Reading: Psalm 119
My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
but I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes fail, looking for your promise;
I say, “When will you comfort me?”
Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget your decrees.
How long must your servant wait?
When will you punish my persecutors?
The arrogant dig pits to trap me,
contrary to your law.
All your commands are trustworthy;
help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
They almost wiped me from the earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
In your unfailing love preserve my life,
that I may obey the statutes of your mouth (NIV).
Christians around the world are going through an unprecedented time of persecution. Broadly speaking the news media has done very little reporting on this topic. In China, new church buildings have been bulldozed to the ground. In Syria and Iraq, Christians have fled for their lives as Islamic extremist rampage through their communities raping and killing any who remain. In India several states have passed anti-conversion laws in an attempt to halt the spread of Christianity. Christmas celebrations were cancelled in Manipur state because of clashes and threats of violence from Hindu radicals.
For those who are suffering, these verses from Psalm 119 are particularly pertinent: All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause. They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.
Satan and his minions are determined to wipe Christians from the face of the earth. Sensing that his end is near, he has inflamed a host of religious extremists and fanatics to attack the bride of Christ. Though he rages, he will not succeed.
In their suffering, persecuted believers turn to the Lord and to his holy word. These words are their prayer: In your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.
We ought to thank the Lord daily for the freedom we have to assemble and worship our Savior. It’s a freedom we may one day lose.
Response: Father God, have mercy on those who are suffering for their faith. Be with those who are fleeing persecution. Travel with them and be their guide. Show me how I can help. Amen.
Your Turn: Do we take our freedoms for granted? Have you faced opposition because of your faith?
Trust the LORD and live right!
The land will be yours, and you will be safe.
Do what the LORD wants,
and he will give you your heart’s desire (Psalm 37:3-4, CEV).
This week’s I Love the Psalms theme is land.
Are you thankful for the land in which you live? I certainly am. On almost every measurement of prosperity, security, freedom and human development, Canada ranks at the top among the nations of the world. We have a great deal to be thankful for.
But to whom should we be giving thanks? Yes, we can be thankful for those who have gone before us, who built this great land through hard work and sacrifice. They forged partnerships with welcoming hearts that brought the prosperity and success that we now enjoy.
But ultimately, our freedom, security and prosperity come from the LORD. Today’s verse from the Psalms reminds us of this truth.
Trust the LORD and live right! The land will be yours, and you will be safe. Do what the LORD wants, and he will give you your heart’s desire (Psalm 37:3-4, CEV).
Ancient Israel enjoyed freedom and security when the people of the land trusted in God and lived right. The ways of LORD have not changed. If we want to continue to enjoy His blessings, we need to do what He wants and not merely pursue our selfish desires.
Response: LORD God, I thank you for my home and native land. Help the people of this great land turn their hearts toward you. God keep our land glorious and free. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you thankful for the land in which you live?