Bible Readings and Devotion for April 15, 2020
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Devotion for April 15, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
In today’s reading from Psalm 107 we read a prayer of deliverance in the midst of difficulty. The foundational idea of the psalm is that of God’s strong faithfulness now and in the long term. We begin with, “1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” This is actually a core truth throughout the Old Testament. God is strong and consistent for us. His love is constant and everlasting. In everything else that we do, and everything else that I write following this today, know this truth: God loves us beyond measure, and he always will.
The psalm continues by noting various difficult situations which the people of God have faced over time. Suffering in the desert. Huddling in dark places in distress. Illness and sin.
With each of these items of distress, we are reminded that the Lord is there for the people. We are once again told of the truth that God loves the people, and his steadfast love is expressed to them over and over.
Something which is always part of life’s struggles and God’s powerful love is the call to repentance. Repentance is the act of expressing deep regret for wrongdoing, and then getting back on track with one’s relationship with God. It is a turning away from sin and being restored to a right connection with the Lord.
Difficult situations can be an opportunity to revisit God’s abundant love for us. These situations can get us thinking about what is truly important in life. We can get a wakeup call of sorts during challenging times.
We are certainly in challenging times. Frequently people tell me that they have never experienced anything like this in their lives. It is not the end of the world, but it is difficult. This is most difficult for the many who are sick. Thousands have died from COVID19 illness. Others have lost jobs. Some have lost loved ones yet are unable to have a traditional funeral gathering with supportive family and friends. Some are struggling to pay their bills. Millions are lonely and isolated. The list can go on.
When we face difficulty there is always the call to repentance. A Bible passage I think of in light of this is Luke 13:1-5, which reads: “1 At that very time there were some present who told (Jesus) about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”
This passage notes that when we see difficulty in the lives of others, our response needs to be evaluating our own connection or disconnection with God. It is not to be about condemning others. It is always about getting back on track with the Lord. So, when life is tough for you, or someone else, it is time to repent, it is time to get back on track with the Lord.
The psalm ends with this statement: “Let those who are wise give heed to these things, and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.” Because the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, there is always and every day an opportunity to turn from our sin and to get reconnected with God.
Loving God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: comfort us with your steadfast love. Guide us to a closer walk with you. Turn our hearts away from sin and guide us to a renewed relationship with you. We pray this in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.