I’ve had a great time this vacation visiting with family. First my son and his family, then with my mother and brother and sister. I’ve come away realizing how important family can be to us in forming who we are, who we become, and where we go. They can play such a vital part in encouraging good and discouraging bad in our lives. So also with our spiritual family the church. I hope you aren’t neglecting your church family this summer. Not only do you need their encouragement, but they need yours.
Today’s readings of God’s word in the Psalms are encouragements in their own ways to be faithful the LORD and stay away from disobedience and rebellion — the end isn’t good.
Who is wise? (Psalm 107:43) — Three examples are given here of God’s great wonders for His people and against their oppressors — the return of exiles by God’s hand, those who survived great storms at sea by God’s hand, and how God had turned against some lands changing their environment because of wickedness — then, the psalmist concludes with this almost proverbial verse: “Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things, and consider the loving kindnesses of the LORD.” The lesson? Blessings follow faithfulness, while punishment and distress follows rebellion. Are you wise? The key word in the verse, is “heed”.
Through God we will do valiantly (Psalm 108:13) — This psalm seems to be a combination of Psalm 57:7-11 and Psalm 60:5-12, possibly for a special occasion as war’s clouds loomed. The passage that is especially meaningful to me is the last one, however — that through the Lord we will do valiantly, because it is He who will trample down our enemies. You may not think of yourself as valiant, but there are more ways to be valiant than to fight in a literal blood-and-guts battle. As Paul tells us, our conflict is spiritual rather than physical and we can be valiant in our spiritual battles. Not giving up is one characteristic of valiance; so also is defeating the enemy by putting all of your effort into the fight. Israel won, not because they were were such great military strategists or skilled warriors, but because of God. So also with God’s people today. Just standing in our place, doing what we’ve been given to do, not giving up, giving all the effort due the great battle of the LORD is all we need do — the battle always belongs to the LORD!
Loving Curses (Psalm 109:17) — I found this almost comical in a “what goes around comes around” sort of way, the guy who loves curses (there’s a lot of those today) will receive the curses he loves. The blessings that he refuses to give, will stay far away from him. I wonder if gratuitous criticisms and withholding of appreciation and praise will have the same consequences?
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.