Psalm 94 – God, Our Fortress In Crisis
Psalm 94:1-23 NIV
The Lord is a God who avenges. O God who avenges, shine forth.
Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.
How long, Lord, will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant?
They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers are full of boasting.
They crush your people, Lord; they oppress your inheritance.
They slay the widow and the foreigner; they murder the fatherless.
God is one who will avenge. Perhaps this is one character of God we talk about least. How does vengeance make sense with our understanding that God is love? In fact, it makes a lot of sense that God who loves also avenges because God protects those who love Him.
This does not mean then that we are allowed to avenge ourselves, as it is for God to do so. King David set an example we should follow. Even though he had two opportunities to kill Saul to save himself, he gave up those chances because he trusted in God to deal with Saul. That is the partnership between God and David – he trusted God, and God avenged him.
This Psalm teaches us to take our grievances to God in prayer instead of trying to avenge ourselves. We may face people whom we think deserve punishments, but we need to leave things to God. The Psalmist described proud, wicked evildoers who oppress God’s people, and kill widows, foreigners and the fatherless. Whether we face people who have slightly mistreated us, or even people as bad as the Psalmist described, we should leave the avenging to God.
They say, “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice.”
Take notice, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise?
Does He who fashioned the ear not hear? Does He who formed the eye not see?
Does He who disciplines nations not punish? Does He who teaches mankind lack knowledge?
The Lord knows all human plans; He knows that they are futile.
We should be assured that God knows what’s going on. He gave us ears and He made our eyes, surely God can see and hear. He knows everything and He will discipline as well. The Psalmist said that those who think otherwise are “senseless”.
There are evil people all over the world. We have all encountered some of them and may even have been badly hurt by them. Do we sometimes wonder why God doesn’t seem to be taking action against them? God has His ways. We must trust in God to deal with them according to His wisdom. He will mete out justice as He sees fit. God knows everything that goes on around us!
Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord, the one you teach from your law;
you grant them relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not reject His people; He will never forsake His inheritance.
Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.
Christian life isn’t meant to be a bed of roses. God will discipline us, and the Psalmist described it as a blessing. If those among us who are parents know the importance of disciplining our children for their own good, God knows even better what discipline is good for us.
The discipline we receive will be a relief for us from troubling days ahead. A pit will be dug for the wicked. We are in the same boat with the wicked. But if we heed God’s discipline, we will be spared from falling into the pit with them. Let’s watch out for one another. God will never forsake us, as we are His inheritance. Everyone will face judgement, but those who are with Jesus will be saved.
Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Can a corrupt throne be allied with you – a throne that brings on misery by its decrees?
The wicked band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
He will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness; the Lord our God will destroy them.
The Psalmist was in distress. Israel had gone through years of trouble with its enemies. The nation was under a corrupt foreign ruler and enemies had banded together to oppress Israel. He was filled with anxiety, but God’s consolation brought him joy. What supported the Psalmist was God’s unfailing love. His belief hinged on prophecies of a Messiah who had not yet arrived at that time. His confidence was set on a future deliverance. That’s amazing faith!
We are in a far better place. The Messiah has already come and died on the cross for us. Do we still disbelieve God’s love? Anxiety will cause harm to our health (like hypertension) and our relationship with one another (as it brings stress to others too). Dwell in God’s words, and His love will console us. That’s why a daily quiet time with our Lord is so important.
While we should share our anxiety with one another, we should also learn how to find joy from God and share that with one another. When we have brothers or sisters who feel anxious, do we encourage them to seek God’s consolation? They can only know God if they seek Him. We may provide some guidance, but ultimately, we need to take ownership of our problem and turn to God personally.
In most of my anxious moments, I don’t go to God immediately to find His love; I go to Him to find a solution for the problem. I don’t think God wants to solve my problem if solving that problem doesn’t help improve my relationship with Him. God isn’t a genie. He is our Heavenly Father and He wants me to know that He loves me. He sent His one and only Son Jesus to die on the cross for me, and Jesus will come again. That’s the love that God wants us to hold on to. When I struggle spiritually and tell God, “My foot is slipping”, He will support me with His unfailing love.
“But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.” We ought to continuously make effort to trust that God is a fortress that can protect us. The way the Psalmist phrased it, “the Lord has become my fortress,” it is apparent that God was at one point NOT his fortress. But the Psalmist did it; he learnt to trust God fully.
God may not be my fortress yet, but I am still working on that! Pray that God will be my fortress, sooner than later. Amen.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit. Andy joined the Central Christian Church in 1990.