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Holy Discontent, A Pilgrim Begins - Psalm 120

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. (1)
I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.

Rescue me, O Lord, from liars and from all deceitful people.  O deceptive tongue, what will God do to you?   How will he increase your punishment? You will be pierced with sharp arrows and burned with glowing coals.

How I suffer in far-off Meshech.  It pains me to live in distant Kedar.  I am tired of living among people who hate peace.  I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!
-Psalm 120 (NLT)

In his book, The Problem With Pain, C.S. Lewis wrote,
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” (p.91). 
Pain turns us to God, if we have wisdom to turn.  There is a saying that, "crisis brings process".  In addiction circles, they say that one must, "hit bottom", in order to turn to God and leave the addiction lifestyle.  Addiction is idolatry.  That is what it is.  But what all addicts, whatever their addiction, do is lie.  Lying is the common denominator.

When you lie, you start lying some more to back up the previous lie, and soon everything becomes a lie and you become captive to your own lies.  The lying also becomes sophisticated in that your lies are simply "spin", or leaving out the significant truths.  Liars are politicians who say what their hearers want to hear for self-aggrandizement.

Lying is the way of the world.  Many of us decided at some point that we do not want to be liars.  Our eyes and ears began to open.  We began to wake up or get unplugged.  Jesus is the deliverer that we all need, from a life of lying.  Jesus calls the devil the father of lies (John 8:44).  Jesus reserves his harshest words for people who misrepresent God, calling them children of the devil.

The beginning of pilgrimage towards God is your felt need.  The beginning of the journey is to take your troubles to God.  We see our problem and we cry out.  We want to see God as our deliverer, as the one who rescues or sustains us.

The pain of life is always an opportunity to turn to God and cry out for help.  This is a basic, 101 lesson.  It is foundational.  If we do not develop a lifestyle of turning to God when we have pain, we will not progress in spiritual maturity.

This is part of a, "practicing the presence of God", lifestyle.  When the pain happens, when people deceive you or draw you into a war of words or murderous intents, turn to God.  Cry out to him.  Do not play on that field of bitterness, guile, and pay-back.

The reality for Christians is that we are sojourners or strangers on earth.  We are on our way to heaven and we are strangers here.  But we are participating in God's Kingdom coming, breaking into the earth realm.

Life is always a battle.  We will continuously come into contact with people who are deceived or are trying to deceive us.  We will come into contact with people who want war, when we are all about wanting peace.  We must cry out to God when liars and deceivers distress us.

Don't be stressed out by people, but take it to the Lord in prayer.

Holy discontent is when God allows pain in our lives and we cry out to him to intervene.  God will pound the enemy, teach people a lesson who are devious towards you, and transform you.  God is after a Christlike people who are humble, yet powerful in their spirits.

A starting point, in our lives of walking with God, is the awareness that we need God.  The Christian life is not a life of just knowing about God and fashioning a life of service to God based on that knowledge.  Because a life centered on knowledge about God is a life where I am still in charge.

The Christian life is a life of knowing God.  It is a life of absolute, unqualified surrender to God.  It is a life filled with grace and freedom and obedience to our beloved.  In that life, we cry out to God, when anything troubles or distresses us, causing us pain.

The Christian life is a life of death, burial, and resurrection.  He was born and lived, so that he could die, be entombed, then rise from the dead to save us.  We get to die daily and fellowship with Jesus in his sufferings, and be completely reliant on our Father in heaven also.  We constantly let things go and plant them in the ground to die and our only hope is God bringing life out of death.

We take our troubles and our 'stressors' to God and ask for help.  And God gives us help.  God helps his children.  He comforts us.  He does the change-up.  When rotten things happen, like people lying to you or deceiving you, pray and look for the gift of grace for you.  God has compensation for you.

Our painful circumstances humble our selves and turn us more and more towards God, from whom we receive grace and power to live the life, becoming reflectors of the glory of Christ to a world in need of him.

1. My notes of the Songs for Pilgrims set of Psalms 120-34 is here.


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