Updated: May 23, 2020
This devotional was penned by Daniel.
Read Psalm 71
From a young age, my musical taste has always been wide and varied. Car rides with Dad contained a plethora of disco and 80's hits, while my mam opted for musicals. Fast forward to me today and my playlists can easily transition from 1930's The Ink Spots to cheesy pop songs from the early 2000's.
I recently stumbled across a song by Genesis (with Phil Collins singing) titled 'Jesus He knows me'. The song is a blatant attack on those who 'peddle the word of God for profit' (2 Corinthians 2:17). Namely, televangelists that sell a shallow illusion of Christianity with the promise that 'buying into them' will bring a good life filled with God's blessing.
It is a shame that such a culture is allowed to exist. More so, when these televangelists inevitably get 'caught out' and owted as hypocrites through lavish lifestyles and hidden sin leaving many followers feeling 'betrayed by God'. (As a side note, I find it quite apt the greek word for 'hypocrite' (υποκριτής) is 'actor')
The author of Psalm 71 is a leader, but He sings a very different tune.
'I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise
declaring your splendour all day long' (v7)
The leader in Psalm 71 is described as a 'sign to many' but not because their life is constantly sun-shine and roses. Quite the opposite: v4 requests for deliverance from 'the hand of the wicked' while v10 recounts of suffering slanderous comments from enemies who are plotting murder.
The Psalmist isn't a sign to many because of his external circumstances, but rather how he chose to respond to them. He took refuge in the Lord (v1), seeking God for help and sustenance (v2). He remembers God's faithfulness across His life thus far (v5) and chooses to think forward about how he will continue to 'declare [God's] power to the next generation (v18).
'Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth,
you will again bring me up.
You will increase my honour
and comfort me once more.' - (v21)
God will shape our lives, not to make us satisfied but sanctified. The way we respond to adversity can shape our character to strengthen us and our joy in all God has done, and continue to do, for us.
The authentic Christian life is far from Phil Collins' caricature promising that God will make us healthy and wealthy, forever being at our side to affirm whatever we feel or decide to do as being right. Let us not forget the example of Jesus Christ. Jesus was incredibly faithful to God and yet suffered great adversity at the Cross of Calvery. This was for our gain. It was through pain and suffering that Jesus became our sign and a sign to many (v7). God chose a tool of pain and torture to declare to the world how much He loved mankind. Praise God.