Christian camping is a great pursuit for any Christian interested in encouraging and securing the faith and dedication of our youth, the future movers and shakers of the church. Today ends the last day of the regular season of Gander Brook Christian camp for 2011, and I thought that you might want to rejoice with me about the success of the program. Over 20 young people were baptized into Christ this summer — none of these decisions being overly emotionally motivated or taken lightly. Though it is certainly the outcome of God’s convicting and powerful Gospel, it is also greatly the result of an outstanding directing staff (Shawn and Donna Daggett and James and Becky Clark) and a mature and committed counseling staff. I know I’m prejudiced in this regard, but I am quite convinced that the program at Gander Brook is second to none and maybe the best of its kind in our brotherhood.
Well, having gotten that off my heart, let’s dive into the psalms — 130 through 133.
Abundant redemption (Psalm 13:7) — Reading through this psalm I was impressed with the writer’s sincerity and thoughtfulness. The psalmist realizes that there is no obligation on God’s part to even hear his prayer, so he pleads. He realizes that as sinful human beings we have no reason to expect that the LORD would allow any of us to stand. But despite these situations, the psalmist (and we) can fall back on God’s great forgiveness, and he says something that ought to be given more thought to: “That You may be feared.” Did you ever think about God’s forgiveness being at least in part something that should bring us back to Him in fear and reverence? It does, of course; think about the last time that you were so profoundly convicted about your sin and how you prayed to the LORD in repentance committing to do much better from now on — you did, didn’t you? Think about how you watched and prayed “More than the watchmen for the morning.” But with the LORD there is great hope. He is full of love and abundant redemption.
A Simple faith (Psalm 131) — What a wonderful psalm! You can see why it might have been a favorite of pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. Imagine farmers and shepherds and other humble men and women making their way to Jerusalem, desiring to express their faith and hope in the LORD’s provision. It points to a simple, childlike faith and trust that we all should aspire to: ““Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”” Mark 10:15, NAS95.
Focus and follow-through (Psalm 132) — Although we could easily talk about the request for the LORD to continue bless David’s house, what I thought might be even more helpful to us might be the focus and follow-through that David committed himself to. You know, sometimes when we make promises to the LORD we lose our fervor and zeal and begin putting our promise to Him on the back burner. David’s commitment was different — God’s stuff came first. Maybe that’s part of the reason why he’s called the man after God’s own heart.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.