Friday, December 18, 2009

WHEN FACING SURGERY -- Devotional for December 17, from "Good Seeds"

When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? Besides You I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:21-26)

To get the most out of the Bible we must approach it in two ways. First, we must INTERPRET its meaning. This is impossible for anyone who doesn’t know God. I Corinthians 2:14 says, “a natural man will not accept the things of God, for they are spiritually discerned.” The Word of God is our textbook, but we cannot understand it apart from the Spirit of God, our Teacher. Starting with the illumination of the Holy Spirit, we then proceed to apply the tools of interpretation to discover the original intent of these words for the original recipients. But II Timothy 3:16 says all of Scripture is profitable to all of God’s children, so we, too, are the intended recipients. Second, we can APPLY its principles. In studying this particular Psalm, we discover why the writer cried out with such passion: he was deeply vexed by the fact that the wicked ignore God and indulge in sin, and yet continue to live pleasant, trouble-free lives, while the righteous obey God and walk the line of clean living, and earn only suffering for their trouble. “It’s just not fair, God!” But in the middle of his turmoil he takes another look, at himself, at his enemies, and at his God. When bitterness had blinded him and nearly destroyed him, he felt a faint tug on his hand – on his heart. It was God: not just information from God, but the very person and presence of God, washing over him, rejuvenating him, body, soul and spirit. It came in two waves: 1) the comfort of counsel to help in his present distress; 2) the comfort of hope regarding his future glory. Now, imagine reading this passage to a friend facing surgery. How might it apply? “I have a condition that is piercing me. It worries me, for it could kill me. But I will soon be unconscious, when the doctor will cut and mend, applying all his God-given skills, while I am oblivious – “senseless and ignorant” to what’s going on. But, “like a beast” – a creature that doesn’t know its Creator – I will still be known of God and cared for by Him. He’s my Great Physician, in control of my doctor – and of my life – and afterwards, whether I come out of this better or worse, alive or not, He won’t be done with me, nor I with Him, till He whisks me out of this life and into the next. There’s nothing I desire more than Him, and I’ve got Him, and He’s got me, right here, right now – and forever!”

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