Highlights In Today's Reading:
A mixture of worship, giving glory to God, and pleas for His help in trouble to relieve Israel from its adversaries. A Messianic prophecy is recorded with its fulfillment recorded in the New Testament? Today's reading ends with the personal testimony of a devout old man praising the Holy One of Israel (71:9,22-23) for his redemption.
The rebellious dwell in a dry land (68:6). Our text proclaims that, without God life is empty and unsatisfying — that a life of sin is soon disappointing, barren, and wretched. Sin cannot produce peace, real love, or satisfaction. The man who trusts in God is led to praise Him irrespective of life's ups and downs. Christianity has been misrepresented by Satan and his crowd as a cheerless, gloomy, dull experience.
But for a Christian all things work together for good to them that love God (Romans 8:28). The fact is that our Heavenly Father loves equally every Christian so much that the very hairs of your (our) head are numbered (Matthew 10:30) meaning He never overlooks one detail and no one is ever overlooked. Even the death of an insignificant little sparrow is noted by Him (10:29). Regardless of whatever comes into the life of a Christian — it all comes from Him and is for their good and His glory: I give unto them eternal life. . . . and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand (John 10:28-29).
Even the dark and trying experiences of life can produce good blessings for the Christian. They know that trials are often a blessing in disguise — that temporal loss can result in spiritual enrichment. So a Christian's greatest losses and crosses may lead to his greatest gains and joys. But it is far otherwise with the rebellious. To them trials, sorrows, and losses are unfortunate evils. They rebel against trials; and earthly losses often lead to bitterness — the rebellious dwell in a dry land. The brightest prospects of sinful enjoyment eventually leave their victims empty and wretched.
To Christians the future is radiant, beautiful, and inviting. At the close of life, they look expectantly forward to meeting their Savior, Jesus Christ, who abolished death (Revelation 20:6; 21:8). Thou . . . shalt quicken me (make me alive) again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth (Psalm 71:20). To the rebellious, Jesus said: Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. . . . but the righteous into life eternal (Matthew 35:30,46).
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Thought for Today:
The joy of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is never understood by the fallen world and its perverted standards.
As the One who led captivity captive (Psalm 68:18). With His resurrection power, Jesus broke the captive power of Satan. When He led the Old Testament saints from paradise into heaven, He led captivity captive (compare Eph. 4:8; also Gal. 5:1; Rev. 1:18).
67:2 saving health =b> salvation; 68:4 JAH is an abbreviation of Jehovah — the Eternal, Self-Existent One — and corresponds to I AM THAT I AM; 68:13 pots =b> sheepfolds; 68:18 led captivity captive =b> led your captives captive — a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:8-9); 68:20 issues =b> escapes; 68:35 terrible =wesome, astonishing; 70:3 Aha, aha =b> an expression of scorn.
Pray for Government Official: President George W. Bush • Country: Uganda (23 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: English and Luganda • Religious freedom • 51% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 10% animist; 7% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Remember that prayer changes things (James 5:16-18).
Optional Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 4:8