Daily Devotions

Psalm 75:1

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"We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks; your name is near." (Ps. 75:1)

 

Psalm 75 addresses the issue of "the arrogant" (v. 4), who were the source of the problem in Psalm 73. God's sovereignty is expanded in Psalm 75. This psalm describes God as the Savior, creator, and ruler. The psalm gives us a choice between relying on our own ability and trusting in God's power. Yet, the psalmist makes it quite clear that trusting in our own ability is arrogant, and ultimately unproductive.

 

This psalm doesn't describe the wicked with any clarity, other than by boasting and self-centeredness. Yet, these clues provide the understanding the wickedness is found in those desiring to be self-sufficient. The New Interpreter's Bible Commentary adds, "Our culture generally teaches us to strive for autonomy and self-sufficiency, to look out for ourselves and our own above all else."

 

Instead of arrogance, God calls us to vulnerability, expressed in humility. Today, offer a prayer for those in your life. Pray for your family, your church family, people you work with regularly, etc.  Let God come near you, and guide you to become more vulnerable, relying on those around you to lift you, even support you now and then. Vulnerability does not mean unhealthy dependence. Vulnerability is an interdependence that allows us to rely on one another as we seek to serve God together.

Direct your Steps

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"Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins; the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary." (Psalm 74:3)

 

The people of Israel suffered a great loss with the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE. With the loss of the Temple, the people lost their sense of the divine. The faithful believed the Temple was the one place on earth where God resided. With the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians, the faithful lost their understanding of God's role in the world, and how God related to them.

 

Psalm 74 is a communal lament. God does not get upset with faithful people crying out and even complaining. God's anger is reserved for people who have stopped working through faith struggles and have simply stopped believing. God is not angry with Israel because they continue to believe, even in the midst of horrible circumstances and understandable doubt.

 

There are times in our lives, just like the suffering in this psalm, where God seems far away and evil is all around us. Our responsibility is to continually reach out to God, especially in the most painful times. Do we expect God to give us a perfect life in this world? Even our Lord's life was fraught with disrespect, suffering, and untimely death. We are called to trust in the promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9, where the writer affirms, "power is made perfect in weakness." Our life's weakness makes room for God's divine power.

 

A world without God is a world without hope, joy, or meaning. Without the promise of the resurrection, we are simply living, and suffering on the way to death. With God, we may live and even suffer, but death will not be our end. When life is particularly painful, we are called to a longer view. It is easier to accept weakness and suffering, if we believe there is life after death. Pray today for faithful endurance and a renewal of trust in God's long term ability to transform the world from suffering and death, to life eternal.

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