Today’s passages: Hosea, chapters 13-14; Psalms 100, 102; Hebrews, chapter 5
Scripture: Psalm 102:18-22 (NRSV) – Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord: that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die; so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.
Observations: This declaration comes in the middle of a prayer of lament, which is very interesting. In the first few verses, the psalmist says: “Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call…My heart is stricken and withered like grass; I am too wasted to eat my bread. Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my skin.” (vv 2, 4-5) So when we come to the verses quoted above, it seems to me that the psalmist is speaking by faith, about what he expects God to do – not what God has already done.
How many times do we pray in the midst of our trials as though God has already answered our prayer? Perhaps learning to do that is the “mustard seed” of faith that we need to develop in order to see God work the way that he has promised. Jesus taught us to pray each day for our daily bread, and God always provides just what we need. Jesus also taught us to pray for deliverance from evil each day; do we believe that with the same confidence that we believe that God will provide? When we pray that God’s Kingdom would come, do we do his will in faith believing that our obedience helps his Kingdom to come? When we learn to walk in faith, knowing that God will provide, knowing that God will deliver us, we will begin to develop the faith that allows us to pray in the midst of our fiercest trials: Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord: that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die; so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.
Applications: God is reminding me today that intentional faith is to be a part of every day. He doesn’t just want us to express faith when we think that we need his help; he wants us to walk in faith every day. When we begin to do that, we will begin to believe that God will work in even greater ways than he already has – whether that is in our own lives, in our churches, or in the world around us. God’s power has not changed; his desire to see people transformed has not changed. He is waiting for his people to walk in the kind of faith that opens the door for him to do his mighty work!
Prayer: Father, help me today to walk in faith, believing that you are guiding me in each step, each word, each action. Attune my heart to hear your voice, and help me to obey. May your kingdom come and your will be done today, on earth – by me – as in heaven. Amen.