“We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! We go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless…When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world…” How does Paul’s view of Christian leadership line up with current perspectives? What about my leadership? Help us to follow in your way Lord Jesus.
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” The content and attitude of our hearts are revealed through what comes out of our mouth both in words and songs. What are you talking about these days? What are you singing about? How does this reflect your heart? Lord, so much noise and so many words each day; let my mouth be filled with talk and songs about You.
“Yet, you have made them…crowned them with glory and honor…given them dominion over the works of your hands.” Echoes of Genesis 1:26-27 sound through the Psalmist. Not only is God mindful and caring toward humans, he actually calls them to share in his rule and purposes for all that he has made. What does this mean for us? How am I using my hands and my life for overseeing creation for God’s good purposes? May we be humble enough to serve; empowered to serve in Godly wisdom and power; for the Kingdom and the power and the glory. Amen.
“What are human beings that you are mindful of them…?” Some would say the God revealed in the Old Testament is simply about judgment and fury. The Psalmist says God is “mindful of humans and cares for them.” Unlike the portrayal of many ancient gods, the Biblical God is one that values humans. He created a world good for their thriving and cares for them even when they reject him. What does it mean to you that God is mindful and cares for people and for you? Lord God, help us to see you as you really are.
“When I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers…” Have you seen the new pictures of Pluto? Have you seen the pictures of stars and galaxies? Even before we could see any of that the Psalmist stood in awe of the God who created the heavens. How can we as human matter at all in the vastness of creation? Are we not just specks of dust on the shoulder of the cosmos? And yet, the Psalm does not end here. Like the Psalmist, help us to see beyond creation, to your plans and purposes for our lives. Amen.
“They make a pit, digging it out, and fall into a hole that they have made…” The scriptures imply that a great deal of sin and evil has a built in judgment and punishment. Evil people end up falling into the holes that they have made. If this is true, why do we worry so much about revenge, making sure others pay for their sin and mistakes? Lord, give me faith to believe that I don’t have to worry about getting even or making sure others are punished. Free me instead, to be part of your salvation for the world.
“…establish the righteous, you who test the minds and hearts…” Just as we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, body, and mind; so the Psalmists says, God is the one who “tests” the truthfulness of both our mind and our hearts. Can our hearts be right with God if our minds are out of sync with God? Is our thinking right, if our hearts are out of sync with God? Try us, O God, and be sure that we have pure hearts and clean and truthful thinking about all things.
“every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.” There are circumstances, events, and hurts that cause a lot of tears. The Psalmist is never afraid of tears, yet often Christian people think that tears are a sign of doubts and unbelief. Strong faith believes that God hears the tears, beyond the words. What are you crying about these days! What brings tears to your eyes? Lord Jesus, hear my tears and accept my prayer. Amen.
“Turn, O Lord, save my life…for in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who can give you praise?” “I can’t praise you if I’m dead,” is an interesting argument in prayer. It assumes that in life, the one praying is in fact, bringing praise to God. Does my life here on earth bring praise to God? How is God honored and lifted up by my living? May my life O Lord, be a living praise!
“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.” The word, “refuge,” is defined as “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.” The Psalmist say, God will be that for his people. What pursuers, dangers, or troubles are you facing in your life right now? What would it take to change your troubles into joy? What would it take to get you to sing? What would you sing? Cause me to rejoice and sing O Lord, as you provide safety and shelter in my life. Amen.