By: Dan Steinfield, Head of School
Our school theme verse for 2022-23, Psalm 37:4-6, reminds us that "My Cup Runneth Over."
This Hebrew phrase means, "I have more than enough for my needs." As we delight in the Lord, He will grant us the desires of our hearts. As we commit our way to the Lord, and trust in him, he will act.
Psalm 37 presents the following characteristics of those who delight in the Lord (vs. 4).
- Befriend faithfulness (vs. 3)
- Commit their way to Him (vs. 5)
- Be still before Him (vs. 7)
- Wait patiently for Him (vs. 7)
- Refrain from anger (vs. 8)
- Delight in abundant peace (vs. 11)
- Their mouth utters wisdom and tongue speaks justice (vs. 30)
- The Law of the Lord is in his heart (vs. 31)
Psalm 37 concludes with first-hand testimony from David. Reflecting on his own personal life story, David recounts: “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or His children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and His children become a blessing” (vs. 25-26). “I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree. But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found. Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace” (vs. 35-37), David ponders.
It is interesting to think about what life experiences David might be reflecting on as he pens these words. Perhaps when Samuel anointed David's head with oil, naming him King of Israel when he was just a boy and had been dismissed by all, including his own family? Perhaps when David went out to meet Goliath, who threatened the nation, and God, of Israel. Or the many other victories in battle David experienced as King of Israel. Perhaps when David fled for his life, even though he was anointed King, as Saul hunted him causing David to live in caves. Or, perhaps even when David, having succumbed to greed and lust, committed adultery and murder and took Bathsheba as his wife only to later suffer the reprimand of his God through the prophet Nathan for his wicked actions.
Paul, speaking in the Synagogue in Antioch (Acts 13), states that David is remembered as a man after God's own heart.
“And when He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, of whom He testified and said, 'I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as He promised.” (Acts 13:22-23)
David was a man after God's own heart who will do all His will. When did God make this pronouncement over David? After David had lived a long life and proven himself? After David had accomplished many great feats? After David had lamented and repented from his failures and sin? After David had earned it? NO! I Samuel 13 tells us God gave this declaration to Samuel when David was just a boy, before he was even anointed king, before Samuel even knew who David was!
The Salvation of the Righteous is from the Lord (Psalm 37:39). God's promise to act goes before us as we delight in Him and keep our eyes on Him. This announcement and promise is made over you, and over me, and is not dependent on you doing anything to earn it.
This year, we enter year two of our work with Teaching for Transformation (TFT) and Christian Deeper Learning. Christian Deeper Learning is defined as, the people of God’s story engaged in real work that forms self and shapes the world.
TFT places an important emphasis on the power of story. A compelling vision of the Kingdom that connects our learners and their learning to God’s story. Sarah Arthur, author of Distinguishing Dragons: The Importance of Story in Faith Formation writes:
“We are story-formed people. Our lives are first shaped by narrative, not by information. We don’t learn how to live the Christian life by memorizing facts, rules, precepts, morals, imports, exports, governments, and drains …. We begin to see our lives as part of a pattern within the larger story of redemption. We long to live a life worthy of that story.”
David’s life story began with God speaking over him, “I have found in David a man after my own heart, who will do all my will.” And God speaks over your life story, and mine, with this same promise.
Ben Patterson in his book Waiting writes:
“It is only as we see the enormity of our sin that we can appreciate the magnitude of God’s mercy to us. If Christ would die for sinners, if he would love us misbegotten ones enough to do that before we even cared for him (and whether or not we ever did), then how much more, now that we have believed in him, will he preserve us by that same love? If we can believe the first word of the gospel, that Christ died for us, it should be no problem whatsoever to believe the next word of the gospel, that he will preserve us after we believe even when we fail. We are saved by God's mercy and we wait by God's mercy. Faith is not our ability to hold on to God, but simply trusting in his ability to hold on to us (p. 85).
“What great thing are you waiting for (expecting) knowing that God will not fail you - knowing that like David, your sins and failures have not changed God’s faithfulness towards you?” David’s personal testimony in Psalm 37 reminds us that through the power of the Gospel, God’s story for your life is already written and God will work great things in and through you this year.
My deep hope for this community is that we would be men and women after God's own heart, who do all His will by living into our unique places of redemptive impact within God's Story.