Mike Cope's blog

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Once again last night I came home from an elders' meeting saying to Diane, "I ought to have to pay to be there." To be someplace so full of prayer, pastoral care, and encouragement is a huge blessing in my life. One of my elders, John Willis, writes a daily meditation from scripture. Here is the one from this morning: The author of Psalm 31 concludes this poem in verses 21-24 by calling on fellow followers of God to love God for all he has done and to be courageous in troublesome times: "Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as a city under siege. I had said in my alarm, 'I am driven far from your sight.' But you heard my supplications when I cried to you for help. Love the Lord, all you his saints. The Lord preserves the faithful, but abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord." 1. The psalmist is deeply impacted by Yahweh's "steadfast love," to which he refers three times in this psalm (verses 7, 16, 21). Human love tends to be fleeting, like a morning cloud or dew that is here for a brief time and then vanishes (Hosea 6:4); but God's love is tenacious; God's love is there for us when we succeed and when we fail to serve God faithfully. Praise God for his steadfast love, which he showers on us daily. 2. When trials come and enemies multiply, it seems we are far from God--and we panic, at least in our hearts. Recall Psalm 22:1-2 and Jesus's quotation of this on the cross in Matthew 27:46. Yet, even when we think all is lost, God hears our cries and comes to help. 3. How can on but "love" a God who is so merciful and kind and generous? In fact, loving God lies at the very hub of everything godly and everything Christian--Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Matthew 22:34-40. 4. There is a sense in which humankind may be divided into two groups: the "faithful" and the "arrogant" or "haughty." The basic characteristic of the former is that they depend on God completely for everything and are deeply grateful for all God is and does. The basic characteristic of the latter is that they feel they can confront, deal with, and solve all life's problems by their own wisdom and power. May God give us the wisdom to put our whole trust in him--see verses 5 and 14. 5. The charge God gave Joshua and the Israelites as they prepared to enter the promised land and fight against the nations living there and conquer them and settle in their new land was: "Be strong and very courageous"--Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18. The composer of Psalm 31 concludes this psalm by encouraging fellow believers to do the same as they faced every challenge in life. May God help us to be strong and very courageous--and to wait on the Lord.

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