The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Lent Devotional: Psalm 10

Psalm 10 (click here)
Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. (Psalm 10:12-13 and 17-18)

Reflection
God will set all wrongs to rights. That is a promise.

And, this is actually the very promise we hold onto amidst our being wronged. It is the very promise that enables us to not act out of anger and seek revenge. We don’t have to bring a person to justice…God has promised to do so (this doesn’t mean people should not experience the natural/legal consequences of their sin, but simply that it is not up to us to guarantee this happens via personal vendettas).

So often it can feel like God has forgotten us as we suffer. So often it seems like the wicked get away with everything and simply prosper. I think about ISIS, and the violence they are currently unleashing toward Christians and other minorities in the Middle East. The Psalmist felt deep the injustice of things like this deep in his soul. He wanted to know why the wicked get away with their wickedness.

Yet, as he grapples with this difficulty, he brings to mind God’s character and his promises. God will do justice, he will end all terror, he will end ISIS, he will set all wrongs to rights.

We can let go of our anger, our rage, and our desire for revenge… knowing that God has the best in store… true justice. This enables us to do what Jesus called us to do, namely, pray for our enemies, and do good to those who persecute us.

Justice is good…and we will all receive it. ISIS will receive it…and so will I. God’s justice will either be poured out upon us in our sin, or it has been poured out upon our substitute…Jesus. Either way…God will not be unjust! He will bring about a day in which the men who are of the earth may strike terror no more.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Psalm 4

Psalm 4 (click here)
Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. [Selah]

Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD. (Psalm 4:4-5)

Reflection
How can you be angry and keep from sinning?

The Psalmist finds himself amidst troubling circumstances. He is being hurt, insulted, and slandered by others. Anger is not only a natural reaction, but can actually be a righteous one. There is such a thing as righteous anger toward sin.

The problem is that we quickly move from righteous anger to sinful anger by wishing ill will upon people, seeking revenge, and returning hurt for hurt. How do we keep from making this move into sin?

The Psalmist answers… “ponder in your own heart on your bed, and be silent.” What are we pondering? His next line points toward the answer… “Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.” Instead of opening our mouths in anger, we ponder our own sinfulness… our own need for a saving sacrifice in our place.

We ponder how we have been graciously forgiven by the Lord and we ponder how he is always good and right. He will judge all sin! No one will get away with anything. Every person who has ever hurt you… that wrong will be set right. Either they will experience the just judgment of the Lord, or their sin will be dealt with through repentance and trusting in the substitute sacrifice of Christ.

To act upon our anger is actually to not trust the Lord. When we use our anger to harm others, we are saying that we do not trust the Lord to do what is good and right. So… when we are angry, the ultimate question to ponder is, “Do I trust the Lord?”

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Ruth 2:1-23

Ruth 2:1-23 (click here)
Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” (Ruth 2:10-12)

Reflection
Boaz showed Ruth grace…favor that she had not earned.

She wanted to know why? Why was she the recipient of such unwarranted kindness? Not only had she done nothing to earn it, but there were plenty of reasons for Boaz to withhold such grace…the primary one being that she was a foreigner, an outsider…she didn’t belong.

But Boaz showed Ruth grace…favor that she had not earned.

Why? He gave her a reason, and we might be tempted to think he is listing off reasons that she has earned his favor. He’s heard of all she has done, namely, the kindness she has displayed toward her mother-in-law. He even says, “The Lord repay you for what you have done.” Isn’t this the language of have earned something?

No. Boaz is showing Ruth grace…favor that she has not earned.

This can be seen in the final words of Boaz. His hope is that she be rewarded by the God of Israel, under whose wings she has sought refuge! You see, in leaving behind her family and her homeland to take care of her mother-in-law, Ruth was ultimately expressing faith and allegiance to the Lord. She trusted him to take care of her. God had given her eyes to see the refuge she could take under his wings. She was expressing FAITH. Grace comes to us, not via earning, but through faith!

God is showing Ruth grace through her faith…favor that she has not earned, but received by faith.

The “reward” of faith, the “payment” of faith, is grace! She trusted the Lord and he saved her via Boaz. She has been saved by grace coming to her through faith. It is the same for us. We, the foreigners and outsiders…God grants us eyes of faith to see the refuge we can take under his wings… and we throw ourselves on the mercy of God, trusting in him and him alone.

And God shows us grace through our faith…favor that we did not earn.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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