Our psalmist sings about the heart of the upright. It is not a ‘carefree’ life but one with a steady heart that trusts in the Lord no matter the situation.
This psalm, with a quick read, makes it seem like the upright man never has any trouble. He sails through life without a care in the world. But that isn’t what is being said of such a person. What we see when we look a little deeper is that such a man doesn’t let his troubles rule him. He holds fast to the Lord instead.
We see the first glimpse of a ‘not so perfect’ life in verse four. “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright” (verse 4a). This tells us that there is darkness in the life of the upright but that it doesn’t overcome him. God sends him light in those dark places because he refuses to give into that darkness. Instead “he is gracious, merciful and righteous” (verse 4b). Even in that dark place he holds fast to the attitudes the Lord has called him to and the light appears. He is active in this darkness, not cowering and waiting for it to end.
“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord” (verse 7). We are not told that he “never receives bad news” but that he is “not afraid” of it. He trust God to care for him, no matter what is going on in his life. Bad news and bad things can’t overcome his relationship with God. He holds fast to the Father’s hand.
“His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries” (verse 8). He isn’t free of adversaries. Even God’s most exalted men had adversaries. Moses, David, Isaiah, Jerimiah, and Jesus ALL faced adversaries but their lives were not ruled by them. Their hearts trusted in God and they let God take care of their adversaries. They waited for triumph and they got it in due season. That ‘waiting’ wasn’t passive. They pressed on even in the face of the strongest opposition; even to the point of death. They walked boldly wherever God directed them.
“The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away” (verse 10). ALL those who stand against the righteous will be disappointed because he doesn’t fall. The man who puts his trust in the Lord will stand, even after he is gone. Look back at the kings who pursued the righteous. Their days were haunted by the memory of the righteous. Herod was afraid that John the Baptist had come back from the grave. The wicked had no peace, even if it appeared to man as if they had won.
The ultimate victory may only come after death but the battle is fought every day in life. It is WELL worth it to hold fast to the Lord’s commands. He gives peace even in the midst of turmoil when we trust in Him. There WILL be troubles in this life. No one escapes that reality. But Who you cling to during those troubles makes ALL the difference. And WHEN you choose to grab hold counts too. We often wait until we are in the middle of a storm to cry out for the first time but DON’T let that be the end of your cries. Walk with Him in bad AND good times. Build that relationship so that no matter what comes you KNOW Who holds you fast.
Father God, thank You for clearly stating that, even though I’m walking with You, bad times are part of this journey. THANK YOU for also telling me that I can overcome them by holding fast to Your hand. NO MATTER WHAT I will hold fast to Your hand. I will hide in the shadow of Your wing. I will take refuge in You, my Strong Tower. I will trust YOU to work out ALL things for my good. You are my strength and my God. In You I trust!
THANK YOU that not every moment in life is filled with challenges too. Thank You for the days of rest. Thank You for the days filled with joy. For the days when I clearly see the victory. In these too, I will cling to You!