WHERE?

Read Psalm 42

We return to the despairing Psalmist for the second question asked in Psalm 42, “Where?” Not the psalmist, but his enemies do the asking in verse 3 and 10. “My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?” (Psalm 42:3,10).

In these two verses we are confronted with an enemy, and he is wielding a sword. So as we consider the question “Where?” see the psalmist and yourself, clad in armor, sword and shield in hand, facing an enemy likewise armed for battle.

We know who the enemy is. A triumvirate of foes face us: the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. But where they attack us can be a much harder question. Will they slash at our legs? Will they thrust for our hearts? Or will they swing down on our heads? No longer do the wicked openly set up gods of silver and gold against the one true God. At least in the western world, there is no open persecution of Christians. But is there peace?

No.

The war rages as fiercely as ever, not “against flesh and blood,” but “against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). We must stand in the office of all believer, as prophets, priests, and kings of our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that we face false prophets, unrighteous priests, and corrupt kings.

First, as the prophets of the Great Deceiver, the world continually says, “Where is thy God?” by attacking truth. Consider evolution, or transgenderism, or the very idea of truth itself as relative to each individual’s feelings. They spare no opportunity to inject these worldviews into every area of study and in every medium. Open your ears when you turn on the television, or attend your college class, or spend a minute online. You will hear the same mocking cry the psalmist heard so many years ago. “Where is thy God?”

Second, the wicked as priests of the devil consecrate themselves to sin, daily offering up sacrifices on the altars of iniquity. They murder thousands of unborn children for their own god of selfish convenience, all the while mocking us for following a God who requires self-sacrifice. They come as Satan in the garden, offering us the pleasures of sin and saying, “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). Don’t you see how this comes as a terrible blow to the struggling saint? Just listen to Psalm 73. When considering “the ungodly, who prosper in the world,” the Psalmist says, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me” (Ps. 73:12,16). From their life of pleasure and excess, our enemies call to us, “Where is thy God?”

Third, as kings under the prince of this world, they rule all of creation for the glory of man and the destruction of the church. Don’t they appear to be winning? You can take a moment to look up the Equality Act, awaiting passage in Congress. The Bible makes it clear that we will only become more familiar with this perverted office, when it is wielded by “the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God” (II Thess. 2:3,4). What shall we say in that day when they boast in their might, “Where is thy God?”

Look again at the Psalmist. He’s beaten down, bearing three grievous wounds. Though the Psalmist’s righteous anger can be bold in other psalms, not here. Though we have moments of great faith, there are times when, day and night, our meat is only tears, and there is a sword in our bones. Then the question becomes our own. “Where is my God?”

So vividly we see it. The Psalmist, nigh to death. The triumphant enemy. A sword thrust for his heart. The killing blow. But so suddenly the shield of faith is lifted up! Look through this Psalm and so many others, and you will see it, time and time again. Beautiful confessions of faith suddenly appear in the middle of the most despairing Psalms. I draw your attention to only one.

“O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.” Psalm 42:6

“Therefore will I remember thee.” No matter the place, the land of Jordan or of the Hermonites, the Psalmist looks to God in faith even in the depths of despair. It is not faith in his own strength to swing his sword. It is not even faith in his own ability to lift the shield of faith. Faith has only one object. So when they ask, “Where is thy God?” remember:

He is there. In the Bible, Jesus Christ performs the office of prophet by revealing God to us through himself. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). In the Bible he comes “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn” (Isa. 61:2). If we do not know our Bible, we have no answer to give our enemies, and we will be “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). Are you “ready always to give an answer” (I Pet. 3:15)? Heed the command to “lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes” (Deut. 11:18).

He is there. On the cross and as our high priest, Jesus made that once for all sacrifice by which we have eternal life. He took upon himself our flesh, being “touched with the feeling of our infirmities”  (Hebrews 4:15). All his life, he fully consecrated himself to God, being made the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Forever he will perform the work of mediation, so that for all eternity we have access to our God through him. We never have to wonder if God has abandoned us on account of our sins. “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14).

He is there. In heaven and at God’s right hand, our Lord Jesus Christ rules as king so that all things work together for our good. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord” (Prov. 21:1), and even elections bring about nothing but the advancement of God’s kingdom. He rules so that even a pandemic which utterly evades the control of any government is directed by his almighty hand. And one day, Christ our King shall make complete his victory. He shall return on the clouds of glory and there will be no more questioning, for “every eye shall see him” (Rev. 1:7). Judgement will he execute on the enemies which mock us, but our tears will he wipe away. Then, we shall not have to point to shadows or look through a dark glass. Until then we say, “Even so come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).

Bruce Feenstra

Eternal Spring

Spring is a favorite time of the year as the cold snow melts to reveal the new grass hiding underneath. Wild flowers shoot up, gently swaying in the breeze while honey bees and butterflies navigate from flower to flower. Tiny buds turn to blossoms and leaves cover the once barren trees. The earth has awoken from hibernation into the fullness of life! These signs of life after a cold winter point us to our Heavenly Father who is the only giver and sustainer of life. The stunning transformation of the life cycle of a butterfly reveals this clearly.

Consider how the beautiful Monarch butterfly starts off as a minuscule egg on a leaf. After the caterpillar leaves the egg, it enters the world with a massive appetite and immediately eats the leaves close by. Soon the caterpillar will find a safe branch to attach itself to and form a chrysalis. Here, another wonder takes place as it emerges with a new body! The once fat, ugly caterpillar is now a beautiful Monarch butterfly. Every stage of its life brought a dramatic change leading to its final form. 

This life cycle reminds us of our own. Our unique and minuscule bodies were created and formed in the womb until we were brought into this world as a little infant. We roam this earth for a short time but we know that one day it will end, and we will enter the grave. Herein is a “chrysalis,” where we emerge, bright, beautiful, and with a transformed body. No longer chained to our sinful natures we will be given the wings of freedom from all sin and enter our new home with our Lord. 

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

While this transformation will change our physical body, our Creator is gently forming and molding us spiritually right now! Just as coal is purged in the fire to reveal sparkling diamonds, God is purging us too! We are born dead in sin with a sinful human nature that despises God and His Word. By His grace, He sent His Son to take our sins and the punishment due for them. He further regenerates us by His Spirit and gives us a new life to live unto Him. Jesus explained this mystery to Nicodemus when he came to him that night as it’s recorded in John 3. In the third verse, Jesus says, “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He follows that up by saying in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 

In our sinful natures, we do not see Christ as our Lord and Savior but by God’s grace, we are given eyes of faith and are born again. Our hard heart of unbelief is softened by His Spirit to reflect His love freeing us from the chains of sin. Even now He is transforming us to be more like Him. One day we will “fly” home to be with Him forever. The winter of this life gives way to the eternal spring and everlasting season of life with Him in Heavenly glory. 

Extraordinary in the Ordinary

It is really easy, most of the time, at least, to see God in the big things in life. We see Him in the birth of a child. We see Him in the natural disasters and the storms. We remember His power and control over everything when we see diseases take hold of people and viruses take over nations.

We look for Him in the mountains and in the sky during a sunrise or sunset. In everything that is big and powerful, we can say that God was there and in control. However, we forget a lot that God is here with us every second of every day. We forget that we should be looking for God in the “simple” and ordinary things in life.

There is a song called “Hymn of Creation” by Dan Forrest that really captures this truth. You may know this song since it is one that Covenant Christian High School Choirs sang in 2019. The song starts off by talking about how God made the mountains rise, how He spread the seas, and created the sky. It goes on to talk about God’s wisdom in the sun, the moon, and the stars. It lists many of the “big” or extraordinary things of this world, sights that make us catch our breath.

Then the song shifts and starts to talk about the smaller details. The details in which we do not always remember God when we see them. It lists the food that we eat and the creatures that inhabit the earth. It says that no matter where I look I can see God’s wonders – even if it is just at the ground we walk upon.

My favorite line from this song is, “while all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care, and ev’ry where that man can be, Thou, God art present there”. This line reminds us that God is keeping us alive. He is making our hearts to beat and our lungs to breathe and that without Him we would not be here. It reminds us that God is everywhere and not just in those big sights and big moments in life. We need to be reminded that we have to look for and see God in the ordinary, in the things we take for granted.

God’s glory is displayed everywhere, and we can see it everywhere if we just take the time to look. Our lungs breathing, our heart beating, the sun rising, and so much more we take for granted and see as ordinary. But once we start noticing God in everything, including the ordinary, we will start to see everything as extraordinary and that God’s glory is displayed in millions of ways. We will start to thank God and glorify Him for everything.

This is something we should be doing already, but it is easy to get swept up in the world and forget God and everything He has done and is doing for us. This is our old man, our fallen human nature coming into play. Forgetting God is what the devil wants us to do. He cheers everytime we go through a day without thanking God and glorifying Him for anything and everything.

Making a conscious effort, by God’s grace, to do this every day makes every day more enjoyable. Looking for God in everything and seeing all that He has done and continues to do for us makes it easier to be in a good and happy mood. It also helps in prayer and devotions. We have a list of things to be thankful for and can talk to God throughout the day giving thanks for everything. This can really help strengthen our relationship with God.

I struggle with this too, but this song reminds me—and hopefully others—to see God in everything no matter how ordinary. It reminds me to give thanks and glorify God for more than just the big things in life. It reminds me that God is with me all the time. It reminds me to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

(click here to listen to “Hymn of Creation”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR3NphPrZt4)

Brittany Bylsma

Satisfaction in Christ

Our world is a battlefield. A war, fierce and tactical, rages around us at all times. It is not, however, a fight for land or political power, but one for our souls. The Devil operates with an intense yearning for our hearts, attempting to ensnare us through cunningly disguised temptations. It is Satan’s greatest desire for us to reject our loving Lord and choose him and his deceptions. This battle is waged in many areas of our life, but especially in where we look for our satisfaction.

We tend to fix our eyes horizontally, examining only the world around us in a desperate search for satisfaction. It might not even be a conscious, intentional action, but it is perhaps still there. Maybe it’s our social life. We are confident in the lie that we tell ourselves day after day that if I was just a little bit more popular, or if I fit into that friend group, then life would be good. Maybe we seek fulfillment academically. If I am just able to get a high grade on that exam, or be accepted into my first choice college, then I will be happy. Maybe we look to the amount of likes on a picture we posted, a number on the scale, finding a spouse, or the sum of money in our bank account to receive fulfillment. The list goes on and on. 

Of course, some of these desires are not necessarily incorrect in and of themselves. It is, however, wrong to place our trust fully, or even partially, in them.  Seeking God, plus something on the side (you fill in the blank) to reach satisfaction is never right. Not only is it sinful, but it will not provide the true and lasting satisfaction for which we ache.

The reason that we find no fulfillment in any of those “ideals,” is that they were simply not made to satisfy us. We live in an imperfect, fallen, and broken world. It is illogical even to expect that an imperfect person or a temporary object could bring lasting and perfect joy. The fulfillment for which we so urgently seek is found solely in Christ, the eternal fountain of joy and peace. He is lasting. He is perfect. He is our complete satisfaction! 

In living out this truth, the believer discovers tremendous freedom. No longer do circumstances control our joy—Christ is our joy! Our happiness doesn’t come from a career, or friends, or anything else. I find my delight in my wonderful Heavenly Father, who loves me in all eternity. The words of Psalm 16: 8, 9, and 11 ring beautifully true.  “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope… Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” 

“I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope…Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” 

Psalm 16:8-9,11

Leah Decker