Echoes From the Campfire

Once a man gets the smell o’ fire and smoke in his nose it’s hard to stay away.  But as fo’ sugar-fed pets, half broke, half wild, I nev’ had any likin’.”
              –Ernest Haycox (Free Grass)

    “This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.'”
              –Isaiah 48:17 (NLT)
Aren’t you glad that God is with us in our need?  When we struggle, when we are distressed and are in despair God is there.  Psalm 4 teaches us that we can have rest even when the “wrecking ball of life” may have demolished what we thought to be safe and secure.  
    Augustine said this Psalm should be sung as a testimony that God gives peace in the midst of inward and outward trouble.  We may not like what is coming our way, or what happened to us, but in spite of it all, God is there and is faithful.  Martin Luther wanted this Psalm to be sung at his funeral.
    Take a look, read, reflect, pray along with David, and meditate.

               Answer me when I call, O God who vindicates me.  You freed me from affliction; be gracious to me and hear my prayer. (1)
               How long, exalted men, will my honor be insulted?  How long will you love what is worthless and pursue a lie?                 Selah (2)
               Know that the LORD has set apart the faithful for Himself; the LORD will hear when I call to Him. (3)
               Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still. (4)
               Offer sacrifices in righteousness and trust in the LORD. (5)
               Many are saying, “Who can show us anything good?”  Look on us with favor, LORD. (6)
               You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound. (7)
               I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, LORD, make me live in safety. (8)

The RSV, verse 4, states, “Commune with your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.”  There is something about being alone that causes us to reflect honestly.  We need to learn to be silent and think of the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord.  That will help us to trust Him explicitly.
    Verse 5 is something that is forgotten in this age.  Go to a church and just watch what is happening at times.  Some of it is pure nonsense.  This verse tells us to give proper sacrifices.  Doing our own thing cannot happen.  Proper sacrifices are always righteous.  They do not show off and they are not arrogant or pompous.  Perhaps we should take the time to read in Scripture what happens to those who offered improper sacrifices, hmmmm.
    In this society that promotes tolerance to the extreme it is important to be in the Word of God.  Find out what makes God angry.  We should be angry at the things that make God angry.  Don’t be hasty, or opinionated, think it through and understand that God does get angry–understand why.
    One of the most important things in reading the Word of God is to get to know Him better.  What is our heavenly Father like?  One thing that David understood completely, no matter the circumstance, is that he could trust God.  

              “If you will only let God guide you,
               And hope in him through all your ways,
               Whatever comes, he’ll stand beside you,
               To bear you through the evil days;
               Who trusts in God’s unchanging love
               Builds on the rock that cannot moved.”
                        –Georg Neumark

William Secker said, “It is better to enjoy him without anything else than to enjoy everything else without him.”  Therefore, I say, no matter what, know that He is there–trust Him!