Prayer is the shield, spear, thunderbolt, defense – this is for you

prayer-warrior-bible-verses

Psalm 70 captures my attention today mainly because of a quote from Martin Luther. He said that “prayer is the shield, spear, thunderbolt and defense against every attack of fear, presumption [and] lukewarmness…which are especially dominant today.” The quote was written by James Montgomery Boice but I could not find its source.

This plea, here in the Psalm 70, is for deliverance but it is also one of remembrance of the many times God had already delivered.

Save me, O God!
    Lord, help me now! – Psalm 70:1 GNT

I wonder if I even come close to praying with such a sense of urgency. If I had maybe I would be praying more often.

“The petitions in this form of the psalm emphasize the urgency of the matter. There is not a moment to lose; or so it appears.” Kidner

“The circumstances were those of suffering…made more poignant by the gloating gladness of enemies…The troubled soul knew that help was only to be found in God. His difficulty was that God did not seem to be acting with sufficient speed. (God) was at least leisurely, when the need seemed pressing; He was not hastening, in spite of the urgency. So it appeared to this troubled heart, and so it has constantly appeared to those who have suffered. One of the supreme glories of the Psalter is that it gives us a song like this, expressing a common human experience, even though it reveals a mistaken conception of God. God never needs to be called upon to hasten. He is never tarrying uselessly or carelessly. Indeed, we may say that often: “Through the thick darkness He is hastening,” that is, through the very darkness which makes us imagine He is inactive, or unduly delaying His help. Nevertheless, He understands our cry. We may use any terms in our prayers, if they are directed to Him, knowing that He will understand, and in His understanding, interpret our faulty terms by His own perfect knowledge, and give us His best answers to our deepest need.” – G. Campbell Morgan

May those who try to kill me
    be defeated and confused.
May those who are happy because of my troubles
    be turned back and disgraced.
May those who make fun of me
    be dismayed by their defeat. – Psalm 70:2-3 GNT

“The psalmist prays for his enemies’ fall and shame in accordance with the principles of justice and with the promise of God to curse those who cursed his own.” – VanGemeren

“For success in evil encourages even more evil and establishes the evil doer in his or her ways. The kindest thing we can pray for people who do wrong is that their plans will fail, for it may be that in their frustration they will see the folly and true end of evil and be reached for God.” –  James Boice

Peter offers an additional perspective – a post evil – or maybe it is an attitude that gets me through it so that when I am delivered I am wiser and better for it.

But after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who calls you to share his eternal glory in union with Christ, will himself perfect you and give you firmness, strength, and a sure foundation. – 1 Peter 5:10 GNT

There is a calmness to Peter’s prayer – maybe it is one of confidence that He trusts God to answer. It is an exhortation that I am encouraged to pray for those who are suffering – and the good news is there – this is for them.

“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Matthew 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance”. – Martin Luther

 

 

 

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Pray for help

pray for help

Leviticus 18 has some actions listed that people might have done and would be considered as something that could push their relationship away from God.

You know that whoever does any of these disgusting things will no longer be considered one of God’s people. – Leviticus 18:29 GNT

It is not the evil one who will punish those who commit these sins but God. I suppose if I were to fall into the hands of the evil one, I could pray, and God would help me. But is there a place for me to go when God decides to not call me one of His?

It happened to Jesus and I saw it through the eyes of Psalm 22 today. This is where the gospel of Matthew correlates between what Jesus was seeing, experiencing and saying. There were four of them.

  1. Matthew 27:35 GNT – They crucified him and then divided his clothes among them by throwing dice.

Psalm 22:18 GNT – They gamble for my clothes and divide them among themselves.

2. Matthew 27:39 GNT – People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus

Psalm 22:7 GNT – All who see me make fun of me; they stick out their tongues and              shake their heads.

3. Matthew 27:43 GNT – He trusts in God and claims to be God’s Son. Well, then, let us see if God wants to save him now!

Psalm 22:8 GNT – “You relied on the Lord,” they say. “Why doesn’t he save you? If  the Lord likes you, why doesn’t he help you?”

This next one is where I noted the abandonment of Jesus by God.

4. Matthew 27:46 GNT – At about three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?”

Psalm 22:1 GNT – My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? I have cried desperately for help,     but still it does not come.

How do I pray Psalm 22 with Jesus in mind? How do I meditate on what Jesus experienced and prayed? The Psalm jumps back and forth between the Messiah describing His experience and then praying.

When I feel abandoned —

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
I have cried desperately for help,
    but still it does not come.
During the day I call to you, my God,
    but you do not answer;
I call at night,
    but get no rest. – Psalm 22:1-2 GNT

When I want to remember Christ’s presence —

But you are enthroned as the Holy One,
    the one whom Israel praises.
Our ancestors put their trust in you;
    they trusted you, and you saved them.
They called to you and escaped from danger;
    they trusted you and were not disappointed. – Psalm 22:3-5 GNT

What I do know is that I can cry out to God for help.

Lord, don’t stay away from me!
Come quickly to my rescue!
Save me from the sword;
save my life from these dogs.
Rescue me from these lions;
I am helpless[d] before these wild bulls. – Psalm 22:19-21 GNT

This is why I can pray and ask God for help for I have not lost my confidence in God’s ability to rescue. Though He may seem far, He is near. My crises of life should never become a crises of faith.

Discipline

BY GEORGE HERBERT

Throw away thy rod,
Throw away thy wrath:
                  O my God,
Take the gentle path.
For my heart’s desire
Unto thine is bent:
                  I aspire
To a full consent.
Not a word or look
I affect to own,
                  But by book,
And thy book alone.
Though I fail, I weep:
Though I halt in pace,
                  Yet I creep
To the throne of grace.
Then let wrath remove;
Love will do the deed:
                  For with love
Stony hearts will bleed.
Love is swift of foot;
Love’s a man of war,
                  And can shoot,
And can hit from far.
Who can ’scape his bow?
That which wrought on thee,
                  Brought thee low,
Needs must work on me.
Throw away thy rod;
Though man frailties hath,
         Thou art God:
Throw away thy wrath.