Saturday, April 28, 2012

Psalms: My Hero

What does a hero look like? Some may say tall, dark, and handsome. Others may picture a knight clad in armor, or envision a modern day soldier fighting in another country. We have many heroes among us. But what does the best hero of all time look like? I would say—God!

I love action movies and adventure stories, especially the ones that happen in a medieval setting. The hero of the story has to be courageous and daring against a fierce enemy, and win a glorious victory. I think my love for a good heroic tale caused me to love the book of Psalms all the more. God is often pictured as the hero, delivering His beloveds from fierce enemies and defeating formidable adversaries. I also love this picture of God because I have needed Him as a hero.

My favorite Bible verse is found in a chapter that portrays God as a hero four times. Four scenarios caused people in distress to cry out to God for help, and each time He acted. The reaction of the psalmist? A call to praise. “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8,15,21,31).* God tailors His goodness to the needs in our lives. Do we need deliverance? Healing? A home? A satisfied heart? He provides it. Our part is to turn to Him.

The difficulties that the people in Psalm 107 faced illustrate the spiritual needs we have today. The deliverance God gave them He gives today to those who cry out to Him. In the first scenario, the people “wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way” (Ps 107:4) with nowhere to call home. They were hungry and thirsty with weary souls. Today so many people wander in desolation with empty souls, needing something, or Someone, to fill them. God rescues us by saving us and giving us a “home” to rest in—a relationship with Himself. That is where we can find a place of peace and rest, a place of contentment and satisfaction for our souls.

In the next scenario, the people “sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons” (Ps 107:10). They had rebelled against God’s words, and had brought misery on themselves. What was God’s rescue?  He delivered them from darkness and death, and freed them from bondage. God rescues us even when we have rebelled against Him. When we turn to Him, He frees us from the bondage we are caught in, and turns our darkness into light.

The third set of people also needed to be rescued from the consequences of sin. Their transgressions afflicted their souls, and they were near death. Here God sent His word to heal them. God delivers us from the affliction sin brings by healing us with His word. His truth restores our spiritual health and strength, and shapes our hearts to be Godly like His.

In the fourth scenario, the people faced a storm which God had allowed to come. They could do nothing to stop the storm. They were “at their wits’ end” (Ps 107:27). How often have you felt like that in the middle of a spiritual storm? When there seems to be no end to the tumult that has overtaken us, we can look to the One who controls all wind” and waves.” We can take hope in this truth: “He calms the storm, so that its waves are still” (Ps 107:29). God knows how to quiet every storm and bring peace to our hearts.

When our need to be rescued is great, God’s ability to rescue us is always greater. He hears those who cry out to Him. His love moves Him to come to our aid, and His power provides for us and delivers us like no one else can. He is our Hero in every trial and in every trouble. “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and understand the lovingkindness of the LORD” (Ps 107:43).

*All Scripture quotations taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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