A Man Ahead

Psalm 105:1–5 (ESV)

1Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!

2Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!

3Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!

4Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

5Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,

 

When you look at your life, do you have reason to do what this psalm is encouraging us to do? Give thanks! Call on God’s name! Talk about him! Sing to him! Glory in him! Seek him continually as you remember what he’s done for you!

 

God is doing big things. Amazing things.  He’s got an incredible plan for me. I know this.  But he’s also got an incredible plan for his people, and I know that his plan for ME and his plan for US intersect. In fact, they are inseparable even though they are distinct.

 

In our psalm for prayer this week, we have an overview of the history of the early years of the nation of Israel. It begins with the promises made to the patriarchs (v.9ff).  Everything God does always begins with him.  He initiates a relationship with us, and he does it by making promises to us.  These are “exceeding great and precious promises,” as Peter says. 

 

What God has promised to us, his children, is astounding.  Our eyes have never seen such majesty?  Our ears have never heard such beauty.  Our minds are not capable of conceiving such glory.  The promises of God are amazing!

 

But then he begins to keep them.

 

As God keeps his promises, our experience often isn’t so great and precious.  There is this dichotomy between the promises and the way God keeps them.  There is this “in the meantime” between promises made and promises fully kept.  Frankly, sometimes the process is just downright abysmal.

 

What’s going on?

 

This is where the ME and the US intersect. God’s work in my life is not only God keeping his promises to ME; it is also God keeping his promises to US.

 

Take Joseph as an example. The psalmist talks about him in vs.16-22.  After the first five verses that exhort us to be exuberant in our praise for our promise making God, we read of Joseph that he endured a famine, slavery, iron fetters on his feet and an iron collar on his neck.  All this is part of God keeping his promises.  In the plan of God, it was necessary for God to take Joseph through some excruciating times in order for God to fulfill his promises to the people.  This is how the psalmist explains it:

 

Psalm 105:16–17 (ESV)

16When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread,

17he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.

 

Joseph was the man sent ahead of the bigger group to help prepare the way.  It meant Joseph had to go through a time of dark and deep struggle, but it was God’s way of bringing his people in the promised land.

 

During Joseph’s period of despair, I’m sure he had no idea that he was playing such a key role in the bigger, grand plan of God.  It wasn’t until much later that he was able to look at his brothers, the earthly source and cause of his trails, and say “God meant your evil actions against me for the good of the whole.”  But Joseph’s redeeming truth was indeed that: God took HIM through trials in order that God might keep his promises to THEM.

 

Has not Christ done this for us as well?  Was this not what kept Christ faithful unto death?  Are not the sufferings of Christ also the source of my great blessing?  Did he not endure the cross for the good of his people?

 

God does this. And he may just be doing this in your life. Your trials, as challenging as they may be, are not just YOUR trials.  They are also part of the bigger plan of God for US.  In the end, you will see this.  If you happen to be playing the role of “a man ahead” sent by God for a greater purpose than just yourself, please know that your bruises will one day when you look back, show a large and effectual impact on the bigger story.

 

You will see God used YOU to be a blessing to US. And at that time WE will thank YOU as well.