I’ve been away. I’ve been away from this blog for a time, and also, sadly, I’ve been away from the Word. It’s not been an easy end of 2011. It’s been downright full of strife, worry and despair. I will not bore you with details, I’ll just say that this past week, I’ve felt it lift. There is hope, there is a spring in my step again and a smile on my face. He restored my joy and I’m so glad because I really needed it back. I wasn’t built to be depressed…and neither were you.
I told the Lord that I was ready to come back here and He agreed that it would be a good idea. I’m not surprised that even in timing, He showed Himself strong. You see today is the last day of 2011 and today’s reading was the last in Deuteronomy. It was the last day of wandering because tomorrow, we prepare to take the land.
Here at the end of Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the people to follow God. He also gives them blessings which really just equates to them remembering who they were created to be.
To top it off, our reading includes Psalm 91. It is one of the psalms that I memorized in 9th grade. I just learned the words back then, but they bubbled from me when I needed them later in life. I remember falling asleep reciting it during a time when I was especially fearful.
Psalm 91 captures what Moses learned during his lifetime, the thing He was really trying to tell the people and the thing that the church needs to know now: abide in Him. We can go from conference to conference, book to book, website to website, prophet to prophet, and while all those things are good and have their place, the real deal, the only place you will find rest and protection is with the Lord. There is no substitute for a real relationship with God.
When I was a kid, I memorized it in the King James version, but here, The Message captures the treasure of abiding under the shadow of His wings. I’m going to ring in the New Year proclaiming this psalm and rededicating myself to life in Him.
1 You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,2 Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!”3 That’s right-he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards.4 His huge outstretched arms protect you-under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.5 Fear nothing-not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day,6 Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon.7 Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you.8 You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses.9 Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home,10 Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door.11 He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go.12 If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling.13 You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
14 “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me.15 Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.16 I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!”