For the past 5+ months it has been the privilege of men from our church to offer a daily devotional based on the ESV Study Bible year-long Bible reading plan passage assigned for each day. As we offer a new 6 month plan through the New Testament for those who missed or have fallen off of this plan, we will discontinue posting daily blogs from the ESV year-long Bible reading plan.
Continue to press on to know the Lord in His word!
Jonah 1: 1-3 Jonah Flees the Presence of the Lord
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
Have you ever been where we find Jonah at today? Having a great ministry and love for the Lord only for Him to ask you to do something for Him that you really don’t want to do? So we like Jonah, tend to flee the Presence of the Lord. As we continue to read thru Jonah, we find the Lord pursues Jonah. In fact, he makes life miserable for not only Jonah but for those who Jonah is hanging out with at the time. The Lord will pursue us as well, maybe not to the extremes that He did to Jonah but God loves us too much to let us just go away. This should be very encouraging to the child of God today, knowing that no matter what we struggle with God will be there. We can also be encouraged to know that God has a plan and purpose for our life just as he did with Jonah. And yes, that plan and purpose may include a few things that we really do not want to do! But remember, God’s plan in sending his son Jesus to die for your sins and mine. Jesus asked for the cup to be taken from Him but Jesus did not flee the Presence of the Father. He prayed not His will but the Father’s. Let Jesus be our example in all things, especially those things we really do not want to do.
Our Priceless Privilege
1 Shout, Praise the Lord! Sing to the Him a new song with all our hearts! Sing his praise in the assembly of His followers. 2 Let all of us, His people, celebrate our Maker, our God, and our Friend; let us be joyful in our true King. 3 Let us praise His name with a chorus and choir and with a single or group dance; let us sing praises to Him with the rhythm of the tambourine and to the tune of the harp. 4 For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He did a wonderful thing for His humble people. He saved them.
The central theme of Psalm 149 is a call to participate in the greatest privilege presented to us is giving praise to the name and being of God.
We aren’t told who the author is or the circumstances of this psalm but it seems there was a threat of some kind from an outside enemy. Even in the face of this life-threatening danger, God’s people were invited to worship God for His grace in their lives. They were to bring their praises to God. This is a called of God’s people to praise Him in the midst of trouble times. Praising God puts earthly problems into the right perspective.
Praising God should never be allowed to become a unexciting duty. As long as we live we are to focus on the glory of God’s supremacy, our praise of Him is to be breath taking. Our hearts are to reach captivated joy as we see the great majesty of our glorious King. Upon seeing the beauty of God’s holiness, increasing our praise of the Lord becomes precious and loved as a prize possession. Thus, a low view of God produces a lukewarm and a wishy-washy worship. But a high view of God produces enthusiastic, zealous worship. The key is to continue a great view of God’s glory.
May we answer the call to praise given in this psalm. Come give glory to our God. Lift high our praises to His name and Being. Sing to the Lord a new song. This is our priceless privilege.
Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. – 1Tim 6:1 ESV
Our Lord set the greatest example when He became flesh and lived the life of a humble and obedient servant, even to death. It is up to us to demonstrate His love for us in the work place or where ever He can be seen through our actions. We glorify God when we listen to the Spirit, and it is also a “practice what you preach” way of living; it shows others that there is something extraordinary in our lives. Remember, being free in Christ has set us free from the burden of those whom we work for or take orders from.
147 Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. 2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. 3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 4 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. 5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. 6 The LORD lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.
We praise the Lord because he alone is worthy to be praised. Can you hear the love of our savior and Lord Jesus Christ in these verses. So often we lean on our own understanding and ask God does he even care for us? But God cared for us so much that he sent his only son to die for our sins. Jesus would come and live a life just like you and I yet he would do it in full obedience to the father. Yes God cares for us very much more than we can ever imagine. Know that you are loved very much today. Walk in that truth today.
In this psalm we find a psalmist that is preaching to himself.
“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!…. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God”
We find a psalmist that is resolving to fix his gaze upon God.
“I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.”
And he is giving fuel to his sermon and resolve by actively remembering all that God has done.
“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless”
If we look closely we will see that this practice of preaching to self is one that reoccurs throughout the psalter, and it is my prayer that it is a practice that would reoccur in our lives as well. So today, on this Memorial Day, as we reflect on all the brave men and women who have fought to afford us the freedom that we so greatly appreciate, let us not neglect to also reflect on what Jesus has done. Let us fix our gaze upon Him, understanding that it is He alone that affords us our ultimate freedom. And let us rest in His sovereignty, continuing to place our final hope in HIm.
The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever, the Psalmist reminds us. Obadiah has quite a lesson of God’s steadfast care for us in our reading today as well. The shortest book in the Old Testament, Obadiah is a word from the Lord concerning the evil of the Edomites (descendants for Esau) against their brothers in Israel. As the Babylonians trampled Jerusalem, rather than help the Israelites, they apprehended and handed those fleeing to their captors. What then does it tell us of God’s loving care?
Even in the midst of God-ordained difficulty, His arm is not short that it cannot save, and His ear not deaf that He cannot hear. God may be refining us in the fire of trial, but He still cares and sustains us. In the case of the Israelites God is the one who sent the Babylonians to lay siege and take them captive in response to their stiff-necked rebellion and sin. So also, whether the hardship we face is a result of our sin or the results of living in a fallen world, when encounter difficulty, God is not far from our cries and He will one day deliver us fully.