I will praise Him!
Reading: Psalm 109
For he never thought of doing a kindness,
but hounded to death the poor
and the needy and the brokenhearted.
He loved to pronounce a curse—
may it come back on him.
He found no pleasure in blessing—
may it be far from him.
He wore cursing as his garment;
it entered into his body like water,
into his bones like oil.
May it be like a cloak wrapped about him,
like a belt tied forever around him.
May this be the LORD’s payment to my accusers,
to those who speak evil of me (NIV).
Right now we are a long way from the giving season. I am of course referring to the pre-Christmas shopping binge, when gifts are purchased, wrapped and hidden away for the big celebration. Many rail against this tradition, but in reality the scriptures are filled with admonitions that encourage us to be generous and bless others. Christmas and year-end provide us with wonderful opportunities to do just that. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25).
If we find no pleasure in giving, we may be suffering from more than a simple case of Scrooge-like stinginess. Soul sucking self-centeredness destroys us from within. It defaces the image of God that is stamped upon us from birth. God our heavenly Father is the picture of generosity. He gave His only Son for us. In light of this sacrifice, there’s something terribly wrong if we can’t spare a dime or a kind word for the less fortunate. Generosity is never out of season.
Today’s reading provides us with a negative contrast to the generosity of God. The individual being described withheld his blessing. He loved to pronounce a curse—may it come back on him. He found no pleasure in blessing—may it be far from him.
How generous am I with words of encouragement, praise and blessing? How generous am I with this world’s goods that have been lavished on me by a gracious Father? Throughout the year, and in the pre-Christmas season, I need to check my heart and my bank account, but above all my heart. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Am I generous with words of praise and thanks for those around me—with the clerk at the shopping mall or the life partner who shares my bed? Am I reflecting or defacing the image of God?
Response: Father God, today I want to be a blessing and pronounce a blessing on those around me. I am thankful for the generosity of your love, forgiveness and grace. It’s more than I deserve. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you too tight fisted or too lavish with your giving?
This week’s I Love the Psalms theme is suffering.
We all suffer or have suffered in various ways, whether it’s physical, psychological or emotional pain. To be human is to suffer.
Our God is the God of nerve endings. We were designed to feel both pain and pleasure. The same nerve endings that give us joy and pleasure can scream out in pain and agony.
Have you heard an atheist railing against God because He allows humans to experience joy and pleasant sensations? Of course not, but God is blamed for allowing suffering. The God of nerve endings allows us to experience both pleasure and pain, and I’m so glad He does.
But beyond all this God hears us when we suffer.
God understands our pleasure and our pain because in the body of Jesus, He fully became one of us.
Response: Lord Jesus, I thank you for identifying with our problems, suffering and weakness. I determine in my heart to thank and praise you both in times of joy and in times of pain. Amen.
Your Turn: How do you respond to suffering? Why is it difficult to praise God in hard times?