psalm xvi – unshakeable

What does it mean to not be shaken? We can look to Christ on the cross to see. He was indeed physically shaken as he was whipped, beaten and pierced. His whole body shook and recoiled from the pain, so in no sense was he unshakeable in his physical body. Those who find God only in His gracious healing should take note of this. If ‘being like Jesus’ is the aim, then surely enduring pain and hardship is par for the course rather than a sign of God’s absence.

In fact, Jesus was unshakeable in a different way. He was so enamored by His love for God and us that He could endure whatever struck His physical body. At any point he could free Himself of the pain of the cross, as would be His right as God yet He remained sturdy in His resolve. His outward man could be shaken by wounds and abuse, but His inward man was unshakeable. The will of the Father was all His inward man desired to fulfill, despite the protests of His outward man.

To be guided by the Lord is to be like Christ on the cross, who saw the goodness of God’s will more desirous than to be free of the pain of life. It is to suffer the slings and arrows of fortune in the outward man and retreat into the solace of the inward man. Christ did this as perfectly as a human could, and we aspire to be like Him in this way as well as in any other.

This does not mean to be unemotional or unfeeling. Christ wasn’t, as he called out from the cross for the forgiveness of His executioners (luk 23:34). It means simply to desire solace only in God and in no created thing. It is to be counseled so much by His Word that He drowns out the counsel of both the devil and your sinful heart. It is to draw on the perfect will of the Father that Jesus drew from on the cross.

Meditation: How sinful is your heart, that you worry and believe your own counsel? That God will cast you aside and leave you alone surrounded by wolves? Acknowledge your anxieties and fears, as well as your hopes and aspirations. Bring them to God, all of them, and see them for what they are. They are things that threaten to shake you, if you give them your heart. They are a poor foundation, if they are required for you to be content and pleased with God. They are lesser things, because they are a product of your own weakness or desire. They are your will. Embrace the greater thing, God’s counsel, which you find in His Word. His will. Each time you do that, by the operation of God’s Holy Spirit, you will be trained more and more to be unshakeable in the same way as Christ.

Protect me, God, for I take refuge in you.
I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have nothing good besides you.”

As for the holy people who are in the land,
they are the noble ones.
All my delight is in them.
The sorrows of those who take another god
for themselves will multiply;
I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
and I will not speak their names with my lips.

Lord, you are my portion
and my cup of blessing;
you hold my future.
The boundary lines have fallen for me
in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I will bless the Lord who counsels me—
even at night when my thoughts trouble me.
I always let the Lord guide me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad
and my whole being rejoices;
my body also rests securely.
For you will not abandon me to Sheol;
you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
You reveal the path of life to me;
in your presence is abundant joy;
at your right hand are eternal pleasures.

psalm xvi (csb)

<— psalm xv psalm xvii —>