Monday, November 15, 2004

Secrets of a Peaceful Heart

In You, O LORD, I put my trust;
  Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape.
  Be my strong refuge,
  To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.
(Psalm 71:1-2)
The psalm writer has found the secret to a peaceful heart, and it has to do with the word “continually,” which is found three times in this joyful hymn of praise. It speaks of more than just habit. It has moved past being a discipline and has become a conditioning of the heart. It is a consistency, a constancy, a full dependency without reservation. It is a joyful abandonment of the self to God. There are three movements which arise continually in the heart of this worshipper:
  • A continual habitation. “Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually.” The KJV renders it “habitation.” A habitation is a dwelling place, a place of residence — it’s where you live. When our habitation continually in God, as was the psalm writer’s, it is a strong refuge, a mighty fortress high upon a rock. It is an impregnable abode, the only place where we are truly secure.
  • A continual praise. “By You I have been upheld from birth. You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You” (v. 6). This man was brought to the wonderful realization that God continually sustained him, and so he lived in continual praise of God. “My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, and my soul, which You have redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long” (vv. 23-24).
  • A continual hope. “But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more” (v. 14). This was his enduring response, especially when adversaries conspired against him. The biblical idea of hope is not about doubt and uncertainty. It is waiting in faith, patiently trusting in God. It is a positive expectation about the promise and power of God, a joyful anticipation of His grace and goodness. The psalmist goes on, “My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day. For I do not know their limits” (v. 15). He knew no limits to God’s righteousness and salvation because there are no limits to be found. Though we spent eternity diving into the depths of God’s love and goodness, we will never touch bottom. There will always be further to go in Him.
A continual habitation in God, a continual life of praise and adoration, a continual expectation of His goodness — three secrets to a peaceful heart.