Daily Devotions

Step through God's Open Door

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Step through God’s Open Door

"Let those who are wise give heed to these things, and consider the steadfast love of the Lord." (Psalm 107:43)

As I look back on my life, there are any number of times when God has opened doors, or shut them for that matter. On the one hand, my life has been blessed. Yet, I would not describe my life as easy. Even the most difficult struggles in my life seem, in hindsight, were directed for a future opportunity.

The people of Israel are described by the psalmist in a similar way. The psalmist provides four different illustrations that apply to struggles the people of Israel overcame through God's intervention. The foolish believed they made their own successes and failures. The wise understand and accept that God is the one who opens and closes doors, guiding our lives.

God's steadfast love is the motivating factor in God's ongoing care. We do not have the power or the wisdom to lead our own lives. It is only in our weakness that we have the ability to do great things. When we are weak and humble enough to acknowledge our own insufficiency, only then are we able to receive the call that God has for our lives.

Throughout the centuries, the people of Israel should have been assimilated or destroyed over-and-over again. Yet, because Israel is the chosen people, God continues to work all things for good. In our lives, God is working all things for good, if we will only give up control and listen to God for guidance.

Today, stop trying to control situations, for at least today. Pray for God to guide you in decisions that need to be made. If a decision feels too forced, often it is not what God intends. Learning to invite God into your  decision-making takes practice and discipline. Pray for God's still small voice to speak to your heart and mind, and for you to recognize the divine rationale and steadfast love in God's voice. Finally, reflect on how God has guided you through life. Rejoice, for God continues to love you and guide you.

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.

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