Saturday, June 6, 2009

Monday Morning Devotions

Ps. 34:17- "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles."

From the beginning of time, man has thought of God as residing somewhere so far away from mankind that it is inconceivable God (or the gods) could know about the distresses of earth's inhabitants. Nor would the mysterious deity care what happens to individuals; a mere man or woman would be so insignificant to this deity that it would not care if they perished in their personal turmoil.

This is not so with the Triune God. Jesus said that not a sparrow falls to the ground unless the Father allows it to happen. Jesus assures us that if the Father is mindful of the sparrows, then the Father will watch over us. "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of of more value than many sparrows." (Matt. 10: 30-31) Think how LIBERATING it was to those in the ancient world who first believed in the God that both HEARS AND DELIVERS! At best, their old gods were supposed to act in way beneficial to their worshippers when their worshippers performed the correct rituals or said the exact right words. The words or rituals were meant to manipulate the gods to do what their worshippers wanted them to do. Still, there was no guarantee that the gods would listen and come to the worshippers' aid. This created a life of fear and doubt among those worshippers. But when these same worshippers discovered the true God, the God they could place their trust in, they gladly cast off the life of ritual and fear.

Still, even those who profess to believe in the one true God can still treat God as if He can be manipulated. When in trouble, they believe that just the verbal act of calling on His name will cause God to act on their behalf. Yet read Ps 34:17 again. The Lord does not just act on behalf of anyone who calls upon His name; He acts on behalf of those who are righteous. Verse 18 states that He is near those who have a broken heart and contrite spirit (the repentant ones, the humble ones). In other words, only to such people does God manifest His presence, only such people will experience His deliverance. Those that do evil, God will turn His face from them. (Verse 16) Earlier in Psalm 34, God paints a picture of what righteous conduct looks like: those who keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit. (Verse 13) In other words, those who obey God's commands experience deliverance. Not the ones who use God's name as a magical incantation. Jesus delivered this very same message to His followers: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of MY Father in Heaven." (Matt. 7:21) The Lord will deliver all those who call out IN FAITH IN HIS NAME. If God delivers you, then you are undoubtedly one of the righteous ones. You are an obedient child of the Father and you have faith in His character that He will deliver you as He promised in His Word.
(All scripture quotations are from the NJKV)

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