Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
1O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. 2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. 3 My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord—how long?
4 Turn, O Lord, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. 5 For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?
6 I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. 7 My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. 9 The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer. 10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.
Psalm 6 is a Psalm of David written when the king is severely ill. David believes that this malady is a sign that God is angry with him and is rebuking him. He begs the Lord not to chastise him in wrath. One of the Hebrew words that David uses for God's fierce displeasure can also mean fever. David associates his raging temperature with a God who seems to be raging against him. Perhaps David has committed a sin that he associates with this ailment. This idea would be consistent with the belief system of his day. By the end of the Psalm, David knows he will recover, and as always, the Lord will show mercy to this all too human king.
Whenever severe illness visits us, or a debilitating physical condition invades our body, we begin to ask "why?" David thinks God must be angry at him or is rebuking him in hot displeasure. I don't know if David was right in his interpretation of his condition, but I understand his thinking.
We know that God is our Father and that He alone guides and controls the lives of His children. We know that the Lord is good and gives only good gifts. Illness seems like a startling disruption of the goodness and mercy of God.
We are amid a pandemic that is affecting most of the world. Life, as we have known it and taken for granted, has come to a screeching halt. City streets are vacant, and citizens hide in their homes, fearful that they might become the next victim of a dreaded disease.
What is God saying to us? I'm not sure, but I keep asking for revelation and clarity.
I recently received an email message from Jon Petersen with some possible answers that resonate with me. Jon is a proven and seasoned leader in the church of Jesus Christ and works in tandem with our good friend Joe Steinke. Petersen believes that God is bringing an "Uncomfortable Exposure" to the church of Jesus Christ that reveals the idols of our hearts. Our present fears reveal this idolatry.
Please prayerfully read the following excerpt from Jon's email message.
An Uncomfortable Exposure
By Jon Petersen
As happened with Israel in the days of Moses, I believe God is exposing, in 2020, our personal and collective hearts and practices - our idols. An Idol is anything, apart from God Himself that controls our thoughts and behaviors. The presence of fear is a pretty good indication that there is an idol lurking about. God, in His love and mercy, is shining the light of the Holy Spirit on specific personal, family and community fears. Here are a few that I believe need to be addressed and submitted to the "peaceful presence" of God:
· Dependence on the voice of intellect vs. dependence on the voice of the Spirit. Filter what information comes into your mind these days and practice taking every thought captive, according to the obedience of Christ.
· "Money talks" - financial fears un-silenced, will steal your peace. Shut it down!
· Driven-ness can be pushing you to try to control the uncontrollable.
· Entertainment and leisure can become a medication for the chaos in and around you.
· Politics inflated to a place of determining our unity with others. Pray for ALL political and societal leaders. God commands it for our benefit, But put your hope ONLY in your King and His government.
· Racial or gender identity. When any identity eclipses our identity, personal or collective, "in Christ," the shaking will surely come. Welcome it.
· The need to feel secure, whether that be physical safety, finances or future. This nasty idol contends for our trust in God and God alone. We are safe even if we lose it all, because we've held on tightly to our Father, who is our complete and total portion. Let the Spirit illuminate any fears you're contending with and allow him to replace the fear with the "love that casts out all fear."
Has fear during the global pandemic brought an uncomfortable exposure to an idol of your heart? If so, repent and ask God's perfect love to cast out the fear and instead surrender to the "peaceful presence" of God.
Lord, speak to me during this fearful time. May the fears that I have expose any idol that is lurking in my heart. Smash those idols Lord and be my only God. Your perfect love casts out all fear and imparts confidence in your redemptive purposes during this time. AMEN