The most significant bit of information for us to remember each day is the goodness of the Lord. In troubling times we can easily close down our “saving” memories of God’s presence when moments of pain and frustration confront us. We forget the wonderful things that God has done for us, like granting us the beauty of a new day and a chance to be in God’s presence in this world. Forgetting God’s goodness is understandable when we experience the shock of unanticipated troubles or while we endure what feels like an unending struggle.
So the psalmist offers us wise counsel in suggesting that we do two things daily. First, we rise to the day giving thanks to the Lord. Even if we imagine it will not be a good day, we live in the presence of a good God who goes with us in this day and every day. God’s very presence makes the day good. Second, we speak to ourselves of what the Lord has done for us and for others. We live always in the testimonies to God’s goodness, and we remember those testimonies of God’s redeeming action. Like Israel, we too must speak to one another of the redemption that God has brought to us.
God redeems us from trouble, and through Jesus Christ we now live in the space and time of our redemption. A cloud of witnesses, past and present from all over the world, surrounds us and speaks of God’s redeeming work in their lives. Open yourself to hear the echoing sounds from around the globe of people who speak to us about the goodness of a redeeming God.
Help me, faithful God, to remember today your goodness to me, and draw me ever closer to your life so that I may experience your love and your touch. Amen.
Sometimes we get ourselves into trouble by our words and actions. It’s okay to admit it. It happens to all of us. The Israelites experienced this when their constant grumbling provoked God’s wrath in Numbers 21. Yet even in this story, God provides the means of salvation. The psalmist echoes the refrain that when we put ourselves in bad positions, we may cry out to the Lord for deliverance. We read in Ephesians that all of us were living in disobedience to God, but God has done all the work of reconciliation by grace given through Christ Jesus. John ties all this together, gesturing to the story in Numbers 21 to teach us that Christ is the means of restoration and salvation for all who believe in him.
• Read Numbers 21:4-9. When has your complaining distorted your sense of reality? How do you maintain a sense of God’s presence?
• Read Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22. Consider implementing a practice of rising from sleep to give God thanks and to call to mind the many ways God works in your life.
• Read Ephesians 2:1-10. Does your sense of God’s salvation engender a sense of grace within you and a desire to do good? Why or why not?
• Read John 3:14-21. Do you consider yourself a creature of light or darkness? Why?
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