Psalm 94 is a community lament by God’s people when they were oppressed by the wicked. As I studied this Psalm, I was struck by several verses that bring comfort whether I’m feeling oppressed by others or by my circumstances.
“If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’ your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” Psalm 94:17-19
Sometimes our troubles seem insurmountable – financial trouble, marital difficulty, a wayward child, or health problems. Other times our troubles are an accumulation of all the “little things” – too many things on our TO-DO list, a messy house, sick kids, etc. In our fast paced, 21st century lifestyle, we can easily echo the Psalmist and say that “the cares of my heart are many.”
The second half of verse 19, however, determines how we deal with those cares. The Psalmist says, “your consolations cheer my soul.” What are God’s consolations?
- The truth and promises of His Holy Word.
- The gift of His Holy Spirit.
- Communing with Him in Prayer.
- Encouragement from other Believers.
These gifts are what the Lord uses to cheer our soul. The question is, am I looking to His consolations or other counterfeit consolations? Too often, I look to counterfeit consolations to try and cheer my soul. I call them “counterfeit”, because they promise to cheer my soul, but they cannot ultimately deliver. Here are some of my counterfeit consolations:
- Turning to food for comfort.
- Sleeping late.
- Surfing the Web for hours.
Yours may look very different, but they’re the same in that they do not ultimately comfort or cheer our souls. They may console us temporarily, but we will soon be looking to the next consolation to cheer us. Only the Lord can truly bring cheer to my soul. And only in the way He prescribes. When we turn to Him for comfort from the daily stresses or the deeper sufferings of life, we can be assured that His consolations will cheer our souls. Not a superficial, temporary cheer. But a deep, soul-satisfying cheer.
So, no matter what the cares of our heart may be, big or small, we must let His consolations (His truth, His promises, His Spirit, His people) cheer our souls. And we can rest assured that we will be given an unshakeable cheer, because it comes from Him.