Psalm 37:4 is one of those verses that Christians can twist to suit their own fancy. For example, I have heard some preachers claim, on the basis of this verse, that God will give us anything we desire. If we simply “claim it,” God will give us mansions, yachts, luxury cars, and, well, you name it. To be sure, God can and does bless us materially. But to argue from Psalm 37:4 that “God will give you anything you want” misses the whole point of the verse.
Psalm 36 reminds us that God wants to bless us, to give us good things, to fill us with his joy. This can happen anywhere, whether you’re sitting in your grandparents’ breakfast room, or in your office at work, or even on the subway as you commute.
How long, Lord?
This may be one of the most common questions offered to God in prayer. Almost all of us know too well the experience of crying out for God’s help but hearing or receiving nothing.
Two decades ago, the song “From a Distance” streaked to the top of the charts. Bette Midler’s moving version of this song not only sold in the millions, but also won a Grammy for Song of the Year in 1991. The lyrics celebrated a peaceful world as seen from far away: “From a distance we all have enough, and no one is in need. And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease, no hungry mouths to feed.” The chorus introduced God into this idyllic existence: “God is watching us. God is watching us. God is watching us from a distance.”
Psalm 33:3 reminds us that we’re to use well the gifts God has given us. If we have musical talent, then we should learn to “play skillfully” for the Lord. In reality, this takes years of diligent practice. Though it might be tempting for people with lots of natural musical ability to coast on their laurels, Psalm 33 encourages them to work hard on developing their skills. Yet their commitment to excellence must not keep them from singing “with joy” (v. 3).
We’ve all heard the expression: Confession is good for the soul. Today, we’ll examine a psalm that demonstrates the truth of this saying. Moreover, it invites us to confess for the sake of our own souls.
Have you ever felt far away from God? Perhaps your life was going along wonderfully, right according to plan. Then, without warning, everything started to fall apart. You lost your job. Or you were diagnosed with cancer. Or your spouse asked for a divorce. Or . . . you name it. In desperation, you cried out to God, but it felt as if God didn’t hear you or didn’t care if he did hear.
Today is Holy Saturday – the day between Good Friday and Easter. In my experience, today feels a bit like an intermission in a play. Lots of drama happened before; lots of drama is yet to come.
We hang in there on the roller coaster of faith because being in relationship with God makes it all worthwhile.
Everyone I know has felt desperate at some point in his or her leadership. Mine came when I started a company after spending years as part of a Fortune 500 company. Gone were the deep pockets of a large organization. Gone was the guaranteed salary to take care of my young family. We had built an innovative product prototype, but hadn’t yet produced a single working production model. Like many other entrepreneurs, I was betting the farm. Like many young entrepreneurs, there was little to fall back on if things failed, other than starting over. And, somehow, leaving the comforts of a large organization made things seem worse.