The Lord’s Hand Revisited

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

In Psalm 31, we were excited to place our spirit and our times in God’s hands. In Psalm 32, we’re back to the Lord’s hands. But this isn’t so exciting. “For day and night your hand was heavy upon me.” Oh man! That sounds tough. I don’t like that. “Ease up, Lord,” I want to cry out. “Your hand is too heavy.” But wait! Do I really trust the Lord’s hand with my spirit and my times, or don’t I? In fact, David is thankful for the Lord’s heavy hand here. He understands without that heavy hand, he wouldn’t feel the guilt quite as intensely. If he doesn’t feel his guilt quite as intensely, he will never come to confession. If he doesn’t come to confession, he will not receive forgiveness.

Entrusting our spirit and our times into the Lord’s hands means we believe God knows when to be heavy-handed. In fact, we are glad when He is because we know it is for our good.

It’s not that we enjoy the heavy hand of God, but we know where it leads. As Hebrews 12:5-11 explains, the Lord disciplines us for our good. Therefore, though it is painful in the moment, it trains us, and we yield peaceful fruit of righteousness. That is something we do enjoy. Praise the Lord!

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

Continue reading “The Lord’s Hand Revisited”

My Spirit and My Times

Today’s reading is Psalm 31.

“Into your hand I commit my spirit,” David says in Psalm 31:4. That sounds beautiful. I want to do that. But what does it mean? Practically, how do I commit my spirit to the Lord? Perhaps Psalm 31:15 gives us some insight. David also says, “My times are in your hand.” That is, my circumstance, my life events, my days, my nights, my seasons, my weeks, my years. If “my times” are in God’s hands, doesn’t that imply my behavior during those times is in God’s hands? Paul provides a great example of this in 2 Corinthians 12:10. Having become convinced of God’s grace in his life through a thorn in the flesh, he says, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” In other words, “My circumstances are in the Lord’s hands. If He decides to make me sick, if He decides to make me go through a shipwreck, if He decides to put me in prison, if He decides to make me abound in prosperity, I’ll trust Him that He is doing what is right; and I’ll just obey Him no matter what.” Of course, Jesus demonstrates this on the cross. He even quotes it (Luke 23:46). Even if God puts me on a cross. Even if I’m thrown in a fiery furnace or a lion’s den. Even if the fig tree doesn’t blossom, there is no fruit on the vine, the produce of the olive fail, the fields yield no food, the flocks and herds get destroyed, I will rejoice in the Lord (Habakkuk 3:17-18). He’ll get me through. I trust Him. My job will just be to do whatever He says and rejoice in Him no matter what. I know in the end, He’ll work it out for His glory and my good. My spirit and my times are in the Lord’s hands. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 31.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes and listen to the Text Talk podcast conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

Continue reading “My Spirit and My Times”

The Hand of the Lord

Today’s reading is Acts 11.

Why did the Antioch church have so much success with the gospel? Because the hand of the Lord was with them. How will we have success with the gospel today? The hand of the Lord needs to be with us. I know I have to remember this all the time. Sometimes…okay, I’ll be honest, a lot of the time, I get caught up in my own arrogance and pride thinking my ideas are the best, my plans are greatest, my work is what is needed to grow my home congregation. It’s just not true. What is needed is the hand of the Lord. If the hand of the Lord is with us, He can use anyone, any plans, anyone’s work. No doubt, like those Christians, like Barnabas, like Saul, we need to work. We need to plan and then act out the plans. But we always need to remember who the author of the success really is: the Lord. Let’s simply thank the Lord that He lets us be involved.

Next week’s reading is Acts 12.

Continue reading “The Hand of the Lord”

God's Hand, Not Mine

Today’s reading is Acts 7.

Over the last two days, we’ve noticed Stephen’s not so subtle messages about not focusing on holy men and holy places, but on the God who made them holy. In both of those streams of thought, Stephen brings together an interesting contrast. In his look at Moses, in Acts 7:25, he explains that at one time Moses had supposed the folks would know God was delivering the people by Moses’s hand. Of course, we know that didn’t happen. Then in Acts 7:35, we see this Moses was sent as redeemer and ruler by the hand of the angel (that is, of the Lord) to lead the people out of Egypt. Granted, the play on the word “hand” is not in the original Hebrew, however the meaning is. I appreciate the ESV bringing it out. Israel wasn’t led out of bondage by the hand of Moses, but by the hand of the Lord. In Stephen’s look at the temple, in Acts 7:48, Stephen highlights that the temple was made by men’s hands. This was a jab against the Jews because it hearkened back to their time worshiping the golden calf which was the work of their own hands (Acts 7:41). The Jews were actually doing the same thing with the temple they had done with the calf. They had made the temple into an idol. Then Stephen quotes Isaiah 66:1-2, in which God explains His hands had created the entire world. That is, God can treat any place He wants as Holy. In both streams of thought, Stephen makes a contrast–our hands vs. God’s. And in both streams, he highlights a struggle I have. I can get fixated on what my hands can accomplish. I can start to think that what my hands have built, what my hands have forged, what my hands have constructed, what my hands have done is really, really important. Not so. God’s hands are the power. God’s Kingdom, Christ’s Body, the Spirit’s Temple will not be built by my hands, but by God’s. I may be an instrument He uses. I hope and pray so. The power is not in my hands, but God’s. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 7.

Continue reading “God's Hand, Not Mine”

The Hand of the Lord

Today’s reading is Acts 11.

Why did a great many believe and turn to the Lord in Antioch? Because the hand of the Lord was with them. If we want a great many to believe and turn to the Lord today, what do we need? The hand of the Lord to be with us. Yes, we need plans for sharing the gospel, but apart from the Lord’s hand, our plans are useless. I’ve recently become aware that the two counties my home congregation draws from have together over 1 million people who claim to be nothing religiously. That represents two-thirds of those counties. Two out of every three people I meet where I live claim to be nothing religiously. What a field for harvest! But what good will we do among that number (or among the numbers of people who claim religion, but a false one) without the Lord’s hand? Let’s spend time today praying for the Lord’s hand to be with us.

Monday’s reading is Acts 12.

Continue reading “The Hand of the Lord”