Through all the years of success and sadness he remembered the land he had seen years before. It lived in his mind, and often with eyes closed he felt again the movement of a good horse, the sound of the wind in the grass or the cedars, the running water, the smell of dust and pines and gunpowder.”
–Louis L’Amour (The Empty Land)
“Victory ahead, victory ahead,
Through the blood of Jesus, victory ahead…”
Now, we have the victory! At times it may not seem like it. We get weary of the fight; we wane and become despondent, but we can rest assured that victory is coming and, in fact, has already come. Antony, one of the early monastics used to sing Psalm 68 to celebrate his triumphs over spiritual foes. Yes, we have them. Unseen, but real. Those around who saw and heard him wondered at his antics as he sang and heard his battle cries, watching him fight, but saw no visible foe attacking him (Petersen) It must have been a sight, but he was fighting real foes in a real, but unseen world.
I hesitated to write this lengthy Psalm, but the words are so real, so important to us as we walk through this things called life, and live in a world controlled by the power of the evil one. This week, the first fourteen verses. Read them, ponder them, contemplate them.
1 — Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those also who hate Him flee before Him.
2 — As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
3 — But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.
4 — Sing to God, sing praises to His name; extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name YAH, and rejoice before HIm.
5 — A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.
6 — God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
7 — O God, when You went out before Your people, when You marched through the wilderness, Selah
8 — The earth shook; the heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
9 — You, O God, sent a plentiful rain, whereby You confirmed Your inheritance, when it was weary.
10 — Your congregation dwelt in it; You, O God, provided from Your goodness for the poor.
11 — The Lord gave the word; great was the company of those who proclaimed it:
12 — “Kings of armies flee, they flee, and she who remains at home divides the spoil.
13 — Though you lie down among the sheepfolds, you will be like the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.”
14 — When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Zalmon. (NKJV)
God is your friend and He is there for you no matter the battle or storm. What happens to your enemies? You have real problems, you have real troubles and difficulties that cannot be denied, but they will not last. They were be blown away as the smoke or melted like the wax. The Lord is there with the victory.
I remember that as a child I would often lay back in the soft grass watching the clouds, watching them form different formations and imagining them to be objects. At that time I never wondered about seeing God in the clouds. He rides on the clouds! What a thought, and just think, He is coming back again in the clouds for His “Bride.” Look back at the past and see what the Lord has done. He is still the “Way-Maker,” He is still the “Miracle-Worker,” He still brings the victory to His people. George Wood put it this way, “Too often we fail to remember God’s victories–recorded in Scripture and in our own experience. God’s past deliverances, coupled with the assurance of our future in Him, should give us a present confidence.”
“Let all the world in every corner sing, My God and King!
The heavens are not too high, His praise may thither fly:
The earth is not too low, His praises there may grow.
Let all the world in every corner sing, My God and KIng.”
He took his cup from his saddlebag and filled it from the coffeepot… He sipped the coffee gratefully. ‘Good coffee.’”
It’s always good to be hungry when you’re in the woods…. Because when you get back to camp or back home, near starved to death, everythin’ tastes so good, an’ you feel as if you never knew how good food is.”
–Zane Grey (Under the Tonto Rim)
“Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.”
“God is so good,
God is so good,
God is so good,
He’s so good to me.”
And, let me tell you friend–He’s good to you, too! Tomorrow, while the turkey is roasting, while the pies are baking and all of the other wonderful food for the dinner is being prepared think on the goodness of God.
Some people may be under dire circumstances, I want you to know that God is good. Many may have lost a loved one this past year–God is still good. He sustains us, His grace is always there and His mercy endures forever. God is good!
God is good in the happy times, when we often forget Him, and He is good in the bad times when we run to Him in despair, or become bitter because He doesn’t do what we want Him to do.
God is good in the midst of the storm; when we think He is off somewhere sleeping. He is there in the storms with us. God is good even when we cannot see what He is doing in our lives. He is good when we get upset with the way things turn out, because He sees the road ahead of us. He is good even in those many times that we do not understand.
Think of that little song we used to sing in Sunday School–God is so good. Never lose sight of that fact. In closing this little note for Thanksgiving I want to take you to the grand little song by James P. Sullivan. It’s another one of those songs that came out of the Great Depression.
“There is a song in my heart today,
Something I never had;
Jesus has taken my sins away,
Oh! say, but I’m glad.
Wonderful, marvelous love He brings,
Into a heart that’s sad;
Thro’ darkest tunnels the soul just sings,
Oh! say but I’m glad.
Oh! say, but I’m glad, I’m glad,
Oh! say, but I’m glad;
Jesus has come and my cup’s overrun;
Oh! say, but I’m glad.”
Our Pastor preached a great Thanksgiving sermon last Sunday. In it he mentioned something that I’ve always believed (though, not always practiced). It is wonderful that we have this national day of Thanksgiving. A day when families can get together, a day when people throughout this country are doing the same thing–giving thanks. But truly, honestly–everyday for the Christian should be one of Thanksgiving! “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NKJV).