Recently, an ad popped up on my computer with scenes of calamity and terrible disasters. There were scenes of flooding, storms, and plagues; warnings of insect populations being depleted, famine, and all around warnings of desperate times ahead. 

Next was the promise of help to navigate through this turbulent future with peace of mind, happiness, and security. The assurance was given that you do not have to be blindsided by all this, nor face it alone. The ad was from California Psychics. 

Psychics have business because men are idolaters. Most would dismiss psychics as superstitious nonsense, but the reality is that men seek the fulfilment of their desires or alleviation of their fears according to their own autonomous will. If it isn’t looking to psychics, it may be in technology, politics, riches, pleasure, and on and on.

Sadly, it is not in the living God, who made the heavens and earth, until the light of Christ comes on in a soul. Then the need of salvation usurps all other needs, and the joy of God’s grace in Christ is impressed upon the soul. We see this in the shepherds who worshipped the infant Lord Jesus, and went away rejoicing. God’s favor and declaration of peace is given.

In the first part of the psalm, we saw how the light and salvation of God in a soul gives new perspective on the dangers in this world. When a soul is overwhelmed by the sufficiency of Christ, he can see how inconsequential even an army of men is against him is (verse 3). His main aim now is to dwell in the house of the Lord, and gaze upon the wonder of the Lord. He has become alive (verse 4).

However, in our verses, we see a change in the psalmist. He is now crying out to the Lord (verse 7). He has come down from the mountain top of blessed communion and the joy of the Lord, to the reality of a cursed world (Matthew 17). His every step toward the Lord is going to be contested. The waves he walked upon with eyes upon the Lord have now gotten his attention.

He worries about his sin (verse 9). The fullness of God’s Spirit that gave him confidence to face anything and repent freely of his sin, now seems to have left him. He is still confident of his salvation, but his walk with the Lord is not where he wants it to be. It should come as no surprise to a saint that the devil will set upon him after the refreshing joy of the worship of the Lord. So we must be watchful.

We get instruction here as to what to do when we find ourselves without the comfortable presence of the Lord. The psalmist is not content. He cries out to the Lord: “Be gracious to me and answer me!”

If we are not contented without the Holy Spirit’s fullness of grace, it is a good sign for our souls. Those whom the Lord says to, “I never knew you,” are those who were never born of the Spirit of God. They are content with a nominal religious life. The psalmist, however, proclaims it is the face of the Lord he seeks, meaning life with the Lord and all that it entails. 

If we pray for physical needs, the Lord may give them to us. He is of course able to bestow anything, and teaches his people to bring all their requests before him. But he is especially pleased when his people call upon him for grace; when they are not content without the Lord’s blessing. And wrestling with God in prayer is the means he has appointed to this end.

In Revelation 22, we are promised to see the face of Christ in all his glory, and have full blessedness. Here we see in a glass darkly (1 Cor. 13), and so we have to contend with our sinful nature, the world, and devil; hindering us, plaguing us from the joy of the Lord. So we must pray always.

Ezekiel Hopkins wrote some helpful words on prayer: “Prayer is the means appointed by God to obtain the blessings and mercies of which we stand in need. All spiritual blessings of faith, love, patience, humility, and strength are gifts from the throne of grace. Our prayers and God’s blessing are like two buckets in a well. One ascends, and one descends. Our prayers ascend into heaven, and his mercies and blessings descend upon us.”