Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me. . . Psalm 56:1
Living in a smaller town, I forget how hustle-bustle it can be in the city. So when I get into large crowds at a concert, or in the mall during the holidays, I get a sense of panic. Being short, often all I see in the rush of the crowd are shoulder blades and the napes of necks. I can’t see where we are going. I am not in control of where I am headed, but am being moved along by masses. They decide where is point A and point B. And if I don’t match their pace, I’ll get stepped on. It’s a very unnerving feeling.
Part of me wants to break free and go my own way. Find point B by myself. But, have you ever tried to go against the direction of a crowd? It’s hard to do without getting bumped, shoved and glared at, and perhaps called a name or two you’d rather not hear.
People don’t want you to go against the crowd. We are all supposed to conform, go one way and be united. They may do what they can to get you back in line. No one likes a maverick, an outsider who won’t play the game. David in this Psalm must have had that experience. Hear what he says about his enemies —
They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps . . .(vs.6)
As Christians, we often don’t follow the crowd. We follow our Savior instead. The world dictates self-involvement, dog eat dog, me first, grab-it-while-you-can attitudes. Christ calls us to turn cheeks, think of others first, and even give to our enemies. Paul said the way of Christ can be a stumbling block. It goes against the flow of human nature, and often times stirs up strife. How often was he kicked out of synagogues and a few towns for speaking the Gospel?
How often are we? Do we proclaim Christ crucified as the director of our path, or do we silently move along the crowd in our daily lives, diverting just momentarily on Sunday mornings? Do we fear the extra effort it takes to break free of the crowd and be an example, afraid someone may step on our toes, or worse perhaps provoke them by stepping on theirs? Do you fear if you get out of sync with the world you’ll stumble and fall, and perhaps be trampled?
How do you walk in the rush of the crowd? Here is what David did. He let God do the directing —
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. (vs.13)
If we really believe Christ is the Way, His is the direction we must follow. We must trust He will deal with the crowds and their reaction. Who knows, maybe we’ll not only turn a few heads in our diverting from the ways of the world, but turn a few hearts to follow Him as well.