The Consequence of Consequences

“Let me sing for my beloved
    my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
    on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
    and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
    and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes,
    but it yielded wild grapes…

What more was there to do for my vineyard,
    that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes,
    why did it yield wild grapes?

And now I will tell you
    what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
    and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
    and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste;
    it shall not be pruned or hoed,
    and briers and thorns shall grow up;
I will also command the clouds
    that they rain no rain upon it.

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
    is the house of Israel,..
his pleasant planting;
and he looked for justice,
    but behold, bloodshed;
for righteousness,
    but behold, an outcry!..

Man is humbled, and each one is brought low,
    and the eyes of the haughty are brought low.
But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice,
    and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.
..
Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!
..
Therefore,.. their root will be as rottenness,
    and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
    and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 5:1-2,4-7,15-16,20,24

Our upright God is no pushover. He is holy and just, and acts perfectly for the good of His people. He bountifully supplies, expects good stewardship and fruitfulness, and will not stand for sloth, flippancy, pride, or unrighteousness. God rightly orders consequences to discipline His children and train in holiness. His design is to steer us to genuine repentance, freedom, and maturity, all resulting in His praise. (Hebrews 12:10-11)

We may be suffering because of a lack of consequences or discipline in our own lives. Herein, the Lord beckons us to come clean, repent, and turn wild into lush, wasted grapes into sweet wine. We may be in a hard place because of our failure to mete out consequences, or another’s unchecked and wayward behavior beyond our control. Our ever-present, merciful Lord is ready and able to teach us the way to go in these situations too, so His holy word and name will be honored. We also may be grateful recipients of good consequences, flowing from wisdom applied. Will we trust the Redeemer to work blessed consequence from our consequences and right actions? (Psalm 32:1-8; 51:1-12)

We would always have the Lord use a feather instead of a 2×4 to bring necessary correction. When His Spirit checks ours, how willing are we to respond, so harsher consequences are not needed? God loves His people too much to let us continue in error unabated and uncorrected. Would we yield to His gracious conviction, with consequent fruitfulness?

Lord, give me courage both to implement and be trained by consequences according to Your redemptive purpose. May I bear fruit that honors Your goodness and love to me.

Bearing Christ’s Reproach

“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”

“Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” “Let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.” Hebrews 11:24-26; 12:1-3; 13:13

“Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ… that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings.” Philippians 3:7-8,10

“If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” 1 Peter 4:14-16

The more hostility we face and the more we endure reproach as Christians, the better we understand what Christ suffered for us, and how deeply He loves. For the joy set before Him- the full accomplishment of our salvation and return to glory- He endured caustic hostility and the agony of the cross, bearing and despising its shame, but carrying it through to its glorious end. Always His eyes were fixed, always His heart set on the goal, of winning our reconciliation and peace. (Isaiah 53:3-5)

How are we to bear the insults or vitriol of enemies, how to bear up under the weight of unjust accusation or distress? Our Lord knows every pelt and pang. He bore it and all its fallout on the cross, and we must entrust Him with ultimate justice. We accept that we are sharing in His sufferings as a privilege, because they reveal just a taste of what He suffered for us and therefore humble us, convict how we are complicit, and make us grateful for His mercies. We never return in kind. There are times to turn the cheek, and times to act with tough love, and God will direct with His wisdom as we cry to Him and seek His glory over saving face. (Psalm 89:50-51; Matthew 5:38-39; Romans 12:19-21; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 11:19-20; Ephesians 4:29-31; Titus 3:10-11)

Do we see in suffering Christ’s reproach a chance to die to self, to praise Him for His fathomless love, to trust Him for the way forward? What is the best way to bring glory to the name and reputation of Christ?

Lord, I want to gain You, to know You and Your resurrection power in every attack. May I bear gracefully and wisely Your reproach, so You can accomplish Your desired and glorious end.

Thus Shall You Bless

“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

 The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

‘So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.’” Numbers 6:22-27

“Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to him and to bless in the name of the Lord, and by their word every dispute and every assault shall be settled.” Deuteronomy 21:5

“The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron was set apart to dedicate the most holy things, that he and his sons forever should make offerings before the Lord and minister to him and pronounce blessings in his name forever.” 1 Chronicles 23:13

Imagine being tasked by God Almighty specifically to bless His people. What a life-giving role! And what a difference it would make today if we took this as our charge, if we became a conduit of divine blessing to those we encounter!

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How exactly were the Levitical priests to bless the people of Israel? The LORD bless you. Bless: to confer or invoke divine favor upon; ask God to look favorably on. They were to pronounce holy favor upon, bathing the people in this glad approval and kindness and expectant joy at the covenant-keeping God’s abiding presence. The LORD keep you, hold and preserve your life, keep you from evil, guard you and see you through to His desired and redemptive end. The LORD make His face to shine upon you, smile upon you, light your way with the light of His face. The LORD be gracious to you, showering you with new mercies every morning, convicting and teaching and leading with His fullness of grace upon grace. The LORD lift His countenance upon you, adorning you with the glorious image of one loved, treasured, made holy. May He give you His eyes to see, His ears to hear, His expressions to respond, His words to speak. May you reflect His righteousness, beauty, and splendor. The LORD give you peace, peace that is perfect, that is not as the world gives, but is beyond human comprehension as it guards your heart and mind. (Psalm 121:3-8; Isaiah 26:3; Lamentations 3:22-23; John 1:14,16; 14:27; Philippians 4:7)

They were to put God’s holy, wondrous, powerful name upon them, and bless in His name that is above all names. His name would give authority and authenticity to the priestly pronouncements, ensuring both their source and fulfillment. (Philippians 2:9-11)

We who know Jesus are a holy priesthood, and thus we are charged to be blessers too. Are we taking notice of opportunities? Where are those insecure who need to be reminded of God’s commitment to keep them? Those ashamed, or despondent, who need a mantle of grace and the light of God’s loving smile? How are we spreading God’s peace in tangible, practical, meaningful ways? Where are we sharing the life-giving power of His name? (Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18; 1 Peter 2:9)

LORD, You have blessed me beyond measure. May I honor and bless You by blessing others you put in my path and life.

In the Day of Trouble

“The Mighty One, God the Lord,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
    God shines forth.

Our God comes; he does not keep silence;
    before him is a devouring fire,
    around him a mighty tempest.
He calls to the heavens above
    and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
‘Gather to me my faithful ones,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!’
The heavens declare his righteousness,
    for God himself is judge!.. 

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
    and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.’

But to the wicked God says:
    ‘What right have you to recite my statutes
    or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline,
    and you cast my words behind you.
If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
    and you keep company with adulterers.

‘You give your mouth free rein for evil,
    and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your brother;
    you slander your own mother’s son.
These things you have done,.. now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.’

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!” Psalm 50:1-6,14-21,23

The psalmist has obviously had difficult dealings with the wicked who hate discipline, cavort with and condone rebels against God’s word, deceive and slander, yet they and their repercussions are not his focus in life. He is absorbed with God. From beginning to end, God is the Mighty One, perfect Judge, and worthy of praise. From the rising of the sun to its setting on every day of trouble, his God shines forth.

How easy it is to be absorbed in our trouble. We suffer consequences of another’s unruly actions, we are stolen from, or betrayed, deceived, or slandered, and all thought and emotion turns inward. I am wounded, I am the victim, I hurt, I have a right. While these are true, and our troubles with attending pain and suffering are deep and real, the hope of the Christian is that right in the middle, God shines forth. Our deliverance, and God’s promised glory, come as we turn from concentrating on what ails to offer God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, continue in obedience, and call on Him.

Our God comes, and is near, in our every trouble. We own Him as our anchor and stronghold, and can trust Him as upright Judge who will one day make all things well and right. He is neither silent nor inactive, and will never forsake His own. (Psalm 9:9-10; 18:1-2; 94:14; Revelation 21:4)

Would we resolve to look for God’s beauty in our trouble? Can we trace His hand of glory? Would we turn days of hardship into days of intentional thanks, and doing the next right thing, and calling upon Him through the hours? There is nothing we suffer that He has not carried and from which He will not deliver. (Isaiah 53:4)

God, my God, in my days of trouble, keep me trusting and thanking You, and making clear the way for Your glory to shine. (Job 1:20-22)

Blow in my Dark!

“God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. 

‘Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!’
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:5-7,10-11 

“Thus says the Lord,
he who created you,..
    he who formed you:
‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
You are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you…
Fear not, for I am with you.” Isaiah 43:1-5

In the dark and still after twilight, the first blow was distant, almost imperceptible. It came closer, in stretched out rhythm, with others, soon surrounding the dock on three water sides by lusty exhales through the glossy black surface. At least half a dozen dolphins dove and swirled, folding the water in the cove like batter in a bowl, punctuating the quiet night with marvelous breaths of life.

Isn’t this so like our Lord, moving, unexpectedly, in our darkness, gracefully stirring beneath the surface, blowing His life into our unsettling unknowns and looming unseens? We are unsure how to pray but cry out with wrangling of soul, and He reminds us of His presence, at once mysterious, invisible, and very near. His presence is His movement, His holy activity, His divine life injected into our dark conundrums. Welcome, Lord! Blow on!

There are times, moments and seasons, when all seems dark, and is heavy. Nations rage, storms unleash, parties fight. We are confronted with weighty decisions, a false accusation, a pernicious threat, financial uncertainty, complicated circumstances that appear impossible to untangle or escape, grief over death or betrayal. When we quiet ourselves, adjust our eyes to that dark and are still, we sense our Lord of hosts with us, and hear His blow. He sees all, and is active in all, though we cannot see Him. Our darkness is not dark to Him, but light with divine purpose and revelation. (Psalm 139:12)

Are we listening? Are we still enough to know, really know, that God is in our midst, that He is vibrantly God, and He will be exalted in the nations and every circumstance? Will we rest in the sure, unchangeable truth that God loves us, has redeemed us, and is with us never to part?

“When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.” ~Edward Mote (1797-1874)

My Lord, keep me standing on the solid rock that is You. Keep me attuned to hearing Your wondrous blow in my dark, and trusting that it is good, and that You will be exalted.

To the Uttermost

“The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

“For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.  He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.  For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven…”

“Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrews 7:23-8:1; 9:24-28

The concepts of once for all and continually converge in Jesus. The everlasting One is able to save completely, at all times, because of His unique work on the cross. And because of that one-time accomplishment, He permanently, continually intercedes as our Advocate before God’s throne. The mystery of moment and eternity is bound in this indescribable Savior, and extends to the uttermost of our salvation. (Romans 8:34)

Jesus saves us to the uttermost because we are utterly depraved and in utter need. His salvation reaches the depths of who we are without Him. He saves us to the uttermost, covering every sin past, present, and future. His death on the cross finished His atoning work, and when we are sealed with His Spirit, we are sealed forever. Jesus saves to the uttermost, because in His continual intercession for His own, His saints persevere as He keeps us. (Psalm 14:1-3; 121:5-8; John 19:30; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:3-5)

How will we apply this great truth, that Jesus saves to the uttermost, to our niggling fears and doubts, to our shame and regrets? Where is weak faith trying to crucify Jesus all over again, or claiming His grace is insufficient? How do His once-for-all and to the uttermost inform and affect the way we treat others? (Psalm 32:1-2; Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 12:9)

Oh Savior, help me live to the uttermost for You who have given and done all for me.

Light Up My Eyes

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
    light up my eyes…

I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:1-3,5-6

“With you is the fountain of life;
    in your light do we see light.” Psalm 36:9

“You are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation…

“Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8,16-18

When soul and heart are tight with turmoil, there is only one place to go, one face to seek. Our heavenly and best Friend never stops watching over us in loving affection, though sometimes our circumstances make hazy His face. Our vision can become distorted by pain, lose clarity in confusion, or be cut off by the thick fog of doubt and duty. But from the deep dark of how long? we can cry out for God to light up our eyes.

When He does, we see all things afresh. Monochromatic despair turns to vibrant hope, and amorphous events take beautiful and meaningful shape in the context of divine purpose. A heart that sees His loving hand can now rejoice and bubble over in bounteous thanksgiving.

What is true is that in Christ, we are children of light, and need not let our hearts flirt with darkness at all. The enemy would taunt our joy and tease our peace to entangle and trip us up in doubt or despair, but God has transferred us to everlasting day, and is Himself our bright morning star. In the light of His salvation and the radiance of His splendor, we see light, and everything by that light, and are raised to new heights of wonder, and hope, and gladness. (Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Peter 1:19; Revelation 22:16)

For what attitudes, or circumstances, do we need God to light up our eyes and adjust our vision? Where are we choosing shadow-living when we have been called to come out of darkness? Into what corners and recesses of our souls should we welcome His light to expose, to enlighten, to awaken growth? What evidence is there in my speech, loves, and actions, that I am a child of the day?

Lord, lift Your countenance upon me even as Your face shines toward mine. Clear my vision, color me Yours, and keep me reflecting You who are the light of my eyes, of my life, and of the world. (Numbers 6:24-27)

But Them, But You

“O God, we have heard with our ears,
    our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
    in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations,
    but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
    but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land,
    nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
    and the light of your face,
    for you delighted in them.

You are my King, O God;
    ordain salvation for Jacob!
Through you we push down our foes;
    through your name we tread down those who rise up against us.
For not in my bow do I trust,
    nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes
    and have put to shame those who hate us.
In God we have boasted continually,
    and we will give thanks to your name forever.” Psalm 44:1-8

Prior to the written or published word, history was perpetuated orally. When God set apart Israel as His people, He ordained that they guard, keep, and pass down His word for the coming generations. No spin, no affected editorializing, no exaggeration, rather, under divine inspiration, just a true record and communication of events and doctrine. And those made for exciting listening! The accurate recounting of history is a beautiful rendition of Sovereign God’s initiative, love, might, and mercy. It also inspires deep reverence and faith. (Romans 9:4-5; 2 Peter 1:20-21)

God’s people lived among enemies whom He drove out and afflicted, but them, His own, God saved and set free. They did not win on their own, by strength or strategy, but by the light and favor of God’s face and the power of His affection for them.

This history of God and His people is a continuum, and them He rescued are now us whom He helps and delivers. The God who performed great deeds in days of old performs them in days of new and now. He is King, He still ordains salvation; we can boast in Him and give thanks. His word enables us to turn from what He has done to what He now does, presently, for His people, and it is magnificent!

Today and all around, foes arise, and lurk: enemies of freedom and faith, individuals and temptations and movements that steal, kill, deceive, divide, and destroy. But our God rules over and is stronger than all. He equips us to trample doubt, and pressure, and despair, in faith and truth. He rescues, and preserves us in His strength and name. (John 10:10)

“Stand up, stand up for Jesus
ye soldiers of the cross;
lift high his royal banner,
it must not suffer loss:
from vict’ry unto vict’ry
his army he shall lead,
’til ev’ry foe is vanquished,
and Christ is Lord indeed…

Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;
the arm of flesh will fail you,
ye dare not trust your own:
put on the gospel armor,
each piece put on with pray’r;
where duty calls, or danger,
be never wanting there.” ~ George Duffield (1858)

Oh my God, may I remember what You have done, and daily rely on Your present help and guidance. May my boast and strength be in You only.

So Pants My Soul

“As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?

My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’
These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life…

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:1-8,11

“Send out your light and your truth;
    let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
    and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:3-5

Any ongoing exertion will leave us panting for air; any ongoing need, for help; any hunger, for sustenance; any thirst, for water. The psalmist’s soul churns with all of these, and is desperate, yet he knows where to go- the only place to go- to find satisfaction: his living God. He urges his torn and turmoiled soul: hope in God. He addresses taunting and tears: remember God. He prays to the God of his life, repeating what he knows to be true, and the repeating convinces and reinforces.

Flowing streams are like the living God: life-giving and dynamic, teeming with expectancy, hope, and vitality. Moving water is never static, arbitrary, boring, or meaningless. We pour out our souls in misery and inadequacy, and God pours forth so much more- torrents of mercy and love, rushing currents of compassion that encompass and enswirl and hold us in their power and care.

We are cast down in circumstance, broken relationships, and inner pain, but God is present there, deep calling to our desolate deep. His waves that overwhelm also bear us up. He replaces our crying with song. His light and truth penetrate our darkness and lead us up to His holy hill. He who is our salvation is also our joy. In the tumult, would we pray to Him in hope?

Lord, You alone quench my soul thirst, and You alone are worthy of complete trust and surrender. May all of me hope in all of You, that I will praise You, and praise You again, all my days.

Multiplied Thoughts

“I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told…

I have told the glad news of deliverance
    in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
    as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
    I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    from the great congregation…

But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
    say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!’
As for me, I am poor and needy,
    but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    do not delay, O my God!” Psalm 40:1-5,9-10,16-17

“O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!” Psalm 92:5

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!” Psalm 139:17

We read God’s words and try to understand His ways. We see His action in creation and history and the lives of men. We seek His wisdom, His will, His direction. But do we stop and think about His thoughts? What does it mean that the Lord takes thought for us, and what difference does this make?

First of all, our Lord is not capricious in His dealings with man and nature, but thoughtful. He intentionally orders and controls all that occurs in perfect sovereignty, and within the bounds of His perfect plans and knowledge. (Isaiah 14:24; 1 Corinthians 14:33)

Secondly, He thinks about us. He who made man in His image for relationship with Himself continues that relationship. He knows our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts, He considers our ways, He weeps when we weep and rejoices over us with singing. He is intimately involved in all our goings and comings and the meanderings of our souls. He loves us, and His affection set upon us means He never lets us out of His sight or mind. And He is never confused! We cry with the psalmist, how vast are His thoughts! (Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Psalm 38:9; Isaiah 49:15; Zephaniah 3:17)

Since His thoughts are vast and deep, will I stretch mine of Him high and wide? His thoughts toward me are many; what can I do to multiply mine toward Him, and His? How deliberate am I to take thought of my LORD, my King, my Savior? Do I regularly recall with praise His goodness and deliverance and help? Do I tell of His blessings and favor, His intervention and advocacy? Do I consider how He has led in the past in contemplating how to go forward?

Lord, may I never cease to explore, and trust, and delight in Your every thought. Shape my thinking to be like Yours.