by Steven Chan
As our Chinese brethren celebrate the Lunar New Year, and good wishes are spoken to each other, it is good that we remember the words of our Lord with regards where we put our trust and the source of our successes.
In Psalms 20, the Psalmist reminds us all that deliverance is ultimately from the Lord and that we should always put our trust in Him and not in any other person or thing.
The Psalmist’s trust in God is evident in his prayer to God that in the day of trouble,
1. God will answer you (20:1a);
2. God will defend you (20:1b)
3. God will send you help (20:2);
4. God will strengthen you (20:2)
As God remembers your worship in the form of offerings and sacrifices (20:3).
Can we fathom the things that God can and will do for us? The apostle Paul wrote thus in Eph 3:20-21:
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
The Psalmist believed that his prayers will be answered, as he declared that:-
1. God will grant the desire of his heart (20:4a);
2. God will fulfil his plan or purpose (20:4b);
3. He can rejoice in the salvation that is from the Lord (20:5)
4. He will march under the banner of the Lord (20:5)
5. He is hopeful that God will fulfil all his petitions/requests (20:5)
The Psalmist declared further his confidence and knowledge that the Lord will save His anointed, He will answer from heaven and with the saving strength of His right hand (20:6).
Knowing that God will hear and answer the prayers of those who worshipped Him, the Psalmist then declared:
“7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. 8 They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright.”
In contrast with those who trust in chariots and horses, the Psalmist puts his trust in the Name of the Lord our God, and he knows the ultimate result when he does that: he will not fall but he will rise and stand upright. He then appeals to the supreme King, the Sovereign God to always answer when he calls upon Him, and to save.
Psalms 20 is a good reminder for all of us to remember that we should put our trust in God and to seek Him in our prayers in all our troubles and in all our plans, and to have faith that He will hear and answer our prayers, as we worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and as we offer our bodies as living sacrifice in our service to Him (Rom 12:1)
In Deut 8:11-14; 17-18, Moses warned God’s people of the danger of being puffed up and attributing their successes to their own strength and power:
“Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest–when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God … then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’”
Unfortunately, many think that they have succeeded in gaining great wealth and position on their own (eg. through the practice of the power of positive thinking, principles of think and grow rich, power of networking, university of hard-knocks, etc) and that God has no part in it so that they do not worship Him and offer sacrifices to Him. They will do well to remember the account of the rich man in Luke 12:16-21. Some conduct their lives in a compartmentalized manner where they feel that God is not relevant to their everyday work life as they place God only in the spiritual part of their lives – and there is no connection between their everyday lives working in the offices, or as students etc… with their spiritual lives. Some would even think or say: “please leave your sermons in the church; we are doing business here!” How sad indeed? They forgot the exhortation in Col 3:22-25:
“Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.”
Please note the warning that if we do wrong in our workplaces, we will be answerable to God – we will be repaid for the wrong we have done – as is also taught in Rom 12:19: “for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
Whilst we must trust God to provide, to deliver and to grant us success, it does not mean that one does not have to work or to plan for our future; in fact, 2 Thess 3:10 declares: “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” In Luke 14:28, Jesus said that one ought to “sit down first and count the cost, whether one has enough to finish the building of a tower”. It is as stated in Prov 21:31:”The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the LORD.” One still needs to prepare the horse for battle but one needs to realize that after doing all that one needs to do to prepare for battle, one should still put one’s faith or trust in God to deliver us or bring to pass our plan – as we work our plan.
In Psalms 37:3-5, the Psalmist exhorts us to commit our plans to Him and to trust Him to help us realize our plans:
“3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”
The Bible tells us in Prov 16:1-3 the importance of committing our works to the Lord so that our thoughts or the plans of our hearts will be established:
“The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. 2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits. 3 Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.”
That’s why the Bible says that the just shall live by faith in God (Rom 1:17) and that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”(Heb 11:6). That’s how the apostle Paul lived: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”(Gal 2:20).
I was very much encouraged during a recent casual conversation after church service with some brethren, when they shared with me their joy that the Lord had blessed them with good success in their enterprise, and that they would like to make some contribution towards the relief of brethren in the Philippines who had been adversely affected by the recent typhoon. Such is what it should be. We give thanks to God for His abundant blessings for all that we are blessed with. We demonstrate our gratitude to Him in words and in deed (I John 3:16-18; I Tim 6:17-19).
May we all be encouraged by the words of the apostle Paul as recorded in 2 Cor 9:6-15:
“6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”