Thursday, November 26, 2009

11/27/09- Psalm 138- Thanks for God's help

(Part of Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms inferred by FDR- Freedom from Want")
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

11.27- Psalm 138

1 I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; before the "gods" I will sing your praise. 2 I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame. 3 When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me. 4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD, when they hear what you have decreed. 5 May they sing of the ways of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD is great. 6 Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly, but he takes notice of the proud from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. 8 The LORD will vindicate me; your love, LORD, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.

Calvin abridged: In this Psalm David remembers God’s great help brought on by His faithfulness and goodness and is stirred to gratitude. Because he had known God’s faithfulness before he anticipates God’s continued mercy.
1- “I will praise you, Lord, with all of my heart”- David gives thanks not with his lips only, but with his sincere and whole heart. The word “gods” (Elohim) could refer to angels or kings and either meaning will suit. David is praising God in the public assembly where angels were present. 3 “When I called you answered me”- David knew his escape from danger was not just lucky. “May all the kings of the earth praise you.” Here he wishes that the goodness he had experienced would be known over all the earth. 6- “Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly.” He speaks here of God’s government of the world, and that he is not indifferent to our safety. The greatness of God does not prevent his having respect for the poor and humble (Ps. 113:5). When we think of God’s majesty, we should not forget his kindness; when we think of God’s kindness we should not lose reverence for his majesty. “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.” When the least danger comes, we become immoderately afraid, as if our emergencies are beyond God’s help. Faith’s true work is to see life in the midst of death and continue to trust in God.
8- “The Lord will vindicate me”- God will not forsake the work of his hands. To maintain hope, we should focus on God’s goodness, on which our deliverance rests.

Thoughts: God is worthy of our praise and thanks. When we call to God, he answers us (138:3). There are those who think in our day, that God is a great big CEO in the sky and is too busy to pay us much attention, though we are a part of His company. They forget that the Lord looks kindly on the lowly. As David says, “A contrite heart, O Lord, you will not despise.” Others, in an effort to absolve God of any blame for any wrong, make God powerless. But this passage reminds us we owe our thanks to God. For though He is high, yet He is mindful of our humble state. God is the preserver from our trouble and from our enemies. We need to remember this in times of war, plague (H1N1), and economic hardship we need to look to God- for help. And when He gives help, we need to give Him thanks. Today, we are still a very blessed people. But there is danger not far away. Let us give thanks to Him for He made us and He redeems us. He is our help in times of trouble.

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for who you are. Though you are great, yet you consider our small needs- which seem so great to us.

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