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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 147:12–20

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
   Praise your God, O Zion!
For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
   he blesses your children within you.
He grants peace within your borders;
   he fills you with the finest of wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth;
   his word runs swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
   he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down hail like crumbs—
   who can stand before his cold?
He sends out his word, and melts them;
   he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,
   his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
   they do not know his ordinances. Praise the Lord! (NRSV)

I always appreciate how inspirational the psalms are, that they are an exhortation to be in awe of God’s provision in our lives. No matter what we’re going through, God’s work is apparent. The psalmists always seem to keep that in mind. In this passage, the psalmist even praises God for the snow, wind, and hail. I honestly can’t say that I have ever been inspired—especially in the midst of a Chicago winter—to raise up that specific praise.

But what really stands out for me is the praise for “peace within your borders” and being “filled with the finest wheat.” These are wonderful things to be thankful for, but what is striking are the unspoken fears behind the praise: concern about unrest happening around us and worry about going hungry.

With the evil that we see daily in our world, I often have fears of uncertainty about what the future has in store. But when those thoughts and fears seem overwhelming, it’s good to remember these passages and remind myself of God’s provision, which I’ve seen in my life over and over again. I’ve seen it before, and I’m sure to see it again, and it’s an inspiration to move forward and fight for God’s justice and peace in this world.

Mighty Lord, I praise you for your love and provision. Turn my uncertainty and fear into praise and jubilation, that I would feel your grace and show that to all your creation. Amen.

Written by Jared Light, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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