Living in exile is an opportunity for the demonstration of faithfulness. In uncongenial, even hostile, circumstances, we are called to do our work faithfully. Much of what we do may seem insignificant. There may be less recognition that our work is of value, since what is valued has itself changed in the world around us. Still, we can—as an act of faith and faithfulness—sing the LORD’s song in a strange land.
When I was a boy, I loved playing hide-and-seek. Little made me happier than when I found the perfect hiding place, a secure enclave where no “seeker” would ever find me… In a way, Psalm 91 envisions such a hiding place. Our translation reads, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
When we stop to consider God’s love for us and how that love has been expressed in the wonderful things he has done for us, we will naturally offer thanks and praise to God. So, may I encourage you to make time for remembering and thanking. Think of God’s love for you and his goodness in your life… and give thanks!
Like the writer of Psalm 89, we often find ourselves thanking God for his goodness and wondering where his goodness went… Psalm 89 gives us freedom to tell the Lord exactly what we’re thinking and feeling. It reminds us that we don’t have to pretend as if everything in our lives is perfect. We can be fully honest with God.
What should we do with Psalm 88? We don’t know exactly what Heman the Ezrahite, who wrote this psalm, was facing, but we know it was overwhelming to him… Heman sees the hand of God in his suffering. “You have put me in the lowest pit,” he accuses the Lord (88:6). Yet Heman keeps on praying.
The church can and should be a place where the nations gather in worship, friendship, and mission. And when we scatter into the world, we have the opportunity to extend the welcome of God to others. For many of us, our workplaces are, in fact, our best opportunity to show the inclusive love of God to people from other countries and cultures.
Psalm 86:11 assumes that we need God not only to teach us, but also to bring our inner selves into wholeness. Then we will be able to live according to God’s truth each day, glorifying him in all we do. As a child of God, I pray for the Lord to do these very things in my life.
God has been gracious to me again and again, delivering me from the messes I make, giving me hope when I feel hopeless, and working away at helping me to become more like Christ. For God’s amazing, tenacious grace, I am most grateful. Yet I am eager for more of God’s grace in my life. I yearn for revival.
Jesus invites us into the house and household of God, the family of God. We can accept this invitation now, even as we await a greater fullness of family life in the future. You and I have the opportunity to be brothers and sisters in the family of God, beloved children of our heavenly Father. In this sense, we can be at home with the Lord today.
Psalm 83 begins with a bold request: “O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God.” This is one of scores of places in the Psalms where the psalmist does not hold back from demanding something of the Almighty. This is not neat, tidy prayer, but gut-wrenching, heart-yearning, no-holds-barred communication with God.