Last year our college ministry spent the summer in the Psalms, and our staff directional team took turns writing devotionals for each Psalm that we covered. While I am on vacation this summer, I thought I’d share some of the devotionals I wrote.
Food tastes best when you’re hungry.
Rest is sweet to the exhausted.
A shower is never more enjoyable than when you’re covered in sweat and dirt.
Safety is taken for granted by those who are used to it. But for those in danger and hardship, security is a gift. A blessed relief.
With these truths in mind, read Psalm 66.
Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men. He turned the sea into dry land; They passed through the river on foot; There let us rejoice in Him! He rules by His might forever; His eyes keep watch on the nations; Let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.
Bless our God, O peoples, and sound His praise abroad, who keeps us in life and does not allow our feet to slip.
For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins. You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water, Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance. (Psalm 66:5 – 12)
Psalm 66 tells a tale of deliverance, of danger and privation, followed by being led into abundance, “Finally he brought us to this well-watered place.” (v. 12, The Mssg)
No wonder the response is praise:
I shall come into Your house with burnt offerings; I shall pay You my vows, which my lips uttered and my mouth spoke when I was in distress. I shall offer to You burnt offerings of fat beasts, With the smoke of rams; I shall make an offering of bulls with male goats. Selah.
Come and hear, all who fear God, And I will tell of what He has done for my soul. (Psalm 66:13 – 16)
The psalmist experiences God as one who hears, who delivers, who restores and leads and comforts.
For those in danger and hardship, security is a gift and a blessed relief.
Safety is taken for granted by those who are used to it. Yet we (the American church) sit in the most prosperous empire that has ever existed and we all but worship safety and security.
The lure of a padded bank account and climbing the ladder of success and power is strong. The promise of military might as a guarantee of safety and security is tempting.
But what if we’re looking to the wrong place for our safety and security?
And what if we’re robbing ourselves of the very things that would drive us to trust in a God who delivers?
By arranging our lives around money and the security it offers and our votes around military might and the promise of enforced safety, what if we’re robbing ourselves of the chance to ever say, “Come and listen, let me tell you what God has done for me.”
Certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer nor His lovingkindness from me. (Psalm 66:19-20)
The praise in Psalm 66 comes directly out of lived experience. What in your lived experience gives you reason to praise God?
As you think and plan for your future, are you making decisions to guarantee security and safety? Or are you trusting God? Are those things mutually exclusive?
No one should run into danger and deprivation on purpose. But is there an area of safety you are clinging to, that might be robbing you of a story of trust and praise?
What in your life requires you to trust in God?
Holy Father: Would you awaken in us a desire to find safety only in you? A willingness to go into the hard and broken places in this world, to step away from comfort and security and surety? Would you give us God stories worthy of the call to “Come and listen…”?
If you’re interested in reading any of the other Psalms devotionals from last summer (I was very impressed with my coworkers’ writing skills, I really enjoyed every one of these!), you can look around over here.