Getting Close To God – His Truth
Read Psalm Chapter 40
Ps 40:11 Do not withhold Your mercy from me, O LORD; may Your love and Your truth always protect me. 12 For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. 13 Be pleased, O LORD, to save me; O LORD, come quickly to help me.
What do we do when we become discouraged over the enormity of our sinfulness? How do we handle those times when it seems that trouble has trapped us and there seems to be no way out? What do we do when we are tempted to give up and discontinue our quest for righteousness? These verses can give us some ideas and answers to those questions.
The Psalmist had two complaints – troubles without number surrounded him, and his sins had overtaken him. I imagine that very man and woman I know have felt the pain of these two trials. The Christian SSA man and woman in particular can identify with this dilemma. There are times when the weight of my sins tries to overwhelm me to the point of despair. There are also times when the troubles of life surround me and threaten to defeat me. You have been there too.
No matter how difficult these times are, we have no choice but to continue to seek God and His deliverance. The Psalmist also knew that and expressed it well. In verses 11 and 13 he cried out to the Lord for mercy and deliverance. The alternative would have been to throw up his hands in surrender to the enemy and live the remainder of his life in rebellion against God. There is no way for any man to justify that kind of defeatist attitude. There is no good ending to that story. The better option is to continue to cry out to God. The story of Job is a great example of a man who steadfastly refused to abandon his faith.
Do you see the answer to this kind of despair in verse 11? The writer pleaded with God on the basis of His mercy, love, and truth. I was recently talking with a fine young man who had once again given in to pornography. In the course of the conversation, he mentioned that he didn’t “feel” close to God. Personally, I have spent a large portion of my life “feeling” separated from God’s love and His truth. So I told the young man something which I have learned and am continuing to learn – Feelings are fickle. They are completely unreliable.
The Psalmist knew the truth and lived by it. God’s love and His truth are a fact. They exist and they are real and available to every man and woman who desires to know God. We must base everything we believe and everything we act upon on truth, not feelings. When God promises to forgive the repentant man, God will forgive. When He promises to carry us victoriously through to the end, based on Christ’s righteousness rather than our own, He will fulfill that promise.
I am fully convinced that most of our doubts, fears, and discouragement are because of two things: we either do not know God’s truth, or we don’t believe it. God has mercifully given us the power and ability to correct both problems. If we don’t know the truth, we have been granted the privilege of having His word at our disposition every day. There is not one of us who do not own a bible. We cannot know what it says unless we open it and meditate upon it, asking God to reveal Himself as we study. There is no excuse for not knowing what God says.
The answer to the second reason for our discouragement might seem to be a bit more elusive than the first. “We don’t believe what we read.” This is where we have to learn to control our minds. We have the ability to do so, but we often don’t believe we do. As we read a truth from God’s word, we really do have the ability to believe what it says. In order to do that, we have to “unbelieve” all of our preconceived notions. Because our past experiences we have allowed our enemy to convince us that God doesn’t love us or that God’s promises are not true. That is basing our beliefs on feelings rather than truth.
Here’s the rub. God’s truth is real and true whether we accept it or not. We must get that fact into our thick skulls and hold on to it. We must persevere in our commitment to know and believe that. If God’s word says something but our mind says the opposite, then our minds are wrong. If we are not “feeling” that a truth is a truth, we can definitely know that our feelings are incorrect. When we feel unloved, unforgiven, forsaken, hopeless, etc., we can know for definite/sure that our thinking is not based on truth. Truth from God’s word is as sure as God Himself. Let’s quit doubting it.
Prayer: Lord, we are so gullible when it comes to our enemy’s lies. We confess as a sin that we have chosen to believe our enemy rather than believe Your word. Forgive us, and we thank You that we can know that You indeed will and have forgiven us for our unbelief. “Lord, I believe; help me in my unbelief!”