Wednesday 8 January 2014

TFTD - 08 January 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

08 January 2014

Genesis 15; 16
Psalms 18
Matthew 10


In Psalm 18 we encounter a major psalm of David in which he surveys all the ways in which the LORD was overseeing his life. God is his rock, his place of refuge [Psalm 18:2]. He writes that the LORD has dealt with him according to his righteousness "according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me" [Psalm 18:20]

This makes us evaluate the 'cause and effect' principle in our relationship with God. We have observed more than once that difficulties can enter a person's life, although he or she does not, in effect, deserve it. Job's life is a classic case, but there are many other examples. David himself experienced this after he had slain Goliath and was exalted in the sight of the nation ­ but then suffered much trouble because of the jealousy of Saul.

So what did David mean when he wrote that the Lord rewarded me because of the cleanness of my hands? This perception of David is so significant that he repeats it, and notice the context, "I was blameless before him and I kept myself from my guilt. So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight." [Psalm 18:23, 24]. There is a present tense here, the reward has been received. We tend to look to the future as the time of reward, as we read last week in Revelation 22:12 about how Jesus, at his return will reward (repay) everyone for what they have done.

So David, despite all the troubles Saul created for him, as the introduction to this Psalm comments, is extremely conscious of the present reward of God's guiding care. "With the merciful you show yourself merciful … but the haughty eyes you bring down" [Psalm 18:25, 27] "The word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him" [Psalm 18:30] When he says of God "you equipped me with strength for the battle" [Psalm 18:39], true followers of Christ can see this as meaning a different kind of battle. The Apostle Paul says "we are not waging war according to the flesh … We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every (human) thought captive to obey Christ" [2 Corinthians 10:3,5]. The regular meditative reading of the Bible is an essential ingredient in each of our lives to enable God and Christ to work in us to achieve this present reward.
- DC

Thought for the Day

08 January 2014

"Only with God’s help and the intercession of Jesus can we overcome. But both are promised, if we really seek with all our hearts. We need not fail. And the end? What an amazing vista of everlasting joy for those who reach it. Final and utter deliverance from all the weakness and imperfection of Today, in the glorious Tomorrow of God, "to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isaiah 61:3)."

- L.W. Richardson
Enduring Unto the End (1970)

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