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Praying for God to Show His Character

You are my shelter, O Eternal One—my soul’s sanctuary!

Shield me from shame;

rescue me by Your righteousness.

Hear me, Lord! Turn Your ear in my direction.

Come quick! Save me!

Be my rock, my shelter,

my fortress of salvation!

You are my rock and my fortress—my soul’s sanctuary!

Therefore, for the sake of Your reputation, be my leader, my guide, my navigator, my commander.

Save me from the snare that has been secretly set out for me,

for You are my protection.

I entrust my spirit into Your hands.

You have redeemed me, O Eternal, God of faithfulness and truth.

Psalm 31:1-5

Over the last number of weeks I have become more aware, both in Bible study and

experience, that the enemy of our souls, the deceiver of our hearts wants to take us out. He wants us to be unfruitful and lost in our own issues and wounds. He wants to steal life from us and glory from God. It’s true for me, for you and for our sons (and daughters).

King David recognized this onslaught by the evil one in his own life. He knows it’s a battle that can’t be won by human means. He turns to God who is “my soul’s sanctuary,” “my rock, my shelter, my fortress of salvation!” He asks that his Rescuer save him.

The Hebrew word for “save” that David uses hints at military prowess. It collectively means to snatch away, deliver, rescue, save, strip, pluck out and plunder. This is no small victory that David seeks. He recognizes that God defends him. He calls God his Rock. He is basically saying that God is immovable and insurmountable. God will not allow anything to reach David. David also calls God his fortress. Proactively David refers to God as his guide who leads to rest, refreshment and restoration. It is only God who can thoroughly bring us rest and refreshment, especially behind enemy lines!

These three attributes with which David cries out to God have an unique relationship to one another. When we see what David sees in God, we can be strengthened in the middle of our peril (and daily lives) too. David asks God to snatch him from the snare. He acknowledges his needs and his inability to get out of the mess. David then cries out that God would be the insurmountable and immovable foundation of his life. He acknowledges his frailty and need for a solid rock upon which he could build his life and protection from his enemies (physical and spiritual). Finally, he asks God to be the leader that takes him to rest, refreshment and restoration. He acknowledges that his steps need to be taken in relationship to God and that he cannot go or do anything without that guidance.

Do you see that in these ways God takes care of his own in all the circumstances in which we may find ourselves? When we are stuck in the muck of life and the traps of the enemy, God shows up to pull us out. When we are standing in the midst of a life that is so confusing, God shows up to provide clarity and a foundation upon which we find confidence. When we are wandering in life looking for our way, God shows up to provide direction to refreshment and restoration with Him. In all of our circumstances, no matter what they are or how we are experiencing them, we can call out to God and He shows up.

The most reassuring thing about this passage, however, is the why. Why does God do these things? I feel so frequently that I need to earn them through my actions and attitudes. That is not what it says. David acknowledges his inability to do anything to contribute to his rescue--except ask! God responds because it is His character to respond and save. God comes to our rescue because He is the rescuer. “Therefore for the sake of your reputation.” God cannot act apart from His character, so the movement on behalf of His reputation is entirely genuine and a reflection of who He is.

Ask! Ask God to show His character to you, your family, your neighborhood, and the world in which you live. Seek Him and find Him in very real and tangible ways. Let’s acknowledge our deep need and appeal to God’s character so He may show Himself in and through our lives.

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