God really helped me the other day as I read this Psalm in my daily Bible reading. Serving the Lord in a different culture, especially a Muslim country, can be nerve racking. If you are experiencing some actual physical problems from the stress of ministering in a different culture and language, maybe my take on this chapter can be a blank.
Who’s job is it to keep me? : God’s. I trust in him. Vs 1
How many times have I feared for my “work” or my “safety”?
The end of those who follow another God is sure vs 4
God owns this land. He is the King. Those who do evil now will live for only a little time. Don’t talk about and focus your thoughts on their names. Their names are the powers of darkness and fear. But God’s name is to be on our lips and our hearts.
The Lord is my portion and cup vs 5
Jealousy and a deep emptiness arises in us when we look at those who own homes and have a stable life. Those in our home country or working on other mission fields. They have the opportunity to be “legal” and think very long term. That is where we realize like the Levites that the LORD is our portion or that thing which we call our own. Instead of looking down and seeing our small plot of land we can look up and see the greatness of the creator as ours. He is our cup or our sustenance. God is that which makes us satisfied on the inside. This is a better inheritance as it says in verse 6.
Take your counsel from the Lord vs 7
THE greatest problem in missions to Muslims today is that men start from logic and modern methods and not from the counsel of the Lord through his Word. To take counsel from the Lord is to bless him. To ignore his counsel is to curse your Lord. The wisdom of “persepectives” or any other books or advise from men is vain if it contradicts what we read in our Lord’s commands and the history of the church in Acts.
Put the Lord before you and you will not be moved vs 8
Countless times I have had nightmares about a police crackdown.Not all of these nightmares were at night. These are a natural result of working as an illegal agent of the Kingdom of God. Satan wants to move us in our inward most parts. He wants us to be like a constant earthquake, never at peace. What can you do about this? Is the Lord your first thought in the morning? Is he your last prayer at night? When you hear threatening, do you immediately speak to him or worry inside yourself.
My flesh lives in hope vs 9
Anyone who has ministered on the mission field, maybe especially the Muslim field, knows what it means to have despair effect the flesh. The book “Culture Shock” talks about how missionaries can experience real physical sicknesses and pains because of the “stress” of ministering in a cross-cultural situation. Sometimes it displays itself as a nagging stomach pain (which I have had) or back pain (which my wife has had) or an exaggeration of other physical problems you face. If the cause is spiritual the cure is as well. To put the Lord before your eyes continually will give your flesh hope. Hope is the opposite of worry and despair. Do you live in hope? Are you trying to be a constant source of words of hope for your spouse and co-workers?
Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell vs 10
This verse is a prophecy of the Christ but it also has implications for the Christians. This verse has been the hope of martyrs and prisoners for Christ since the first martyrs of the first church to Ignatius of Antioch who traveled the length of Asia minor on his way to death by lions in Rome. Our suffering is for the present time is not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18) In the midst of jail and torture we can hold to this promise. How much more if you are not in jail but only the prison of your fears?
Fullness of joy and life are in His presence vs 11
How many times have you thought, “I have no joy because of this situation!” No! We have no joy because we walk not in the presence of God for in his presence is life and fullness of joy. If my joy rests in my security then I have made myself and my comfort ultimate. No matter the trial or country, I can always be at the right hand of God.