Original post at http://suewhitt.blogspot.com/2014/08/reflection-on-readings-for-august-25.html
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;none can compare with you.Were I to proclaim and tell of them,they would be more than can be counted.
(Psalm 40:5)Job 16:1-19:29
Job responds to those people who have been preaching to him: Have windy words no limit?
He then speaks of his despair but asserts "There is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure."
Job prays for relief, "My spirit is broken, my days are extinct, the grave is ready for me, and my eye dwells on their provocation."
Bildad levels accusation at Job, "You think we are stupid. The wicked get what they deserve."
Job responds that his friends' comments have not been helpful and have even made his situation more painful.
Job pours out a lament to God and affirms his allegiance to God.1 Corinthians 16:1-24
Paul asks them to give financial support to the churches in Jerusalem.
Paul's final message is still timely to our modern congregations: Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.Psalm 40:1-10
Psalm 40 begins "I waited patiently for the Lord...." Believers by being believers are not immune from the pains in life. I'm also admitting that my own waits have not always been very patient. But, the psalmist was patient--and needed to be--note the "waited" part. But, also note what is being waited for--the Lord. Even in times of tribulation, pain, or disappointment, the psalmist recognizes the source of what is going to make things better.
This trust comes, in part, from what has already happened, "He drew me up from a desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure." Rescue plus a new start.
The psalmist doesn't keep this rescue, this improvement in his life a secret. Rather, he tells about it. And the ones he tells listen, and, because of what they hear, their lives are changed, their expectations are changed, even what they consider as powerful enough to help them through their difficulties will shift, "Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods."
This psalm begins with gratitude to the Lord, recognition of what the Lord has done. It continues with affirmation of the benefits of trusting the Lord rather than some other false gods, "You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts; none can compare with you."
How are we to worship? What is it that God expects us to do to show that we do worship? Where does worship happen? What is the necessary cost? Am I doing it right?
The psalm says, "Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required." Focus first on what is not necessary--offerings; then, pay attention to what we have been given--that open ear.
That ear is open to what has been written in the Torah. More than listening, the psalmist attests that what has been written in a scroll has become a law within his heart.Proverbs 22:1A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,and favor is better than silver or gold.
Prayer for Today
: O Lord our God, give us the right words to share when someone around us is in despair. And, O Lord, restrain us from saying the wrong words to them. Amen.