Thought for the Week - 24th February

Vanda Hopkin

Psalm 40

1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,

    and he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,

    out of the mud and the mire.

He set my feet on solid ground

    and steadied me as I walked along.

3 He has given me a new song to sing,

    a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see what he has done and be amazed.

    They will put their trust in the Lord.


4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,

    who have no confidence in the proud

    or in those who worship idols.

5 O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.

    Your plans for us are too numerous to list.

    You have no equal.

If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,

    I would never come to the end of them.


6 You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.

    Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand —

    you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.

7 Then I said, “Look, I have come.

    As is written about me in the Scriptures:

8 I take joy in doing your will, my God,

    for your instructions are written on my heart.”


9 I have told all your people about your justice.

    I have not been afraid to speak out,

    as you, O Lord, well know.

10 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;

    I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.

I have told everyone in the great assembly

    of your unfailing love and faithfulness.


11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.

    Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.

12 For troubles surround me—

    too many to count!

My sins pile up so high

    I can’t see my way out.

They outnumber the hairs on my head.

    I have lost all courage.


13 Please, Lord, rescue me!

    Come quickly, Lord, and help me.

14 May those who try to destroy me

    be humiliated and put to shame.

May those who take delight in my trouble

    be turned back in disgrace.

15 Let them be horrified by their shame,

    for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”


16 But may all who search for you

    be filled with joy and gladness in you.

May those who love your salvation

    repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”

17 As for me, since I am poor and needy,

    let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.

You are my helper and my savior.

    O my God, do not delay.

Song of Solomon 2: 10-13

10 My beloved spoke, and said to me:

“Rise up, my love, my fair one,

And come away.

11 For lo, the winter is past,

The rain is over and gone.

12 The flowers appear on the earth;

The time of singing has come,

And the voice of the turtledove

Is heard in our land.

13 The fig tree puts forth her green figs,

And the vines with the tender grapes

Give a good smell.

Rise up, my love, my fair one,

And come away!

We have a God in heaven that gives us hope.  We are not in despair because we find ourselves with no one to help us.  Every single one of us – from the youngest to the oldest – has God on their side.  We have a hope and a future.  We can ask Him from the smallest, to the largest, to the most difficult things.  He offers either a way out or an answer, and will strengthen us though those problems.

Song of Solomon is a series of poetry and songs that King Solomon wrote to his bride.  There’s all sort of reaction to this book.  Some people will say it’s pure poetry, it’s love etc.  Some will try to bring out a sleazy side to it.  But in effect, as Christians we look at it as Christ writing, speaking or singing to His bride, who is us His church.  Everyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as their saviour and are following after Him, are His bride. 

If we look at these verses as Christ speaking to us as individuals.  They’re words of love and adoration between the bridegroom and His bride.  We can know that Christ has a love for us, but to know that intimate love of Christ for us for ourselves is a different thing altogether.  Many Christians get to that point.  They may go to church and be faithful to God, but never know that intimacy with Christ that He wants us to have.  Maybe we hear about other people and the relationship they have, but this is for us as individuals to get to know Christ in that intimate way.  It’s what He desires – for Him to get to know us and us to get to know Him.

In the day and age we live in, love is bandied about so falsely.  For example, there’s that TV show Love Island where they fall in love and everything’s going wonderfully.  Six months later it’s all fallen apart.  It was not love.  The love of Christ is the purest form of love that there is on this earth, and within heaven. 

He says:

10 My beloved spoke, and said to me:

“Rise up, my love, my fair one,

And come away.

This is Christ, our beloved, speaking.  He talks to you as His beloved.  He’s not just calling your name.  He’s calling you His beloved.  He loves you.  He’s proved that by coming to die for you.  He’s wooing you as a bridegroom would woo his bride. 

For those of us who’ve been in relationships, we’ve been wooed.  After a long time, and years of relationship, that wooing love fades.  But Christ isn’t like that.  His love is continuous and constant.  Even when we’re sinning and we’re far away from God, He still loves us.  He still calls us “my beloved”.  Even when we turn on Him and hide from Him. He calls us “my beloved”.  He speaks to us. 

We may choose to hide away and ignore Him because it’s uncomfortable to hear His voice, but He still calls to us.  He says:

“Rise up, my love, my fair one,

And come away.

11 For lo, the winter is past,

The rain is over and gone.

He calls us His beautiful one.  He sees us as His beautiful one.  He says the winter is past and the rain has gone.  If we look at the winter in Hebrew, its “set hav” which means a time of hiding and living in darkness.  Christ is opening up to us – He is saying the winter is past.  He had come and brought us the salvation so that we don’t have to live in spiritual winter.  He’s come and brought salvation, which has ended our old lives and began our new spiritual life.  That’s the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

There are several rains in Jerusalem.  There are rains through from November to May.  There’s a first rain that comes in April.  It’s not until the second rain comes in May that the winter is really past and spring comes.  When I was there last year in April I got caught in the street – the rain came from nowhere and was flowing down the street.  I’ve seen rain but nothing like I saw then in Jerusalem.  There were shopping trolleys flowing down the street, such was the amount of rain that came in a short time! 

Spiritually that’s what it can be like.  Where we feel a deluge of things coming against us.  Where it pours out and just keeps coming and coming.  We have to run and hide before it sweeps us away.  Christ says no.  The winter is past!  The season of gloom has gone because He has come to set us free!

Every one of us has fears and has had things that have bound us.  In the darkness of our winter comes despair, depression and despondency.  Where we hide away.  We hide our fears and our sins.  We hide the real us and put on masks.  But Christ, Christ Christ… again, again, again, has come to set us free from that winter of despair!

In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, it’s always winter but never Christmas.  That’s exactly what it’s like.  Where we feel down, gloomy, in despair.  Yet Christ says yes, He has come to set you free! 

It’s a wonderful thing!  We don’t have to put up with those things from the enemy.  We can stand up and fight him back.  Sometimes we don’t have the energy to fight him.  We only have the energy to get up, or to crumple down and go to sleep.  That is what your church is there for.  When one is down and has no energy to fight, the rest of us can fight for them.  Every single one of us needs prayer at any particular time.  We’ll always find people to pray and battle for.  They in turn will battle for us.

The enemy loves to pull each one of us down.  That’s his job.  If he can cause chaos in lives or in a church, he’s done his job.  But we don’t have to put up with that.  We don’t have to stay in a winter of gloom or in despondency.  Because what does Christ say?

Rise up, my love, my fair one,

That will take energy. If we find that we don’t have the energy, ask others to help you to rise up.  We tend to go and hide because we don’t want to go through our story, show that we’re weak, bother others, or ask for help.  So we hide.  We need to fight through with every single fibre of our being.  Ask God to give us the strength to fight through.  The enemy will put everything in our minds – anxieties, perceived offences etc.  We need to battle through and come through it the stronger.

The enemy will try to pick each one of us off in turn. If he does that in your life, he will have tried to do it to someone else.  We need to battle through.  We need to get to the best that God has for us and to the place that He has for us.  He wants to set us free from everything – our weaknesses, the troubles, the problems and issues that pull us down.  People still carry things from their childhood and youth.  There is a God on your side that has come to set you free!

Our job is to let God work in our lives to set us free from those problems, those fears, those bondages, those anxieties.  That we can tell other people that God has come to set them free, that God has come to help them and to give them a new life, to take away their winter and to bring a new spring.  It’ll take us from the mire pit. 

David wrote the Psalm above when he was hiding from Saul in the desert:

1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,

    and he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,

    out of the mud and the mire.

He set my feet on solid ground

There may be mud and mire.  Both are mucky and hold us and grips us to the ground.  Sometimes there can be circumstances in our lives that we think are mucky.  It gets everywhere.  It stops us from going on, living our Christian lives, infiltrating our homes and relationships.  We wonder where it comes from.  Yet, our Christ lifts us out from this and puts us on the solid ground that is Christ!

David had lots of problems in his life.  He was continually on the run from Saul.  Then it was from within his own family.  We will have circumstances, even after following after God, where there will be difficulties.  Not everything is a bed of roses after we decide to follow Christ.  We’ll have difficulties in our own lives, our families, our workplace, school etc. 

We will always have difficulty.  The difference is there is Christ!  The winter will go and the spring will come!  He will come and put our feet upon a solid rock!  He’ll give us clarity of mind, a peace of heart, a knowledge and confidence in Him.  We will come out stronger, victorious, and in the confidence that we can say to others that Christ can deliver them out of any circumstance.  He will have the final say!  He will have the last word.  If we’ve given ourselves over to Christ, and we’re trusting in Him and listening to what He has to say, He will have the final say.

Praise God that we have a God that’s on our side!  We don’t have to fear the enemy or other people.  When others come against us, we don’t have to fear.  God is on our side. 

In our prayer times we can praising God and declaring to the enemy what God has said.  We can say to ourselves that God has said He has plans for us, plans to prosper us not to harm us.  Why would God lie?  Christ isn’t a liar.  A bridegroom would never lie to his bride.  He is for us!  It may be difficult, and we may have to die on a few things.  We may not always like what He’s saying, but He is on our side.  He’s already fought that battle on the cross of Calvary for you.  He has gone it.  He is true to His word.  The enemy will come time and time again to challenge, like he did to Adam and Eve.  They both hid because they sinned.  But even if we’ve sinned, God says come out into the light, because when we’ve sinned and have hidden we start to go back into that winter, with the gloom, the despair and despondency.

If you find yourselves in despair and despondency, come and find God.  Come and find that spring that He has for you.  We don’t need to live like that anymore.  We can have a new life and light in Him.  We can come into the brightness of His light.

There’s a hymn that says that heaven’s skies are bluer and grass is greener.  When spring comes and we see Him – everything looks so bright!  Everything is brighter!  The son Himself comes to bring that light which floods right through us!

Thank God for Him!  Thank God that He’s with us every single day.  There’s nothing to fear. Christ loves us for who we are – warts and all.  Thank God for Him.

He’s here for you.  We don’t have to wait.  We can have Him now.


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