When we’ve been relying on ourselves, we grow distant from awareness of God. In an attempt to reconcile with God, we often try to make deals with him, leveraging our performance. We say things like, “God, I promise I’ll live well if you just give me the peace of your presence.” But God doesn’t need our promises or our performance.
In verse 6 of this Psalm, David confesses, “I said in my prosperity, ‘I will never be moved,’” and in verse 7 he continues, “You hid your face and I was dismayed.” When times were good, David got self-sufficient, distancing himself from God. God withdrew awareness of his presence to bring David back to him. David responds by calling out to God to restore his presence.
David’s appeal is based on the fact that he is important to God. He essentially says, “Have grace on me because I know I am of great worth to you! I want to continue declaring your faithfulness to others, and I know you want this as well!” This appeal may sound conceited, but it is actually full of humility. David is not directing attention to his own moral uprightness or to the good motivation of his heart. David directs attention to God’s values. God values and loves his children. God values and delights in the praise of his people. David understands that his intrinsic worth comes from the fact that he is valuable to and loved by God.
Verses 11 and 12 depict David’s restoration, showing us that God turns David’s mourning into dancing so that, as David says, “my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”
God’s ultimate goal for David was David’s joy. God’s favor lasts forever, and so he lovingly draws David back to himself. Through this process, David learns that God’s love is unconditional and that he is of the highest worth to God. Verse 5 says, “For his anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.”
When we feel distant from God, we do not have to rely on our own merit to become close to him again. We can instead focus on our worth to God and his purposes for us. Because God values us, we never have to fear separation from his presence. He will never forsake us.
PRAY: God, I am sorry that I have forgotten about you when I feel I don’t need you. I’ve enjoyed your gifts more than I’ve enjoyed your presence. I’ve depended on myself more than I’ve depended on you. Help me to be closer to you. Give me the peace of your presence. I know I am of great worth to you as your child! Thank you that in your presence there is joy. Thank you that your favor lasts for a lifetime. Amen.
REFLECT: Think about a recent time when you felt distant from God. How did you approach him? Did you feel like you needed to prove or justify yourself? Ask that God would give you confidence in his unconditional love for you.