The songwriter of Psalm 94 knew that all things work together for good, but those “things” were still working themselves out, and it wasn’t going very “good” right then.
He knew that one day God’s vengeance would shine forth over the darkness (94:1), but right now it was the wicked who were rejoicing in triumph (94:3). He knew God heard everything and saw everything (94:9), but those who killed the widow and murdered the fatherless did so freely and God seemed unawares (94:6-7). He knew that God would never leave them nor forsake them (94;14), but right now, if present, God seemed to be standing aside as the enemy crushed His people and afflicted His heritage (94:5).
Lot going on in the songwriter’s world. More than just a few things adding points to his stress chart. Sometimes it felt like too many things. Too much to process. Waking in the morning, his mind running amok. Waiting for the sun to come up, the elephant of anxiety standing on his chest. More than enough to worry about. Cares beyond counting. So where would his help come from? Well, to quote lyrics from another song in the same hymnal,
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
From the LORD. From the Judge of the earth (94:2). From the Discpliner of His people (94:12). From the One the songwriter retreated to as his stronghold. The one he was determined to stand upon as the rock of his refuge (94:22). That’s where the songwriter would find consolations for his cares.
When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul.
(Psalm 94:19 ESV)
Many cares, that’s what the songwriter was dealing with. And we’re not talking the type of cares that end up on a to-do list. No, these were the cares of the heart. “The multitude of my anxieties within me” (NKJV). An abundance of troubling thoughts which bombarded “the inner parts.” I imagine it as the sort of anxiety which takes the breath away.
But when the cares of his heart were many, the songwriter looked to the consolations of the Lord to cheer his soul. And that’s what I’m chewing on this morning.
His comforts for our concerns. His trustworthy supports for our troubled souls. His consolations for our cares.
Consolations found in His word. How we need that anchor for the soul when the tempest is unrelenting. To be shown anew His promises. To be reminded afresh His power. To know in real-time — through the active agency of the Spirit of God illuminating the word of God — His presence.
Consolations found in worship. Don’t know what I’d do without music in my house. “Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” directing me towards “singing and making melody to the Lord” with my heart (Eph. 5:19). Singing with our heart has a way of displacing the cares of our heart. Not ignoring those cares, not pretending they’re not real, but putting them in the context of God’s never failing love. Hands lifted high (figuratively for us more conservative types) even with burdens that bend our backs low.
When I thought, “My foot slips,” Your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.
(Psalm 94:18 ESV)
Consolations found through His people. Connecting with those who want to share the sorrow, want to help bear the burden, even if all they can do is just listen and point us again to to the One who says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
These consolations not only keep us keepin’ on, they also “cheer the soul.” Bringing delight to the inner parts. God’s abiding presence a reason for thankfulness. God’s always available power a source of continuing awe. God’s unfailing promises priming the pump of hope and anticipation.
And though our minds might race, our hearts can be still. Though our anxieties can sometimes overwhelm, it can still be well with our soul.
Your consolations cheer my soul.
By His grace. For His glory.