Riding the Pendulum

Today’s reading is Psalm 31.

Whether this psalm and the last are placed next to each other for this purpose or not, there is a striking contrast between the two. In Psalm 30:6, David wrote, “I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.'” in Psalm 31:22, he writes, “I had said in my alarm, ‘I am cut off from your sight.'” In the previous psalm, because of David’s confidence, pride, and swagger, the Lord hid His face and David was dismayed (though, admittedly, the ultimate outcome of that psalm is David’s deliverance). In this psalm, because of David’s humility, penitence, and prayer, the Lord delivers. This contrast shows what happens in our life. We ride the pendulum. One day, we ride high in confidence. The next, we scrape the bottom in terror. One day, our pride is getting the better of us. The next, our humility draws us closer to God. As all this is going on, this contrast draws out something we learned in Psalm 30 as well. We all want the good times, the mountaintop experiences, but often it is the valleys that teach and grow us the most. It’s hard to thank God for His testing and refining fires, but this gives us reason to count it all joy when we meet various trials. After all, the trials produce steadfastness, steadfastness grows us to maturity, maturity strengthens love, and those who love God receive the crown of life (see James 1:2-4, 12).

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 31.

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Fear Not

Today’s reading is Revelation 1.

John sees Jesus walking among the lampstands and falls on his face as though dead. Jesus lays His hand on John and says, “Fear not.” What a great kick off to this book. Obviously, Jesus is addressing John’s fear in the presence His own divinity. However, this is also a summary of the book. Jesus is the first and the last. He is the Living One. He lived, He died, but now He is alive forevermore. And that sets the stage for everything Jesus is going to reveal to John. A lot of things were going to happen to Christians that were pretty frightening. Frightening in the same sense that being unjustly arrested, tried, and crucified is frightening. However, though Jesus died, He was still victorious and is now alive forevermore. In like manner, John has nothing to really fear from anything Rome, Jerusalem, name the enemy of your choice, would do to him because no matter what it looks like, Jesus always wins. Whatever else you get out of reading Revelation this time, get this. Sure, death may be coming. But, for us, even death is the pathway to victory. We have nothing to fear. Praise the Lord?

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 2.

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