Monday, May 27

On God's Path

Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way;
though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds us by the hand.
—Psalm 37:23-24
So how can my steps be made firm, even though I might stumble? Here once again I find I need to change my definitions. The first casualty of my literal interpretation must certainly be the word step, since I doubt the psalmist is talking about physically walking in this brief passage. My steps are the way I make my way along the path I am taking. And if I am on the right path, then my steps are firm. If I take off after something that catches my eye but shouldn't, my steps will no doubt weaken. I can't fall, however, because I am on God's path, hedged about on the right and on the left by the Christ who walked it ahead of me.

"For God, who is rich in mercy, according to his unchangeable purpose of election does not take his Holy Spirit from his own completely, even when they fall grievously. Neither does he let them fall down so far that they forfeit the grace of adoption and the state of justification, or commit the sin which leads to death (the sin against the Holy Spirit), and plunge themselves, entirely forsaken by him, into eternal ruin." *

Keep me on your path, O God. Lead me by your light, follow me with your protection, and may your presence by my side lift me up should I begin to fall; in Jesus' Name, who taught me to pray: Our Father...

*Canons of Dort 5.6

Sunday, May 26

Today's Weapons

The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to kill those who walk uprightly; their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
—Psalm 37:14-15 
Bows and swords may have been the weapons used to oppress the weak in biblical times. Today's weapons are usually less physically violent, but no less injurious to life and spirit. In the 21st century, the wicked use tools such as credit bureaus, the force of law, and lobbyists to take what little the poor have and make it their own. As we watch more and more wealth rise to the top, the majority of people are sidelined as their job security, affordable housing, nutrition, access to healthcare, and their children's access to education

Saturday, May 25

Do Not Fret

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
—Psalm 37:8
 
I am good at fretting. I know firsthand that fretting leads to ingratitude, unholy worry, acrimony, unspoken accusations. Indeed, fretting leads only to evil: the kind of evil that is chronic and insidious. I thank God that I am quickly delivered of fretting through the grace of forgiveness received and given. I also thank God that I'm not good at finishing what I start... at least when it comes fretting.

Deliver me from the evil of fretting, Lord. Make me grateful, grant me empathy, keep me from worry; in Jesus' Name who taught me to pray: Our Father...

Friday, May 24

Like the Noonday

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
—Psalm 37:5-6
If I commit my way to God, then my way and God's way are one. Only then can my cause ever be vindicated: not because it's my cause, but because it's God's will.

May the path I follow this day be your path, O God. May my desires and priorities align with your will. Thus may your light, shining in and through me, give guidance to others; in Jesus' Name, who taught me to pray: Our Father...

Thursday, May 23

Delight in the Lord

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
—Psalm 37:4
The second half of this verse is the part that catches my eye. I want God to give me the desires of my heart. On the surface, I think about how easy my life would be if that happened. But of course I shouldn't really read the second half of the verse until I've given thought to the first half. Those who live lives of ease or selfish pleasure are not generally not those who "take delight in the Lord." Clearly, then, if I truly delight in God, then the desires of my heart will not be the things that characterize the rich and beautiful and famous (though wealth and beauty and good looks do not of themselves prevent people from having spiritual priorities). If my

Wednesday, May 22

Everything in Him

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
—Psalm 36:7-9

 The image of the fountain as the source of life is not a common one in the psalms. It occurs here in Psalm 36:9, and later, God is referred to as Israel's fountain (68:26). Beyond that, it's used twice by Jeremiah. But John Calvin loved this image in relation to God. Here's an excellent example. Though he doesn't refer to any

Tuesday, May 21

The Roots of God's Justice

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in their hearts; there is no fear of God before their eyes.
For they flatter themselves in their own eyes that their iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit; they have ceased to act wisely and do good.
They plot mischief while on their beds; they are set on a way that is not good; they do not reject evil.
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.
—Psalm 36:1-6

Sinners and sin speak the same language. When the proud go deep and find the seat of their pride, they are satisfied. The pleasure they gain from their selfishness will never be called out, they think. They have everything they want and most of what others need, leaving the world unbalanced in their favor.

God's love and goodness are found far above the skies the wicked would pollute; the roots of God's justice thrive beneath the earth and water they would exploit for their selfish gains. Blessed as they are by those who