Today’s Reading: Psalm 107; 116; 118; 125
I love the way our reading begins today! “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” One of my favourite verses in connection with God being good (!), is the Chinese translation of a verse which says, “God is good, through and through (totally)! It’s true. And the first section begins with people in trouble (anyone in this world who is totally free of trouble?), and at their cry of distress to the Lord, He leads them by a STRAIGHT way to a city where they can settle! I have often thought while flying over the Arctic (sometimes the North Pole) to and fro from Hong Kong, “If my plane goes down, how would I ever find people and shelter in this bleak environment?!) And so what should the response of such people rescued be, according to our Psalm, and why?
But then comes a list of trouble brought on by “rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High,” “became fools (!) through their rebellious ways,” “suffered affliction because of their iniquities,” and “a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away,” and “rivers turned into a desert, flowing springs into thirsty ground, and fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who lived there.” Such graphic picturesque descriptive words! But did you feel the beautiful comforting relief of how God can change things so quickly when we cry out – reach out to Him? God is truly good and His love is truly everlasting! And so I hear God whispering in my ear, “Whoever is WISE, let him heed these things and consider the GREAT love of the Lord (great in every sense of the word!).
But I love the next Psalm as it turns very personal, “I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live. The image springs to mind of someone promising to help if I need some help, and me replying, “I’ll take you up on that offer!” I truly will, Lord! I am smiling to myself as I read, “The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me.” And I know in humility, that I am truly very simplehearted in His sight! But what do I do in grateful response for this salvation? “How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? (1) I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. (2) I will fulfill my vows to the Lord. in the presence of all His people.
And so Psalm 118 continues on, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” And slowly rises in theme to even speaking of our precious Lord Jesus who is truly the capstone in everything God does, the key to every day being a good day because He made it and it is truly a GLAD day! And then He ends the Psalm with a repeat of the sentence he began with! Thanks Lord, for repeating it, so I get it!
If I am correct, A Song of Ascents was a song sung as they made their way up into the Temple! On reflection, such a song would have to be a very SPECIAL song! And as I ponder the Psalm, I love the image of “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people.” And I know for sure that truly, His love and presence is surrounding me each day, for I can feel the warmth of His presence in my life, each day!” No wonder the Psalm ends with peace on His people! We are very special people to Him, you know! (from the story of someone stopping to make a remark to a peasant who was praying that he must be very holy and the peasant after a moment’s silent reflection looked up and said, “I’m just very special to Him!” (Story in Philip Yancy’s book about a story from ?”
Have a special day, realizing that we are very special to Him!