The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Month: February, 2018

Lent Devotional: Psalm 69:1-14

Psalm 69:1-14 (click here)
I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.

…zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.
(Psalm 69:3, 9, and 13-14)

Reflection
Waiting.

We are not a people who like waiting. Is anyone?

I’m inclined to think that no generation has ever been especially keen when it comes to patience. In fact, I think that impatience has often been the mother of innovation. We want things quicker, faster… now.

Waiting on God is particularly difficult. And this is true because of who we know God to be. He is love, he is kind, he is good, he is glorious, he is… he is… he is…

And yet so often we must wait for him. Have faith in him. We must trust that he is at work even when we cannot see it or perhaps when everything around us tempts us to believe the exact opposite!

We are not the first generation of Christians to feel this way! The Psalmist himself has grown weary crying out to God… so much so that his throat is parched! Have you ever prayed until your throat ran dry and your voice began to crack?

And the reason the psalmist is in such dire straits only serves to compound his confusion. It is because he is zealous for the Lord and his house that he finds himself an object of ridicule. People who hate God hate him too!

This has brought about much hurt and suffering in the psalmists’ life. He feels as though he is drowning… all the while waiting on the Lord to life him up to walk on the water. Where is his savior?

The temptation here is to let his impatience be the mother of innovation. To make a move to save himself, defend himself against his enemies, fight and fix the situation. Think about Abraham and Sarah and God’s promise to give them a son. Their impatience led to innovation… perhaps we can figure out a way for God to keep his promise quicker… perhaps God needs our help.

Yet, the psalmists does not give in to the temptation for innovation. “But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.”

He waits.

He trusts.

He puts his faith in the God who is faithful, even when he cannot see that faithfulness coming to fruition.

Wherever you are… whatever your waiting looks like… wait in faith. Trust his faithfulness. Trust him.

Wait.

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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Lent Devotional: Psalm 38:9-22

Psalm 38:9-22 (click here)
Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin…

But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth.

But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
(Psalm 38:12-13 and 15)

Reflection
All of us have experienced what it is like to have someone speak ill of us. And if you’re like me, hurtful words stick with you. They echo around the chamber of your mind growing every louder. Forget the notion of something going “in one ear and out the other…” harmful words seem to go in one ear and then build a house in your brain.

And as evil words take up residence in our heads, we use them to plan our response and plot our revenge.

We rehearse what we are going to say to defend ourselves and deconstruct our critics. At least this is what happens in my own heart and head.

However, in Psalm 38, the psalmist is dealing with something much more serious than just hurtful words. He’s facing enemies who hate him and, as a result, want him dead! That’s what they love to talk about! Their words are literally, not metaphorically, speaking death!

Yet, the psalmist’s response is so different than mine! “I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth.”

He doesn’t listen.

He doesn’t defend himself.

He doesn’t seek revenge.

He doesn’t have to… because he trusts God. “…for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”

He listens to what God has to say about who he is… he trusts that God is sovereign over his days and when he will die… he believes that God will handle his enemies… God will answer their accusations and deal justly with them in his time.

This reminds me of another who did not open his mouth before his accusers, but was led like a lamb to slaughter. His enemies did not just talk about killing him… they did it. Yet, their apparent success in putting Jesus to death was quickly reversed by the answer from God the Father! Christ was vindicated via resurrection and all his enemies will receive justice in the end!

When we are deaf to the threats of the world and instead love them, even if it costs us our lives, we reflect the Gospel and the confidence of Christ! We show the world that we really do believe what we say we believe… that God is our sovereign savior! For him we wait… he will answer for us!

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Psalm 23

Psalm 23 (click here)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want…

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…

…and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
(Psalm 23 selected verses)

Reflection
“I shall not want…”

As a kid, I had no clue what that meant. It’s an antiquated way of speaking, but many of our modern translations keep it because it is so poetic and so well known. A more modern way of saying it would be, “The LORD is my shepherd; I will not be in need…” or “I will not lack anything…”

The idea is that God will provide everything we need in this life to follow him… just like a shepherd provides everything his sheep need to follow where he leads.

Of course, this does not mean that life will just be peachy keen!

The psalmist declares that God’s perfect provision is true EVEN when he walks through the valley of the shadow of death! Even as he suffers, he trusts the Lord to be his good shepherd, providing all he needs to faithfully walk through suffering and even through the door of death.

You see, the psalmist knows something… he holds on to something. He clings to the truth that God has prepared a table for him in the presence of his enemies. There is a feast, a banquet that no enemy can touch… no even death. As the psalmist walks through the valley of the shadow of death… he does not faint… he feasts!

On what?

What is the truth that is the constant feast of his soul that not even the last enemy, death, can take away?

“…and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

His shepherd is the feast of his soul! Nothing and no one, not even death, can take him away from his shepherd! He shall not be in want because he always gets God! Even in the valley of the shadow of death, his Shepherd is with him… to lead, to guide, to comfort!

O Christian, there is a feast for you that no circumstance can take away… that the world cannot rob you of… that death itself cannot kill! The good Shepherd is yours… you shall never be in want!

May this goodness and this mercy follow you all the days of your life… and may you feast on it forever!

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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