A Daily Dose of Good News
Monday, June 29, 2020
At 10:30 today, this devotional will be offered online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gBx0DGQ_3cand will remain available throughout the day and the week.
For a printer-friendly version of today’s devotion, please click DDGN 20200629
Good morning! It is June 29 and I found a pretty spot for us out here, to enjoy our Daily Dose of Good News! So, today is from Psalm 119:161-168.
Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous ordinances.
Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I fulfill your commandments.
My soul keeps your decrees;
I love them exceedingly.
I keep your precepts and decrees,
for all my ways are before you.
Here ends the reading.
I think this text is an interesting one. It’s unusual to hear people talk about how they love the law so much. How much they love following the rules and following what God wants them to do. Usually we chafe from being told what to do or how to do it. Often we find God’s rules and standards impossible to keep perfectly and we fall short of that. So, it’s unusual to have this kind of respect, honor and love for the law. But what I hear in this passage, is the way that the psalmist is oriented. The psalmist talks about: “princes persecute me and falsehood is all around me”. And I think about any of us who feel attacked by another, or who feel like people are saying wrongful things or critical things, or things about us that we don’t want to hear, or don’t like to hear- and how that can feel jarring and disorienting to us. We can kind of bang into things like that. We hear something from somebody here, and something else upsetting here, and it’s sort of like we’re a pinball in a pinball machine, getting banged around in different ways. But what I hear in this, is not a pinball in a pinball machine. I hear peace and constancy and vision and direction. The psalmist is saying: “I know Your laws and I’m keeping Your decrees in front of me and I love them”. And what I hear the psalmist saying is: ‘This is providing me with stability and constancy, no matter what happens around me. All these jarring impacts- I don’t have to be jarred by them. I can live in the constancy and peace of Your laws and Your ways, knowing that I’m trying to do my best for what You, God, are asking me to do’. There’s a peace in that. There’s gratitude that the psalmist mentions. The psalmist is praising God seven times a day. The psalmist is oriented in this direction (points ahead). Similar to a horse with blinders on. The psalmist is looking straight here- at God- and not letting all these other components jar them.
I think that’s really good news! Because we’re bombarded with lots of stuff right now, both in our larger world, as well as, potentially, in our personal lives. It’s a good reminder and a good orientation for us. Focus on God, don’t let these other aspects- as difficult and upsetting as they are- jar you off track. Don’t be like a pinball in a pinball machine. Focus on My laws, Focus on who I Am, rest in that. That gives peace and that creates thankful hearts in all of us, as we praise God for the consistency of who God is, the righteousness of who God is. That feels reasonable and fair, it sounds like, to this psalmist. This feels like a safe place to be- right in the middle of God’s law, and the psalmist appreciates it. So, I encourage you to stay grounded in God today, no matter what jarring things happen, whether those are falsehoods, or whether that is people persecuting you, or whatever that looks like. Stay in what God offers you. I hope you have a great day. Bye-bye everybody.