"The Lord's throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man."
We've arrived at Psalm 11. In it, the psalmist is confronted by a suggestion that he should fear the wicked, because the wicked are among the righteous with the power to injure. And who of us has not been advised to fear the wicked? They are frightening, violent, and proud, and they live among us.
But the psalmist categorically rejects fear, replying that his refuge is not built on the foundation of this world, but on God, who sees everything, who tests everyone, and who will judge the wicked in power. He continues by meditating on two things: God's commitment to test the righteous because of his love for them, and his commitment to deliver justice to the wicked and violent.
It's kind of strange to think of God's tests as a condition of his love, but that's what this psalm suggests. He tests those he loves, and his love is inseparable from that testing. I think it makes sense, however, when you consider two things. First, consider that testing is necessarily implied in the gift of free will, since true freedom requires the power to reject. Second, consider that God is fundamentally committed to our growth. He wants us to receive more and more of his love, so he wants us to become more and more capable of receiving it. As with anything else, that capacity for divine love needs exercise, and God's tests provide that exercise.
Finally, by remembering the judgment of God, the psalmist can have peace, even when he is surrounded by violence. The wicked may have power to injure now, but the righteous will see God's face, and the violent will receive back the violence they meted out. In just a little while, this vulnerable world will pass away, and for eternity, the righteous will be finally and completely safe from all harm. Praise the righteous God!
- When you see how violent and powerful the wicked are, do you fear them, or do you remember the power, sight, and judgment of God? Is God your sufficient refuge?
- How are God's tests a sign of his love for us?
- How does God's judgment flow from his righteousness?
Read the whole Psalm at the bottom of this update
Wheatstone's requests and praises:
Peter and Lisa - Now that Chad and Veronica have moved on, Peter and Lisa are juggling a lot more diverse tasks than usual. Pray for wisdom as they prioritize and simplify, and for a great team of new volunteers, interns, and staff members.
THE ACADEMY CAMPS
Opening Summer Camp Registration - We're still working on the last steps to open registration. Pray that it all be finished this week!
CHRISTIAN ADULTHOOD TRAININGS
Discussion for Transformation - On Saturday, we ran two awesome Discussion for Transformation events simultaneously, and each was a huge success. Thanks for your prayers! Now, please pray that God would help the participants apply what they learned for the good of the students he's given them.
Teach Them to Pray - Our next Teach Them to Pray event is a Public Training on March 18. Pray that God would fill the event with leaders who need it.
From Duty to Discipleship - Our next From Duty to Discipleship event is a Private Training for a church partner on March 11, followed by a Public Training on March 18. Pray for the success of both events, and for broader awareness of this (our newest) training.
Christian Adulthood 101 - Peter is currently finishing our next training, Christian Adulthood 101. We think that this could become our most popular, important training event. Pray that Peter would have what he needs to launch the event within the next couple months!
New Church and School Relationships - Pray that God would open more great relationships with churches and schools who need the Christian adulthood message and methods.
New 2017 Benefactors - We need to find additional benefactors this year in order to grow. Pray that God would bring a few friends along who want to make Christian adulthood ministry part of their legacy.
New 2017 Monthly Givers - We're behind our goal to cover all fixed costs with Monthly Gifts. Pray that God would bring a new community of friends to give a little bit to Wheatstone every month, forming a more secure foundation for Christian adulthood ministry.
This Week's Psalm
In the Lord I take refuge.
How can you say to my soul,
“Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
they have fitted their arrow to the string
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.
If the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”
The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord's throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.