I’ve unearthed a nugget of gold in the mine of Psalm 16. It is twenty-four carat and priceless. Interested? Of course you are! Join me in reading verse 8: “I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” King David has cried out to the Lord for protection. The king faces numerous obstacles, some of his own making. He knows he cannot clean up the messes he encounters.
David turns to the Lord for help. And so do we. We know where our help can be found, don’t we? David says, “I keep the Lord always before me.” Always. I think that means all the time, don’t you? You say that’s terribly difficult. It certainly is for all of us. But it is a matter of our will, our commitment to invest our lives in the One upon whom we can always depend. It’s a matter of willpower, a decision to discipline our lives with our focus on God.
Keep your eyes on the Lord. Like when driving we say, “Keep your eyes on the road.” We have a large windshield to look through, but only small side and rearview mirrors. Yes, we glance back and to the side once in a while. But the large windshield in front gets most of our attention. Today, look forward. Keep your eyes on the Lord as you follow David’s advice to keep the Lord always before you.
Lord of refuge and counsel, thank you for your constant presence. Help me to keep you before me and to keep my eyes on you. Amen.
This week’s readings open with the dramatic scene of Elijah’s departure. As the prophet is taken into heaven by fiery chariots, his cloak falls to his successor, Elisha—symbolic of the continuation of God’s prophetic work. The psalmist praises the Lord for being the source of all good. The Lord gives guidance, protection, security, and joy. Paul reminds us that freedom in Christ comes with responsibility. We cannot live to satisfy our fleshly desires. If we live in the power of the Spirit, then our manner of life should stand out and bear godly fruit. In the Gospel reading, Jesus challenges his followers with the cost of discipleship. His statements here may seem extreme, but he is pointing out that we can be tempted to find excuses for not proclaiming the kingdom of God.
Read 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14. When has fire—real or metaphorical—changed your life? How have you seen God working in this change?
Read Psalm 16. Recall a time when you needed God’s protection. How did you keep God in front of you?
Read Galatians 5:1, 13-25. Along with our freedom, we are given a responsibility. How do you use your freedom to serve others?
Read Luke 9:51-62. When have you heard Jesus’ call to follow? What have you had to leave behind to follow the one who has “set his face to go to Jerusalem”?
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