Every Preparation Day (Friday before Shabbat) we busy ourselves rushing to ready our homes and meal for Shabbat. We're often so busy that we can lose sight of the purpose and blessings of Shabbat. A couple of years ago I got into the habit of prayerfully reading the Tehillim each day. It has truly blessed my life. Within those songs are strength, comfort, peace, and rejoicing. They are a reminder to us that no matter what is going on in our lives that The Eternal watches over us. I hope that sometime during your busy Preparation Day that you will take some time with the Tehillim. It is with this in mind that I have started this blog, which are insights into each song, posted every Friday morning. Shabbat Shalom!
By In the Shade of the Tent | June 27, 2014 at 03:49 PM EDT | No Comments
When reading this Tehillim again for about the fourth time, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. There were so many things in this psalm that are beautiful and uplifting. Then at the last reading one verse stood out to me
In your control are my times, rescue me from the control of my foes and pursuers. (emphases mine). vs 31:16
The Eternal is in control of our times. He is the one who knows us better than we know ourselves, and not only that, but He controls everything to do with us and those around us. Before He formed us in the womb He knew us. (Jeremiah 1:5). He knew when we would born, and He knows the time of our death. Now there are those, (our enemies), who like to think they control us; that they can hurt and harm us at their leisure, but The Eternal One, Creator of the ends of the earth, is in control. Are we looking to Him, who controls our times even during the difficult periods when we are poured out like water and our hearts are like wax, melting within us? (Psalm 22:5)
Lets take a look at Joseph. We know his story. For most of his young life, things went very well for him. He was the adored and favored son of Jacob and his beloved wife Rachel, but he endured the jealousy of his brothers. Their hatred and jealousy grew so bad that they sold him into slavery. As one speaking from experience, the only thing worse than an enemy trying to destroy you is if that enemy is your own flesh and blood. It is like a deep wound that never heals. Joseph was a prince, but now he finds himself a slave in a strange land in the the household of Potiphar. Scripture tells us that The Eternal was with Joseph, and soon His master had appointed him over his entire household and possessions. When Potiphar’s wife began to lust for Joseph, he rejected her. The saying “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” was very true in Joseph’s case. Potiphar’s wife accused him of attempting to rape her, and now Joseph finds himself in Pharaoh’s prison. But once again, The Eternal was with Joseph and gave him favor in sight of the prison warden, who made him supervisor of all the prisoners. While there he correctly interpreted the deems of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker, and he was remembered to Pharaoh by the former when Pharaoh started having very strange dreams. Joseph was put in charge of the entire land of Egypt, answering only to Pharaoh, in order to save the land from the coming famine. As he said when confronting his brothers with his true identity:
But don’t be sad that you sold me into slavery here or angry at yourselves, because it was God who sent me ahead of you to preserve life. God sent me ahead of you to ensure that you will have descendants on earth and to save your lives in a great deliverance. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household and ruler over the whole land of Egypt. Genesis 45:5,7-8
Throughout the entire time of his hardship Joseph did not turn his back on The Eternal.
In time, the day came when his master’s wife took a look at Yosef and said, “Sleep with me!” But he refused, saying to his master’s wife, “Look, because my master has me, he doesn’t know what’s going on in this house. He has put all his possessions in my charge. In this house I am his equal; he hasn’t withheld anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Genesis 39:7-9
One night the two of them, the king of Egypt’s cupbearer and his baker, there in prison, both had dreams, each dream with its own meaning. Yosef came in to them in the morning and saw that they looked sad. He asked Pharaoh’s officers there with him in the prison of his master’s house, “Why are you looking so sad today?” They said to him, “We each had a dream, and there’s no one around who can interpret it.” Yosef said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.” Genesis 40:5-8
Favor from those who are over us and don’t even know the God of Israel comes from Him and Him alone. Are we looking to The Eternal who is in control of our days, or are we relying on ourselves or the efforts of others?
Listen to me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek Yahweh: look to the rock whence you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many.