A good number of the psalms, such as the psalms of lament, deal with the personal trials and tribulations of the psalmist. They are the prayers of an anguished heart.
Psalm 26 may seem like an odd prayer. What is the psalmist’s intent? Is he justifying himself to God? Is he asking for special treatment?
The psalmist pours out human emotion before God, holding nothing back. The feelings reflected in Psalm 26 are very real and relatable. We’ve all experienced these feelings, as the psalmist fears being judged unfairly and having his good character go unnoticed.
This week’s theme is “God is present even in our suffering." One way God is present in our suffering is that God does not judge our heartfelt prayers. God may not answer our prayers in the way we expect or hope, but a sincere prayer is always acceptable to God.
If all our prayers are sincere, it follows that some of our prayers will not sound pretty. But that doesn’t matter! Private prayer is different from the prayers pastors offer during worship. When no one else is listening, we do not need to worry about good grammar or flowery language. We just need to pour our hearts out to God.
Lord, help me to approach you sincerely and honestly, holding nothing back. You know the yearnings of my inmost heart, so I give them all to you. Amen.
This week we read about Job, an upright man who faces severe trials but never loses his faith. Job’s story brings us face-to-face with the fact that living a godly life does not make us immune to suffering. Like Job, the psalmist wonders why he suffers, even though he lives according to God’s standards. Hebrews presents Jesus as the ultimate example of unwarranted suffering, yet because of his perseverance he is ultimately glorified. In Mark, some Pharisees test Jesus on the interpretation of the law concerning divorce. Jesus makes strong statements about marriage, but his larger concern is that their hearts have become hard. He contrasts them with little children, who model faith by receiving God with an open heart.
Read Job 1:1; 2:1-10. What helps you to live with integrity?
Read Psalm 26. Do you feel free in your prayer life to honestly share with God all that you are feeling?
Read Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12. In what ways does God speak to us in our day?
Read Mark 10:2-16. What qualities found in children do you try to cultivate in your spiritual life?
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