In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.

Last month we saw that in ancient Judaism, the book of Psalms were divided into five books and were known as the "five books of David". Today's interesting fact is that ancient Judaism saw these five books corresponding and contrasting with the "five books of Moses". They saw the image of the five books of the law in the five books of the Psalms, and it is recorded that they regarded it as a second Pentateuch, an echo of the first...

Today's lesson from the Psalms focuses on Psalm 114. It is actually not known who authored this song. Though it is often accredited to David, some say it was penned after the division of the kingdom into Israel of the North and Judah of the South. Whether we know the author or not, this Psalm builds us up in the depths of our despair. Consider these first few verses:

"When the Israelites escaped from Egypt--
   when the family of Jacob left that foreign land--
the land of Judah became God's sanctuary,
   and Israel became his kingdom.
The Red Sea saw them coming and hurried out of their way!
   The water of the Jordan River turned away.
The mountains skipped like rams,
   the hills like lambs!"
(Psalm 114:1-4 NLT)

This Psalm begins by reminding its listeners of God's almighty power and might by directing our attention to a monumental event in history: Israel's deliverance from Egypt and their conquest of Canaan. If God's miraculous power could accomplish all of this, is there anything He cannot do?

Most of us right now are in the midst of some kind of a bad situation. It seems the troubles are folding in on all sides, and it is tempting to say, "Where's God?" The best thing we can do in the midst of these circumstances is to remember the works of the Lord in the past.

Now no one alive actually was in that party that crossed the Red Sea and the Jordan River on dry ground; however every one of us has experienced God in a miraculous way. Maybe He got you into an education program or helped you pass a test. Maybe He arrived just in time to pull your tractor out of the ditch. Maybe He provided a good job. A warm house. A loving family. All you have to do is prayerfully think about it, and you will find multiple examples of God's power in your life.

I would suggest that you then use the format of Psalm 114 and personalize your prayer. Here is one I could easily pray about the time that in my ignorance about Canadian Immigration, I took a job in Canada, put my belongings on a moving truck and sent it to Canada, all before I had my immigration papers signed...

"When we immigrated to Canada--
   when my family left the land of our birth--
Canadian Immigration saw us coming and hurried out of their way!
   The process that should have taken 9 months took 1 hour..."

If we want our faith to truly be supercharged about whatever situation we find ourselves in at the moment, Psalm 114 urges us to then reflect upon the miracles:

"What's wrong, Red Sea, that made you hurry out of their way?
   What happened, Jordan River, that you turned away?
Why, mountains, did you skip like rams?
   Why, hills, like lambs?"
(Psalm 114:5-6 NLT)

Why not spend some time reflecting on the miraculous nature of God's goodness to us in the past? Again, it is helpful to personalize this. My personal song might continue something like this:

"What's wrong, Canadian Immigration,
   that made you hurry out of our way?
What happened, Embassy,
   that made you approve our applications immediately
   instead of making us wait the prescribed 9 months?"

After reflecting on the miracles, Psalm 114 goes on to glorify the power of the almighty God, our God, the One Who loves us enough to die for us, the One who did everything to make a way. It reminds us that nothing can stand before the presence of the Lord:

"Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
   at the presence of the God of Jacob.
He turned the rock into a pool of water;
   yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock."
(Psalm 114:7-8 NLT)

Friends, whatever it is you are going through, it cannot stand in the presence of the Lord without trembling! Remember: "What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" (Romans 8:31 NLT)

Take whatever it is that is before you now, and pray it into these final two verses:

"Tremble, O death of a spouse, O sale of a home, O (insert your current problem here) 
   in the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the MY God.
He allowed us to begin the jobs we had waiting for us in Canada right away,
   And this illness, this (insert your current problem here) is nothing in His presence either!

Feeling weary, filled with doubt and despair? Follow the Psalm 114 formula:

1. Remember God's miracles of the past.
2. Reflect upon them.
3. Claim the Truth that nothing (and that includes your current situation!) can stand in the presence of the Lord without trembling!
4. Challenge your situation to try to stand before the Lord!

Then sit back and make yourself comfortable, because in God's time, He will cause your situation to crumble and fall!

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

(To access the entire "Lessons From the Psalms" mini-series, please click here.)