(Study by Chris Long 3/16/06)
"A man's steps are established by the Lord, and He takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord holds his hand [or in some translations: the Lord supports with His hand]." Psalm 37:23-24 HCSB
In life it is easy to get discouraged. It's easy to feel like people, circumstances, and life in general are going to overwhelm us. Yet, here we have a promise direct from the Lord Himself, that though we may fall, we will not be overwhelmed. The picture that's painted by this passage of Scripture is even more poignant: God Himself says that He holds our hand [or supports us with His hand if you prefer]. Even when you fall in your Christian walk, and even when you think that you have run far away from God, He says very clearly that He was holding your hand the whole time. What an incredible realization!
But wait, there's more - let's continue reading on in Psalm 37 as the Lord speaks some more through David:
"I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging bread. He is always generous, always lending, and his children are a blessing. Turn away from what is evil and do what is good, and dwell there forever. For the Lord loves justice and will not abandon His faithful ones. They are kept safe forever, but the children of the wicked will be destroyed. The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it permanently." Psalm 37:25-29 HCSB
Notice the word "righteous" in this passage. These are promises direct from the Lord for those that are "righteous". So, who's righteous? The Bible makes clear throughout Scripture and specifically in Psalm 14 (and repeated again by Paul in Romans 3) that as human beings in and of ourselves there are NONE righteous. Romans 3:22-24 sheds light on this whole righteousness thing where it says "...God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe...For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus".
So this tells us that these promises in Psalm 37 are for EVERY BELIEVER in Jesus Christ. God Himself declares through David that He will NOT abandon you, that He is holding your hand, that He establishes your steps, that He is generous to you, and that He will NOT allow you to be overwhelmed!
Now, in my own Christian life, I've certainly thought I was overwhelmed. The key is that I *thought* I was overwhelmed. I have been to the utter depths of despair, even despair of life itself. Yet, God promises in Isaiah 42:3 that "He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not put out a smoldering wick..." In other words, God doesn't come along when you're just barely smoldering with any light at all and blow out your light. That's not the heart of God - He wants to fan that little smoldering light into a huge flame! God has allowed me to go right to the "brink" of life many times, but He has NEVER let me go over. He has never let me truly be overwhelmed [or "utterly cast out" as some translations put it]. I have come to truly believe that God never gives us more at any given time then we can handle with Him (cross-reference see 1 Corinthians 10:13 which deals with temptation, but the principle is there)
Today, do you realize that Your God is holding your hand and supporting you? Do you see that He has ordained your steps and takes pleasure in you walking in them? (i.e. He takes pleasure in YOU as His child!) That though you may stumble and fall, the Lord is right there with you to ensure that you will not be overwhelmed?
These are vitally important realizations as they show us the heart of our God. And on that day when we see Him face to face in eternity, we will truly be able to say: "Thank you Lord for guiding our steps and not allowing us to be overwhelmed with more then we could handle each day with You!"
Suggested Prayer: "Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word today. Thank You for loving me so much as Your child, Your RIGHTEOUS child through Jesus, that You are always with me; always supporting me with Your hand. Help me Lord to just believe your promise Lord that with each day in life You will never give me more then I can bear with You, who is right by my side. You are so faithful Lord and so good to me! Words cannot describe my thankfulness to you. Amen."