Daily Devotions

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Divine Irony

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"There he broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war." (Ps. 76:3)

 

This is a psalm of celebration and victory. Yet, victory is not achieved with worldly violence. Divine victory is achieved with the non-violence described in the braking of arrows, shields, swords and other weapons of war. Trusting God's power is difficult to accept amidst the fear and evil of so many in this world. It is hard to accept God's non-violent power, when a Syrian dictator drops poison gas on his own people. It is hard to accept God's non-violent power when Isis thinks nothing of beheading innocent people. It is hard to accept God's non-violent power when human animals abuse through human trafficking.

 

Yet, the faithful are called to sing to God, "Glorious are you, more majestic then the everlasting mountains" (v. 4). No worldly army no matter how large, brutal, and powerful reigns forever. The Assyrians, the Spartans, the Romans, the Turks, the Nazi's, etc. in time lost their massive power. God's justice and peace overwhelmed the violent power of so many dynasties. The victims in every age of evil empires believe nothing can overthrow the overwhelming wealth and violent power. Yet, time-and-again the unjust power falls.

 

God's strength is true power because it remains active and victorious in all generations. The Bible is full of irony, and Psalm 76 is no different. God's victorious and all powerful weapon is weakness and humility. While the ego manics from Assad to Kim Jong-un, flex their power for a time, but it will last only a short while. Justice and mercy will once again reign supreme.

 

Offer your prayers to God today, providing thanksgiving for God's powerful love, weakness, humility justice, and victorious power. Then offer God your global fears. Pray for the extremists to lay down their weapons and accept loving humility. Pray for the Chinese to spend time creatively dealing with their pollution problems and the challenges of meeting the basic needs of their vast population. Pray that our own nation will learn to work together for the greater good beyond our own selfish desires. Finally, pray for the faith to trust in God's ironic, humble, sovereign power.  

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.

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