I will praise Him!
Reading: Psalm 55
As for me, I call to God, and the LORD saves me.
Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God.
My companion attacks his friends;
he violates his covenant.
His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,
yet they are drawn swords.
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous be shaken.
But you, God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful will not live out half their days.
But as for me, I trust in you (NIV).
The phone call wasn’t good news. After our 7,000 km trip to western Canada an oil change was in order, and my wife volunteered to take our car to have that service done. She called back with the news that the car needed new tires and there was a leak in the front end suspension system. Suddenly a routine oil change turned into a major expense, and this all comes so soon after the costs for our trip. Consequently, these words from Psalm 55 have added meaning for me this morning: Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you.
These are minor troubles in the sight of God. He is more than willing to carry them. Speaking prophetically David invites us to cast our cares on the LORD. That includes unexpected bills, injuries or medical emergencies.
One of my favorite leisure time activities is skipping rocks across the water. There’s something so unnatural about a stone dancing across the water. Stones are supposed to sink, not hop across the waves. But when they are cast with enough force and with the right technique they do the impossible. They skip across the water.
Notice there is a promise attached to those cares that we cast on the LORD. This is the LORD’s promise: He will sustain you. He will sustain us—sustain us in the midst of the impossible. Until like that dancing rock, we safely reach the other side.
Response: LORD God, I cast my worries and cares on you. I am so thankful that you care about the details of my life. With the psalmist, David, I can say, “But as for me, I trust in you.” Amen.
Your Turn: Do you have cares that you need to cast onto the LORD today?
Reading: Psalm 50
A psalm of Asaph.
The Mighty One, God, the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
Our God comes and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
and around him a tempest rages.
He summons the heavens above,
and the earth, that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me this consecrated people,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for he is a God of justice (NIV).
Psalm 50 begins by reminding us that Judgment Day is coming. A great summoning will take place. We will all gather before the throne of God. Rich and poor, the powerful and the weak, the living and the dead—all will gather before the LORD. None are excused. The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
On the day before his crucifixion Jesus elaborated at some length on this great summoning. For some it will be a day of joy and gladness; for others it will be a day of dread and sorrow. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left” (Matthew 25:31-33).
What kind of day will it be for you?
It will certainly be a day of justice. The world is crying out for justice. All too often in this world—in this life—there is no such thing. The innocent suffer, while the perpetrators get off free. They gloat in their pride, while swaddled in luxury. On that great day—that Judgment Day—the tables will be turned. The great Judge of all the earth will see to that. And so He should. Since the fall of man, the world is crying out for justice.
It is well worth noting that in his account of Judgment Day, Jesus decides if we will enter into bliss or torment based on how we treat others. He states, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ (Matthew 25:40).
Response: LORD God, help me to live my life in joyous preparation for that great summoning when wrong will be made right. Help me to be merciful so that I will receive your mercy in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Your Turn: How can we prepare our hearts and live our lives aright in the knowledge that Judgment Day is coming?
Reading: Psalm 46
Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress (NIV).
As I write this it’s the second week of Lent—forty days of contemplation leading to Good Friday—leading to our Saviour’s death on the cross. The opening line of this reading from Psalm 46 grabs me: Come and see what the LORD has done.
Yes. Come and see what the LORD has done! Come and see what has happened to God’s son. Come and see the desolations he has brought on the earth—the desolations He has brought on the dust-formed bundle of flesh that at birth was laid in a manager. Now he is laid on a cross. He is not wrapped in swaddling clothes. He is stripped naked; arms pried wide open and nailed to a cross.
Come and see what has happened to him. This is the LORD’s doing. This is the Father’s will. This is the Son’s willing obedience. Now hear the Spirit’s beckoning call, “Come and see what the LORD has done!”
This is what love looks like—not our love for God, but God’s love for man. Love looks like Jesus on the cross. Love looks like a bloody sacrifice, engineered by God, inflicted on God, God come-in-the-flesh. Love looks painful. It looks painful because it gives to the last drop. It calls us near to the last breath. “Come and see what the LORD has done!”
And when you come be still. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
This is not the time to rush on by. Eve reached for the forbidden fruit. Adam rushed after her. Rushing has brought us this mess—this messed up world—this mess on the cross. Self-centered rushing hurtles us into sin with no thought for tomorrow—no thought for the man on a cross. Instead today, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Be still. Be still before the cross. He is God. The man on the cross is God. Love has a price, always has a price. It’s written in blood—the Savior’s blood.
Response: LORD God, alter me at the foot of the cross. I need you to change my heart, my life, my attitude. Help me be still before you as I contemplate your love—love that I don’t deserve—that I have not earned. But Jesus, you offered yourself freely. Thank you. Amen.
Your Turn: Has your life been altered by the cross?