Obtaining God's Help
A daily devotion for October 26th
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.
13 Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds (Psalm 77:11-12).
The crucial words in these verses are
I will. They indicate that the psalmist has caught hold of himself. He is no longer the victim of his feelings, and that is the point. The control of his life shifts from his heart to his head, and that is the way God intended it to be. He sees that the place to begin is not with himself, as he has been doing, or with his circumstances, but with God. And the proper order is not with prayer and then meditation, but the reverse: to begin with meditating about God, which leads to petition based on an understanding of who God is.
That is the way out, and it points up the trouble this man has had before. He began his prayer with himself at the center. You can see that in his words. This problem that has brought him to God occupies his mind. This man's whole thought is,
What is happening to me? Look how I cry and nothing happens.
The result of that is always the same. When self is at the center, then the heart takes over, and the mind is governed by the feelings. We then find ourselves limited to what the Bible calls
natural thinking, or thinking on a limited narrow plane, which does not take into consideration all the facts. Here is a picture of a man who is giving way to his feelings, allowing them to drive him into increasing distress and despair. He finds himself attempting to be logical, but only on this one plane of thought, related to self. That is why he misses the point so completely.
The heart is a powerful factor in human thinking. When the heart, the emotions, and feelings get hold of us, and control our thinking, then we discover that we are helpless to reason properly. But when something stops us, then the head and the will can assert themselves and take over.
What is wrong with beginning with myself? The answer is obvious. People are limited beings, so when you begin with the person, your thinking is necessarily limited. But when you start with God, you are starting with the great fact that includes all other facts. You have broadened your vision to take in every aspect of truth. Someone has described that kind of thinking as
cubical thinking. Truth is not a single level of thought; it is a cube. It has sides, other aspects, which need to be considered. All truth is related to other truth. You will discover that as you relate a fact to other truths that touch it on every side of the
cube, you see this fact in a different light from when you consider it by itself.
Have you begun to learn how to handle the temptations to doubt that come to you; how to systematically, thoughtfully, and carefully begin where God wants you to begin and work through from that basis? Have you risen above the limitations of natural thinking and begun to think spiritually?
Father, teach me to start not with me and my own limited understanding, but with You.
Life Application: We lose heart when our thoughts are self-focused and mired in life's problems. We will find the picture changes when God is the starting point of our meditation.
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.