Saturday before the Fourth Sunday of Advent — 22 December 2018 Devotional

Psalm 36, Psalm 42, Psalm 52

We see people all around us who do not believe in God. There are those who know of God, but do not have a relationship with God. There are those whose relationship with God has been confused by the world or others. There are those who knew God, and for many reasons walked away. God loves them all.

In Psalm 36:5 we read, “…your faithful love reaches to heaven…” A love that reaches to the heavens does not abandon those not now in the fold of God. Also, God is faithful, and remains true to himself. The love of God is always there, even for those in full opposition to God. God’s love is faithful.

In the midst of heartache, the Psalmist of Psalm 42 notes that God continually sends his faithful love (v. 8). This trust in God flows from the Psalmist’s recognition that he thirsts for the living God (v. 2). In many respects this is a key to understanding those inside the fold and those outside the fold of God. Searching and aching (or thirsting) for God is no weakness. It is recognition that we are not the masters of our domain, as we like to think. It is a realization that our pride is nothing in comparison to the glory and holiness of God.

This is when we become the flourishing (not just surviving) olive tree in the house of God (Psalm 52:8). The flourishment is trusting in God’s eternally faithful love. This love praises God through storm and sun, through good times and bad, as it is not based upon situations, but a relationship with God.

This understanding of flourishing helps us when we return to Psalm 42:8. “…[God’s] song will be with me in the night…” When we understand that night (lack of light) represents death and/or evil, we see that the Psalmist is not speaking/singing during a time of joy and freedom, but from the depths of pain. Yet, the Psalmist’s joy is based upon God, therefore it is a firm foundation.

1) Why do you think flourishing is tied to God’s faithful love?

2) Much of what we strive for is just for survival. How do we often confuse that with what we need to flourish?

3/KD) There are many people near and far who are protecting us. Those in the Armed Services are away from their families, often in foreign countries. Police, Fire and EMTs are nearby. We don’t see them much of the time, unless 1 or 2 are family or friends. We trust them to protect us and we don’t know most of them. We can know (or do know) God, who we cannot see. Yet, we seem to often not trust God to help us flourish. Both are remote and/or invisible. Why is it often easier for people to trust the military and first responders and not God?

Published by

Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.