Reading: Psalm 94
The LORD is a God who avenges.
O God who avenges, shine forth.
Rise up, Judge of the earth;
pay back to the proud what they deserve.
How long, LORD, will the wicked,
how long will the wicked be jubilant?
They pour out arrogant words;
all the evildoers are full of boasting.
They crush your people, LORD;
they oppress your inheritance.
They slay the widow and the foreigner;
they murder the fatherless.
They say, “The LORD does not see;
the God of Jacob takes no notice” (NIV).*
As I gather my thoughts to write this post there are fresh reports that a ceasefire in the conflict in Yemen has come to an end. Aid convoys have been bombed. Recriminations fly back and forth between the warring parties; each blames the other. Meanwhile, war rages on. People starve. Refugees flee. Bombs fall from the sky and children are killed and injured.
There is a present-day relevance to Psalm 94. Its words are an ongoing reality in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. How long, LORD, will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant? They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers are full of boasting. They crush your people, LORD; they oppress your inheritance. They slay the widow and the foreigner; they murder the fatherless.
The Syrian conflict is now entering its tenth year with no end in sight and many people are asking, “How long, LORD?”
There is so much evil in the world. Evil expresses itself most graphically during war. There are those who would like to blame God for war, but that makes no sense. Human pride, greed and cunning lead to war. Human intransigence keeps it going. We can and should pray for God to show mercy and bring peace, but ultimately human hearts must change to bring an end to war.
We are right to pray for an end to murderous regimes. Essentially that is what the psalmist is praying. Is there more we can do? Emergency aid to war-torn regions is always needed. We can open our hearts and our wallets to provide some help. When an entire nation falls into the hands of murderous thieves are there a few good Samaritans who are willing to help?
Sometimes there are no easy answers in this difficult world. Rise up, Judge of the earth!
Response: LORD God, thank you for the peace and security I enjoy. I don’t want to take my peace and prosperity for granted. Show me how I can be of help in this troubled world. Amen.
Your Turn: Should we be concerned about foreign conflicts or only pay attention to things at home?
* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
I will praise Him!
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your prosperity.
(Psalm 122:6-9, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 147
He strengthens the bars of your gates
and blesses your people within you.
He grants peace to your borders
and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
He sends his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow (NIV).
What does a swiftly running word look like? Does it have legs on the bottom of each letter so it can run along, somewhat like a scurrying centipede? Or maybe when words run, they flow like a babbling stream rushing around and over rocks? How do you visualize running words?
Here in Psalm 147, the psalmist uses this metaphor to describe God’s word in action. He [the LORD] sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
We can be sure of one thing. When the word of the LORD is sent forth, it accomplishes its purpose. The prophet Isaiah wrote of that unchanging truth. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11).
God’s word brings blessing. That’s the picture that the psalmist paints. Isaiah uses different brush strokes, but in essence he paints a similar picture. The outpouring of the word of God onto His people brings a bountiful blessing. He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
Wherever God’s word reaches, it brings new life and fullness to life. Yes, it often brings conviction of sins, but those are the dead limbs that need to be cut off so new growth can flourish. God’s word reorients my life from a path that leads to death to the way everlasting.
The inner peace and security that I need are found in the presence of the LORD. I need a constant flow of God’s word into my heart and my mind. True prosperity, healing and strength are found in the swiftly running words of God. I want to be immersed in those running words.
Response: LORD God, I treasure your commands and your words. I want your word to be active within me, cutting off those sins and habits that are unproductive, and then bringing forth new life and the fruits of righteousness, peace and joy. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you allow God’s word to run and play in your mind? Has a Bible verse changed your life?
Trust the LORD and live right!
The land will be yours, and you will be safe.
Do what the LORD wants,
and he will give you your heart’s desire (Psalm 37:3-4, CEV).
This week’s I Love the Psalms theme is land.
Are you thankful for the land in which you live? I certainly am. On almost every measurement of prosperity, security, freedom and human development, Canada ranks at the top among the nations of the world. We have a great deal to be thankful for.
But to whom should we be giving thanks? Yes, we can be thankful for those who have gone before us, who built this great land through hard work and sacrifice. They forged partnerships with welcoming hearts that brought the prosperity and success that we now enjoy.
But ultimately, our freedom, security and prosperity come from the LORD. Today’s verse from the Psalms reminds us of this truth.
Trust the LORD and live right! The land will be yours, and you will be safe. Do what the LORD wants, and he will give you your heart’s desire (Psalm 37:3-4, CEV).
Ancient Israel enjoyed freedom and security when the people of the land trusted in God and lived right. The ways of LORD have not changed. If we want to continue to enjoy His blessings, we need to do what He wants and not merely pursue our selfish desires.
Response: LORD God, I thank you for my home and native land. Help the people of this great land turn their hearts toward you. God keep our land glorious and free. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you thankful for the land in which you live?