Thursday, August 23, 2012

Movement and Mercy

(An excerpt from Psalm 21)

Ever been moved?
      To move means simply to change position, and to be moved is to have something else exert force upon you that causes you to leave your prior position.

David said in Psalm 21:7, "For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved."


     David is speaking of himself here in third person. He is the "king" and the "he" of this psalm. The names he uses to refer to God are "LORD" (literally YHWH, usually pronounced "Yahweh" or "Jehovah"... it the name God calls Himself; it is His first name, so to speak) and "The Most High." So, because David trusts in God, God's mercy to him keeps him from "being moved." The question is, then, moved how?

     Well, we can obviously be moved by the external force of another human being... physical movement. Pushing is a direct force, with an immediate response of movement. Self initiated actions, like walking, jumping, or running also count as physical movement.  Forces of nature, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, floods, winds, waves can likewise force us out of place. David certainly experienced these types of force, but is this what he meant in verse seven?

      There are also more subtle impacts, indirect forces of man... like required relocation because of a job, military service, government mandate, war, or even end of life care... that can force us to change our physical location. Forces of economy and health also fall under physical movement, and we know that loss, whether of a job, a loved one, finances, a house, or even human rights, can force us to make a move.  These happened often to David, but is this what he speaks of when he said "he shall not be moved" here in this verse?

      Then there is the concept of "being moved" emotionally. There are frequent references to this "movement" of feelings in popular music and literature, as well as in everyday conversation.  Jesus was "moved" with compassion when He saw the multitudes like "sheep without a Shepherd," and particularly touching films are still referred to as being very "moving."  Popular music like Susan Ashton's late nineties song, "You move me," regularly use this metaphor for feeling.
      To be moved emotionally is to have a change of feelings, such as happiness to sadness or fear to bravery. Emotionally, our moods can "move" us all over the map, changing with the circumstances. David was also familiar with this type of movement, as evidenced by the deeply emotional nature of his many psalms, nevertheless, this is not the change in position he speaks of here either.

     What of mental movement? To be moved mentally is to have a change of opinion or perspective on a subject. Another way to say this is: "I changed my mind." This type of movement is based upon the presentation of new information that, in turn, alters our perspective on something.
     I once believed that Canada was covered in snow year round. I now live in beautiful BC, in the city of Victoria, where our three days of snow are an exciting alternative to our mild, temperate winters. New information changed my perspective. I was moved.
     As he was humble and teachable, David probably regularly changed his mind, never too proud to admit error; thus, it is not this type of movement that he references in Psalm 21:7 either.

     David is speaking of spiritual movement... faith.

Faith can be placed in anything, from an object to a person, a circumstance to a philosophy. David's faith was in Yahweh, the Most High God who created all things and rules the universe outside of time. Yahweh, the merciful, loving, and relational God who freely pardons those who trust in Him.

"For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved."

      Paraphrased, David trusts in God’s mercy toward him and is confident that because of such he “shall not be moved” in his faith.  His trust in the mercy of God and the stability of his faith are intimately connected. In other words, regardless of the physical, emotional, and mental forces that may toss him wildly to and fro, David trusts in God's mercy. As such, his faith will not be moved.  
       No matter what moves him in heart, mind, or body, he shall not be moved out of place in his spirit. His faith rests steadfastly in God's mercy towards him. Though his health be shaken, his thoughts shaken, his emotions shaken, yet his faith will stand.

      While remaining steadfast in any position that is challenged by an outside force requires energy, truly, to remain constant in our faith is an all out war! Every trying circumstance will present itself as evidence to the contrary, and test our confidence in God’s character to the very core.
      When your husband loses his job, is God still faithful? When you lose your home in the real estate crash, is God still good? When you are diagnosed with cancer, is God still loving? When you are going through a divorce, is God still real?

      We're talking war! and its a war for our faith. Every hard circumstance is a battle ground. Will I still believe; will I still hope; will I still obey, even when....?

It is a battle for our faith, and it is won by our faith. 

     Trust in God's mercy was David's tower of refuge in every storm, and his fortress in every battle. "...through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved." 
      It is our stabilizing strength as well. No matter what may "move" you in this life, do not be moved from your confidence in God's mercy in which you first found Life, hope, and peace. It is only when we lose sight of His great mercy, that we stumble into doubt, depression, and despair.
     Don't be moved! The same God who had mercy on you at the beginning has mercy on you now. He loves you. He has a purpose in everything for good. He has a special plan for your life. He will provide for you. He will never leave nor forsake you! These are His promises to us in the Word of God. Trust in Him. He is God.
      His mercy endures forever, and through trust in Him, you will not be moved.

     Things in this life may "move" us, but true stability is found in only one thing: trust in our merciful God. Through the mercy of the Most High, we shall not be moved.

Paul said in Acts 20:24,  "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."


  1. Thank you so much Heather
    this was totally from the Lord
    I really needed this!!! :) Cathlene

    1. Praise God! He is so faithful to direct us to what we need when we need it. I am humbled that He used my words from so long ago to speak to you today. Love you, sister.