September 16, 2021
Scripture: And the LORD made his people very fruitful and made them stronger than their foes. He turned their hearts to hate his people to deal craftily with his servants. And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil, that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Psalm 105:24-24, 44-45a ESV
Observation: In Psalm 105, the author begins by encouraging God’s people to call upon his name, make known his deeds, and sing praises to him. He then proceeds to recount how God never forgets his promises and how he has acted mightily among his people to accomplish his purposes. At the midpoint of his appeal (verses 24-25), the psalmist states a curious aspect of our God. While Israel knew well that their Lord is the source of their prosperity, he also hardens the hearts of their foes to “hate his people to deal craftily” with them. At its end, the psalmist adds one more aspect about God’s blessings: they are intended to inspire us to obey his commands.
Takeaway: Either extreme, persecution or prosperity, can lead us astray. With the former, we can quickly lose sight of God’s greater purposes and indulge in self-pity or feel bitter toward the Lord. With the latter, we can become selfish or self-reliant and lean on our understanding of God’s laws and ways. The antidote? Remember that God is accomplishing his purposes in us in both the good and bad times. Then call upon his name (talk to him, sing to him) and remind others of how he has blessed you in times of peril and prosperity.
Prayer: Father God, please help us remember how you have accomplished your greater purposes during the low and high points of our journey. Let us not become consumed in self-pity or self-importance but instead tell others of your mighty works and sing your praises. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling