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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 48

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
   in the city of our God. His holy mountain,
beautiful in elevation,
   is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
   the city of the great King.
Within its citadels God
   has shown himself a sure defense.

Then the kings assembled,
   they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
   they were in panic, they took to flight;
trembling took hold of them there,
   pains as of a woman in labor,
as when an east wind shatters the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen
   in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in the city of our God,
   which God establishes forever.

We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
   in the midst of your temple.
Your name, O God, like your praise,
   reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with victory.
   Let Mount Zion be glad,
let the towns of Judah rejoice
   because of your judgments.

Walk about Zion, go all around it,
    count its towers,
consider well its ramparts;
   go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
   that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
   He will be our guide forever. (NRSV)

Reflection
It’s very easy to be discouraged by what is happening in the world. The amount of bad news that we are bombarded with daily is simply overwhelming. We face the stress of our daily lives, compounded by news of evil in this world that we can scarcely comprehend.

The ancient Israelites had their share of hardship as well. Surrounded by hostile nations, they constantly faced destruction and exile. Yet they still recorded and sung praises for God’s protection, even as another external threat would surely come soon.

Psalms like this help remind me of God’s greatness and power, even when I feel powerless and overwhelmed. This doesn’t mean we should act like nothing is wrong and try to ignore our feelings. But it does mean we can balance those feelings with the promises that we know to be true: that God is great and greatly to be praised; that he is our guide forever and ever.

Prayer
Lord, you are great, and I praise you with my whole heart. Help me hold to your promises. Remind me of your steadfast love, even as I am overwhelmed by this world. Let me spread your love and grace to all generations. Amen.

Written by Jared Light, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church


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