How does your body respond when you recite today’s psalm aloud with sincerity and gusto? You’ve not read it yet? Try it now before you continue reading the rest of this meditation.
My heart beats differently when I verbally thank others, especially God! When I loudly proclaim, “Praise the LORD!” from my heart and the top of my lungs, I cannot help but smile and draw in extra oxygen as I remember the Maker’s love and grace. Sometimes as I thank God, tears well up as I recall the times when I have really messed up and do not deserve anyone’s forgiveness and care—especially God’s. Yet I still receive grace.
Often, I experience peace beyond all understanding and sleep more deeply when I take time to confess or tell Yahweh about how I have messed up or distanced myself from God and others. Somehow, my heart and mind gain strength to face and resist the world’s temptations when I praise God and confess my sins. The psalmist confesses both the sin of his current community and that of the ancestors. He alludes to the events in this week’s Exodus text, and he states the reason for the Israelites’ disobedience in verse 7: “Our ancestors, . . . did not remember the abundance of [God’s] steadfast love.”
In order to praise God, we must remember God’s loving provision. And as Paul notes, we continue to practice whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, and commendable. “Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times.” At all times—that’s a big request.
For what would you like to thank God today? What will you confess as an act of emptying yourself to make room for God’s presence and participation in your life?
Lord, who is peace, help us stay close to you and follow your will and way by confession, prayer, and supplication with thanksgiving. Amen.
The narrative in Exodus 32:1-14 reflects on the blindness of the people, but the focus is also placed on Yahweh’s intense anger and on Moses’ intervention. Yahweh’s mercy prevails, and Moses is revealed as the quintessential mediator. Psalm 106 recalls the folly of the people in making the golden calf. The sinfulness of the Israelites is laid to their forgetfulness. The inability and unwillingness of the people of God to remember is a damning sin that calls for a tough response. The Philippians text stresses the need for faithfulness to the gospel. Matthew’s version of the parable of the wedding banquet offers a negative example of faithfulness in the form of a guest who comes to the wedding without the proper attire.
• Read Exodus 32:1-14. How do you demonstrate allegiance to or dependence on God’s faithfulness in your life? What “golden calf” diverts your attention?
• Read Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23. Re ect on those times when you recalled the past, lamented, and cried for mercy.
• Read Philippians 4:1-9. Con ict creates discord. How do you handle con ict in your spiritual journey? in your church?
• Read Matthew 22:1-14. God continually invites us to divine encounters—with God directly and with others. How seriously do you take God’s invitations?
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