Reading: Psalm 69
Lord, the LORD Almighty,
may those who hope in you
not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel,
may those who seek you
not be put to shame because of me.
For I endure scorn for your sake,
and shame covers my face.
I am a foreigner to my own family,
a stranger to my own mother’s children;
for zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.
When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn;
when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me.
Those who sit at the gate mock me,
and I am the song of the drunkards. (NIV).
The end of a year is a time when many of us set goals and consider our progress over the past year. Our personal goals spring from those things we value and hold dear. So what did David, the author of this psalm, value and hold dear? According to his own words, David was motivated by his zeal for the house of God. He longed to be in God’s presence and to seek His face. He placed his love for God ahead of his love for even his family.
Winter stream — photo courtesy of Liz Kranz
I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children; for zeal for your house consumes me…
Many of us would call that misplaced zeal, even fanaticism. But Jesus called for precisely this kind zeal from his disciples. He calls for a radical transformation in the lives of his followers. Are you a disciple, or are you following at a distance? His words are an open challenge everyone.
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37-39).
After Jesus cleansed the temple, his disciples recalled the words from this psalm. His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 2:17).
Response: LORD God, give me a zeal for your house and your presence. As the months and years roll by, I want my values to be reflected in my actions and my passion for you. Replace my lukewarm heart with a burning desire to know and love you. Amen.
Your Turn: Where does the house of God rate on your zeal meter? Do you value the community of faith to which you belong?