Sunday: Psalm 119.81-96 & Deuteronomy 6.10-16

From Jonathan Bailes

Psalm 119:81-96: The life of faith is a life of hope, always oriented toward the promise of God. "My soul longs for your salvation," writes the psalmist, "my eyes long for your promise." And faith, as we know from the letter to the Hebrews, is a conviction of things not seen.  The psalmist longs for salvation in a time when he does not see it, in a time when those who reject God's law prosper and when his soul feels withered, "like a wineskin in the smoke" (v 82).  But this does not weaken his confidence in the promise of God.  He knows that God will be faithful (v 90) and he has experienced the life-giving effect of God's instruction (v 93).  As we live by faith today, we too must look toward the future.  God has acted in Christ, it is true.  But we still live in the time between Christ's ascension and his return.  So, like the psalmist, when our culture seems to offer more fulfillment than our faith, let us remember God's promise and hope.  May our prayer be the simple prayer of the psalmist: "I am yours; save me."

 Deuteronomy 6:10-16: If the psalm reminds us to hope when the present is bleak, these words of Moses tell us of the dangers of prosperity.  When you are living in houses "full of all good things" and when you eat and are full, warns Moses, do not forget the Lord.  If you are familiar with the future history of Israel in Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings, you will know the prophetic truth of this warning.  When prosperity comes, Israel does forget God.  In the words of the prophet Jeremiah, Israel "has forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold not water" (Jer.2:13).  As citizens of one of the most prosperous countries in history, we need to heed this warning.  Perhaps Moses might say to us, "When your have attained that degree and published that paper, when you have landed that coveted job, when you have begun a family or found a community of friends, do not forget the Lord."