Honest To God

1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. 2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. 3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. 4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. 5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. 6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the Lord. 7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. 8 You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. 9 Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. 10 My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction and my bones grow weak. 11 Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbours and an object of dread to my closest friends—those who see me on the street flee from me. 12 I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. 13 For I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life. 14 But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. 16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. 17 Let me not be put to shame, Lord, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and be silent in the realm of the dead. 18 Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous. 19 How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. 20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues. 21 Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. 22 In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. 23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. 24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
(Psalm 31)
The Psalms have been known as the hymnbook of the soul. They contain the full palette of human emotions worshipfully expressed in songs, poems and prayers. They don’t leave any room for holding back our deepest feelings from God. As we worship through the Psalms we are invited to lament, grieve, cry, vent our anger, confess our sins, shake with fear, sing for joy, leap and dance, ask our biggest questions – ALL as part of a life of honest worship. That’s why we read such a long chapter of Scripture. In this Psalm we see so many honest public expressions of worship.

Psalm 31 is marked for the ‘director of music’ or ‘chief musician’ to be used in the Tabernacle – it is to be sung to music in a public worship context. It is a song of anguish and a prayer for deliverance that is intended to be used in corporate gatherings. God doesn’t want our gathered expressions of worship to be places we pretend we’re doing better than we are. David’s words in Psalm 31 warn us that God is not after high octane, upbeat, feel-good get togethers if it is not real.
This Psalm is a cry for protection, an expression of deep need for God to be our rock and refuge in the hardest times of life. There are pleas for God to preserve us and be merciful, acknowledgments of distress, and both spiritual and physical weakness.

The expressions of worship that God is looking for are honest and real. They require us being real with God during the realities of life. But importantly, Psalm 31 also teaches us that our songs of anguish must not end the same way that they begin. David shows his distress, he confesses his sin, but he ends in verses 19-24 by expressing his praise and secure trust that the Lord has goodness and mercy in store; ‘Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege.’

Let’s be a church that worships like this.
1)  A.W. Tozer helpfully wrote that someone ‘...filled with the Spirit who has met God in a living encounter can worship God in the silence or the storm’. Being completely honest with God, what does life feels like for you right now?

2)   Do you recognise any unhelpful cultural expectations that might stop you from truly being honest to God in your worship? Do you fear what people around you might think if you were to pour out your soul to the Lord? (1 Samuel 1:15) – Bring these things to God in prayer now and ask for his help.

3)   In what ways can you be part of cultivating honest and shameless worship at Everyday Church?
Father, I thank you that you are the God who created all human emotions. There is no emotion that I experience that you cannot handle. I can pour out my heart honestly and you not only accept it as worship, but you can also empathize with me. Help me never to hide my emotions as I worship you. Teach me to be like the Psalmists and turn all my emotions, no matter how painful, into worship. I chose to take refuge in you, knowing that in the shelter of your presence I will be safe. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were brought to you by Zac Guy, who leads our worship teams.

If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.

Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.

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