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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Psalm 147

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-Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the animals their food,
and to the young ravens when they cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
-Psalm 147: 7-11

The conference I attended in Michigan last week was all about the Psalms so I thought I would feature a Psalm in today's evotional.  Psalm 147 is the Psalm of the day for this coming Sunday and I want to focus on the last couple of verses in this segment.  Psalm 147 is a Psalm of praise, and verses 7-11 highlight the greatness of God, and the joy God takes in creation.  The Psalmist writes of singing to God and of God's creative work in nature, then concludes with a reminder that God is not delighted in the power of armies but with those who fear him and who hope in him.  And this is an important reminder for all of us.

What the Psalmist is reminding us is that our posture toward God is the foundation of God's joy.  The Psalmist is not describing what we do, but instead the nature of how we consider God.  And herein lies the challenge for all of us.  God does not merely want our service, God also wants our thoughts and our reflections.  Do you fear God?  If so, how?  Why?  And what about hope?  Do you hope in God's steadfast love?  And why must it be steadfast?  And how is God's love different from my love?  These are the questions which are at the very heart of the human posture which brings God joy.  God is incredible, powerful, and almighty, and a lifetime can be spent pondering and thinking about the nature of God.  Often times we think God merely wants us to do things but this is a half truth.  We love God with our minds not just our deeds. 

Prayer:  Holy God, you are gracious to me and your understanding is beyond measure.  You lift up the downtrodden and cast the wicked to the ground.  Please help me to praise you in this moment, and let your strength be my strength as I face the challenges of this day.  I pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

[Phillip Blackburn, First Presbyterian Church]


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