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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, August 3, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 107:1–9, 43

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
   those he redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
   from the east and from the west,
   from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,
   finding no way to an inhabited town;
hungry and thirsty,
   their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
   and he delivered them from their distress;
he led them by a straight way,
   until they reached an inhabited town.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
   for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he satisfies the thirsty,
   and the hungry he fills with good things.

Let those who are wise give heed to these things,
   and consider the steadfast love of the Lord. (NRSV)

Reflection
Like most of the psalms, Psalm 107 is straightforward. The first verse says it all.

The question I ask myself whenever I am in the psalms is “What does this mean to me?” I have not been scattered or captured by a foe. I am not hungry or thirsty. I have my own troubles.

When I call out to God and truly listen with a discerning ear, God delivers me from my distress just as the psalm says. God does not necessarily deliver me from the situation but from the distress that can come from what I may see as a bad situation.

It can take a long time for me to comprehend that deliverance. However, looking back I do see God at work within and through me. God’s unfailing love gives me the certainty I need.

I love the last verse of the psalm: “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder on the loving deeds of the Lord.” The message I get from this instruction is to consider the choice I have in the perspective I adopt when looking at my life. I can concentrate on what I see as the slings and arrows of fate and suffer the despondence that will naturally result from this view. On the other hand, I can, and should, choose to ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.

The blessing comes when I remember to give thanks for God’s unfailing love even when the storm around me makes that love difficult to see. In those times it is my faith in God’s unfailing love that gets me through the storm.

Prayer
Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of your unfailing love. Help me to constantly hold fast to that love and reflect your love to those I encounter. Amen.

Written by Blake Anderson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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