Daily Devotions

Remembering our Teachers

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"He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children; that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments." (Ps. 78:5-7)

 

Psalm 78 is not historical in the way we define history in the contemporary sense. Psalm 78 retells history for the purpose of teaching which leads to hope and obedience in the hearers. The psalmist wasn't just writing for the faithful of that time, but for future generations as well.

 

The teaching in Psalm 78 has the goal of guiding the faithful to offering their whole lives to God. Learning the decrees, laws, and stories of our spiritual ancestors, through Scripture, opens us to the spiritual power of the divine. We have an obligation to bring God's blessings to others, so they too can experience the joyous steadfast love of God.

 

Today, prayerfully reflect on those individuals who were your formal and informal teachers. How did they positively influence your development as a person and a Christian? Are there ways in which you are, or can be, a teacher of the faith? Perhaps you are feeling called to teach Church School on Wednesday or Sunday. Perhaps you are a parent, and are searching for new and ever more meaningful ways of guiding your child(ren) in the faith. Offer God your prayers for wisdom and commitment. Then, be open to God leading you in opportunities to offer your wisdom to others.

Despair No More

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"Has his steadfast love ceased forever? Are his promises at an end for all time?" (Ps. 77:8)

"I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; I will remember your wonders of old." (Ps. 77:11)

 The psalmist is in agony, and is raising doubts about God in the midst of the exile. The "trouble" and "distress" in verse two is not described. Perhaps it is left undetermined because it can speak to many circumstances, in many different times. Most all of us have suffered to such a degree, at one time or another, that we wonder if "steadfast love" will ever return.

 

In those moments of fear and despair, the psalmist calls us to remember. The psalmist harkens back to Scripture to spark divine memory of God's merciful hand in the world. Later in the Psalm, the writer remembers God's redeeming hand in the "descendants of Jacob and Joseph." (v. 15) and in verse 20, "You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron."

 

The New Interpreter's Bible commentary correctly states that, "...God's way is not always clearly visible or comprehensible in terms of human ways." Any honest person will acknowledge that faithful people suffer anguish and suffering. There are moments when God feels distant from us. Yet, in faith, we continue to seek God and trust that God will not remain hidden from us, and that all things work for good.

 In your prayers and reflections today, strive to remember at least one time when God brought you through a difficult time in life. If you cannot come up with one, then simply think about a challenging time you endured. Then remember what the circumstances were that changed, to open doors to recovery and renewed hope. Look beyond the easy rationales, and seek to see God's handiwork in the support you were given. Then offer a prayer of thanksgiving for God's continued care for your life. When God feels very close, or when God feels far away, remember, God's distance is illusory. God remains ever present in your life. Rejoice in that truth. 

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