Oh bless our God, ye peoples, And make the voice of his praise to be heard;
Who holdeth our soul in life, And suffereth not our feet to be moved.
For thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
Thou broughtest us into the net; Thou layedst a sore burden upon our loins.
Thou didst cause men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. Psalms 66:8-12 ASV
Who among us hasn’t experienced trouble? Suffered loss? Been through multiple storms? Failed more than once? Needed something but couldn’t get it? Been on the receiving end of pain (mental and physical)?
I know I have.
But then again, how many times have we attributed all these things to “an attack of the enemy”? Right book, wrong page.
This is a praise from a decidedly different perspective. God, it was you who caused me to have trouble. It was you who laid heavy burdens on my shoulders. God, it was you who caused men to trample on me. How many of us would be brave enough to say GOD afflicted me, sent trouble my way and burdened me down? I don’t think that would go over well in testimony service.
But this reality truly acknowledges the proving fire God puts us through to shape, mold and make us into a people who can handle living in a wealthy place. David writes that that while we are in the press, God will not suffer our foot to be moved. That has to meanings. One, we arent going anywhere until God determines the process is over. Secondly, we can live in and through the process knowing we are secure in the hands that hold us. Which ever one is applicable or even if both are applicable, its comforting to know.
What’s very interesting about Psalms 66 is that David prefaces the reality of his troubles with praise (vss 1-8). Most of us tell what we went through, then we give God the praise. But David has been aquainted with trouble for much of his life. Thus, he has learned to praise God by default. Before I tell you what I went though, let me give God the praise!
Along with our character, our praise matures in the fire of affliction, troubles and adverse challenges. It matures into a praise for his purpose, not a praise for his provision.
It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn thy law. Psalms 119:71
This is an insane statement! Who in their right mind would say being beaten and battered by the storms of life is good? I’ll tell you who would say that: a saint who understands who was really in charge during the storms. Its kingdom thinking at its best. Church mentality isnt that lofty, that refined. But this is how it is in the kingdom of God. All things work together for our good, because we love God —and get this— are the called according to his purpose. Thus, afflictions are good for us.
Again, its a reaffirmation that it is indeed God —not satan— who is in control. Satan is but another tool in God’s hands to bless and mature us. That’s all. We should cease giving satan credit for something he has no control over. Let us thank God that he has put us under the umbrella of his loving press, to bring out the best for his glory!
The path to our wealthy place begins on the potter’s wheel.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
No need for deep revelation here. He is the potter, we are the clay. The clay cannot tell the potter when it is finished nor when it looks good. This is solely in the eye –and hands– of the potter.
Be encouraged that what you are enduring is for your good. Don’t fight it, dont resist it. Follow David’s example and give God advance praise, knowing that your life is truly in his hands. Then, and only then are you ready to live in a wealthy place.
Enjoy this beautiful song Refiner’s Fire by Brian Doerksen