“As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!” (Psalm 40:11-17)
The last couple of Sundays, I’ve looked at the previous 10 verses in Psalm 40. This week is the remaining verses in the psalm. Here David is continuing to share about God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. It is not boring nor is it bothersome for David to repeat over and over this theme. It is so important to him that he continues to sing this over and over.
David knows that the one who is faithful is the one who is able to deliver from sin and evil. David knows that the one who is steadfast is the one who rightly deserves to be praised. The one who it should be said “Great is the Lord!” God is all that and so much more.
Like David, we struggle. We endure pain and loss. We are poor and needy. But thankfully the Lord takes thought of us like he took thought of David. Let us rejoice in that. Let us celebrate that we are not left alone but that He loves us and wants to deliver us.
This week, let us be mindful of this. And let us continually repeat over and over again in our hearts and minds God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14-21)
Love one another. We as followers of Jesus are called to do just that. That includes everyone, not just fellow believers. And that can be hard sometimes. It can be hard to love or bless those that persecute us. It’s hard to not want to repay when evil is done to us. But that is what God wants from us. He wants us to love others.
It seems especially in the social media age that if someone wrongs us that we want to avenge it and avenge it quickly. But God doesn’t want us to seek vengeance, He wants us to seek peace. He will bring vengeance when the time comes. We love and bless those who hurt us, who wrong us. We are to try and live at peace with them. And that’s not always easy especially when they are antagonistic to us. But we remember who we serve. We remember that God has forgiven us much, we should forgive as well. God has loved us much, we should love as well. God is holy, we should strive to live holy as well.
This week, let us love one another. Let us rejoice with those who rejoice. Let us weep with those who weep. And let us trust God to right the wrongs.
“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
Habakkuk was a prophet that God used to share His message with the people of Judah. Unfortunately, the people of Judah weren’t receiving a happy message. They had fallen away from God and God was warning the people that they would have to deal with the pending judgment. Even more so, God was going to use the Babylonians, who were very wicked in their own right, to be the instrument that God would use.
In all of this, Habakkuk was faithful to preach the message. He did question God as to why and the means that God would use. However, Habakkuk trusted God no matter what. These verses which are toward the end of the book show that. When tough times come, Habakkuk would rejoice in the Lord. When things don’t make sense, Habakkuk would take joy in God. Habakkuk trusted God and would follow Him through thick and thin.
That should be our hope as well. When times are hard, we should rejoice in the Lord. When we question what we’re going through, let us be reminded of God’s faithfulness and works. He has provided us salvation through Jesus. He has given us mercy and grace. And he has given us joy. This week, let us rejoice in the Lord, both in the midst of good times and the midst of bad times.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
In part of being in community with others, there are some who are celebrating and there are some who are mourning. There are some who are blessed with good times and there are some who are enduring rough times. I’m reminded of this regularly when I hear news from friends and family.
I’m reminded of one couple that I knew from seminary that are celebrating the arrival of their son whom they adopted from Ethiopia. I rejoice for them as they have waited for a long time for the paperwork to go through to be able to bring him home. I’m also reminded of a friend from grade school who is grieving over the loss of his wife who passed away after a long fight with cancer. I weep for him and his family over the loss.
When we rejoice with others and when we weep with others, we are reminded that it’s not just about us. God wants us to see beyond us to those around us, to love on those around us. At the same time, when circumstances bring us to joy or to grief, others need to come alongside us to rejoice and weep.
This week, celebrate the victories and mourn the losses. And remember that throughout all of it God is right there through it all.