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This Morning in the Word: Nearness is better

January 11, 2011

Nearness is better

 

Matthew 8 and Psalm 10:14 

But  you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand.

 

Not to worry – He is I AM

                          and

                          I am His – Not to worry

 

In the One Year Bible I am using, Psalm 10 follows the Matthew 8 narrative of the calming of the stormy sea. Interesting to consider the two passages on the same morning…

 

Interesting that instead of remaining at the center of attention with the crowd, or flashing His powers around to raise the level of hype, Jesus avoided the spotlight to the point that He gave orders to leave the crowd and cross to the other side of the lake. And when He was in dialogue with a teacher of the law, seemingly a prime candidate to be recruited if one is forming a “championship team” (position, education, financial means), Jesus presented a very bleak picture of what it is like to be a Follower. It’s almost as if He was diverting fans rather than recruiting. As if he was not building a following, trying to be noticed, or marketing the Gospel. (He would have driven a publicist crazy.) He did not value celebrity and He did not offer it to His followers. He offered a very different kind of solution to the deep heart needs of people.

 

Jesus offered authentic nearness, intimate awareness, and personal intervention.

 

But  you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. Psalm 10:14 

 

As they left the crowd, Jesus got in the boat and went to sleep. His disciples followed Him, demonstrating some level of commitment to Him and trust in Him. When the “furious” storm hit, they were afraid. (v. 26) and had little faith. But on the other hand, they did immediately wake Him up with the anticipation  that He could save them. (v.25) Still, on the other hand, when He did command the winds and the waves and completely calm the sea, they were amazed (v. 27).

 

They were not rock solid in their faith walk. They went back and forth. Believing enough to get in the boat and call out to Him, yet being amazed when He did what they needed Him to do – what only He could do. Wanting to be with Him but fearful that where He led them would turn out to be a watery grave. “Maybe we should have stayed with the crowd on the shore. Back there with the teacher of the law and other folks who gave attention to important matters like family funerals and …”

 

Interesting that Jesus took them away from the crowd and gave them the comfort and camaraderie of a secure little boat. Because they left the crowd, they got to see the Creator’s power first hand. Just a few of them – encountering danger, experiencing miracles, knowing Him.

 

It was an intense experience! How they needed to remember Psalm 10:14 – But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand.

 

I saw that kind of secure faith lived out before me when my dad came to visit us a few years ago. The weatherman was talking about a hurricane in the Caribbean – headed for Mexico. I reassured my older-than-80 father that he should still come for a visit. “Wilma” was far, far away and headed in another direction. Now I am often reminded that “Wilma” was predictably unpredictable and changed course so that the powerful front and back side of the whirling storm passed right over our city. While the storm raged outside and we huddled inside – without electrical power and without knowing what danger and inconvenience was headed our way – my dad responded to the “furious storm” by settling in the recliner to rest and read His Bible. He was the picture of settled trust. His faith has been tested often and he has known, over long years, that the Lord will take trouble and grief “in hand.” 

My dad listening to a familiar Voice

 

Trouble and grief are not to be discounted or denied (as I did with “Wilma.”) BUT trouble and grief are not to be feared, either. Trouble and grief drive us toward our Refuge. They remind us that He knows, He cares, and He will take them in hand. And in doing so, He brings us close to Himself and He demonstrates His power and His compassion. Nearness is far better; watching Him take trouble “in hand” is far better – better than the demanding noise of the crowd, the glaring spotlight of celebrity, the fluctuating allegiances of the masses.

Psalm 10:14 reminds us that He offers us:

  • authentic nearness,
  • intimate awareness,
  • personal intervention.

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. deana thomas permalink
    January 12, 2011 7:48 pm

    ahhh…it’s that same sound after you drink a cold cup of water after working outside on a hot FL Summer day. Refreshing.

    • January 13, 2011 7:05 pm

      Deana,
      You conquered the Comment Box! YES! I had every confidence that you would!
      Thanks for the encouraging words. You have aptly discribed what God’s Word does for our souls as the Spirit does His work. Refreshing!

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