“In my prosperity I said, ‘This is forever; nothing can stop me now! The Lord has shown me his favor. He has made me steady as a mountain.’ Then, Lord, you turned your face away from me and cut off your river of blessings. Suddenly my courage was gone; I was terrified and panic-stricken.” (Psalm 30:6-7 LB)
In this psalm, David perfectly articulates the great challenge the Lord faces in His dealings with the fickle nature of man. Even the godliest saints are prone to such wild vacillations of temper!
The title of Psalm 30 tells us that it was a song written “at the dedication of the house of David.” It seems that the psalmist king penned it upon the completion of his own palace in Jerusalem. Those were heady days for the young monarch. David was beginning to enjoy the unmixed blessings of God upon his life:
“Then… they built a house for David. And David realized that the LORD had established him as king over Israel… Meanwhile David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron; and more sons and daughters were born to David.” (2 Samuel 5:11-13)
As much as the Lord thoroughly enjoys blessing His people, He knows far better than we do that our tendency is to turn away from Him when prosperity flourishes. The Lord is a master at mixing blessings with griefs, mountain-top experiences with the mundane nature of the daily life. He knows just when to shut one off and turn on the other.
Times of blessing are an integral part of the Christian life. We all need the encouragement of feeling God’s presence, of receiving tokens of His kindness, of being able to enjoy some of the positive aspects of life on earth. No one can endure nonstop hardship. We all need those times of blessing to encourage us along the way.
Yet, even more important from an eternal standpoint is our great need to suffer adversity and hardship. It is through the difficulties of life that we become humbled and sanctified. Hard times are what shape us into Christ’s image. Affliction also deepens our perspective of the spiritual realm. We are all terribly shallow by nature; only grief can bring about the maturity to be able to comprehend the more profound things of life.
David was doing well—everything was going his way—and yet trouble was on the way: “When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David…” (2 Samuel 5:17)
Not only did he face a brutal horde of murderous pagans intent upon his destruction, but then the sense of God’s presence suddenly seemed to vanish! “Then David inquired of the LORD…” (2 Samuel 5:17) This was what God had in mind all along. David was probably becoming a little too self-confident. In one day, he was thrown into the kind of panic that sent him running to his God.
And how about you? Do you tend to live in self-reliance? Can you see how the Lord has had to alternate blessings and discipline in your life? Have you ever made an earnest effort to recount His dealings in your life and thank Him for them?