Seeing Through Our Circumstances
yâshên to sleep, be asleep
“He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep (yâshên ).” Psa 121:3-4 ESV
As part of an early morning prayer meeting, we are praying our way through the Psalms and currently find ourselves in Psalm 44 (please read). This BEOTB came out of that morning meeting.
In Psalm 44, the Sons of Korah and the author are going through some really very difficult times. In describing these times this is said:
“Awake! Why are you sleeping (yâshên ), O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever! Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?” Psa 44:23-24
Circumstances have a way of influencing, sometimes directing and changing our perceptions. It is easy as people to go from the mountaintop where we can’t believe how wonderful things are to waking a day later to an unexpected valley. Our mountaintop joy has now become the struggles of a deep, shadowed and darkened valley. We have just gone from the light of what we believe to be wonderful circumstances to the unexpected darkness of hopes that are crushed.
Consider the disciples of Yeshua (aka Jesus) many of whom were fishermen. They know the Sea of Galilee much better than the son of the carpenter that they have followed.
What does a Galilean craftsman know about this huge freshwater body, seven by thirteen miles and covering 64 square miles. Surrounded by hills, the weather can change quickly.
“One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” Luk 8:22-25a
What strikes me as odd in this part of the training of the disciples is there were at least four fishermen on the boat: Simon, Andrew, James and John all who had been a part of the Zebedee and Sons Fish Company. They made their living on this lake in boats. How did they end up on the lake in a storm?
Yeshua! He is the one who said “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So it is he who led them into the storm. Of course he knew there was a storm coming, just like he knew there was a catch of fish on the other side of the boat with Simon, just like he knew there was a coin in the fishes mouth when they needed to pay taxes. He knew the storm was coming.
But he was also the one who calmed the storm. “And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” Luk 8:25b
The disciples were still in the process of learning who this Galilean Rabbi is and so are you and I. He knew the storm would hit and he stilled the storm.
Like Psalm 44, we are learning that God does not change when circumstances change. That he is the one that can bring circumstances and can change them. We call that sovereignty, but the level at which we live that seems to shift with our circumstances and our opinions about those.
“I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.” Isa 45:6b-46
I am your LORD and there is no other. I made the storm that hit the lake and I made it calm again and brought well-being from it.
What gets in the way is our expectations and explanations. The disciples did not say “yeah, Satan created the storm and Yeshua rebuked him.” No, not at all. They asked who this was that even the winds and the waves obeyed him.
Hopefully they got the understanding that the storm obeyed him both in its coming and in its going. While Yeshua needed to sleep because his body was tired, our God never slumbers or sleeps. What is happening to us is not outside of his notice or his power.
While writing this BEOTB with music in the background, these words came on just as I was typing the above paragraph. I don’t believe this was coincidence.
“I love Your voice, You have led me through the fire, in the darkest night You are close like no other. I’ve known You as a Father, I’ve known You as a Friend and I have lived in the goodness of God” (The Goodness of God, Jason Ingram / Brian Johnson / Ed Cash / Ben Fielding / Jenn Johnson songwriters)
In storm or in calm we are living in the goodness of God. The writer of Psalm 44 knew this, although he went from calm to storm, when he said “Rise up; come to our help!
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!” (v. 26) Sounds like the disciples and it sounds like us.
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