Isaiah 32:1-20 – Freedom in the Truth

Read Isaiah 32:1-20

Isaiah calls it out plain as day. “Look, a righteous king is coming!” Having suffered under power hungry kings who were not focused on God’s will, the idea of a righteous king must sound amazing. Bad things will befall Judah, but they can look forward to the day when God sends Jesus, a king unlike any other king. One who promises to rule with justice.

“In that day” we hear some remarkable things will happen. Evil will be exposed as evil. We can look around today and see how evil is infiltrating our world on many levels. It’s like people are blind to it and even attracted to it. It’s alarming really. Yet this phenomenon is nothing new. Even when Jesus came the first time, the people didn’t recognize him, and evil was allowed to play a role in his death. While we don’t understand, we know God has it under his control.

Continue reading “Isaiah 32:1-20 – Freedom in the Truth”

Esther 8:1-17 – Rejoicing With Gratitude

Read Esther 8:1-17

What a day for the God’s people! A miracle from God to be sure. Esther and Mordecai’s prayers have been answered in a mighty way. God’s justice was evident. Evil was conquered.

Did you understand what happened here? It took me a couple times reading through the passage. Haman’s evil plan to kill the Jews had been endorsed by the king. Apparently, an order of the king could not be revoked according to their law. So, another order had to be crafted to offset the first. Both laws were to come due, so to speak, on the same day.

Continue reading “Esther 8:1-17 – Rejoicing With Gratitude”

Psalm 134 – Praise

Read Psalm 134

This may be the shortest reading yet. It’s the last in the series “songs of the ascents”. The people are returning to their homeland. This will be the first time most, if not all, see their land. For years, family members have kept the memory alive. It’s possible there have been some embellishments, too. Much like our “fish stories” of today. Each time our stories are told, the facts get a little bit more amplified.

But the focus here is praise, or bless, or thank, all synonyms for the tone of this psalm. There is a call to bless the Lord, and a request that the Lord bless his people. The identity of the “who” in this psalm has been up for debate.

I’d like to see this as a pattern for us to follow. God has delivered us, and what is our response? We should give him praise and blessing. As would be human nature, we will also turn around and ask for continued blessing or help in another endeavor or plan.

Thank first, ask second. We should always focus on the supremacy of the Lord and what he has done for us first. Maybe that’s all we do is spend time lifting up the name of the Lord. Certainly never as an afterthought.

Before any petition for help, rescue or provision, we need to be on our knees in gratefulness.

Think of your own situation, maybe at work. Is there a co-worker who is always nagging or asking for things but never thanks or lifts up those around him/her? Are you that person who expects everything to be given to you, yet fall short in giving thanks?

Think on that for just a moment. Think of a time when someone shared something of great importance with you. Did you take this information, treasure it, and give that someone your adoration and praise? Were you truly grateful?

When we are overflowing with thanks, our gratefulness easily takes the form of praise. When we spend time worshiping God, that is why we often recall God’s history, the mighty things he has done for his people, for us. It helps us to sing praise when we focus on our thanks. The trick is praising and worshiping when in the middle of our trial, not yet delivered. All the more important to sing praise with a grateful heart.

What does your prayer life look like? Is it one of rejoicing for all that the Lord has done?

Let’s pray. Lord, thank you for your many blessings on my life. Many go unseen, and I thank  you for those, too. May I always have a heart full of gratefulness to you and to those in my life who pour into me, share with me, lift me up. Thank you for the people you have brought into my life. May you use me to be that light for those needing light. Help me to listen for your voice and your leading. It is perfect. In Jesus’ name. Amen.