I will praise Him!
by David Kitz
rolled out of bed…
and there they were.
three nails lying on the carpet…
at my feet.
How did they get there?
I have no idea.
Why three nails?
Why not six
or five or two?
What can you do with three nails?
Not much I guess?
I know this carpenter
that saved the world
Reading: Psalm 37
I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
but he soon passed away and was no more;
though I looked for him, he could not be found.
Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
a future awaits those who seek peace.
But all sinners will be destroyed;
there will be no future for the wicked.
The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him (NIV).
Today’s reading is the concluding portion of Psalm 37. As noted previously, this entire psalm contrasts the life of the righteous person with the individual who pursues a life of sin and illicit gain. The righteous will receive their reward and the man who does evil will be destroyed.
We all reap what we sow. If we sow seeds of selfishness, hate and discord, we will reap a harvest of ruin. Paul, the apostle, gives us this warning, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).
We can readily conclude that the good man will live because of his goodness. In other words the righteous person will be saved because of his righteous deeds. But that’s not what this psalm teaches. In fact, the idea that one is saved because of one’s righteousness runs contrary to the message of this psalm and the entire counsel of Holy Scripture. The psalmist clearly states, “The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD.”
We are not saved by our righteousness. We are saved by the LORD. It is because of His great mercy that we are saved. This aligns with New Testament teaching as Paul declares, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Yes, we are called to live righteous lives and to do good works, but let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking that by these means we will earn our way to heaven. Jesus is the way to heaven. Our feeble efforts won’t take us very far. We need His forgiveness and the power of His redeeming blood. We are saved because we take refuge in Him.
Response: LORD God, I thank you for Jesus. I am thankful that I can put my complete trust in you. I am saved by your amazing grace not by my effort. Hallelujah! Lord Jesus, you are the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Amen.
Your Turn: Have you relied on your righteousness rather than God’s grace?
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.
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. Thanks for your grace. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you recently sensed God smiling down on you? How did that make you feel?