Daily Devotions

Learn from Our Mistakes

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"They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt." (Psalm 106:21)

 

Psalm 106 rehearses Israel's story. The New Interpreter's Bible points out, "The people constantly forget, and their forgetfulness leads to a history of faithlessness that is costly to the people and painful for their spurned lover-God." Forgetting God's faithfulness left the people in exile which is the time period this psalm was written.

 

While the present time is empty and filled with sin, there is hope for a transformation in the future. The psalmist can trace the people's lack of faith all the way back to Egypt. Verse 13 confirms, "But they soon forgot his works." "Soon" is an understatement. Within three verses after being saved from Pharaoh's army, by the crushing sea, the people are already complaining again.

 

What the history of Israel teaches us, is that God is patient and long-suffering. But before we are too judgmental regarding our Israelite brothers and sisters, we must remember, humbly, that God continues to forgive and provide grace even for us sinners. We are called to learn from the mistakes of our past, redefine our present, and trust God to transform our future.

 

In your prayers today, begin with confession. Confess not only your present sins, but also the sins of your past which continues to haunt your present. But, before you become overwhelmed with despair, remember God's gracious act of grace. God forgave the people over and over again. Jesus called the faithful to forgive seventy times seven. How much more will God forgive, sustain, and redeem you and me. God will not cast us away. God needs us and loves us deeply. Prayerfully think about what God's is calling us to do with our lives next. Trust in God's steadfast love, to redeem and bless us now, so we can be a blessing in the future.

Remembering God's Wonderful Deeds

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"O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples." (Psalm 105:1)

 The people were in exile. They felt loss and anguish. Yet, even in their most empty moments, they still have their memories. Memories can be fickle thoughts. Memories can be misunderstood, misinterpreted, or consciously rewritten. For trustworthy memories, one must intentionally seek to be self-aware. Self-awareness requires the courage to honestly remember and evaluate our past.

 

The psalmist provides a litany of remembrances of how God remembered the people and blessed them throughout Biblical history. Even amidst exile, the psalmist had hope because even when times are tough, the same God who saved us in the past will find a way to bring salvation in our present and future.

 

In the same way that God carried me through hard times and brought me joyous times again, so too will that memory bring me hope for a future amidst present darkness. Reflect on at least three challenging times in your life. How did you respond amidst the pain? How did you get through the anguish and move forward in a positive way? Where might God have been in the midst of those healing situations? The same Spirit that guided the Israelites to the Promised Land, guides us through the trials and tribulations of this world, and brings us new hope and joy. After your time of remembrance, offer a prayer of gratitude for God's re-creation of hope and joy in our lives.

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