Read Psalm 38-39
King Canute ruled over Denmark, Norway, and England more than one thousand years ago. A wise and humble ruler, he worked diligently to make the lives of his subjects better. As is often the case, he was surrounded by those who sought to gain influence and prominence with him, and according to the ancient story, he grew tired of their continual flattery and determined to put an end to it.
He ordered that his throne be carried out to the seashore and gathered his courtiers about it. By the sea, the king commanded the tide not to come in. Yet soon the waters were lapping around his legs as the tide did not heed him. According to one historian’s account, King Canute rose up from his throne and said, “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.”
King Canute understood he dimmed in comparison to the true Ruler of the world. King David was another powerful man who understood his place. In today's psalms we see a man who has been humbled by his own sin and by the attacks of his enemies. He clearly understood his utter dependence upon the Lord. You see an example of this at the end of chapter 38 in vs. 21-22: "Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!" What made David a good ruler was that God ruled over him. And that's exactly the way David wanted it.
I want that too, but there's a part of me that likes to be in charge of my own life. Can anyone relate? In those moments when I think too much of me, when I think I can somehow run my life better than God, it's good to be reminded how big God is and how small I am. David captures it well in chapter 39 vs. 4-5: "O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!"
I love that humble reminder, "let me know how fleeting I am!" It reminds me of James 4:14: "What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." Need some humbling? Remember how fleeting you are. Remember you are a mist. But also remember, His love for you is not fleeting. It’s eternal and it’s unfailing. You are a dearly loved mist. And when the King of Kings returns, your life will not be fleeting. It will be eternal. Live with eternity in mind by reminding yourself that life on earth is fleeting.
What verses in today’s devotional could you hold onto to help keep you humble before God?
What would it look like to live like a “mist” this week? How could you demonstration submission to God’s rule in your life?
Prayer for the day: “Heavenly Father. Rule over my life today. May I walk humbly today in your sight. Thank you for the reminder in your Word that my life on earth is fleeting and so I need to live with eternity in mind. Thank you that I can trust your leadership over my life. Thank you for the example Jesus set on humble living. Help me live like Jesus today. Amen.”