Tuesday: Psalms 84-85 & Exodus 32.1-35

From Mark Booker

Psalm 84: God is the great treasure and the great reward. Being in his presence, belonging to him, is what fills us with life. He gives joy (v2), strength (v5), protection (v9), favor and honor (v11), and good things (v11). And those who find their strength in him transform the world around them - they make the Valley of Baca (presumably a dry place) "a place of springs" as they go through it (v6).

Knowing God as such a treasure, the psalmist declares that he would rather just have a small fraction of God than to have everything without him (v10). With that same perspective, Jesus asks a similar question, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8.36).

Do we share that perspective and do our daily practices reflect it? Would we rather just have our foot in the door of the kingdom of heaven or be at the center of the world's party?

Psalm 85: Those who have once experienced the forgiveness and favor of God (vv1-3) are asking for it again (vv4-7). When he acts, the world will be full of steadfast love, faithfulness, peace, righteousness, a fruitful land, and good gifts (vv10-13). This is where the world is headed (Revelation 21.1-7), and these are the very things that we who have known God's favor and forgiveness in Christ are to show to the world, turning, as we saw with Ps 84, the valley of Baca into a place of springs. 

Exodus 32.1-35: So soon after being miraculously delivered, God's people broke the covenant, created an image to worship, and 'rose up to play' (v6) or 'broke loose' (v25). It's very likely that these words imply orgiastic activity, thus breaking the seventh commandment as well. They are judged by Yahweh and some of them (probably the worst offenders) are killed (v28).

What led them into egregious sin was a lack of patience. Moses had been delayed up on the mountain and they wanted someone to go before them (v1). A similar lack of patience led Abram and Sarah into sin in Genesis 16, trying to come up with an heir on their own through Sarah's servant Hagar. It's no wonder we're often exhorted in the psalms to wait upon the Lord (Psalm 27.14, 31.24). His timing is often not our own, but he will lead, guide, comfort, and bless us. Are you waiting upon him today?