Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tears in a Bottle

Have you ever collected anything and put it in a bottle? I remember as a child asking my mom on several occasions for a jar to collect lightning bugs (fireflies) with my sisters. We poked holes in the lid so their lights wouldn’t go out; we didn’t want the first ones in the jar to die while we accumulated as many as we could. When night time fell, we watched them light up the container until we released them.
I also collected rocks. Carefully I inspected each rock that caught my attention and placed it in a container. I saved these rocks for years as I planned on creating a display box of rocks. Eventually I lost interest in the rocks and returned them to their natural setting.
Here are two incidents where I amassed things for my enjoyment and satisfaction. Did you know that God is also a collector and that He collects for our satisfaction, not His own? What in the world does God collect in order to satisfy me, you might be asking?
Read Psalm 56 (NKJV) –a prayer for relief from tormentors– and discover what God puts in a bottle.

Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up;
Fighting all day he oppresses me.
My enemies would hound me all day,
For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?
All day they twist my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
They gather together,
They hide, they mark my steps,
When they lie in wait for my life.
Shall they escape by iniquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, O God!

You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.
In God (I will praise His word),
In the LORD (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God;
I will render praises to You,
For You have delivered my soul from death.
Have You not kept my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God
In the light of the living?
Tears? God collects my tears! What a compassionate God we have to be so attentive to our every pain, every tear.
David wrote this psalm out of the fear of earthly kings that pursued his life. David had been commissioned to play the harp for King Saul in order to soothe his distressed spirit. Saul grew to love David and appointed him as armorbearer. When David heard about a Philistine defying the armies of the living God, he asked Saul to let him go fight the giant. Saul wanted to send David to fight dressed in his armor, but David refused to wear the armor. He went to face Goliath with only a slingshot and the help of the one and only God. David killed that giant, with God’s help. Can you imagine the news that spread about this incident? Because of David’s triumph, Saul became jealous. Even while David served him, King Saul’s insecurities grew. Eventually David’s life was threatened and he ran away, hiding from Saul. In the midst of his refuge, David found himself captive in the hands of a Philistine ruler, the king of Gath. David pretended madness in order for the king to let him go. Read about these events in 1 Samuel 16-21.
What feelings stirred in David’s heart as he fled and hid from danger? Was he afraid? Of course, he’s human, right? Did he trust God with his life? Again, of course! God regularly exhibited His might in David’s life. When David said, “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (56:11), he believed it. He had faced a giant and won!
What comes first: man’s trust or God’s provision? David’s life gives us the answer. David trusted God so much that he went before a GIANT, armed with only a slingshot yet filled with the power of God, and won the battle. God showed up because David trusted Him.
How much do you trust God? Are you focused on His provision or you dire circumstances? He will reveal Himself when you step out in faith. David’s life is proof. In spite of all David’s weaknesses, God loved him because he was a “man after God’s own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:14)
Are you a woman after God’s own heart? Are you so sensitive to His will that nothing can stop you from trusting Him? Read Romans 8:31-39 (NKJV) to encourage you to trust God.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
“ For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Why do we worry and fear when faced with awful situations? We serve a God who puts every single tear that we cry into His bottle. And He doesn’t return them “to the wild.” He holds them in His Hand (just as our prayers are kept in a golden bowl of incense - Revelation 5:8) waiting for the right time—His time— to settle matters with our enemies. So cry out to Him. He doesn’t dismiss those tears. He’s put them in a bottle for a time only He can discern. We serve a trustworthy God!
Reread Psalm 34 (from last week) which proclaims the happiness of those who trust in God.

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