April 17-21


Can I Trust God with My Future? Look Up!

Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! – Psalm 143:1 (ESV)

One day, a preacher who had just lost his family to a tragic fire, and had fallen into the depths of a deep and dark depression was walking down a city street. There, he came upon a construction crew that was erecting a new church. He stopped to watch them as they worked. As he watched, he observed a worker who was busy carving a triangle out of stone with a chisel and hammer. Stepping closer, he asked the stonecutter what he was carving. The worker pointed to the steeple of the church and said, “Do you see that small opening up there near the steeple? Well, I am carving this stone down here so that it will fit in up there.”

God often uses crises down here to prepare us for heaven up there. Psalm 143 describes David in another crisis. Because his life was filled with so much activity and danger, it is impossible to link this psalm to any one particular point of crisis. Two times in Psalm 143 David prays to the Lord saying, “Hear my prayer, O Lord.” David is looking up because David desired to hear a word from God. A man spoke to his aging mother and said, “I am worried about Dad’s hearing.” His mother said, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. For forty years he would not listen and now he can’t hear! What’s the difference?” We should look up to God for hope in the future because God always hears.


We live in a world that is filled with people just like that preacher. There are people all around us who live their lives in depression, despair, despondency, and defeat. When have you felt like God was chiseling you as He was preparing you for the future?


Praise God for always being a good listener and hearing your prayers. Look up to God now with any struggles or fears you have about the future.


Can I Trust God with My Future? Look Up and Encounter Grace

Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! – Psalm 143:1 (ESV)

A Sunday School teacher asked her class if they knew the difference between kindness and loving kindness. One little girl said she knew the difference. She told the teacher that kindness is like when you ask your mother for some toast and she gives it to you, but loving kindness is when you ask your mother for some toast and she gives it to you with butter and jelly on it.

Charles Spurgeon said, “Lovingkindness is one of the sweetest words in our language. Kindness has much in it that is most precious, but lovingkindness is doubly dear; it is the cream of kindness.” As David looked up to God for mercy in his time of distress, he was hopeful God would show him mercy. The ancient Hebrew word here translated as “mercy” is “hesed.” It is sometimes translated as “lovingkindness.” Knowing God has the ability to extend mercy or loving-kindness should give you hope for the future.


When have you felt like you needed someone to have mercy on you? When have you felt like God showered you with mercy and loving-kindness?


Praise God for the times He has shown you grace and mercy. Ask God for the underserved mercy you know you are going to need in the future.


Can I Trust God with My Future? Look Back and Remember the Goodness of God

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah – Psalm 143:5-6 (ESV)

An elderly man moved into a retirement community. It wasn’t long until he had made a number of friends among the other residents. There was one lady he was especially attracted to and she was attracted to him, also. They spent a lot of time together. Finally one evening he proposed, asking her to marry him.

The next morning he woke up remembering his proposal, but he couldn’t remember her answer. So he went to her and said, “I’m really embarrassed to admit this, but I know I proposed to you last night but I can’t remember if you said ’Yes’ or ’No.’” “Oh, thank goodness!” she replied. “I remembered saying ‘Yes’ to someone but I couldn’t remember who asked me.” (Stephen Sheane)

David used his memories of God to give himself hope about His future. In this dark season of his soul, David considered the days of old when things were not so bad. He probably thought of the early days of innocence and freshness in his life and his life with God. David knew something of the character and nature of God, and this shaped his prayer life. He based his prayer on God’s faithfulness and righteousness in the past to give him hope for the future.


There are times when it is good for us to remember the days of old. We can remember the sweet and good times of our early life with God, and it blesses us. We can also remember the days of old before our own time, thinking of the great things God has done among His people in days past. What is one of your favorite memories from the past of God’s faithfulness?


Thank God for some of the good memories you have of His past work in your life and in the stories of the Bible. Ask God to help you remember His faithfulness when life gets hard.


Can I Trust God with My Future? Look Ahead and Discover the Guidance of God

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. – Psalm 143:8 (ESV)

A frog went to see a fortune-teller. Gazing into her crystal ball, she said to the frog, “You are going to meet a beautiful young woman. From the moment she sets eyes on you she will have an insatiable desire to know all about you. She will be compelled to get close to you—you’ll fascinate her.” The frog replied, “Where am I? At a singles club?” “No!” replied the fortune-teller, “In a biology class.”

In Psalm 143:8, David confessed that he didn’t know the way to go and he needed God to make him know the way. He didn’t only need the love of God – he also needed the guidance of God.

He is beginning to look ahead and seek direction. The phrase, “in the morning,” is already a token of this by its admission that the night is not endless.” (Kidner) “Make me know the way I should walk” is a wonderful prayer for all to pray.


Why do you think the morning is a good time to ask God to help you know the way?


Praise God for the times you can recall Him giving you clear direction for your life. Ask God to give you clear guidance in any areas of your life where you lack direction.


Can I Trust God with My Future? Lord Teach Me

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! – Psalm 143:10 (ESV)

A lady once asked John Wesley if he knew that he would die at midnight the next day, how would he spend the intervening time. He replied, “Why, madam, just as I intend to spend it now. I would preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at five tomorrow morning; after that, I would ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, and meet the societies in the evening. I would then go to Martin’s house…talk and pray with the family as usual, retire myself to my room at 10 o’clock, commend myself to my Heavenly Father, lie down to rest, and wake up in glory.” (Today in the Word)

John Wesley tried to live every day according to the will of God. In Psalm 143:10, David asked God to teach him to do His will. The word for “teach” in Psalm 143:10 is the Hebrew word “lamad,” which means to be disciplined and trained. It was used for training animals, like cattle, to learn to follow directions. It was also used in the issue of training soldiers who must learn discipline and endurance. David is praying for the wisdom to endure hardship and from it he hopes to learn how to please God and walk in His will. Knowing God’s will is not always easy and sometimes means enduring hardship to learn God’s path.


“Teach me to do Your will,” settles the priorities, making the goal not self-fulfillment but pleasing God and finishing His work. What is an example of a difficult trial you went through when you were assured you walked according to God’s will?


Praise God for the beauty and perfection of His will. Ask God to teach you what His will is for you in the next season of your life.