it.

It’s all about: location, location, location.

That thinking extrapolated spiritually amounts to desiring to be in the best place (heaven) where you can be comfortable and happy. What follows is that you focus on the place and maybe the people you hope to see there since you want to be not alone. You want to be with, you know, the ones that don’t annoy but bring you pleasure. You also want to avoid the dreaded zip codes (hell).

This is true as far as it goes. The only reason it is not right is that it does not go far enough.

Is the point to try to earn your way so you can have ultimate and everlasting pleasure? This trying to earn your way leads to bare minimum thinking. What is the least amount of effort you need to put in to ensure your free ‘get out of hell ‘ ticket so you can land in the location of your dreams?

If heaven was all about you or all about me, how does that make it heaven for anyone else?

The point is to be with the Lord, the one who made you. The reason to want to go to heaven and to live in the new heavens and the new earth is because your Lord is there. You will not get there on your own failing effort. You can’t earn or deserve grace and mercy. It’s a gift.

You will get there on account of the one who saw your plight, loved you through the worst of it, paid the price for what is keeping you out (your sins), and rescued you from your detachment, rebellion, and defeat so that you are not alone anymore. Knowing this, you can live by faith in his grace and be free from trying to earn each breath in each moment. With every breath you are not alone.

When looking for eternal life, Jesus emphasizes the goal to come to him here and now so you can fix your eyes on him. Your dream home in a dream neighborhood in a dream city doesn’t light a candle to the satisfaction that is yours living in Christ.

It’s all about relation, relation, relation.

The location, location, location you need is to plant yourself in Christ. If the triune God were in hell, I would want to go there. I am truly not alone when I am with him. I want to be with him. If the Lord is not in heaven, I wouldn’t want to go there and neither would you. You would still be alone without him. No matter how many or how few people you have around you, the triune God is the only reason you are not alone.

You are cherished with the steadfast love of God who brings good things out of the sorrow, loss, and uncertainty that are borne out of relational separation.

In the face of great suffering, one step at a time, you bravely bask in his lovingkindness. You are not alone if Christ is your life. Nothing and no one can take the Lord your God away from you. Nothing can separate you from his love.

“Be merciful to me, O God,Be merciful to me,Because my soul has found in YouIts true security.

“O be exalted high, O God!Above the heavens stand,And let your glory be aboveAll earth, both sea and land.“ ~ Psalm 57:1,5,11

*”You Are They: Human Identity And The Trinity” by Pierce Taylor Hibbs

**Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, pp. 68-72, quoted from Voices From The Past, Vol. 2, edited by Richard Rushing, p. 67

March 3-10, 2023


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