I had a friend tell me, “All I want is for my family to understand why I make these choices. I am so crushed when the people who I love, taunt me for standing up for this great God; and God doesn’t seem to show up for me either.”
It takes a long ride on a battle field marked with obstacles; sin within and without, before we learn God’s honor on you is not tainted by reproach, not even close.
When we truly think there is honor in serving God and standing up for God, sometimes circumstances dictate otherwise. When sacrifices are mocked and choices are scorned; When contributions are confronted with contempt and precedence is passed up and pigeon-holed, we can lose perspective of why we do what we do.
Providence can pigeonhole your precedence but not even prison doors can prohibit its potential. Joseph’s precedence ended up in prison, but the guy walked out the prison doors as prime minister of Egypt. Providence brought Paul to prison but epistles he penned in the prison brought the walls of Rome down. Continues to shake the walls of our sinful hearts.
It takes faith to stand tall on the inside when life makes you small on the outside. A ticking clock on the prison walls may be a reminder of unfulfilled potential and wasted time, but faith can transform it to be a reminder of the one in whose hands time stands still!
The passing seasons in the wilderness reminded David not of the wasted time in his rightful career, but of God’s faithfulness in bringing forth seasons; spring never cease to come though the cold winter ceases every growth.
David understood this when running from his son Absalom who usurped David’s throne and led an uprising against David. David lived in the wilderness, running away from his son. In Psalms 4 David deals with this pain.
There are 6 steps David takes to stand tall when life found him small; when his honor was turned into a reproach.
Psalms 4:4-5 Be angry,and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.
- Be angry – God gives you freedom to be angry. Anger needs a target. The arrows of the evil one always are disguised in flesh and blood. Wise people set their spirit to war the arrows behind the flesh and blood, fools get caught up striking their arrows against flesh and blood. Anger should not be against the prison walls; but against the principalities. Your punches don’t dent the prison walls but your resistance can bend principalities. Some versions of this verse says tremble (instead of, be angry) and do not sin. Either way, may it be a righteous anger that trembles at the word of God.
- Do not sin- Let your anger not make you sin. It takes faith to have a large heart that makes no returns to small attitudes. Life presents an obstacle course filled with attitudes, taunting, isolation, war, the course can become narrower and longer as you get tangled on the obstacles. You need a larger than life faith to not sin. Large faith is a projectile whose trajectory skips the obstacles to reach the destination purpose. Missile your way to purpose with faith. Pray for a larger than life faith.
- Meditate in your heart- We are called to meditate scripture not to premeditate sin. While meditating, faith brings forth holiness; while premeditating, flesh brings forth sin. Meditation can give you sleep. Premeditation can take away your sleep. Meditation brings forth peace, scheming and premeditation brings forth bitterness.
- Be still- Impulsive sin has two parents- a scheming mind and a malignant soul. Let the brainchild of your scheming mind and malignant soul be delivered still born. Stillness is not hopeless. Still water is not always stagnant water. Nothing can arouse anticipation of movement than still waters. While you are still the wind that causes ripples are building speed. The same stillness gives birth to waves that breaks forth when the wind hits its surface. Talk about waves of revival! Revival has two parents too- a still mind and a repentant soul!
- Offer the sacrifices of righteousness- Long obedience in the same direction is the mark of greatness in a believer. Show up when the ground shakes. Doing the right thing and going the right way will build pillars of righteousness. These pillars are where heavens rest, saints are adorned and sinners are condemned against. He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn. Ps 37:5
- Trust in the Lord- He knows the time that ticks in the wall of the prison too. Trusting heart is a trembling heart. Trusting heart can relinquish impatience. Trusting heart keeps no account of the days they have waited or the times they forgave. They have eternity set in their hearts even now. Time stands still and worship is begun when a trusting heart enters the battle zone of wait. In that worshipful wait, glory never ceases to chase purpose and honor never becomes a reproach.