The psalmist waits patiently. Then God acts on the psalmist’s
behalf: God inclines, hears, draws up, and sets feet on rock.
The psalmist’s response is one of joy. Wouldn’t we be joyful at
being chosen by God, being the object of God’s attention? We
like to feign an “aw, shucks” reaction to being singled out for
some special task. False modesty compels us to deny the joy in
being chosen. We may think it’s unseemly to rejoice at our selection,
but this reaction damages our relationship with God.
Denying the joy that comes from living day by day with
God is a temptation we face. We tend to focus on the “shall nots”
of our faith and to wallow in self-pity because we fail to live up
to high standards. And we too often look down on those who
can’t contain their unabashed joy at knowing God.
The world tells us that happiness depends upon riches or
fame. The psalmist says that joy gushes forth from loving relationships
with God and one another. God gives the psalmist
a “new song” that bears witness to the working of God in the
psalmist’s life. As a result of the psalmist’s witness, “many will
see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”
God’s chosen can be joyous even in the midst of sadness or
oppression. Our joy does not depend upon our circumstances,
for we live beyond our surroundings. God secures our steps and
puts a “new song” in our mouths.
Considering the atmosphere of fear and hatred that has
overshadowed our world in the early twenty-first century,
perhaps our joyful testimony to the work of God in our lives
is what the world most needs. We bear witness to an incomparable
God whose wondrous deeds and thoughts toward us are
manifold. What joy!
Exalted God, make me a channel of your joy to a fearful, worried world. Amen.
The theme of God’s calling all believers to a life of ministry runs through all four of this week’s scripture passages. We discover that God’s call always requires a response! The Isaiah passage, one of the Servant Songs that points to Jesus, reminds us that God is the one who pursues and calls. The psalmist exemplifies the call to give witness when God shows up and is found to be faithful. In the opening of his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul reminds us of his own calling and then goes on to emphasize that all are called by God and set apart for ministry. And in John’s Gospel, we receive an example of testifying to God’s presence in our lives and the important calling of bringing others to Jesus.
• Read Isaiah 49:1-7. How has God taken the initiative to work in your life and call you to faith? What mission has God given you?
• Read Psalm 40:1-11. List the ways that God has been faithful to you in showing up and answering your prayers. How have you given witness to God’s faithfulness?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. What gifts has God given you to fulfill your calling to ministry?
• Read John 1:29-42. How might you cultivate the discipline of “mindfulness” in your spiritual life?
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