Today’s readings are Daniel 7-9, Psalm 91, and John 19.
We read in John 19 where the people denied Jesus was their king, and they wanted Him to be crucified (John 19:6-7, John 19:15). Just one week earlier in John 12, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people shouted in John 12:13, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” What a difference one week can make! Even back then without traditional media or social media..the rise and fall from the top can happen quickly, and even for the Son of God. Today, we see this all the time. Coaches win a couple championships and are treated like a king until they have a couple bad years and suddenly everyone thinks he can’t coach anymore. A quarterback wins a Super Bowl or two, but then he has a tough year and everyone says he’s washed up and is calling for last year’s draft pick to take over. An actress makes a lot of great movies, but then has a bad one or two and suddenly she’s lost it and people are saying she has a troubled marriage and troubled kids, whether it’s true or not.
You and I may not be in the national or international public spotlight, but we can likely relate in some way. You were a top athlete in high school and then you go to college and you no longer play sports and you are just one of forty thousand other “regular students.” You were the rising young star in your company and now you seem to have peaked in your position, they’ve moved on the next possible future CEO, or worse yet were let go from the company. You had what you hoped would be the perfect marriage, but it didn’t work out and now the rumor mill is swirling with mistruths about what happened. Many will experience a time in the spotlight or a time when things were going well that changes in one way or another. It could just be from retirement. People either aren’t telling you how great you are any more, or even worse, they are turning against you and gossiping mistruths.
I love pairing these verses with the other part of our reading today, Psalm 91. Please take a few minutes to read this quick chapter.
Here are the first twelve verses.
91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say[a] to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge[a]—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
My question for you today is, where do you go? Where is your shelter? If you are in your prime so to speak and things are going great, is your affirmation from the social media “likes” or the “atta boy” and “atta girls” you are getting in emails and at the last company meeting? Please take caution and prepare yourself that you won’t be at the top forever because things will change, if not due to unfortunate circumstances, then due to age or time. We must go to Him and His word now for affirmation, even before it seems necessary. If you are reading this and you have been at the top, but now you are not..where are you going for shelter and comfort from all the noise? Are you going to drugs or alcohol? Are you going to a bad relationship? Or are you still trying get affirmation from all the social media “likes” and followers? All of these medicines to treat or mask the pain will be temporary. Ephesians 6:12 tells us we are fighting against spiritual forces, not powers of this world. However, we read Psalm 91:11 tells us when we take shelter in Him, “He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” How cool is that?!
Let us seek our refuge in Him and Him alone. And let those of us who have children teach them to do the same.