It’s hard to grasp how quickly the summer slips away. We’re already eleven days into August now and Linda and I have already seen our first tree with leaves turning red. It’s a little premature for that, but it’s a definite reminder that autumn isn’t all that far away now — and we’ve been doing this daily Bible reading thing now for over seven months. I hope this journey though God’s “owner’s manual” has been enlightening, strengthening, and helpful. Shall we dive in to today’s reading?
Our help is in the name of the LORD (Psalm 124:8 — This great psalm is possibly referring to the great Exodus rescue, but whether it is or not, the point is that God’s rescue is the only one that we’ll need. “Had it not been the LORD who was on our side, let all Israel say…” is just a way of getting the congregation’s attention, and even their “Amen” to this great fact that they had no other hope. And we would do well, would we not, to take the time to recognize our rescue from the Lord, too. If I may be allowed a Christian paraphrase: “Had it not been the LORD who was on our side, let all the church say, Had it not been the LORD who was on our side, when our guilt rose up against us, then it would have swallowed us alive. When our rightful punishment was kindled against us, then eternal death would have engulfed us. Hell would have swept over our soul, and we would have been separated from God forever.” It’s the recognition of this fundamental fact is what can keep us both humble and zealous.
How steady are you? Psalm 125:1-2 — Irreligious people are pretty leery about placing trust is something that they can’t touch or count. They often consider placing trust in the Lord as a pretty dicey approach to life. But those of us who have trusted in Him know the truth of this verse of Psalm 125, that they are in good hands and are “…as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.” This isn’t to say, of course, that bad things don’t happen to Christians. As I write, one of the elders in our congregation is dying prematurely of a brain tumor, which he and his wife would never have suspected 3 years ago. Yes, bad things happen, and sometimes they end sadly, but the Christian’s foundation doesn’t move. Think of it like the great skyscrapers, who tops may sway with high winds or even earthquakes, but whose foundations remain solid. And hurricanes and earthquakes happen to good people, but knowing that Heaven’s on the other side, that all things work together for good for those who love God, and that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle, gives us the hope and strength and peace that is beyond understanding among the irreligious in the world.
Like a dream. Psalm 126 — This psalm is clearly connected to the release of the captives of the Assyrian/Babylonian captivity. The release, the psalmist says, was a surprise like waking up from a bad dream! And sometimes God’s rescue comes as right out of the blue, snatching a resounding victory from the very jaws of defeat. I’m reminded of the passage in Isaiah, “Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” That’s sense of this psalm, “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with joyful shouting…those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of see, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Trust Him, live faithfully, and watch what happens.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.
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