I will praise Him!
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
(Psalm 62:5-8, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 118
Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!
The LORD’s right hand is lifted high;
the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”
I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
Open for me the gates of the righteous;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation (NIV).
Are you left handed? Today in western cultures being left handed presents some challenges since many devices are designed with right-handed people in mind. Try finding left-handed scissors next time you’re at a store. Good luck with that! Oh, and if you find them, expect to pay three times the price of a right-handed model. Often lefties don’t have it so good.
Even today in Middle Eastern cultures being born left handed presents an enormous challenge. The right hand is used for eating food; the left hand is used for personal hygiene—bottom wiping. You dare not reverse that assigned role. Toddlers are strictly trained in this cultural practice. Usually left-handed children are forced to switch so they conform to the social norm. Making this switch plays havoc with the developing brain and often results in speech impediments such as stuttering, since this transition requires a complete rewiring of the child’s brain.
The Bible was written by Holy Spirit inspired authors, but like authors today they were not blank slates. They wrote from their cultural perspective to the people of their time. As a result, readers today can easily miss or misunderstand concepts that were readily understood in their original context.
The significance of the right hand is one of those culturally important concepts that we often pass over with little thought. The Bible is replete with references to the right hand or specifically God’s right hand. So what’s the big deal, we think to ourselves. But in Middle Eastern culture the right hand holds great significance. This is the hand of righteousness, honor and blessing. Thus, there is immense significance in this statement: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things! The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”
Response: Father God, extend your right hand of blessing over me. Work on my behalf. Show me your mercy, your power and glory. Again and again I will give you thanks, for you answered me. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you like the psalmist? Has the LORD spared your life for a purpose?
The LORD says,
“If you love me
and truly know who I am,
I will rescue you and keep you safe.
When you are in trouble, call out to me.
I will answer and be there
to protect and honor you.
You will live a long life and see my saving power.”
(Psalm 91:14-16, CEV)
You made us a little lower than you yourself, and you have crowned us with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5, CEV).
This week’s I Love the Psalms theme is glory.
When we think of glory, especially in biblical terms, we immediately think of God’s glory. But today’s verse from the Psalms reminds us that we humans have glory too. You made us a little lower than you yourself, and you have crowned us with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5, CEV). Other translations read a little lower than the angels.
Glory, honor and dignity are gifts from God. They are His gift to humanity. When we humiliate or dishonor someone, we are sullying God’s glory. We need to see God’s glory in the faces of those around us.
No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts (1 John 4:12).
Do you see God’s glory in your children, your neighbor or colleague?
Response: LORD God, open my eyes to your glory in those around me. Help me to treat my neighbors with love and respect because they bear your image. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you have trouble seeing God in others?
Honor the wonderful name of the LORD, and worship the LORD most holy and glorious (Psalm 29:2, CEV).
This week’s I Love the Psalms theme is worship.
Today’s verse from the psalms calls on us to honor the wonderful name of the LORD. What a fitting way to begin 2016. Jesus taught us to pray in the same way. In the Lord’s Prayer, our first petition or request of our heavenly Father is that His name be hallowed. There is no greater name than the name of the LORD.
May we honor and worship our holy and glorious LORD throughout 2016.
Response: LORD God, I worship your name. You are worthy of all praise because you created all things. I bow before you. Cleanse my heart, my lips and my very life. Amen.
Your Turn: How will you hallow and honor the LORD in the year ahead?