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Moses was overly stretched trying to single-handedly shepherd the tens of thousands of Hebrews who had fled Egypt (some scholars think the number could have been in the millions). Moses realized that the way he was leading wasn’t sustainable and, thankfully, he had a mentor, Jethro, who could speak some sense into him!
When we feel discouraged, when God feels distant, when we run out of prayers, what should we do? Psalm 77 answers this question, but not in a way we might expect.
I want to spend another day reflecting with you on Isaiah 34. This chapter can be troubling because it seems to celebrate God’s vengeance. God seems to relish the thought of judging the nations. How is this picture of God consistent with the God revealed to us in Jesus, a God of love, mercy, and forgiveness? What in the world are we to take away from Isaiah 34?
When we read a chapter like Isaiah 34, we can easily feel confused, even distressed. God’s judgment on all nations, and Edom in particular, seems to come with such zeal and violence. How should we understand God’s vengeance? Does it give us the freedom to be vengeful people in our own lives?
One of the great challenges and delights of the Christian life is learning to truly know God and to relate to him in the fullness of his multifaceted character. We live to please the judge, though free in the gift of his justification. We seek to obey his law, but only in his strength and in response to his forgiveness. We offer our whole selves to the King of Kings, yet remembering that he gave himself for us first.
Though we ought not to be afraid of God so that we avoid him, we must not minimize his majesty. Nor may we diminish his holiness. Biblical fear of the Lord brings us to our knees in worship, so that God might lift our faces and embrace us with his love. True fear of the Lord helps us never forget that our Friend is also the King of Kings, that the One who died for our sins is also the Judge of our sins.
As marketplace ministers and leaders, we have the distinct privilege of knowing the God of the boardroom. This powerful God knows how to manifest his kingdom in the most unexpected places and seasons. God has never needed our witty ideas, our professional context, or even our schemes that compel men to acknowledge him. All he needs are obedient vessels who are willing to take God outside of the box of religious and traditional limitations that we have placed him in.
Keeping your head down at work — while perhaps unavoidable on occasion — is not a good, long-term posture. Instead, Psalm 111 reminds me that thankfulness—an upward orientation — is the key to a truly human life, to truly human work.
Psalm 76 celebrates God’s victory over his enemies. Though we don’t know the specific events that inspired Asaph, the writer of this psalm, it surely commemorates some military victory of Israel over an army that sought to invade Jerusalem.
When we read passages like this one in the Psalms, how are we to use them in our worship?
Throughout the opening chapters of Isaiah, we are repeatedly confronted with God’s judgment. Not only the chosen people, but also the pagan nations are condemned for their wickedness. Yet, every now and then, a glimmer of hope shines through the darkness. Isaiah 32:1-2 is such a ray of light.
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