The Uttermost Parts of the Sea.
There were numerous times when King David's life could be defined by question marks. Over and over he asked "How long O Lord?', desiring to know some time parameters around personal suffering or tests, perhaps times of abandonment or betrayal or intense loneliness. He was also troubled by those moments when God seemed distant, like the opening verses of Psalm 10, as an example---
Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
Psalm 10:1, ESV
Evidently David, remembered as a man after God's own heart (see 1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13: 22), experienced hardships so severe that threads of doubt were laced into the fabric of his faith. His Psalms pulse with human emotion, the drama of real life, and the fallibility of the human spirit. Among the many pleas to God in those lower life experiences Psalm 13 is notable. Many believe it was written during a time of family betrayal and David was in deep despair. Others see Psalm 13 as a lament about the general hardship of life, perhaps without specificity. It begins ---
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How
long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Psalm 13: 1-2, ESV
Asked four times in these opening verses, the question 'how long...? seemed to be one of the King's most troubling life dilemmas. It is human patience on trial and the wait problem that challenges our endurance.
Viewing the panorama of the Atlantic Ocean this morning brings another remembrance of King David to the surface. Psalm 139 is viewed by Jewish historians as the most beautiful of the king's hymns. There's much debate about the occasion of it's writing. In any event, this Psalm worships the omniscience and omnipresence of God, the all-knowing, ever-present Heavenly Father King David sought in troubling times. His words plunge me to the depths of these waters again. I can imagine extreme darkness in the mountains and valleys deep under the ocean's surface. Divers tell us about crevices and caves, invisible sweeping currents, and the monstrous denizens of the deep. Above his many questions and uncertainties King David knew something about his God. In a Psalm of thrilling confessional truths David wrote this about the sea---
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there
your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:9-10,, ESV
King David knew that even in his darkest, most trying hours God would lead and hold him. It is a profound confession of an eternal truth. God is always with us.
That God will never leave us or forsake us identifies a consistent theme of Scripture. It was specifically spoken to the nation of Israel (Deuteronomy31:6) and reiterated to the recipients of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 13:5). The truth of his presence, however, is noted in perhaps hundreds of other passages. It was an over-arching promise God gave to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, the disciples of Jesus, and yes, King David. And, yes, you and me.
Reflecting on the Atlantic Ocean this morning gives me waves of hope. If Leviathan should burst out of those waters and plunge me to the most ominous black hole in the depths beyond the horizon God would hold me. It is the promise that strengthened and emboldened King David as he spoke or penned that precious Psalm, and it is another promise he extends to us today. He will lead us and hold us...
...even in the uttermost parts of the sea.
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