Even though the psalmist was going through a tough time as seen in verses 1-11, but he recognizes that sovereignty of God, that God is still in control. Jermemiah 29:10 talks about the 70 years that the people of Israel will be in Babylon. The psalmist firmly believes that God will come and restore Israel, and that gives him hope in times of suffering.
God promised us eternal life and heaven our eternal home where there is no more pain and suffering. God will be faithful to see through His promises which gives us hope in times of our pain and suffering. In Isaiah 28:16, it talks about Jesus as the cornerstone of Zion, and everyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame. Zion in the NT also refers to God’s spiritual kingdom, and God is rebuilding His spiritual kingdom on earth so that people can see His glory and worship Him.
I was also touched by v14 when it says “For her stones are dear to Your servants; her very dust moves them to pity.” Even God’s servants are concerned about Jerusalem that lay in rubbles. God is trying to tell us that in our brokenness God wants to show mercy to us.
Am I actively taking part in rebuilding Zion? Am I allowing God to mould me and shape me so that I can be an effective tool for God to use? I should continue to look to God in times of my struggles, and believe that He is faithful to restore for His mercies are new every morning.
For the psalmist, the worst fear is that God had turned His face away from him, and ignore his cries out to Him. He is afraid that God has abandoned him, and he comes to God and cry out to Him.
However, when we read the Bible, we see how God wants to be among his people. First through walking in the garden of Eden, the temples and tabernacles, and then through Jesus walking among us, and then through the Holy Spirit living inside us. We see how God wants to reach out to us. God promises us that “Seek and you will find” and “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. Yet we find ourselves believing that God sometimes abandon us for our good. I used to believe that. That God in His will gives (not allow) us suffering so that we can grow. So when I am suffering I do not go to God that much because I am just suppose to grow through it. Now I believe that God doesn’t want me to go through suffering, but he can use it for my good as long as I go to Him for strength and depend on Him to go through it. It’s a small perspective change but it changes how I approach God.
May I always remember that You will never leave nor forsake me and that I trust in Your unfailing love, especially in times of pain and suffering.
David was careful to lead a blameless life, which stems from a blameless heart. To have a blameless heart, David has to see no evil, do no evil, and be away from people who do evil, or practice deceit and speak falsely. David agrees to the fact that sin is indeed powerful and can cause us to sin if we are not careful.
Today God has given us the Holy Spirit so that we can live our lives guided by the Holy Spirit. Let us learn to depend on the Holy Spirit to give us the desires to do what is good (Eph 5:17). Jesus has given us a new heart and a new Spirit so that we can be victorious over sin by following the Spirit’s leading in our lives (Eph 5:25).
Who God is
2. Loving (love endures forever)
3. Faithful (faithfulness continues through all generations)
Who God is to us
1. Creator (who made us)
2. Master (we are His)
3. King (we are His people)
4. Shepherd (we are sheep of His pasture)
“Worship comes from the correct knowledge of who God is and what kind of relationship we have with Him.” This is so true. Sometimes I end up complaining about things or the situations I have to go through because I have forgotten who God is. I can only truly come into God’s presence with gladness and thanksgiving if I remember that God is good, loving and faithful. He is a God that does things for my good, shows unconditional love towards me and is faithful to me till the very end. And the reason why He shows his characteristics to me is because of the relationship He has with me. It is not based on what I can do or what I cannot do, or how good or how bad I think I am. God made me to have a relationship with Him, so that I can enjoy His love and all that He has for me. When I remember and believe this in my heart, I will start to praise and thank Him for who He is and who He is to me.
1 Kings 16:29-34
I really cannot imagine that Israel at that time will deteriorate till this state. God knew that the worship of idols would be the start of more sinful actions and practices that follow. Hence God detested the worship of idols and the evil it entails. God gave us commands and sometimes it may seem really difficult and we wonder why God gave those commands.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Eph 4:31-32
In this command we see that God asks us to be kind and forgive each other, and sometimes we wonder why do we need to forgive people who hurt us. After talking to many people, I realize that those people who cannot forgive others end up being so trapped in bitterness that they cannot experience true joy in their lives.
When God asks us to obey Him, sometimes we don’t really understand it. But He really knows what’s best for us and asks us to trust Him and obey him. Fully trusting God is definitely not something that we can do immediately but it’s a process to learn to listen and obey small things so that we can increase our faith to trust in bigger things.
1 Kings 16:21-28
God wants to see us succeed in our lives and God wants our success to be testimony to His goodness and provision. We see it in the old testament of how God blessed the kings and the people when they obey Him and see the consequences when they don’t. However, when we try to achieve success in ways that are dishonourable and evil, we are actually putting success as an idol, and we will reap the dire consequences of it. Pursue success, so that we can honour God and bless others because of it. Do not pursue success just because of our own selfish gains.
Success to me now is when God uses my life impacts the lives of others. It breaks my heart when I see people falling away from God or is so distant from God and I get so encouraged when I see people growing closer to God or have a close relationship with Him. I do hope that I can continue to be a person that shows people what it means to obey God and live a life that is so exciting, so purposeful and so rewarding such that others want to do the same for Him as well.
Dear God, let me seek every opportunity I can to strengthen, encourage and comfort people so that we can all grow closer to God in the process. Let me view success as how you see it and not as how the world sees.
1 Kings 16:15-20, Matt 7:1-6
“1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
– Matt 7:1-6
Sometimes the word judgement can be misleading. It can be leading to condemnation or leading to discernment. The judgement here in v1 is referring judgement leading to condemnation. That we condemn people based on what they do, what they say, instead of believing that we are all created in the image of God and all of us need love from God and all of us v3-5 talks about taking away our prejudice and our assumptions, and to look deeper into the heart of the people rather than just judging their outward actions and behaviour. Interestingly, in v6, the teaching turns to discernment, that we need to discern who will and will not accept our love and good intentions. To me it also means who we share our innermost feelings and thoughts to. We are loved and treasured by God, and so we need to be careful to share that with people who will not judge us and condemn us, but love us with the love God has for them.
Dear God, help me to love without prejudice or condemnation. Help me to have the discernment to share with people who do not condemn me but seek to bring out the best in me. Help me to love like You.