May 16: Dysfunctional Problem-Solving
1 Chronicles 3:1–4:23; 1 Timothy 3:8–16; Psalm 77:1–20
When I locate a problem, I often fixate on it. I think that if I analyze it enough, I can solve it. This is a problem when I come to difficult issues that require someone else’s expertise. Stubbornly, I want to figure out the problem myself. I want to be self-sufficient. When God is the only one who can solve my problem, I’ve just created an impossible scenario.
When the psalmist hit troubling times and questioned the things that were accepted truths in his life, he didn’t seek his answer from anyone but God. When he felt far from God and questioned all he had taken for granted, the questions he asks are close to those in our own hearts: “Why God? Have you removed your favor?” (Psa 77:7). “Has your steadfast love ceased forever?” (Psa 77:8). “Do your promises end?” (Psa 77:8).
It would have been tempting to dwell on his personal experiences to answer these questions. But instead, the psalmist turns to study God’s redemptive work. This seems counter-intuitive to us, but we find this practice throughout the psalms. Why doesn’t the psalmist simply address the problem at hand? He knew that to understand God’s work in the present, he had to look to the past. He had to consider God’s work in humanity—His wonders of old, mighty deeds, holy ways, and power among the peoples. Ultimately, though, the psalmist looks to God’s work of redemption in the exodus from Egypt. He needed a backward glance—a look at God’s faithfulness to His people in the past.
We have an even greater redemptive story than the exodus. When things seem to go wrong, when we question God’s plan for our life, we can look back to Christ’s work on the cross. We’re not leaving our story for another one when we do this; instead, we’re acknowledging Christ’s ongoing work in our lives through the Holy Spirit. His work sets our entire life in perspective.
When life seems complicated, don’t try to be self-sufficient. When your emotions dictate otherwise, take a backward glance at the cross and reckon in your mind and heart what is already true of God’s love for you. There has never been such a testament of His love. Then take a faithful step forward, trusting in Him.
How are you trying to be self-sufficient? How are you taking a backward glance at the cross and stepping forward in faith?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- These also were the sons of David, which were born unto him in Hebron: the eldest Ammon of Ahinoam, the Jezreelites: the second Daniel of Abigail the Carmelitess: The third Absalom the son of Maacah daughter of Talmai King of Geshur: the fourth Adonijah the son of Haggith: The fifth Shephatai of Abital, the sixth Ithream by Eglah his wife. These six were born unto him in Hebron: and there he reigned seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned three and thirty years. and these for were born unto him in Jerusalem, Shimea, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon of Bathshua the daughter of Ammiel: Ibhar also, and Elishama, and Eliphelet, And Nogah, and Nepheg, and Japhia, And Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphelet, nine in number. These are all the sons of David, besides the sons of the concubines, and Tamar their sister. And Solomon’s son was Rehoboam, whose son was Abijah, and Asa his son, and Jehoshaphat his son, And Amaziah his son, and Azariah his son, and Jotham his son, And Ahaz his son, and Josiah his son. And the sons of Josiah, the eldest was Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third of Zedekiah, and the fourth Shallum. And the sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son, and Zedekiah his son. And the sons of Jeconiah, Assir and Shenazzar, Jeremiah, Hoshama, and Nedebiah. And the sons of Pedaiah were Zerubbabel, and Shimei: and the sons of Zerubbabel were Meshullam, and Hananiah, an dShelomith their sister, And Hashubah, and Ohel, and Berechiah, ad Hasadiah, and Jushab-Hesed, five in number. And the sons of Hananiah were Pelatiah, and Jeshaiah, the sons of Rephaiah, the sons of Arnan, the sons of Obadiah, the sons of Shechaniah. And the son of Shechaniah was Shemaiah: and the sons of Shemaiah were Hattush and Igal, and Bariah, and Neariah, and Shaphat, six. And the sons of Neariah were Elioenai, and Hezekiah, and Azriham, three. And the sons of Elioenai were Hodaviah, and Eliashub, and Pelaiah, and Akkub, and Johanan, and Delaiah, and Anani, seven. The sons of Judah were Perez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal. And Reaiah the son of Shobal begat Jahath, and Jahath begat Ahumi, and Lahad: these are the families of the Zorathites. And these were of the father of Etam, Jezreel, and Ishma and Idbash: and the name of their sister was Hazelelponi. And Penuel was the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah: these are the sons of Hur the eldest son of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem. But Ashhur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah, and Naarah. And Naarah bare him Ahuzzam, and Hepher, and Temeni and Haahashtari: these wer the sons of Naarah. And Naarah bare him Ahuzzam, and Hepher, and Temeni and Haahashtari: these were the sons of Naarah. And the sons of Helah were Zobebah, and the families of Aharhei the son of Harum. But Jabez was more honorable than this brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him in sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, If thou wilt bless me in deed, and enlarge my coasts, and if thine hand be with me, and thou wilt cause me to be delivered from evil, that I be not hurt. And God granted the thing that he asked. And Chelub the brother of Shuhah begat Mehir, which was the father of Eshton. And Eshton begat Beth-Rapha, and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of the city of Ir-Nahash: these are the men of Rechah. And the sos of Kenaz were Othniel, and Seraiah, and the son of Othniel, Hathah. And Meonothai begat Ophrah. And Seraiah begat Joab the father of the valley of craftsmen: for they were craftsmen. And the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneth were Iru, Elah, and Naam. And the son of Elah was Kenaz. And the sons of Jehallelel were Ziph, and Ziphah, Tiria, and Asarel. And the sons of Ezrah were Jether and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon, and he begat Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. Also his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Sochoh, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah: and these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharoah which Mered took. And the sons of the wife of Hodiah, the sister of Naham the father of Keilah were the Garmites, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite. And the sons of Shimon were Amnon and Rinnah, Ben-Hanan and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were Zoheth, and Ben-Zoheth. The sons of Shelah, the son of Judah were Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the households of them that wrought fine linen in the house of Ashbea. And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba and Joash, and Saraph, which had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubi-Lehem. These also are ancient things. These were porters, and dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work. The sons of Simeon were Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul. Whose son was Shallum, and his son Mibsam, and his son Mishma. And the sons of Mishma, Hamuel was his son, Zacchur his son, and Shimei his son. And Shimei had sixteen sons, and six daughters, but his brethren had not many children, neither was all their family like to the children of Judah in multitude. And they dwelt at Beersheba, and at Moladah, and at Hazar Shual, And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad, And at Bethuel, and at Hormah, and at Ziklag, And at Beth Marcaboth, and at Hazar Susim, at Beth Biri, and at Shaaraim: these were their cities unto the reign of David. And their towns were Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashan, five cities. And all their towns that were round about these cities unto Baal, these are their habitations and the declaration of their genealogy, And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah the son of Amaziah, And Joel and Jehu the son of Joshibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel, And Elioenai, and Jaakobah, and Jeshohaiah, and Asaiah, and Adiel, and Jesimiel, and Benaiah, And Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah. These were famous Princes in their families, and increased greatly their father’s houses. And they went to the entering in of Gedor, even unto the East side of the valley, to seek pasture for their sheep. And they found fat pasture and good, and a wide land both quiet and fruitful: for they of Ham had dwelt there before. And tehse described by name, came in the days of Hezekiah the king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the inhabitants that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their room, because there was pasture there for their sheep. And besides these, five hundred men of the sons of Simeon went to mount Seir, and Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel the sons of Ishi were their captains. And they smote the rest of Amalek that had escaped, and they dwelt there unto this day. 1 Chronicles 3:1–4:23
- Likewise must Deacons be grave, not double tongued, not given unto much wine, neither to filthy lucre, Having the mystery of the faith in pure conscience. And let them first be proved, then let them minister, if they be found blameless. Likewise their wives must be honest, not evil speakers, but sober, and faithful in all things. Let the Deacons be the husbands of one wife, and such as can rule their children well, and their own households. For they that have ministered well, get themselves a good decree, and great liberty in the faith, which is in Christ Jesus. These things wrote I unto thee, trusting to come very shortly unto thee. But if I tarry long, that thou mayest yet know, how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth. And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, which is, God is manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the word, and received up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:8–16
- My voice came to God, when I cried: my voice came to God; and he heard me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran and creased not in the night: my soul refused comfort. I did think upon God, and was troubled: I prayed, and my spirit was full of anguish. Selah. Thou keepest mine eyes waking: I was astonied, and could not speak. Then I consider the days of old: and the years of ancient time. I called to remembrance my song in the night: I communed with mine own heart, and my spirit searched diligently. Will the Lord absent himself forever? and will he show no more favor? Is his mercy clean gone forever? and will he show no more favor? doth his promise fail forevermore? Hath God forgotten to be merciful? hath he shut up his tender mercies in displeasure? Selah. And I said, This is my death: yet I remembered the years of the right hand of the most High. I remembered the works of the Lord: certainlly I remembered thy wonders of old. I did also meditate all thy works, and did devise of thine acts, saying, Thy way, O God, is in the Sanctuary: who is so great a God, as our God! Thou art the God that doest wonders; thou hast declared thy power among the people. Thou hast redeemed thy people with thine arm, even the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah. The waters saw thee, O God: the waters saw thee, and were afraid: yea, the depths trembled. The clouds poured out water: the heavens gave a sound: yea, thine arrows went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was round about: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. Thy way is in the sea, and thy paths in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Thou didst lead thy people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Psalm 77:1–20