Deuteronomy 18:1-20:20; Luke 9:28-50; Psalm 73:1-28; Proverbs 12:10
Woohoo! We're a quarter of the way through the entire Bible - way to go us! And, on a personal note, I'm caught up after a week of being mostly behind. Yay, me! I do love the daily nature of the One Year Bible, but I've had to give myself grace for vacations and unexpected needs and sick children. I know I can always catch up, even if it takes me a few days of double readings to get there. So if you're behind, be encouraged - just keep reading.
Our reading in the Psalms seems, on first glance, to be somewhat schizophrenic. There is a bookend verse proclaiming God's goodness (vs. 1), but then it's followed by verses declaring the psalmist's dismay (vs. 2-12) and even exasperation (vs. 13-16). Then there's a turning point (vs. 17) that allows the writer to see clearly what the future of the wicked will be (vs. 18-20), but after that, we're back to the frustration again (vs. 21-22). Next, it swings to a recognition of God's faithfulness (vs. 23-26), and, after a brief movement into judgment on the wicked (vs. 27), the psalm concludes with the ending bookend, reiterating God's goodness (vs. 28). Whew! It's kind of an emotional rollercoaster!
I wonder, though, if it isn't just a really human conversation with God. How many times have you poured out your heart to God, expressing all of what you feel and what seems, and then caught yourself having moments of clarity about the truth outside of your experience? Where you've been frustrated and anxious, and then blindsided by an eternal perspective? What interrupted you in those moments?
I remember one dreadful day, when everything I touched or did turned to ashes right behind me. I was wretched to my children, stuck in the mundanity of my housework, and convinced that the best solution for everyone was a one-way ticket to Philadelphia for yours truly. Dismay and exasperation, for sure. But I forced myself to literally recount the goodness of God, to remember his acts in the history of the world. One after another, I wrote of God's creation, the exodus, the faithfulness to Israel, the incarnation, the cross, the resurrection, the gift of the Holy Spirit. And then I could remember the goodness of God in the history of my personal life: generations of godly ancestors, my education, my marriage, our fertility, our home. And then, only then, could I look forward to the goodness of God in my future.
There's something very centering about Scripture and the church, as the psalmist declares. It is not "till [he] entered the sanctuary of God, [that] then [he] understood..." (Ps. 73:17). In the presence of the holy God, we can begin and end with a sure knowledge of God's goodness.
- Sarah Marsh
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