Today’s Readings: Psalm 91; 1st Kings 22:41-53; Zechariah 4; James 4:1-10
Today’s first reading is a beautiful expression of confidence in God as our shelter, our refuge, our fortress, our shield and buckler (“a small rounded shield usually worn on the arm” -ISBE). The ESV study bible says of this psalm, “The psalm closes out by laying out what the ideal of trust looks like … and repeating God’s pledge to care for his faithful ones….”
As you read this psalm replace the third party pronouns with first person one and take the message to heart! God says to me, as I begin this day, “Randy, because you hold fast to me in love, I will deliver you; I will protect you, because you know my name. When you call me, I will answer you; I will be with you in trouble; I will rescue you and honor you. With long life I will satisfy you and show you my salvation.”
Our second reading tells of the last day’s of the reign of Jehoshaphat. History records him as a king who did right in the sight of God, following in the steps of his father Asa. One of the positives of his reign was that he removed the remnant of the male cult prostitutes. But history also records that he did not remove “the high places.” This is a term that in scripture refers to something that was substituted in place of the altar to make sacrifices. As I reflect, upon this passage it reminds me that, even when I do what is right, I sometimes fall short of giving my BEST. Help me Lord to always give you the best that I have!
Our third reading describes the fifth vision of Zechariah; the lampstand and two olive trees. The message to Zerubbabel and Joshua, who are given the task of rebuilding the temple, is that it will be accomplished by the power of God. How often this same message is repeated over and over again to different individuals in various circumstances throughout scripture! I have read and studied those examples and yet I still fall into the trap of thinking that a successful career, or a good academic record or a happy family life, depend upon my skills and my wisdom. Lord, help me to remember that you are the source of it all. Awesome is your name and mighty is your power to save me from all my troubles!
Our final reading reminds me that I cannot be both a friend of the world and a friend of God. I must make the choice. That choice requires me to be humble, to cleanse my hands and to purify my heart. I must resist the devil so that he will flee from me. James also remind me that even with the purified heart I must watch continually for passions that war within me. Constant attention to prayer and bible study is the answer to winning that battle.
Thanks for reading with me friends. May your walk with Him make your days brighter, your nights restful and your future secure! If you have comments about these reflections, feel free to leave them below or e-mail them to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. — Randy Sexton