Reading: Psalm 102
But you, LORD, sit enthroned forever;
your renown endures through all generations.
You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to show favor to her;
the appointed time has come.
For her stones are dear to your servants;
her very dust moves them to pity.
The nations will fear the name of the LORD,
all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.
For the LORD will rebuild Zion
and appear in his glory.
He will respond to the prayer of the destitute;
he will not despise their plea (NIV).
Psalm 102 begins as a lament, but today’s reading is drawn from the mid portion of the psalm, and rather than despair and grief, this section is filled with hope and promise. Though at present we may be plagued by troubles, a turning point is coming. This is the hope we have when we truly know our God.
Despite experiencing the troubles and difficulties of an afflicted person, this is the psalmist’s personal confession: But you, LORD, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come.
What about you and me? Is the LORD enthroned as the Lord of my life? Is He calling the shots? Have I stopped to listen for His voice, or do I simply plunge ahead into my day without giving any thought to His will or His plans for me?
By the way, the LORD has plans for you that are nothing short of amazing. Here’s a look at the LORD’s plans according to Psalm 102: You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come.
This is the promise that we all have as believers. A time is coming when the LORD will show us His favor. It is an appointed time. You can be sure that the LORD keeps His appointments. He will show up in our lives to favor us—to bestow His grace. What a magnificent promise that is!
Do I know when that appointed time will come? No, I don’t. It’s the LORD’s appointment, not mine. He will arise and show compassion on His people. My responsibility is to be numbered among His people—the faithful ones of Zion. That brings us back to considering who is enthroned as the King of our lives. Lord Jesus, this is my confession: I want you enthroned in my heart forever.
Response: Heavenly Father, reign in my life. Jesus, you are King forever. I bow my knee to you. Give me ears that hear what you are saying to me today and always. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you experienced the Lord’s favor? What did that look like?
Reading: Psalm 90
Relent, LORD! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands (NIV).
Does your work have value and meaning? I certainly hope it does. There is nothing quite as frustrating as spending long hours working on something and then realizing it’s useless or unappreciated.
In many ways our work defines us. Frequently, we identify people by their work. Bob the plumber, Susan the teacher, and Troy the accountant are examples of this tendency. It shouldn’t surprise us then to hear this request at the conclusion of Psalm 90: May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.
Some people are of the opinion that work is a result of the curse, but that is not true. Before our first parents fell into sin they had a work assignment from their Creator. The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:15). The requirement, or should I say blessing of work, preceded mankind’s fall into sin. The consequence of sin simply meant that work would become more arduous and prone to frustration. Weeds would grow; harvests would fail.
We all need the favor of the Lord our God to rest on us. Usually God’s favor is synonymous with God’s grace. It’s not earned; it’s freely given. In this case the Hebrew word that is translated here as favor could also be translated as beauty. God’s gracious favor is perhaps the most beautiful attribute of our LORD. Without His favor our work will not be established. It will have no lasting worth or value.
Today as you set your day or your work week into motion, make this your prayer: May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.
When the day is done and my head hits the pillow I want to know that the work I accomplished that day has value and meaning. Better yet, I would like that work to have eternal worth. Only God can establish that lasting worth. Commit your work into His hands.
Response: LORD God, I often become impatient or frustrated with my work. Open my eyes to see how you are working in me and through me as I go about my daily tasks. Help me to have an eternal perspective. Lord, establish the work of my hands. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you feel that your work is worthwhile? What brings you joy in work?
Reading: Psalm 80
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant.”
Of Asaph. A psalm.
Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might; come and save us.
Restore us, O God;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.
How long, LORD God Almighty,
will your anger smolder
against the prayers of your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears;
you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors,
and our enemies mock us.
Restore us, God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved (NIV).
Have you been greeted by a happy face today? I’m talking about the ubiquitous, yellow, happy face stickers that pop up everywhere, especially in any form of online communication. 🙂 ! We all recognize that these happy faces are intended to brighten our day—make us feel happy like the smiley face shows. I’m not sure they always succeed in their objective.
Of course a bright, shining human face with a broad genuine smile is much better in communicating happiness than a symbolic sticker on a screen. Real live face time trumps online communication in every way—at least it should. Some things—most things—are communicated best fact to face.
Here in Psalm 80, the psalmist, Asaph, pleads for face time with the LORD. In fact, in the entire psalm, Asaph repeats this request three times. Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. Clearly, the psalmist is longing to see the smiley face of God—the shining face of God.
In Hebrew literature the shining face of God represents God’s favor—His grace. In reality the psalmist is pleading for God’s favor to rest on him and his people. The truth is we get nowhere without the favor of God. Unless the LORD is gracious to us, we are doomed to fail in this life and perish in eternity. It’s just that simple. We desperately need that happy face sticker from God. This should be our daily prayer: Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved
Response: Father God, today I need face time with you. Show me your kindness. Help me to sense you smiling down on me like a loving parent smiles down on their child. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you recently sensed God smiling down on you? How did that make you feel?