Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday, May 13 ~ tammi

Today's reading from the Chronological OT/NT Reading Plan is Psalm 32; Psalm 51; John 3:16-36.

So today we take a break from reading the account of David’s first sordid mistake to read his own thoughts in the Psalms. My husband and I were just talking about this last night and we realized that so many times, with so many Bible characters, we wish we knew more of their thoughts rather than just the historical account of their lives. With David, we DO get to know his thoughts, his heart attitude. I think that’s why so many of his psalms are included in the Canon of Scripture – without them, David would simply be a hypocrite. But in his own writings, we see a man who desperately wants to be the man God called him to be – struggling, failing, trying again, but always with his mind filled with the Word of God and his heart tuned to the Holy Spirit.

We see in Psalm 51 his deep remorse for his many sins in the matter of his relationship with Bathsheba, pleading God for forgiveness and restoration to right relationship with Him. I love the familiar sections of this Psalm – the “wash me and I shall be whiter than snow” section and the “create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” section. Such beautiful word pictures of what God does for each and every one of us when we confess our sins and beg His forgiveness. I love that David doesn’t just beg for mercy and forgiveness, but that he asks God to cleanse his heart so that he can turn from sin and live a holy, upright life. We see David’s simple humility here; his willingness to lay himself bare, take the blame for his sin, and his deep desire to be a devoted man of God.

Psalm 32 talks about the sweetness of being forgiven and the joy of being free of guilt, saved by the grace of a loving, Sovereign God.

Then in John we have probably the most memorized passage of Scripture of all time – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (I memorized it before we switched over to the NIV!) What great hope in that one short verse!! Pretty much sums it all up, doesn’t it – the whole point of Christianity? I love how economical God is with words sometimes. VOLUMES have been written about this concept, but really, it’s as profoundly simple as John wrote it here.

Then the apostle John includes a beautiful look at John the Baptist’s devotion to God and the job he’d been given to do. John’s disciples were getting upset that Jesus, who had been baptized by John, was now, Himself, baptizing people and the people were starting to flock to Him in greater and greater numbers. It seems John’s disciples were as unseeing as many people of that day. But John’s vision remained very clear and he informs them that he got an assignment from God and until he hears otherwise, he’s going to continue doing the work God gave him to do, regardless of Jesus’ own ministry. And then John utters those amazing words: “The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”

We saw David’s humility earlier; his openness in his struggle for a holy life. Here we see in John a different kind of humility – the self-abasing kind that eagerly puts Christ first, others second, and self last. John had the benefit of knowing ahead of time the significance of Jesus’ ministry here on earth, I believe, but for him to still never get caught up in a desire to build his own following – to never struggle with a bit of jealousy over Jesus’ growing popularity – is incredible.

Today’s reading shows us the portraits of two very different men. One is a king; one a poor, wild-looking prophet. But both singularly focused on being the men God called them to be, and gladly serving Him with utmost humility.

Tomorrow's passages: 2 Samuel 13-14; John 4:1-26.


TammyIsBlessed said...

Love the point about David not just begging for forgiveness, but also for God to cleanse his heart in order to turn from sin as he moved forward. Two totally different things, and both are necessary!

TammyIsBlessed said...

I too want to be singularly focused on being the woman God has called me to be, and gladly serving Him with utmost humility.

Thanks Tammi.

Pamela said...

Great post. I appreciated the parallel you made between David and John. I do think it is incredible that John never seemed to get caught up in his own ministry but kept his role in Jesus' first and foremost. I wonder if that was hard for him or if that was just the kind of person he was??