Sunday: Psalm 15-16; Isaiah 5.1-7; 1 Thessalonians 5.12-28

From: Jason Hood

The consequences of losing our life-giving connection to God are awful. Isaiah 5 is a powerful metaphorical telling of Israel’s story that illustrates the grave cost of losing sight of the source of life. One of our other readings, Psalm 16, gives us the positive reasons for clinging to God as our source of life.

At first blush it sounds as though the Psalmist is saying, "God, you're my only good thing" (vs. 2) only for the next verse to start adding caveats: "Just kidding I also think the saints are amazing.” But that’s not quite the way the logic works. Rather, the Psalmist sees all good things as flowing from God and as gifts from God, the giver of every good thing.

So the good things, including:

“pleasant places” and “beautiful inheritance” (vs. 6); the capacity for self-instruction (vs. 7); “my flesh dwells secure” (vs. 9); “fullness of joy…pleasures forevermore” (vs. 11) and a life that won’t be left in death (vs 10)

can be found and enjoyed only as a result of putting God (apart from whom we “have no good thing,” vs 2) in first place in our lives:

“Yahweh is my chosen portion and my cup” (vs. 5) “who gives me counsel” (vs 7); I have set him before me (vs. 8), and he has revealed the path of life.

It’s a cliché that Jesus is the greatest gift of all at Christmas, but it’s a true one. Knowing him and finding him as the source of your life makes the world around you richer. I’m reminded of C. S. Lewis’s observation that becoming a Christian doesn’t eliminate one's zest for life and the world and pleasure. Rather, our experience of these things turns out to be enhanced because they finally put in their rightful place, received as good gifts that point to the giver as serve as signs of the never-ending love and provision we have in him.

I, along with my wife Emily, live in Roslindale with our four children. I teach New Testament and coordinate a ThM in Practical Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary's urban campus in Roxbury.