David has grown impatient waiting for God to answer his prayers. He is basically yelling at God. Complaining like a child who isn’t getting the answer he wants from a parent. Yet, at the end, he states that he knows that God is there, and he trusts God’s plan for him.
Jehoshaphat is before an assembly of men who have just informed him that Israel is about to be attacked by a large army. Before the siege begins, and in front of the council, Jehoshaphat prays to God asking for guidance. Part of that prayer includes complaining to God about how Israel listened to his command and didn’t destroy the people already who are now coming to attack. “Our God, will you not judge them?” In other words, “God, how can you let this happen to us?”
We all have those times in our lives where things aren’t going great even though we have been faithful (in our own minds anyway), and we have prayed for God to guide us or relieve us of impending doom and gloom. Sometimes, God acts quickly and things work out. And some of us are still waiting days, weeks, months, or even years later for an answer. But, as we can see in both of these passages, it is perfectly acceptable to cry out to the Lord, just like our children do (or did when they were young) demanding things or answers to questions. Just like we are all loving parents who listen and will do whatever we can to help our children when they are in need, God does the same for us. We do it for our own children, even though we may do the eye roll when our kid asks us for something they want…AGAIN. Sometimes, we make them wait a long time before we give them an answer or give them what they are asking for. We don’t always jump up immediately and give what they want.
God is the same way with us. Imagine if this was like in the movie Bruce Almighty, where God grants every prayer request immediately and without question. It would be a complete disaster. We don’t always understand His reasons or His purpose, but we have to simply trust that He knows what He’s doing. Just like David in Psalm 13. Just like Jehoshaphat and the Israelites.
Paul is speaking of the Judaizers largely in this letter to the churches in Galatia. The Judaizers are Jewish Christians who believe that, while faith in the Gospel is important, people still need to also participate in some of the Old Testament rituals, such as circumcision. Earlier in the letter, Paul writes that it isn’t by rituals that God gives us the Holy Spirit or eternal life. It is by faith alone. Freedom is in just simply believing what Jesus taught us. Doing good deeds is important. Serving the Lord is important. Attending church to worship together as one body in Christ is important. But at the end of the day, it is by faith alone that we are saved. Paul uses an analogy that everyone at the time would understand well, and was also one of Jesus’ many parables. Just a small amount of yeast works through the entire batch of bread dough. That message can work both for the good or for the not so good. It only takes a small number of people banding together to spread a false message before it spreads quickly through the whole community. The same is true for those who are spreading truth. This is true now more than ever with the 24 hour news cycle and social media.
Over the past several months, I’ve heard and read so much about our freedoms as a country as laid by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But those freedoms don’t even come close to the freedom we have from The Law just simply through believing everything the Gospel has to sell. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-10, it is by grace that we are saved. Not by works so that we can boast. Not by the Law. It is much simpler than that. It is just by the grace granted to us by God through Jesus Christ. The true Gospel.