Good Life = Good Circumstances?
In his book, The Secret Things of God, Dr. Henry Cloud shares this thought on happiness: “A good life doesn’t depend on good circumstances.”
Dr. Cloud’s statement finds agreement with the Apostle Paul who wrote to the church at Philippi, “I have learned to be satisfied regardless of my circumstances” (Phil. 4:11-13).
Paul’s contentment was based on his knowledge and relationship with The Source of all circumstances. Those times when circumstances are “not good”, we have an opportunity to hold firm to assurance in God.
A Psalmist’s View
The Psalmist captured this reality in the 16th Psalm as he writes of the faithfulness and assurance that can only be found in God. He writes in verse 8:
I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
I have set the LORD always before me…
The focus of the Psalmist is Jehovah God, the Existing One, who is the source of his confidence. Jehovah has always been and will always be. As Alpha and Omega, God operates as Divine Integrity—true and faithful.
“To set” means “to put”. Oh that we would only stop in the midst of our challenges and put our focus on God. We need not fear the paths that are set before us. That’s because those paths or experiences have been sovereignly “allowed” in our lives. Success or sickness, excess or lack, solitude or inclusion—they all flow from God’s hand of grace.
Because He (God) is at my right hand…
The Psalmist expresses His special relationship with Jehovah as he describes God positioned at his “right hand”. The “right hand” is the preferred one in patriarchal blessings (Gen. 48:17-20). Solemn oaths are made via the uplifted right hand (Is. 62:8).
The right hand is also used figuratively to emphasize God’s person and actions. God’s right hand is said to be filled with righteousness (Ps. 48:10) and might (Ps. 80:15-16). Like the Psalmist, we can find God positioned “at their right hand”, ready to provide help, strength, and security.
I shall not be moved
To be “moved” in this text means to totter or shake. It is typically used of the foundations of the earth (Ps. 82:5) and almost always negatively. However, “I shall not totter”, in contrast, is used of an intrepid unwavering person (Ps. 10:6).
In review the current events in our world, it is easy “to totter”. The progression of the pandemic variances, economic uncertainties, and growing division in our nation, “shake us”. And rightly so. In our attempts to manage our family needs and crisis, we are continually “moved”.
In spite of the challenges, we can become “non-totters” by placing our assurance in God. That’s because we serve a God Who “neither slumbers nor sleeps” (Ps. 121:4). Let us, also remember His love for us as evidenced by His protection and provision (Ps. 16:5-6).
A response of assurance
Where are we placing our faith and trust in? The challenges we face provide an excellent opportunity to evaluate our spiritual endurance and maturity. Our response to these difficult times can provide a strong witness to those in need of God’s salvation and God’s hope (Rom. 15:13).
Our Eternal God is greater than any circumstance we may face. He is the Creator and Sustainer of our life, ever present, and always acting on our behalf. Let us continually set God before us knowing that in His presence, we can live confidently and with joy (Ps. 16:11).