Old Testament In a Year: December 14 – Psalms 77, 78

Psalms 77, 78
Focus Verse: I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. – Psalm 77:11

In his day(s) of trouble, David questioned the faithfulness of the One he sought. Even though he was calling out to God and stretching out his hand toward Him, it seemed that God did not hear him. It seemed that God had turned His back on David and left him to suffer alone.

David asks:

Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?
Has His steadfast love forever ceased? Are His promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His compassion?

These questions are more rhetorical rather than questions that demand an answer because David already knows the answer to his questions. He knows that it is impossible for God to spurn forever those He loves. He knows that God’s steadfast love will never cease. He knows that God is a God who cannot lie, a God who keeps His promises and will fulfill every one of them. David knows that it is not in God’s character to be ungracious. And he knows that God’s anger is never greater than His compassion.

We know these things too. And if we ever start to doubt them, we must do what David did.

Remember.

Remember what God has done for us. Remember what God has done for others. Go far back, to when time first began, and remember…remember the deeds of God in creating the heavens and the earth. Remember the wonders He performed for Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. Remember how He healed sick people and raised the dead; how He made the sun stand still and stopped the heavens from giving rain; how He shut the mouths of lions and caused a fiery furnace not to burn.

And once we remember these works and wonders, we should take a moment to ponder them, meaning we should think about them very carefully. We should take time to meditate on them, meaning we should focus our minds on God and His goodness.

Then, we will come to the same conclusion that David came to.

Yes, God, your ways are holy. There is no one else and nothing else that is great like You. You are the God who works wonders and performs miracles. You redeemed your people back then and you are redeeming me today.

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Advent: Something Is on the Horizon

The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before… .What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s [back] fade in the distance.

So stay.

Sit.

Linger.

Tarry.

Ponder.

Wait.

Behold.

Wonder.

There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing.

For now, stay.

Wait.

Something is on the horizon.

– Jan L. Richardson

Old Testament In a Year: December 5 – Ezra 1, 2

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Ezra 1, 2
Focus Verse: In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing. – Ezra 1:1

God moved upon the heart of a heathen king to have His word fulfilled and to have His will done concerning His people.

Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord like channels of water; He turns it wherever He wants.” For those who follow Christ, this is a reminder that we need not be discouraged by governmental leaders or by leaders in other spheres whose behavior does not honor God. The power and influence that they wield is not theirs, but God’s. They are not really the ones in control, God is.

God holds the hearts of all people in His hands, even the hearts of kings and queens and presidents and prime ministers. He can turn these hearts in whatever way He so pleases. He can move even the most unlikely leaders to do what is right and use them to have His will done on earth as it is done in Heaven.

Therefore, our hope should not be in human beings, but in the One who made them. Our eyes should not be watching the actions of people. Our eyes should be watching God.

Old Testament In a Year: November 20 – Ezekiel 14, 15

Ezekiel 14, 15
Focus Verse: That the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor defile themselves anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord God. – Ezekiel 14:11

Reading about the condemnation and destruction that God promises to bring upon Israel and Judah because of their idolatry and unrighteousness isn’t easy. It makes God seem mean, merciless, and a far cry from the gracious God that we are familiar with.

But because He is merciful, God must condemn unrighteousness. Because of His grace, God allows those who continue in sin to be destroyed.

God most desires one thing: For us to be His people and for Him to be our God.

Sin keeps that from happening.

Therefore, God is merciless when it comes to punishing sin, because He cannot bear to have His children kept apart from Him. The purpose of God’s punishment is to push the sinner away from sin and towards Him. That they may no longer go astray, no longer defile themselves…but become one with Him, united in His glory.

Old Testament In a Year: October 14 – Nahum 1, 2, 3

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Nahum 1, 2, 3
Focus Verse: The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him. – Nahum 1:7

God is good.

In all that He does and in all that He allows, God is good. In and of Himself, God is good.

Even in days of trouble, He is still good. And because He is good, He will work those days of trouble out for the good of all who take refuge in Him. Everyone who trusts in Him, He knows by name and He loves and protects them.

Old Testament In a Year: October 13 – Micah 6, 7

Micah 6, 7
Focus Verse: But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. – Micah 7:7

I like the decisiveness with which the prophet Micah speaks in this verse. He is resolute; He is determined; He displays no hesitation as to where his trust lies.

I don’t know who other people are looking to, Micah says. But as for me, I will look to the Lord.

I don’t know who others are waiting for or if they are even waiting at all. But as for me, I will wait for the God of my salvation.

I don’t know if others are confident that God will hear them. But as for me, my God will hear me.

Micah uses the verb will in all three of his statements. Will, in this sense, means that the thing that has been stated is about to happen or is going to happen. No ifs, buts, or maybes. It will happen. With Micah, there is no doubt as to where his God is or to what his God can do.