Readings for Friday, June 21, 2019
Psalms 40 – 45
Today was our final day at camp. Instead of a day of service, we were allowed a “camp day” to play and explore the grounds of Lutheran Memorial Camp. Togther we took on kayaking, volleyball, time at the pool, and closing chapel in the woods. All it all it was a great week, and I am super proud of our youth! Thanks to all who help financially make this trip possible, and to everyone who kept us in their prayers as we traveled. After dropping our youth off, I went back to my normal routine of reading and and reflecting on our text for the Year of Scripture. Unfortunately for you, that means it back to just me and my thoughts as we continue to read together.
“Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering,
you have not required.”
How many days did it take for us to read through Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy? As we read, nearly every day had some reference to making a sacrifice to God. A grain offering, a fellowship offering, a sin offering, and on the list could go. Yet here the Psalmist speaks unusual words, “Sacrifice and offering you do not desire.” Wow! If God doesn’t desire offerings, what does God desire? The only thing we can give . . . an open generous heart ready to praise God with all our being!
In Matthew 26:11, Jesus states, “You will always have the poor with you,” and here we are reminded of the poor. “Happy are those who consider the poor.” Not only are we blessed in our care and compassion to those who are living on the margins of life, those who receive the care we offer, are blessed as well!
This Psalm begins the second “Book” of Psalms. As you are reading, the first verse might sound familiar. It’s a hymn that we sing from time to time in worship. “As the deer, comes to the water, so my soul belongs to you.”
For more information on how Psalms in structured in various “books” take a look at this video from Thebibleproject.com
Here is a plea for help. Can you sense it in these words. In not so many words, you hear the Psalmist crying out: lead me, guide me, protect me. Even in the longing, there is still praise, trust and hope, knowing that God will indeed provide.
As I read though Psalm 44, I divided into four distinct pleas. Pleas that seemed to be stating a case, as if in self defense of what we or God is doing in life.
verses 1 – 8: Look what I have done, as I trust in the Lord.
verses 9-16: Look at what God has put us through in the presence of our enemies.
verses 17-22: Even though we feel abandoned, we have not forgotten you, O Lord.
verses 23-26: Why God? Why!
We all know the text from 1 Corinthians chapter 13. “Love is patient, love is kind . . .” We hear it at nearly every wedding, as it provides a model of how we ought to live in love. As we read Psalm 45, I can’t help but wonder if this was an used as a similar reading in weddings of the Isaelites, as it speaks of the relationship of marriage.
Then of course, comes the question. Who is the bride? Who is the groom? Who is it that the Psalmist is referring to? Is it you or me? Is it God or the king? Could it be all of the above? Just as 1 Corinthians could easily speak of our love for one another, or God’s love for us, so too can Psalm 45 do the same.
Readings for the next few days:
Saturday, June 22: Psalm 46-50
Sunday, June 23: Psalm 51-57
Monday, June 24: Psalm 58-65