Bible Readings and Devotion for May 20, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for May 20, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Everything seems to change all the time. The thing which seems to have changed the most in my life is where I have lived. I have lived in six states: Colorado, Texas, California, Ohio, Florida and Indiana. I have lived in 12 cities or towns. In those 12 cities I have had 20 addresses which I can remember, not including temporary stays at hotels for a few weeks here and there while waiting for a house to become available.
In the midst of all these changes and challenges, there is one thing which has remained the same. It is that God has always loved and cared for me. He sought me out by his Holy Spirit, and called me to the Gospel. God stirred my parents to make sure I was baptized and raised to know our Lord. No matter what else happened in my life, God has been there, carrying me through it all from the very first until now, and on into eternity.
Psalm 46, verses 1-3 reminds us of the truth of God which I have experienced and lived, and which God offers to all who would believe in Jesus Christ. The Psalmist writes, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.”
To better understand this psalm, let us look to two contexts for this psalm. We look first to the Old Testament Context. The Old Testament Context of Psalm 46 is that of the people of Israel, around 1000 to 750 BC. This is the time of the Kings and of Jerusalem being the center of religious and political life for the people. The Israelites struggled against three enemies: foreign powers, the power of the sea, and their struggle with the temptation to worship false idols. Each of these brought chaos, division and loss to the people.
To care for them, God gave them this psalm as a source of encouragement in the midst of their fears and enemies. His love and care, and the people’s worship and thanksgiving, were central to his presence in that place. The Lord’s love for his people would not falter or sway.
Another context of this psalm is our life now. The strong and sure love of God is brought to us in the saving work of Jesus Christ. We are reminded that Jesus, God the Son, had given himself for the world for the forgiveness of our sin. Through his being raised from the dead, Jesus leads us beyond death to a new life founded on his goodness and love. That love of God is offered to us in our context today. We also face our own struggles. Life has its ups and downs. Into this we are reminded of a truth which is greater than our present struggles. We have a hope which is more powerful than all the changes and challenges of our time. We have the truth which was already there for us 3000 years ago. We have what the psalmist tells us: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.”
This also reminds us of a wonderfully assuring passage in Hebrews, chapter 13, verse 8, where the author states: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” We know that despite all the changes and challenges of life that our Lord Jesus Christ will always love us and be with us. He has been there all along, and will be with us now and forever.
We are reminded in 1 Peter 5:7 that Jesus is there for us in the midst of all the challenges of life. Peter tells us, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” We can cast all of our struggles and changes on him, and he will carry our burden. We can cast all our broken and troubled lives on him, because he gave himself for us on the cross. Because he has given all for us, because we can cast all of our changes and challenges on him, we can live with sure and certain hope.
To close I share with you the sure and certain vision for the future. We read in Revelation chapter 21 the following:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.””
Eternal God, amid all the turmoil and changes of the world your love is steadfast and your strength never fails. In this time of danger and trouble, be to us a sure guardian and rock of defense. Guide the leaders of our nation with your wisdom, comfort those in distress, and grant us courage and hope to face the future; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen