"I call upon the LORD, who is worthy of being praised, and I am saved from my enemies. When the waves of death surrounded me; the torrents of ruin overwhelmed me, the sorrow of grave surrounded me; the snare of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry for help came into His ears." (2 Samuel 22:1-7)
In the name of Jesus. Amen. When things get really bad, when they are as bad as they can possibly be, David's song is a gift.
The false teachers of this world say that Christians are to lead victorious lives. They preach that if we just do this or that and live the right way, we'll succeed. If we just do this or that, God will love us and it'll be seen in how well our life goes. It makes sense to our sinful flesh too: if God loves us, wouldn't we succeed? If things aren't going so well, it must be because God doesn't love us. Right?
No. King David doesn't speak that way, does he? The waves of death surrounded him, the sorrows of the grave surrounded him, and the snare of death confronted him. When these things happen to us – and they do, and will – where do we look?
"My eyes are ever toward the Lord; for He shall pluck my feet out of the net!" Oculi is all-eyes-off-ourselves week and all-eyes-on-Jesus week. Jesus is on His way to the Cross for us. He lived a perfect life in our place all the way to the Cross, where He died for our sins. After three days, God raised Him from the dead for you and me.
The Lord is worthy to be praised, for He saved you and me from our enemies. He alone is worthy. He saved us from sin, death, and the power of the devil. He saved us from our own attempts to earn God's love by how we live. He saved us for free. He saved us without any merit or worthiness in us.
When everything in the world goes wrong, there is only the Lord. From His temple He heard David's voice and David's cry for help. He has heard your cry for help. That's why we are given to thank and praise God. He alone is worthy to be praised.
If we are ever tempted to listen to the false teachers and put our eyes on ourselves and the things we are doing, Jesus' Cross will save us. No one but Jesus has ever lived a perfect life. And His life was full of sorrows and grief! His "victorious" life was a undeserved death on the Tree, for us. Fix your eyes on Jesus today and sing David's song. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Glory be to Jesus, who in bitter pains, poured for me the life-blood, from His sacred veins." (TLH 158, v. 1)
Higher Things Reflections are written by Rev. George F. Borghardt III, Assistant Pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Conroe, TX