I smile as I consider the possibilities.
Perhaps my own daughter, who will soon be twenty-one, once held this flower in her tiny hands. I can see her gently picking this fragile gift and then hiding it behind her back as she runs mischievously toward her Maw-Maw.
Or maybe it was taken as a token of remembrance during the celebration of the life of my grandfather?
No matter its origin or previous owner, this flower, has been picked for me today. It is a special gift and I leave it in its place in hopes that the next recipient of this time-worn concordance might find it there.
As I peer into the scriptures, the old flower and gift of remembering are not my only blessings.
Every time I open the Word of God and choose to meditate, reflect on, and study the words found here, my heart is overwhelmed at the goodness of God. Tucked within its chapters are nuggets of wisdom waiting to be discovered and promises ready to be received and lived out.
Our Memory Verse for Week 8 of our Online Bible Study is Psalm 22:4-5. It says, "In You our Fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed."
All week I've been meditating on these verses and I've focused on:
- Trusting and putting my confidence in God, and
- God's ability to save and deliver.
But today my eyes were drawn to the word "cried."
"They cried to You and were saved."
I tried to picture "our Fathers" crying. Is it a sob? A boo-hoo? An overwhelming stream of tears running down their faces? Because I cry. I know what this crying thing is like.
And what is their motivation? Sometimes I cry because I'm sad. Sometimes I cry because I'm mad. And other times I cry because I don't know what else to do.
To give me a clearer picture of what exactly is going on I dive deeper into the chapter and start from verse one.
As the psalmist petitions God and questions His absence during troubling times, He reminds God that when our Fathers of long ago put their trust in Him and cried out He saved and delivered them. In other words, "Why are you not saving ME like you saved THEM?"
He continues to beg and plead his case for the next several verses but something changes in verse 22.
I believe he receives a revelation. He shifts from words focused inward to now words of declaration and praise of the only One who has the power to save him.
"I will declare Your name! ...Praise Him...Revere Him....!"
I believe the revelation he receives is that our Fathers' crying out was not a confession or reminder to God of how terrible things were going for them (God always knows what's going on). It was a public declaring of God's sovereignty, a declaration of His power to deliver and save them no matter their circumstances. They gathered corporately and announced publicly that their trust and confidence was in God and God alone.
According to my Strong's Concordance, the Hebrew word for cried in this verse is zaaq and means to shriek (from anguish or danger). And when I read further it says it is also "to announce or convene publicly:- assemble, call (together), (make a) cry (out), come with such a company, gather (together), cause to be proclaimed."
Now, as I look back at our Memory Verses for the week (Ps. 22:4-5) I have a clearer picture and I know the place of desperation and surrender our Fathers called out to God. I understand it was not in self-pity or the "poor-me-syndrome" that brought their deliverance. It was not in questioning "Why" and "Where" and "How" that they were saved.
It was a gathering together and declaring publicly their cry of surrender to God. It was in the realization that nothing or no one else had the power to save them but God.
That, my friends, is our place of deliverance.
Whatever you are going through today, remember the psalmist in Psalm 22. Turn, as he did, to words of praise and declaration of our great heavenly Father who is the only One with the power to save. Let your thoughts rest on His sovereignty and the promises found on the pages of our Bible.
His Word is true.
His Word is powerful.
And His Word is relevant to whatever you are facing right now.
Let us cry out to our Father. Let us put our hope, our trust, our confidence in Him and Him alone. And let us proclaim together publicly that He is Lord!
He is still a God who saves!
Father, we come to you in surrender today. We declare that You are God! We praise you now and proclaim that there is no other like You! We know that no matter what we are facing or what we are going through at this very moment, YOU never change. We cry out to You in desperation knowing that You hear us. We choose to put our hope, our trust, and our confidence in You and You alone. Thank you that peace and joy are ours. We choose to receive them today. We trust that Your plans are so much greater than we can imagine. Our hope is in You. Thank you for the amazing and unconditional love You have for us, Your children. We love You! Your will be done in our lives. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.