Lent Spent with the Psalms, the Waiting

imageAs modern Christians, we can scarcely imagine the cloud of darkness that enveloped the early disciples of the Lord. He had died and been placed behind the stone in the tomb. All hope had gone, at least for today. It was a test for which they were not prepared. It led to a dawn that was beyond anything imaginable.

We will have times of darkness when it seems that God is far away. He is not, but for whatever reason, His plan calls for us to endure. The advantage that we have is our distance in time. We have seen that our Lord rose and walked among us a second time before rising to His rightful throne. This day before Easter is symbolic and ceremonial. We wait and we watch. We do not allow our hearts to sink into despair in our own moments of darkness.

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;

I will sing and make music.

Awake, my soul!

Awake, harp and lyre!

I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, O Lord among the nations;

I will sing of you among the peoples. (Psalm 57:7-9)

Grace and peace to you.


image taivasalla

Lent Spent with the Psalms Day Thirty Nine

imageBut man, despite his riches, does not endure;

he is like the beasts that perish.

This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,

and of their followers, who approve their sayings. (Psalm 49:12)

We will all face death one day. Our choice in life is to wait on that day for the benefit of redemption as though Christ died for nothing but an insurance policy with us as the beneficiary or to be free today.

But God will redeem my life from the grave;

he will surely take me to himself. (v15)

You have been redeemed and set free. Will you walk up out of your self-made tomb? Will you live as a free man or woman in Christ?

Grace and peace to you.


image john thurm

Lent Spent with the Psalms Day Thirty Eight

image Hear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.

Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.

You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you. (Psalm 86:1-2)

The Cross in view and many are still waiting. The Psalmist did not have the Cross in view. He pleaded and prayed and praised and cried out for God to save him. You have the Cross in view and yet many still wait.

For God to save them.

The Cross is in view.

Grace and peace to you.

image crazyfast

Lent Spent with the Psalms Day Thirty Seven

image When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

In God, whose words I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.

What can mortal man do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4)

Make me confront my own cross?

Cry out for the love of God to flow through me?

Both can be equally terrifying to us. Jesus knew what lie ahead and yet set His face like flint towards Calvary. When we consider what His sacrifice bought, can we do anything less?

After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11)


Grace and peace to you.

image hcii

Lent Spent with the Psalms Day Thirty Six

imageRemember, O Lord, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell.

“Tear it down,” they cried, “tear it down to its foundations!” (Psalm 137:7)

In the midst of Passion week, as we walk the final steps with our Lord feeling the weight of the Cross atop our shoulders and sensing the increasing tension, the world mocks what we purport to stand for. They shop for candy, baskets, and spring clothes without a sense of the sacrifice that the holiest of days represents and we are to blame. We often don’t live out what we say we believe.

If your faith is not being actively lived, today is the day to meditate on why. We should walk quietly in whatever circumstance God brings us, showing our faith as guiding our purpose. The absence of protest on our part will both warn and attract.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

Grace and peace to you.

image Lawrence OP

Lent Spent with the Psalms Day Thirty Four

image The Psalmist issues a plea from self interest meant to intrigue God:

Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.

No one remembers you when he is dead.

Who praises you from the grave? (Psalm 6:4-5)

Modern ears hear this differently than the contemporaries of the psalmist. To them, death was the opposite of life. They did not have the history of the resurrection to guide their thinking. Christians cannot claim this ignorance however. We know that his life is not all there is.

The reality of the Cross looms closer than ever. Though we don’t fear the grave, we should not also fall into the trap of treating salvation as an insurance policy. It is not just for the life beyond, it is for the hear and now. Life includes Jesus now and the Kingdom of Heaven is now. Find your purpose and fulfill it, lest you reach the final moments and realize that the Lord had called you to accomplish so much more.

Grace and peace to you.

image by Mark Landells

Lent Spent with the Psalms Day Thirty Two

imageThough we pride ourselves as otherwise, our perspective is limited. A few moments of darkness can cause despair and test our faith. To see the Lord hanging upon the cross was certainly one of those moments. To see Jesus release His final breath in the gloom must have sent minds racing. The body releases adrenalin to fuel our escape from fear and our heart races. The mind must quickly rehearse the truths that it has acquired to direct the next critical move.

Readers of the Old Testament have the advantage of seeing over and over how God reminds His people of all of the bondage that he has freed them from throughout history. Faced with silence, the psalmist remembers:

Will the Lord reject forever?

Will he never show his favor again?

Has his promise failed for all time?

Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion? (Psalm 77:7-9)

We know these feelings, the despair from thinking that our unworthiness has overwhelmed God’s grace. In these moments we need to remember.

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember your miracles of long ago.

I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.

Your ways, O God, are holy. (vv 10-13a)

God does not change.

Grace and peace to you.

image kanelstrand

Lent Spent with the Psalms Day Thirty One

image We plead with God for mercy and security, ratcheting up the intensity when we feel that we might be treading on especially dangerous ground. When the voices were raised to free Barabbas, there is no doubt for whom we would have been calling. Like the psalmist in Psalm 140, we see ourselves clearly on one side:

Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; protect me from men of violence,

who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. (vv 1-2)

Does the mirror tell a different story? The Cross offers salvation but it also acts like a mirror, requiring us to look deeply and to realize that we are the people of evil, the people who caused the Lord to be crucified. The observation of Lent is intended to focus our hearts on not only the glory of the resurrection but on the brokenness that lies within that made the Cross necessary. Perhaps our plea should be “Lord, rescue us from ourselves.”

Grace and peace to you.

image by Mance

Lent Spent with the Psalms Day Thirty

imageWe all know the feeling, even if we are unable to bring forth the words:

Why have you rejected us forever, O God?

Why does your anger smolder against the sheep in your pasture? (Psalm 74:1)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?

O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. (Psalm 22:1-2)

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” –which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:45-46)

God has not turned his back on you, it can only be that in some way, you have turned your back to Him.

Grace and peace to you.

image Sean Dreilinger