The other night I was doing a personal Bible study by Paul Washer, and he referenced a passage in Psalms, and I jumbled the numbers up and read the wrong passage. I did not realize it until I went to complete the answer. But God’s Word never returns empty.
Evidently, I needed that passage because it impacted me. It dealt with the blessing of God’s Word, but evidently, God intended it only for that moment. The reason I say that is because I forgot to write it down and I have spent two days trying to remember it and cannot call it back. But I have spent a lot of time in Psalms the past few days and some in Isaiah this morning. The first Psalm that has stuck in these past few days has been Psalm 43
Psalms 43 “Send Out Your Light and Your Truth.”
Psalm 43 is a short Psalm. I read it several times especially this morning. The writer cries out for vindication from the ungodly. But it is almost like a battle within himself. He tells God who he is and then asks himself why he is mourning. It is like a battle of God’s truth against the lies the adversary tells us.
Psalms 43 (ESV) Send Out Your Light and Your Truth
1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people,
from the deceitful and unjust man
2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
why have you rejected me?
Why do I go about mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?
3 Send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
In the end, the writer is slapping himself on the forehead saying, “hey man what are you thinking. God is always with you. Place your trust in Him.” Why when struggles come do I so often begin with this internal discussion. Why don’t I go straight to verse 5?
I read this Psalm, and I thought of this struggle that I had in the first of the year, and I read down through this and noted the steps.
- Verse 1 I cried out to God in my prayers angry with the people that were doing me wrong. I prayed for immediate deliverance from these unjust people
- Verse 2 I was telling God who he was and How I take refuge in Him and I could not understand why this was happening.
- But finally, my selfishness began to wane and instead of telling God what I wanted I started asking Him to show me what I needed to do.
- I began to pray for His will to be done.
- Then the slap on the forehead about why was I worrying with God on my side.
You know God humbles me when He lets me see those times when He was refining me, and He helps me see how I progressed. It is such a humbling experience and such a wonderful blessing even if it is just a glimpse.
I read through to Psalm 53 and Paused. 53 is David’s prayer of repentance after Nathan told him how badly he had messed up with Bathsheba.
Psalm 51, makes my heart ache every time I read it. It is the prayer I long to pray when I am convicted of sin. I do not want anything between God and I. To me this Psalm is the definition of repentance. It is not simply saying “I am sorry.” It is a cry of the spirit admitting a crime against God alone and pleading for forgiveness.
Psalms 51 (ESV) Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
This whole Psalm is a bearing of the heart and soul to God and a plea for cleansing. Isn’t this what God desires of us when we sin against Him. I know that sometimes I fall short even in this, but continue to seek Him, and that brought me to Isaiah 55
First, it was Isaiah 55: 6-7
Isaiah 55:6-7 (ESV) 6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Then Isaiah 55:8-9
Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV) 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Then Isaiah 55:10-11
Isaiah 55:10-11 (ESV) 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
As I read these passages over the past few days searching for that one, and as I poured over these scriptures this morning I was filled with joy. God had revealed to me in hindsight how he had worked in my life and sharpened my edge. He did that by showing me a passage that I cannot remember but for the general area in which I thought it was and He got me to search those Scriptures and opened my eyes.
Then, in the midst of it all, he took me to Isaiah 55 and reminded me that I must seek Him while I he may be found. His thoughts and ways are above mine. And His Word never comes back empty.
What an awesome God we serve.
Father, thank you for your Holy Word. Without it I would be lost. I praise you for your patience with me’ and I am thankful that your Word never comes back empty, but always bears fruit. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen!