“At midnight, I shall rise to give thanks to You Because of Your righteous ordinances.” – Psalms 119:62 NASB
Darkness & Fear
The idea or meaning of night, midnight, darkness, or even the deep of the waters may be very strange to us as modern readers. The term (pronounced lie-la) means, among other things, adversity. To the ancient mind, this darkness was something to fear. But David didn’t fear. Why? Because God was his portion. He knew God had been Lord over all of these unknowns from the beginning.
From God’s Spirit hovering over the waters of the deep during creation, to God preserving Noah through the flood, to God keeping David through countless night-watches on tear-filled beds, God had always been in control.
Although there’s indeed darkness at every turn, God is Lord over all things. Because of this, we should praise Him. David’s response wasn’t merely to say, “I’ll be okay.” No, he praised. This will be a lesson we’ll be learning again and again until God returns.From God’s Spirit hovering over the waters of the deep during creation, to God preserving Noah through the flood, to God keeping David through countless night-watches on tear-filled beds, God had always been in control. Click To Tweet
How do we worship amid encampment? How do we praise through the storm? Look at Elisha. He wasn’t riled with the army that encircled the city, even though his servant was. He actually seemed to rejoice in his knowledge that God was everywhere and in control. And his rejoicing manifested itself through peace. The same peace that we see in the Apostle Paul and Silas in Acts 16:25 when imprisoned for their faith.
Those who trust God as their portion can and will praise God even in the darkest times. But let’s make this extremely practical. Our first step should be to remember we have nothing to fear. The second thing that we need to do is acknowledge that we do have an enemy. But lastly, we should pray that God would open our eyes to his power in the circumstance we are facing.
“I am a companion of all those who fear You, And of those who keep Your precepts.” – Psalms 119:63 NASB
It’s clear that God loves and desires unity. Psalm 133:1 says,
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!”
We remember that, at creation, God declared everything to be good. Here, he declares unity to be the same. Jesus himself prayed for this unity,
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” – John 17:22-23 NASB
So it’s not a question of what God wants, but rather a question of how do we get there (meaning unity)? The answer is that God must be our portion. If God is our portion, unity is a natural byproduct.
All too often, the Church looks for ways to manufacture unity. And of course, all that ends up happening is uniformity. We want to look the same, whether it be in appearance, cultural expectation, tradition, creedal adherence, doctrinal fidelity, or what-have-you. But this will never lead to the unity David was referring to. True spiritual unity doesn’t require our manufacturing.If God is our portion, unity is a natural byproduct. Click To Tweet
Fruit of Unity
This may be a strange analogy, but no matter how hard an apple tree might try to become an orange tree, it will never be. But no matter where an apple tree finds itself, it will always be in unity with every apple tree. What makes this true? The fruit it bears. What makes us the particular trees we are? The same thing—the fruit we bear.
David declares, “I am a companion” with those who 1. fear the Lord and 2. keep His commands. David’s son Solomon concluded that this was life’s all in Ecclesiastes 12:13. The fruit we bear determines the tribe to which we belong. The fruit of those who accept God as their portion is fear, reverence, and obedience. We will be automatically unified with anyone who lives this way.
This is where it becomes hard for those who exalt tradition over truth. If King Jesus is truly your portion, if you fear the Lord and keep His commandments, I am your companion! I don’t care about denominational affiliation. I don’t care about different interpretations of complicated issues—as long as our mutual pursuit of truth remains. After all, we’re all at different places, and if perfect knowledge were required to gain admittance into club Jesus, we would never be unified with anyone, even our children.
When Jesus was told in Matthew 12, Mark 2, and Luke 8 that His mother and brothers wanted to speak with Him, He asked this rhetorical question, “Who is my mother, and brother, and sisters?” He answered by saying, “those who do the will of my Father in Heaven.”
If God is our portion, we will fear and obey Him, and consequently, we will stand unified with those who do the same.If God is our portion, we will fear and obey Him, and consequently, we will stand unified with those who do the same. Click To Tweet
“The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes.” – Psalms 119:64 NASB
I promised in the first post, that we would bring back the issue of God’s mercy, and here it is. The Lord was David’s portion, and he appealed to God’s mercy, but why? Because the earth is full of God’s lovingkindness. A kindness which endures forever, as David said elsewhere (Psalm 33:5). This forms a fundamental picture of God that must inform the rest of our beliefs. God is loving and kind and compassionate, but these things are not just His character; they are also His promise and His will.
When the Lord is our portion, we have some very practical applications in this life:
- We will boldly and confidently seek His mercy through prayer.
- We will live a life of ongoing repentance, sprinting after His ways.
- In the face of adversity, we will trust in the Lord. And
- When God is our portion, we will stand united with all those who fear Him and keep His commands.
Do you feel you are implementing these practical steps in your life? How are you doing it? And, how can you do better? Answer below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.