Steadfast

steadfast /sted.fast/

adjective /resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.

Read: PSALM 57

Psalm 57 is a psalm by King David. It was written when he was fleeing from King Saul, who was trying to hunt him down and kill him. King Saul had, with him, the whole army of Israel actively pursuing David. No wonder David felt afraid.

From verses 1-6, David was focused on his situation and complaining to God about it; but verses 7-11 show a drastic change in his words and attitude. Instead of complaints, he was suddenly filled with praise. His words became a declaration of God’s greatness, evidence of hope in God.

So, what made David so resolute? What turned his complaints into an outburst of praise, worship and hope? Where did his abundant optimism come from? What turned his heart of fear into a heart that was steadfast towards God?

David’s story is our story. This psalm captures the cycle that so many of us, Christians, undergo. Many of us go through life’s challenges with so much complaints, and we get stuck there. Because that is what happens when we fail to see beyond ourselves and our problems. That is what happens when we forget to focus on God.

This is Satan’s ploy to keep us off-balanced and to keep us from truly growing in our faith. Don’t fall for it. When you’re going through hell, keep going! Go through it instead of stopping. The key to being steadfast is to know who the object of our faith is. The more we know who God is and what He can do, the more our confidence in Him grows. This, then, helps turn our complaints to praise.

Here are some thoughts about who and what God is. (John Piper)

  • God is the absolute standard of truth, goodness and beauty.
  • All the universe is, by comparison to God, as nothing. As an echo to a thunderclap. All that we are amazed by in the world and in the galaxies, is, when compared to God, nothing.
  • God is utterly independent. He depends on nothing to bring Him into being, or to support Him, or to counsel Him or make Him what He is.
  • Everything that is not God depends totally on God. The entire universe is utterly secondary. It came into being by God and stays in being moment by moment on God’s decision to keep it in being.
  • God is sovereign. He does whatever He pleases and it is always right and always beautiful and always in accord with truth. He is utterly free from any constraints that don’t originate from the counsel of His own will.
  • God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot be improved. He is not becoming anything. He is who he is.

Knowing all these, David was able to turn his complaints into praise.  He became steadfast in praise because he recalled how God saved him in the past. Like David, we have also seen Him move in the past. Praise is a choice we must deliberately make in all situations. In times of peace and prosperity, we praise Him for His bountiful blessings. In times of fear, heartaches and uncertainty, we choose to praise Him because we trust Him for His perfect plan and will in our lives. Knowing that whatever happens, it will be for our good and for His glory. We all have experienced His deliverance and grace in our lives and even as we sit down and count our blessings, we raise our hearts and voice in praise because our God is GOD. He has never failed us yet! Praise is the key to help us to turn our focus away from ourselves and our situation and fix our eyes upon God. Praise is recognizing that our God is Sovereign over all things.

When we praise Him for who He is and recall all that He had done for us, we begin to see God’s character – His beauty, His majesty and His power. When we realize that all the beauty we see in the whole world – the beauty of a sunset, the power of an erupting volcano or vast majesty of the universe, are merely echoes of God’s matchless beauty, awesome power and majesty, we are moved to bow down before Him and worship Him. The more we worship, the more our eyes are opened to His character and the more we know about His character, the more we want to remain steadfast in worship. Worship is when we truly seek the Giver and not just the gifts. When we want more of Him and Him alone.

Go back to Psalm 57, observe that in the whole chapter there is something that he kept repeating: “I will…”.  Even in verses 1-6, where he was crying out to God and complaining, his hope in God was evident.  But from verses 7-11, you will see a dramatic turn of events. No longer was David complaining. Instead, he was completely focused on God. His situation remained dire, yet he declared God’s deliverance in advance. Hope is recognizing that God is our mighty Deliverer. He will deliver us in accordance to His perfect will and not according to our will. That’s what hope is. Unwavering, resolute, steadfast hope is when we no longer focus on ourselves and our fears and instead focus completely on God and who He is. Being steadfast in our hope is to trust Him when no relief is in sight. It is to trust Him even if we suffer harm, and declare, just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego declared in Daniel 3:18: “But even if he does not, we want you to know, your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Our God is constant. He never changes. We have seen him move mountains, part the seas and make a way when there was no way. Because of this, we can believe that He will do it again. He has never failed us yet. He never will. His promise still stands! Great indeed is His faithfulness!

David actually had a chance to rid himself of Saul once and for all. When he was hiding in the cave, Saul unknowingly camped there also thereby presenting the opportunity for David to kill Saul but David wouldn’t take things into his own hand as he trusts God for the fulfilment of God’s promise to him. Being steadfast means trusting God for His timing instead of cutting corners to achieve what we want even if it was promised to us. Being steadfast in the Lord is to be firmly fixed on Him alone, to go where He goes, to stop when He stops, to submit completely to Him and His plans – no matter how much His plans makes no sense in the present time.

REFLECTION

  • Verses 7-9:

Take time to recall how God had delivered you in the past. Praise and thank Him for it.

  • Verses 10-11:

Quiet your heart and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you more of God’s character. Lift him up and worship Him with all you are for all He is.

  • Verses 1-7:

What are you going through right now that is robbing you of your confidence and peace? What are you going to do about it? Will you continue to focus on yourself or will you begin to turn your eyes upon Him who is the All Creating One? Put your hope on the Unchanging One.

 Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Psalm 43:5 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

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