Psalm 44 & Proverbs 13
1 O God, we have heard it with our own ears—
our ancestors have told us
of all you did in their day,
in days long ago:
2 You drove out the pagan nations by your power
and gave all the land to our ancestors.
You crushed their enemies
and set our ancestors free.
3 They did not conquer the land with their swords;
it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory.
It was your right hand and strong arm
and the blinding light from your face that helped them,
for you loved them.
4 You are my King and my God.
You command victories for Israel.
5 Only by your power can we push back our enemies;
only in your name can we trample our foes.
When faced with unsavory people, it is easy to get up all in your thoughts and work out the solution. Well, I should have said XYZ and then they would have said ABC. Then, I could have counted with this. Next, I will ruin their image. Your mind never stops. It does not cease to work it out. Which, in reality, you are just controlling the situation.
By predetermining what you will say versus what they will say, you are trying to play God. It is SO easy to get sucked down that wide road thinking. I do it. In fact, I just did it not too long ago. There is a situation that I felt needed to be addressed.
Not in God’s time, but my own. I used non-threatening words and I made a promise that this human would shake my hand and see my eyeballs. Then, that person would know that I’m not playing.
The Opportunity Arose
I had given myself enough time to collect my thoughts and rein in my emotions. Enough time to do some background work and lay some future road for me to travel with this person. We did meet. He did shake my hand. Terror filled his eyes. I’m a fluffy chick but he could have flattened me out…until the adrenaline kicked in. I was ready.
My point was made, my feelings made very clear by my tight handshake and narrowing eyes. I could literally see the blood leaving his face and he could not get away quick enough. Honestly, I reveled in that.
Until I read these verses. Then, I realized that it was not my place. It is God’s. He knew what had happened was wrong and He will take care of it. Sadly, I didn’t want to wait for Him. I wanted to handle it myself.
Admitting I was Wrong
This situation was handled according to my flesh. I was in a mama bear mode and I was not going to stop. Honestly, I was prepared to ruin his life, family, and make him lose his job. Had I pursued, I would have succeeded.
What I didn’t see where the innocent people behind the man. He made a horrific choice and when he threw that stone…the ripple effect is wide. I know that he will not make this same mistake with this same human again. Not because of him but because of the other person.
God will continue to fight this battle. I will forever be a negative chapter in the story of his life. That wide road…it is enticing when you feel powerful, isn’t it?
6 I do not trust in my bow;
I do not count on my sword to save me.
7 You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies;
you disgrace those who hate us.
8 O God, we give glory to you all day long
and constantly praise your name.
9 But now you have tossed us aside in dishonor.
You no longer lead our armies to battle.
10 You make us retreat from our enemies
and allow those who hate us to plunder our land.
11 You have butchered us like sheep
and scattered us among the nations.
12 You sold your precious people for a pittance,
making nothing on the sale.
13 You let our neighbors mock us.
We are an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
14 You have made us the butt of their jokes;
they shake their heads at us in scorn.
15 We can’t escape the constant humiliation;
shame is written across our faces.
16 All we hear are the taunts of our mockers.
All we see are our vengeful enemies.
17 All this has happened though we have not forgotten you.
We have not violated your covenant.
18 Our hearts have not deserted you.
We have not strayed from your path.
19 Yet you have crushed us in the jackal’s desert home.
You have covered us with darkness and death.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread our hands in prayer to foreign gods,
21 God would surely have known it,
for he knows the secrets of every heart.
22 But for your sake we are killed every day;
we are being slaughtered like sheep.
23 Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep?
Get up! Do not reject us forever.
24 Why do you look the other way?
Why do you ignore our suffering and oppression?
25 We collapse in the dust,
lying face down in the dirt.
26 Rise up! Help us!
Ransom us because of your unfailing love.
How humbling is verse 21? I mean, for real…how humbling? He knows EVERYTHING in our hearts. Like everything. All those places that no one knows about, He does. Soon, Light will be shone on all those little hidden compartments. Are you (or me) ready for that revelation?
A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline;
a mocker refuses to listen to correction.
2 Wise words will win you a good meal,
but treacherous people have an appetite for violence.
3 Those who control their tongue will have a long life;
opening your mouth can ruin everything.
4 Lazy people want much but get little,
but those who work hard will prosper.
5 The godly hate lies;
the wicked cause shame and disgrace.
6 Godliness guards the path of the blameless,
but the evil are misled by sin.
I read these verses and my heart aches. We are faced, right now, with a decision that no parent sets out to make. I see what the Lord says about a parent’s discipline. Yet, what if you are parenting a kid from a hard place and no amount of discipline changes anything? No amount of corpal punishment, physical labor, removal of privileges, threats, police involvement, grace, reasoning…nothing works? What then?
Honestly. What then? When the lies continue, the stealing continues, the lack of cause and effect doesn’t register. What then? I can’t fix brain damage. The Great Physician can, but I can’t. So now, we face one of the biggest things we’ve had to face and make decisions that I don’t want to make.
7 Some who are poor pretend to be rich;
others who are rich pretend to be poor.
8 The rich can pay a ransom for their lives,
but the poor won’t even get threatened.
9 The life of the godly is full of light and joy,
but the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
10 Pride leads to conflict;
those who take advice are wise.
11 Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears;
wealth from hard work grows over time.
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
13 People who despise advice are asking for trouble;
those who respect a command will succeed.
14 The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain;
those who accept it avoid the snares of death.
15 A person with good sense is respected;
a treacherous person is headed for destruction.
16 Wise people think before they act;
fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.
17 An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble,
but a reliable messenger brings healing.
18 If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace;
if you accept correction, you will be honored.
19 It is pleasant to see dreams come true,
but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them.
20 Walk with the wise and become wise;
associate with fools and get in trouble.
21 Trouble chases sinners,
while blessings reward the righteous.
22 Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren,
but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.
23 A poor person’s farm may produce much food,
but injustice sweeps it all away.
24 Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
25 The godly eat to their hearts’ content,
but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.
There it is…in His Word. “Trouble chases sinners…” “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” Again, I get that. I have lived by that. Discipline, for our family, may look different from discipline with other families.
Yet when traditional types of discipline don’t work…what then?