As I have been thinking and praying for Trinity, I felt God prompting me to send out a small devotional thought to encourage and inspire the Body at Trinity. These thoughts are based on the "Take the Challenge" Bible plan that is located in the narthex. We've just started a new sermon series: Essentials, based on the Apostle's Creed. And I love that each week of this series we are focusing on God, Himself- so that we can know Him better and worship Him more fully! If you missed it on Sunday, definitely try to make it out next week!
This morning's readings: John 21, 2 Chronicles 33, and Psalm 89:1-18
"And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints. For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence be all those around Him. O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty like You, O Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.... Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face. Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted." -Psalm 89:5-9, 14-16
Wow, there is so much in these few verses it could take us a whole year to unpack them all sufficiently! Sunday Pastor Jeff spoke about our Almighty Father, who is both powerful and personal- and you can definitely see His power in these verses! Who can be compared to Him? Who is mighty like Him? He rules the raging sea! But He is also personal- blessed are the people who know Him! And how sweet it is to walk in the glow of His presence! We know His name! What a privilege. Soak that up for a minute. God rules the raging sea, that can do great damage like hurricane Ike...and yet He invites us to come close and bask in the light of His presence. Don't get side-tracked here and start asking those tough questions like "Why would God allow tragedy like hurricane Ike"- that isn't my point today. My point is- God has power over the raging sea- and He is also longing to be intimate with us.
Today, take some time and read over these verses a few more times. Perhaps one of the phrases sticks out to you- or even just a word. Sit with that word, allow it to wash over you. Repeat it over and over until it seaps into your soul and you really believe it. And then respond. Praise God for that quality- for that promise- for His presence in your life. And your response will be different than my response- perhaps the word that stuck out to me was "greatly to be feared" and so I sit in quiet reverence and humble myself before Him. But perhaps the phrase that stuck out to you was "the light of Your countenance" and you just bask in His light and His love. This is true worship: experiencing God (through His word) and responding to Him with our hearts and with action. Enjoy Him today!
Today's readings: 1 John 1, 2 Chronicles 34, and Psalm 89:19-37
"I have found My servant David; with My holy oil I have anointed him, with whom My hand shall be established; also My arm shall strengthen him... His seed also I will make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgements, if they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail." -Psalm 89:20-21, 29-33
Flip back to 2 Chronicles and we have a story of Josiah, the boy who became king at 8 years old! Here is what the Word says about Josiah: "And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David..." 2 Chron 34:2-3
I encourage you to check out the story for yourself- but here is the summary: Josiah began to seek God when he was 16. He realized that God's people had turned away from Him, and were worshiping false gods. So he started tearing down their idols and places of false worship. And then he ordered people to repair the house of the Lord. As they began to clean up and restore the temple, they found the Book of the Law (their Bible at that point in history)! One of his assistants read the Word of the Lord to the king, and "Thus it happened, when the king heard the words of the Law, that he tore his clothes." v34:19 In this era, tearing the clothes was a sign of mourning and great grief- the king was convicted that his people had strayed so far from the Lord- and that they had grieved the Lord and broken their covenant with him. They had broken the Laws of God, and rebelled against Him for years and years- and the king knew that "great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord to do according to all that is written in this book". v34:21 So he sent a priest to speak to God on their behalf- and God was just and merciful... He said that He would still have to punish the people for their sin- but He would be gracious to the king, since his heart was convicted, humble and tender toward the Lord.
Now this is all Old Testament- Jesus came on the scene and took the punishment that is rightfully ours- but I believe God uses this story to show us a side of Himself we don't like to look at often! He is a just God, and a God who hates sin. He can be wrathful and angry- not with His people- but at their sin and at the enemy of their souls!
What does it look like to worship a Just God? When you hear that "His great wrath is poured out on us"- what does that evoke in your spirit? Spend some time humbly bowed at His feet- confess your sin- praise Him that Jesus has taken your place. And rise, resolved to walk in righteousness today- to obey His voice, and follow His lead- to confess sin quickly and abide in His love moment by moment. That is my prayer for you today.