Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Iron in my soul!

I'm homesick, God, for your salvation; I love it when you show yourself! 
   Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well, use your decrees to put iron in my soul. And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me! 
      I'll recognize the sound of your voice.
(Psalm 119:174-176 The Message)

This is our last passage from this great study into the depths of a man with "a heart after God".  We began our study 59 days ago!  Does it seem that long to you?  (Hopefully, you said "no"!)  We are at the final three verses of our psalm and find David crying out, "I'm homesick!"  We have seen his heart throughout this psalm - - both the ups and downs of it.  The Word of God has become an intensive training tool in his life - - he has come to rely upon hearing it, using it in practical ways to assist with the day-to-day decisions of life, and leaning on it when no answer seems apparent.  It has become his source because he has come to know the one who stands behind it!

Two things caught my eye from this final passage.  First, he asks God to "put iron" in his soul.  When we think of the soul, we are reminded it encompasses our mind, will and emotions.  He is asking God to give a certain steadiness, a strength to his thoughts, his choices, and his emotions.  Whenever iron is used as a symbol in scripture, it pictures unyielding determination.  Here we see the heart of David - - determined to allow God to impact his inner man so his outer man always gives a solid testimony of God's grace in his life!

Did you ever consider the make-up of iron?  It is not a pure metal - - but the very fact it is impure makes it malleable.  The metal we call iron is really a very strong metal - - rigid almost.  David has gone through rough spells in which we see his "metal".  His rigidity toward sin became apparent in taking Bathsheba in a moment of lustful pleasure.  His rigidity toward grace became equally apparent when he cried out, "Create in me a clean heart, O God!  And renew a right spirit in me!"  It is the impurity of our heart which brings us repeatedly back to the throne of grace!  

The second passage comes right after David makes the resolve to allow God to affect his thoughts, so his actions will be pure, and his emotions so his response to life would become more directed and focused.  He petitions God to "seek him" - - not because he planned to wander off, but because he knew he had a tendency to do so!  We should all be this honest in our appraisal of commitment to living obedient lives!  We all have the tendency to have a little "iron" in our character - - rigid toward one form of sin or another!

Here's the awesome part of this - - God seeks us!  We wander - - he seeks us until we realize we have been found!  Sometimes, I think we come to a place where we feel "found out" - - not just found!  Either way, he did the seeking!  The encouragement found in this passage is the very last truth - - we WILL recognize his voice!  It is distinctive and clear!  There is no wavering or inconsistency in his voice!  Perhaps this makes it so very recognizable to the wayward one!

Jesus used a similar illustration when he taught his disciples one day, telling them his sheep knew his voice!  He illustrated another parable of one wandering sheep, alone from the flock, and a shepherd focused on finding one lonely sheep.  Here's something I recently saw in this story - - the sheep who wandered was once part of the flock!  It says the shepherd had 100 sheep, 99 stayed right with him, one wandered away.  This speaks to me of the ease of making one small decision after another which takes us out of the safety of living close to him!

David knew the heart of God.  In turn, God had given him insight into his own heart.  We can count on this being true in our lives, as well.  God delights in us knowing the "rigidity" of our heart - - it is only in recognizing our lack of yieldedness that we come to the place of acknowledging our need.  

Thank you for studying along with me through this tremendous psalm.  May your heart always be yielded, your soul made strong with the Lord's protection, and your mind filled with the peace which comes from knowing God is in control!