Praise for God’s loving presence pours forth with assurances of joy. We delight in following the commandments of God. Joy comes not only from the consequences of righteous living but also from the commitment to be on the path of righteousness. The blessed life is not only the one that lives in a time of justice but also the life that interacts justly with others. By living faithfully, we are assured a blessed life.
Being devoted to God is a joy that does not avoid the consequences of difficult and even deadly realities. The righteous have foes and face “evil tidings.” The psalmist assures, however, that the faithful witness prevails both in an immediate situation and “forever.” Our living the faith affects future generations.
Have you ever felt anchored by your faith in a situation full of threat and tumult? If so, to what do you attribute the ability to feel secure and do what is right even amid virulent opposition? How do you continue to nourish your spiritual life so that your heart and mind are resolute in being faithful through all the seasons of life?
If you are unable to recall feeling such steadiness amid conflict, what do you name as the reasons? How might you begin to address the difficulty of being clear and steadfast in your faith witness under challenging circumstances? Do you know individuals whose witness in such circumstance is inspiring? How might you discuss with them the spiritual practices that inform their witness?
Committing ourselves to God is our work and sacred privilege. All matters of security, joy, and hope rely ultimately on the ultimate Source of life. May it be so with us.
Present God, whether I am resting or in fierce turmoil, may your joy be ever with me. Help me to live each day as a blessing for the time at hand and for all time to come. Amen.
According to another counterfeit gospel, our inward convictions about God are enough, so our actions do not really matter. Isaiah chastises his audience for being half-hearted in their religious observance. They ignore the plight of the oppressed and the poor, and by doing so they betray that they do not grasp the heart of God. The psalmist argues that the true faithful are steadfast and generous, and as a result God establishes them and their cause. The understanding of God’s view of the world, Paul writes, must be spiritually discerned, for it opposes the normal thinking of the world. In Matthew, Jesus tells his followers that living faith is shown by bringing flavor and light to the world. Otherwise, our faith is useless to those around us.
Read Isaiah 58:1-12. What can you do to be a foundation of many generations, the repairer of the breach for your community?
Read Psalm 112:1-10. How have you seen God’s blessings abound from your faithfulness? How do you remain faithful when God’s blessings seem absent?
Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-16. Consider the many ways wisdom comes. How do you seek to understand God’s wisdom?
Read Matthew 5:13-20. When does your faith community resist the call to be the salt of the earth and light of the world? How can you transform yourself or those around you to fulfill God’s commandments?
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