So far in our exploration of Psalm 1, we’ve looked at what it means to forsake the way of the wicked to walk in the way everlasting and we’ve looked at what causes us to stumble or to run in the paths of the righteous. We’ve seen that delighting in the law of the Lord requires a radical trust like that of Peter on the water or Daniel in Babylon . . . but now we’ve come to the difficult thing.
How can we live today the kinds of lives these men did in their time? How can we defy every law of nature to answer the Master’s call to come to Him on the water? How can we astound the rulers of our world with the wisdom of God manifested in our lives? And more than all of that . . . what cost are we willing to pay to see this kind of trust manifested in our own lives for the glory of the Father?
Taking Trust to a Whole. Other. Level.
This is not the pursuit of something that will simply ease our daily anxieties and perhaps make our lives more comfortable, but it is the pursuit of a tried and refined kind of faith that can accept and obey the words of the prophet when he says to surrender to Babylon – to surrender to death – and not alter in the slightest our view of the goodness and mercy of God. It is the same kind of trust that was required of our Master on His way to the cross, and it is the same kind that will at some point be demanded of all of those who would follow after Him.
But without such extreme circumstances, how can we know that we are taking even the first step towards such a deep trust being formed in us?
I believe the Father is always giving us opportunities to put to shame the wisdom of the world by choosing to place our hope in Him. In reality, every act of obedience is a declaration of trust and every act of disobedience one of unbelief. So we take steps toward this blessed trust every time we choose to obey – every time we delight in the law of the Lord more than we delight in the way of the world.
The Scriptures exhort us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2nd Corinthians 13:5). When you look at your life, what sort of choices are you making when the Father places these opportunities before you?
- Will you give out of your own poverty to someone in need? It’s easier to give out of our abundance, but when we give what we do not have to give (the last few dollars in our bank account, the hour we just cannot spare, or the word of comfort we do not even have for ourselves), we are declaring to the Father that we trust Him to provide when we have nothing in ourselves – and do we really ever have anything of our own?
- Will you run to the Father in crisis before you so much as speak a word of it to another or try to solve it by your own wisdom? As much as we sing and proclaim that God is all we need, we have a tendency to attempt to meet life’s demands and crises by exhausting everything we have in our natural strength and everything the world has to offer before we will finally turn to the Father in prayer when all else has failed. What sort of testimony does that speak to the world of the confidence we truly have in our Father?
- Will you open your mouth when you feel utterly empty and trust the Father to either fill it or meet you in your emptiness? Will you even attempt what you do not believe you can accomplish? It is one thing to trust that the Father will rescue and provide and entirely another to trust Him enough to let us fail and learn something of weakness.
- Will you refuse to defend yourself when you are reviled or falsely accused and trust the Father to be your judge – to defend or convict?
- Will you offer praise and thanksgiving in trial or suffering? Determine to discover something more of His goodness during seasons of sorrow rather than letting despair harden your heart.
- Will you refrain from offering the false comforts of man to a struggling friend or even child in order to allow the cross to have its full work in them unto maturity in Messiah?
- Will you allow even the call that the Father may have placed on your life to die that it might be raised in newness of life – a life that cannot be attributed to your charisma or your skill sets but only to the Father Himself?
The self-examination could go on and on and may be very different for each of us. Many of the questions I’ve listed are questions I must ask of myself daily or questions that I’ve watched others struggle to answer. They are not meant to condemn (though they may rightly convict), but they are meant to open our eyes to the constant opportunities we have to choose to put our trust in the Father and by so doing glorify His Son who works so powerfully in us.
The Testimony of Jesus
Is Messiah not the prime example of this kind of trust? Jesus didn’t come as a conquering hero in the way that men expected. He wasn’t born to bring salvation by His own hand, but He was born to lay down His life and give every ounce of glory to His Father. He did that every step of the way by trusting the Father in everything from the small to the great – from feeding thousands from a few loaves and fish to tarrying in the city while His friend died so that the Father might receive glory in restoring his life. His walk on earth could be summed up in a single phrase: obedient unto death on a cross.
Jesus was born to walk a road that led to the most humiliating and excruciating form of death conceived by man in his time, but His trust that the Father would use His suffering and death to reconcile the world to Himself brought Him through death unto exaltation and resurrection as the first-born of the dead and the King of Glory!
And if we are His witnesses, should we not live lives free of the fear of death as ones also brought from death to life? As someone who has worked with the persecuted church, I’ve heard many Western Christians boldly declare that they would readily give up their lives for their faith, but the sobering reality it that most of the same believers have not the faith to part with even a dollar or an hour to help someone in need. Let’s not deceive ourselves with bravado, but instead practice our faith – our trust – in the ordinary small decisions in life that so that we are not, like Peter, caught by surprise at our own unbelief at the hour of our Master’s betrayal – or His coming!