A day in Your courts — Psalms 83-85

For the next few days I’m on vacation visiting with family. This means that posts may be shorter and a little erratic. Thank you in advance for understanding, but don’t get lax on your reading or visiting my blog. I’ll still read, write, and try to encourage you in this endeavor. But on to today’s reading.
That they may seek Your face (Psalm 83:16) — Having enemies is not unusual. Wishing that they’d stop is pretty normal. Crying out to God for justice is common in the psalms in the Bible. But in this psalm we find a most noble request not often expressed in the midst of calling down God’s wrath upon the enemies of Israel — that they be given defeat and their just desserts SO THAT they might turn to God. The human instinct is to want to see enemies defeated and left for dead so that they never bother us again. This inspired poem seeks the ultimate good of enemies, glorification of God, and the gaining brethren in the faith — all in one fell swoop. What a great lesson for practical living and practical prayers.
And also, what a great realization that defeat is often a call back to God. We live in a culture that wants desperately to to believe that God is nothing but love and that bad things are just “bad luck”. And yes it is true that sometimes bada things happen to good people, like Job. But aat other times bad things happen because they are the consequence of sin, or because God really is trying to get our attention. It may be politically incorrect, but it’s not always a bad thing to to suggest that troubles, defeats, and consequences are calls from God to get back on the right road.
In whose heart is the highway to Zion (Psalm 84:5) — This turn of phrase conjures up for the reader a picture of a righteous man whose heart is ever longing to worship the LORD and follow His way. For such a person, worship and righteousness isn’t a duty as much as it is a pleasure and earnest desire and blessing. Where does the highway of your heart lead?
Seeking the courts of God (Psalm 84:10) — What great joy the psalmist feels at being in the courts of his God. It reminds me a little of what you sometimes see on bumper stickers about fishing or playing golf. But here’s a much higher and nobler pursuit: a day in God’s courts is better than thousands anywhere else. Do we feel that way? Or would we rather be camping, fishing, golfing, vacationing, or sleeping in?
Will you be angry forever? (Psalm 85:5) — Happily the answer to this question in this realm is “No, not forever; unless our rebellion continues.” But God’s grace, patience, and willingness to forgive, frighteningly, does have its limits. There is coming a time when God’s anger will last forever. The thrust of this psalm is asking for release from the curses of sin after repentance; this God is graciously willing to do — provided that our sin hasn’t led to consequences that have landed us in jail or some other intractable situation — He is always willing to forgive and give us a new start.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.

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About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the church of Christ in Manchester NH where I've worked since the 1970's. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, the Lord's church, and Gander Brook Christian Camp.
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