I Shall Not Be Moved

Thanks to Jack Kauffman, a deacon at Bethel Baptist Church, for this guest post.

rootsThe Easter season is a time when Christians tend to look inward. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, and more often than not, I don’t especially like what I see. Two premises come to mind as I do this: 1) I am not always the man others think I am, and 2) I am not always the man I imagine myself to be. Others see the suit and the smile but not the heart, and I am thankful that my heart is not visible for inspection, for it is not always a pretty sight. Also, I tend to imagine myself better than I really am. I judge myself more lightly than I judge others for the same weaknesses and offenses and I tend to think my backbone’s a little stiffer than it actually is.

The fact is, we can be easily moved. We are moved by emotions, money, people, and circumstances. We are moved to compromise, give up, and in general, to not be the men that God has called us to be.

That’s why I like David. He was a man that loved God and a man that God loved, yet he was peppered with weaknesses and shortcomings. Yet he could say, “I shall not be moved”. He repeats this several times in the Psalms (27:1, 62:2, 8). It’s almost as if he is reminding himself that (under certain conditions) he will not be moved.

I admire men that are not easily moved. Sam Davis was a spy for the Confederate Army. He was also a strong Christian. At age 22, he proved himself time and again as a member of the elite “Coleman’s Scouts.” But eventually he was captured. He was sentenced to be hanged but the Federals gave him a chance for reprieve. He only needed to reveal the true identity of Coleman. When this news was delivered to him, he stated resolutely that “I would rather die a thousand deaths than betray a friend”. He spent his last day in prayer with the chaplain and asked that he sing “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” before he left him. Then he wrote his mother for the last time. Can you imagine the anguish he was feeling? Yet he would not be moved because he put his God before him and kept his eyes fixed across the Jordan to the Promised Land.

That was David’s secret: When he kept the Lord before him, in his vision and in proximity at his right hand, he would not be moved. When we are moved it is usually when we turn and look away or when we try to do things in our own strength.

Here’s a classic example. In Greek mythology there was a sea route that went between two narrow cliffs. Shoals lined the narrows and sirens (mermaids) sat on the rocks and sang such a compelling song to the sailors that they turned their ships upon the rocks and were lost. Ulysses ordered his sailors to plug their ears and had himself tied to the mast. They sailed through in their own strength. Orpheus had another idea. He played such a beautiful melody on his harp as his ship approached the sirens that his men never heard their song: Their ears and hearts were fixed on the sound of the harp.

See the difference? Ulysses gutted it out, but the desire was still there. He squirmed and pulled at his ropes. Orpheus focused his men’s attention on something better-something far more beautiful. If our hearts are tuned to the better way, it becomes habit and we are far less likely to be moved.

There’s an old spiritual by the same name, I Shall Not Be Moved. It goes like this:

In His strength abiding I shall not be moved,
and in Him confiding, I shall not be moved.
Tho’ all Hell assail me, I shall not be moved,
Jesus will not fail me, I shall not be moved.
Tho’ the tempest rages, I shall not be moved,
On the Rock of Ages, I shall not be moved.
Just like the tree, that’s planted by the water, I shall not be moved.

I don’t know what tempest rages in your soul or how Hell might be assailing you at the moment, but I take great comfort in the fact that, as I keep Christ before me and at my right hand, then, like the tree planted by the water, I shall not be moved.

2 Responses

  1. Jack,
    This was a real blessing to me when I heard it at the breakfast. It is exactly what I needed. Thanks for putting it into writing so I and others can go back and think on these things.

  2. Mr. Kauffman, Thanks for your challenge. I was not able to make our church’s men’s breakfast, but I found your thoughts very encouraging. I have been meditating on David’s resolve “I shall not be moved” and the resolve of many other throughout God’s Word. Somewhere along my own reflections I was reminded of a rock climbing tool used during a free ascent (no rope coming down from above). It is called a piton. Here is how Wikipedia defines a piton: “Early pitons generally were made of soft malleable irons and steel and would deform to the shape of the crack when driven in to rock. This made them difficult to remove without damaging the piton, so they were frequently left in place. Thus they became fixed anchor points on a climb.” Perhaps David’s faith, however weak it was at times, is like the soft malleable iron: Once it was driven deep into the Rock of God’s Word, it became a fixed anchor. May we all keep Christ before us and find Him to be our Rock of Ages.

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