Life is Hard

Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 23 & 24

Psalms Reading: Psalm 88

New Testament Reading: Galatians 4

Life is hard.  There are terrible things that all people, even Christians, experience simply because we live in a fallen and sinful world.  Some of the hard things people experience are because of their own poor choices, others are because of someone else’s poor choices, and still others are simply things that cannot be controlled.  Financial stress comes to those who are unwise with their money, car accidents happen when people are paying attention to their phone instead of the road, sickness such as cancer can occur in the healthiest and best people.  Life is hard.

This Psalm (88) is written by Heman the Ezrahite, and unlike most other laments in Psalms, it doesn’t end on a positive, hopeful, note.  Instead, it concludes with darkness.  This psalmist equates his life’s troubles to nearing Sheol (v.3).  He feels weak, overwhelmed, desperate, rejected, and lonely.  Heman writes that his eyes are worn out from crying out all day long (v.9). 

If you’re like me, you may be wondering why in the world this Psalm is included in Scripture… it offers no hope and seemingly no connection to an amazing God.  Why would this be allowed in the Bible??  Doesn’t it turn others off our faith to have someone just writing about how hard life is, even after worshiping God?  How does this chapter bring me anything for my faith walk if it’s just about sadness?

Well, despite being credited as one of the saddest psalms, after some prayerful consideration I also see how important this psalm can be.  Throughout the psalm Heman writes about coming to God, crying out to Him, raising his hands to the Lord, and continually praying (vv.1, 9, 13).  It seems that even with his world crashing down around him and when he feels like he is drowning, his first reaction is to reach out to God.  What an example of faithful living!  

The life of a Christian is never stated to be easy.   In fact, there are times in everyone’s life that I would expect them to be in a similar place as Heman was when writing this psalm.  Overwhelmed, exhausted, alone, in the dark.  If God ‘allowed’ this psalm to be part of his God-breathed Scriptures, then we have to believe it holds value for our lives.  There must be value in the pain and hardship that Heman describes, and the pain we still go through in the modern day.  The lesson we can take away from Heman’s writing is that in all the pain, we can always come to God.  Whether it’s through prayer or simply crying out, God is there to hear us no matter where we are in our life. 


Heman wrote this psalm long before Christ came around.  While he had hope of a coming Savior, our hope resides in a Savior who came, and is coming again.  How does this change our laments or prayers to God?

Balancing hopeful positivity and the real difficulty of life is truly an art.  How does what we know about God impact this balance in your life?

What did God reveal to you about his character in this passage?


Lord, we live in a broken, sinful world.  This life is hard.  Today we pray for you to comfort those who are struggling, to give strength and hope to those who need it.  But we also pray that no matter what life circumstances they are in, they ultimately know that they can go to you in any form.  God, thank you for the hope we have in Christ Jesus.  We are excited for your Kingdom to be brought to earth where there will be no more suffering.  We longingly look to that day.  Amen.

-Sarah (Blanchard) Johnson

Your Longing

Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 15 & 16

* Psalms Reading: Psalm 84

New Testament: Galatians Intro below

We are currently looking for a new house.  We love where we are now, but we’re outgrowing our space and ready to raise our family with more room!  We have toured SEVERAL houses, put in offers for a few, and yet still have nothing to show.  I’m looking for a house that fits my needs, or at least one that I can alter (without too much cost) that will give me happiness in a home.  I would say right now, I am yearning for a house.  There have been moments where I have even shed a tear of disappointment, frustration, and sadness over ‘losing’ a house that was never mine.  There are times where there is intense emotion behind my desire for a dwelling place.

God sure has a funny way of teaching me lessons… He really likes to teach me especially while I am trying to teach others.  When I signed up for this week of devotions, I hadn’t even met with a realtor.  Now, as I type up this message, I just spent three days stressing over what amount to offer on a house only to be rejected without a counter within hours and I opened up my Bible to “Longing for God’s House”… ironic, huh? So now, here I am reminding you but reminding me that the house I should be longing for is the house of God (Psalm 84:2).  My heart is aching for a space to call home, and yet I am ignoring the promise of a dwelling place of the LORD of Hosts (v. 1).  I’m out here struggling to feel “happy” with my current circumstance, but I have forgotten that I can reside in the house of an Almighty God and I should be praising Him CONTINUALLY (v.4)! 

We are told God gives grace and glory; that he doesn’t withhold the good from those who live with integrity (v.11).  I have been so focused on seeking out something for myself rather than focusing on how I am living and trusting God to show me the good He is providing.

Maybe you aren’t looking for a physical home right now, but I bet you are searching and yearning for ­something.  Maybe it’s a promotion at work, a hand to hold, a new car, to finish school, peace for your mental health, anything.  Everyone in some capacity is seeking “happiness”.  Are you looking in the right place?

-Sarah Johnson

Hello!  I am Sarah (Blanchard) Johnson.  My husband and I just welcomed little Eli in August of 2022 and we are LOVING being parents, although we miss some sleep too… We live in Minnesota and attend Pine Grove Bible Church; I have a heart for missions and would love to talk to you about it!

Questions for Reflection:

This Psalm gives us four ways to be happy:

1.       Reside in God’s house

2.       Praise God continually

3.       Get your Strength from God

4.       Trust in the LORD of Hosts

Which area do you need to focus on to feel happy?  Is there more than one?

I found one verse especially that caught my eye in how God reveals Himself… Which verses did you find?


LORD of Hosts, I pray today for myself and others, that we put our energy into longing for your house.  I pray that we live our lives with integrity so we can experience your good things.  I pray those seeking happiness find it through trusting in you.  God, thank you for all you are and all that you do in our lives each day.  We praise you for the promise of a perfect dwelling place to come.  In your son’s name, Amen.

And, in preparation for starting the book/letter of Galatians tomorrow in our New Testament reading, here’s Steve with our…

Introduction to Galatians

Paul wrote the book of Galatians to the churches in Galatia.  Paul was very direct in addressing their turning away from the gospel.  In 1:6, Paul says, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel…”  This was obviously a serious problem, since Paul then went on to say in 1:8, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”

You’ll find out in Chapter 3 that their problem was that they were trying to be justified by observing the law.  Paul argued that justification comes through faith in Jesus alone, not by works performed according to the law.

Paul also pointed out that as far as Christ is concerned, there is no distinction between Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female – all are one in Christ.  Paul then went on to say that if they belong to Christ, then they are Abraham’s descendants, and heirs according to the promises to Abraham.  This applies to us today, as well.

Paul defined the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  He also pointed out that they (and we) should live by the Spirit, and not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

In 6:7-8, Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

The book of Galatians is just as relevant to us today as it was to the original audience when it was written.  As you read it, consider how this letter applies to you today.

-Steve Mattison


Old Testament: Deuteronomy Intro below

Psalms Reading: Psalm 76

New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 13

Today we have three readings before us that seem very different from one another. They are different in many ways; approach, style, etc. but contain a similar message throughout.

The book of Deuteronomy details many hardships and troubles that God’s people faced. It also contains promises and hope. It reminds us that we have an active role in our faith. Our Heavenly Father did not create us with a certainty that we would listen and obey, that we would automatically choose Him. He created us with free will and allows us, each and every one of us, to make these life and death decisions on our own. He gives us all of the information we need and places the choice in our hands. To have life is to be with God. This book is about having an ongoing relationship with our loving God.

Psalm 76 is a song of victory of Israel over the enemies of God. Often times we see the rejoicing of the people and focus only upon the battle God won that led them to this point. He had delivered victory – that is evident to Israelite and Gentile both. There is more to it though, more here than a casual glance will reveal. The psalmist sings of weapons of war at rest. The Lexham English Bible says, the stouthearted sleep, both rider and horse slumber. Death is implied here but, in that death, God has brought peace. The slain, the peace of death, and for those who yet live peace through knowing Him, revering Him, “From heaven you pronounced judgement, and the land feared and was quiet.” Like with our overview of Deuteronomy, we see our need for a relationship with God, that life comes from Him.

And then we get to our final section of reading for today, as we finish 2 Corinthians with chapter 13 – which brings to mind 1 Corinthians 13 – the chapter all about love. From verse four through the beginning of verse eight, it details what real love is and what it is not. The first three verses are quite plain to say that what we do or say in this life matters little if it does not come from the type of love that God, and Jesus displayed for us.

We are merely messengers of the Gospel, the Good News. We are to ensure that others know of salvation through Jesus by our words and actions. It is not for us to judge one another or force a change. We are to faithfully bring the truth of God’s word to our family, friends, and acquaintances. It is that truth that will reveal both sin and the need for salvation, but it is still up to the individual to make that choice. If that choice is not to come to God through Jesus, then we are to still love them. We are limited to our knowledge of now, this moment, and even that is severely lacking. We do not know their future choices, so we love them. They are created in God’s image, so we love them.

Each of these sections of Scripture present the hardships that come with the choice we each face, to know and love God or deny Him. It is not just our choices though, but also those of everyone around us. We have this amazing knowledge of God, Jesus, and salvation. We, who have a relationship with Him through Jesus, have a hope beyond the troubles of this life. Loving God, and knowing His love, can comfort us in our most desperate moments.

We want that for others and sometimes get frustrated, angry, or hurt that they refuse to open themselves to this relationship. That is probably similar to how God felt about you and I before we made that choice. I believe that a huge part of our commission to go into the world to spread the Gospel is to love the sinner as God loves us who still sin. Be patient. Speak and live God’s word. That is what love is!

-Jeff Ransom

Deuteronomy Introduction

I love the book of Deuteronomy.  Even though it retells many of the highlights of Exodus through Numbers, the tone of Deuteronomy is much different.  Instead of just laying out the law as God had given it, and instead of just relaying historical facts, Moses was now encouraging the people to love and follow God- for their own good.  

Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy just before his death.  This was his last opportunity to encourage the Israelites to obey God wholeheartedly.  When he wrote it, almost everyone was dead who had been an adult when the Israelites had left Egypt.  As a result, Moses was trying to remind the new generation of all that God had done for them (and their parents), and was trying to encourage them to follow God – and not just obey Him, but to love Him.

Deuteronomy 10: 12-13 is an example of this, “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”

The book of Deuteronomy ends with Moses climbing a mountain, and looking out over the Promised Land – which he wasn’t allowed to enter because of one act of disobedience against God.  And then Moses died.  Can you imagine how disappointed Moses must have been, seeing the promised land, but not being able to enter?  He had longed for this his whole life, and was finally denied entry.

This should be a warning to us. It reminds me of Luke 13:28, which says, “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.”

I’ll close with Deuteronomy 30: 15-20, “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.  But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

-Steve Mattison

Reflection Questions

  1. What do we learn from Moses and Paul about how to speak and live God’s word? How can you speak and live God’s word better than you have previously?
  2. We all have choices to make. What choices have you made that have brought you closer to a relationship with God and the salvation he extends through His son? What choices have you made that have taken you further from God? What will you choose today?
  3. What do you learn about God and His character in today’s Bible reading? Who needs to hear that and how will you share?

God’s Restoration

Old Testament: Numbers 31-33

Psalms Reading: Psalms 74

New Testament: 2 Corinthians 11

My Bible notes explain that Psalm 74 is from the time of the exile, after the nation of Israel had been destroyed and the temple left in ruins and the promised land completely ravished. The first half of the Psalm is a recounting of how the sanctuary of the Almighty was decimated by the enemy. The second half of the Psalm is a cry out to God to do something about it. Verse 12 is the pivot point between the two halves. 

As I read Psalm 74, my inner first-born older-sister voice says something like, “Well, what do you expect? Your insolent behavior was basically an invitation to the enemy to come and wreak havoc. You opened the door to the temple wide open with your disobedience. And now you realize your mistake and want God to fix it???”

As if I never did anything foolish. Not once have I been disobedient. And I never have had to deal with the consequences of my poor choices. Nor have I ever asked God to come to my rescue and defend me when I got in over my head. Nope, not at all. Not me.

Maybe this Psalm hits a little too close to home. Because there have been so many times when my disobedience has left me on my knees. I said something that shouldn’t have been said; I ignored God’s voice telling me to walk the other way; I refused to forgive; I thought too highly of myself. And when I realized what I got myself into, the only thing I could think of doing was crying out to God for help.

While God fully desires us to be obedient, he knows our human nature and capability to mess things up from time to time. He wants us to call out to Him. He longs for us to recognize our need for Him. So even when we open the door of our hearts to something less than God’s best and our lives are turned inside out and upside down, He will come and restore us to who we are meant to be.

Thank you God, for being full of mercy and grace and hearing me when I call out. Thank you God, for not turning your back on me when my mess is a result of my foolishness. Thank you God, for loving me unconditionally, that even though I may have to suffer the consequences of my actions, you redeem me.

-Bethany Ligon

Reflection Questions

  1. When has your disobedience caused the need for restoration?
  2. Is there an area of your life that you have already experienced God’s restoration? What did it look like when it was in ruins? What does restoration look/feel like?
  3. What has God revealed about Himself in today’s Bible reading?

To Be Near God

Old Testament Reading: Numbers 28-30

Psalms Reading: Psalm 73

New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 10

What is the longest that you have prayed for something? A couple of days? A few weeks? Multiple months? Several years? Maybe a decade or two? 

For me, I prayed for something for over ten years. The words may not have been on my lips each day or recorded in my journal on a regular basis, but it was in my heart for a very long time. There were times when I looked around and wondered why God wasn’t answering this prayer. Why did he seem to be responding to others before me? Why did it appear that even nonbelievers were ‘living their best life’ and here I was, trudging along, waiting for God to do something.

Eventually, I saw an answer to my prayer. It didn’t come in a way that I anticipated, but God answered. Hallelujah! 

I find myself in another long-term praying situation. Every once in a while I see a glimpse of what I hope for, but it doesn’t last for long. It’s frustrating. At times I feel powerless because nothing I seem to do makes any difference. At other times, I am jealous of others who have what appears to be what I am asking God for. 

As I read Psalm 73, I identify some with the author in his observations that life just doesn’t seem fair. But I have come to realize that when I am looking at ANYTHING other than God, my perspective, my attitude, my desires, become skewed.

When I am intentionally seeking after God, my confidence in His plan and timing grows; my heart’s desires change, my thoughts are transformed. I become spiritually stronger and sustained when I stop comparing my life to the world and start trusting that God has bigger and greater plans in store for my future. 

So for now, I will lift up my hands and reach out to my Father who will take hold and provide all that is needed while I wait for an answer. And even if that answer doesn’t make sense, doesn’t seem fair or doesn’t match my timeline, I can trust that His way is better than my way and He alone is enough.

-Bethany Ligon

Reflection Questions

  1. What is the Psalmist’s attitude and focus in the first half of Psalm 73? What is his attitude and focus in the second half? What is the turning point? What are your favorite verses in this Psalm?
  2. When does life seem unfair to you? What is your typical response? Even when the situation remains the same, how can your attitude and focus change?
  3. What do you learn of God and His characteristics in today’s Bible reading?

My Mouth is Filled with Your Praise

Old Testament Reading: Numbers 24 & 25

*Psalms Reading: Psalm 71

New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 8

As I began reading Psalm 71 I immediately took to heart the first sentence, “In you, LORD, I have taken refuge.” How many times do we have troubles and look to things other then God? We look to our friends, our families, sometimes video games, sugar, so many things when our first response should be to look to God. Our writer goes on to ask God to be his rock of refuge, to which I can always go. We can go to Him anytime day or night. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night because something is bothering me. While I know my husband would not get upset if I woke him, it is not something I want to do. But guess what, God is there! He is always with us.

The Psalm goes on to ask about not casting him away when he is old, not forsaking him when his strength is gone. He asks God for help. He says he will always have hope and he will praise God more and more. He will tell of his saving acts all day long. He will praise Him with the harp, the lyre, his lips and his tongue. The writer of this Psalm really knew that God is AMAZING!

All of this made me think of a few things. First, as I said earlier, God is aways with us. I have a great support system and God has put wonderful people in my life to help me navigate the craziness of this world but do I put God aside and try everything else first and then go to Him? I know I do sometimes, then I realize I should have gone to Him first. Many times when I go to him first, he puts the right help in front of me to navigate my problem and sometimes he tells me I just need to wait on it.

Second, when he is talking about his enemies, I think of the enemies that are trying to take us away from God. They will stop at nothing to tear us from the love of God. Verse 4 says “Deliver me, my God from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.”  We need to stand firm in our faith, seek God, spend time in His word, and be careful that we don’t get pulled away. It is so easy to walk away, to spend time away from God. We need to be purposeful in our walk with Him so we are not tempted to walk away.

Lastly, he is praising God. We need to praise God for all he has given us. My husband says he is part of the joyful noise club. I am too, I don’t have a beautiful voice but the Bible doesn’t say we have to have a beautiful voice, it says to make a joyful noise. It also doesn’t say we need to be Bible scholars to speak his word or tell others of the great things He does. Verse 17 says, “I declare your marvelous deeds.”  Go out and declare His marvelous deeds in your life.

-Jeani Ransom

Questions for reflection:

  1. How do you take refuge in God? Do you seek others first or God first?
  2. How can you show your praise to Him today?
  3. What marvelous deeds has He done for you? Who can you share them with?

Never Be Shaken

* New Testament Reading:  1 Corinthians 15
*Psalms Reading:  Psalm 62
Old Testament Reading:  Numbers 4-6

At first glance, the obvious place to focus today is 1 Corinthians 15 (The Resurrection Chapter).  It even says that it is of first importance – Christ died for our sins, he was buried, he was raised on the third day.  Our hope of eternal life in God’s kingdom is based on Jesus’ resurrection.  This chapter is a biggie and I really hope you read it and take to heart all God has to say here.  This chapter also has some wonderful verses that could be whole devotions individually. 

  • Verse 33 – Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
  • Verse 52b – For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 
  • Verse 58 – Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

But, Psalm 62 has personal meaning to me, so I want to focus today’s devotion here.  There was a time when I experienced the betrayal of a very close friend.  I knew bad things were said about me and lies were spread.  I desperately wanted to counter them; to defend myself and prove my character.  I wanted to prove them wrong, and in doing so, make sure others knew their wrongs (sounds like revenge to me).   I had the opportunity to have a few days of solitude at that time and God brought Psalm 62:7 to me, “My salvation and my honor depend on God”.  I was convicted that I didn’t have to defend myself.  God would defend my honor if needed, and He did.   I only needed to concern myself with what God thought of me, not other people.  That became a life verse for me over the next few years.

The rest of this Psalm also lifted me up at that time. 

Verses 1 & 2 brought me peace and hope.  My world had been shaken, but my faith and my standing with God was not. 

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Verse 8 gave me a place to vent, to question, to rant (I knew God could handle it). 

Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

God helped me walk a path that didn’t come naturally.  In doing so, He also revealed His goodness as He protected me from me – from seeking revenge hidden in the cover of defending myself.  Once God had my attention and knew that I was following His path, He also helped me to forgive.  I know that isn’t in this passage, but it is.  It’s in every passage.  The whole of Scripture is showing us how to be restored to a relationship with God.  That is found in Jesus.  In his death and resurrection.  He died for me.  He died for you.  Because we need forgiveness.  Therefore, we need to forgive. 

-Todd and Amy Blanchard

Reflection Questions

  1. Is there someone you need to forgive?  Is there someone you need to ask forgiveness from?  Make the choice to forgive today.  You may need to make that choice daily for a while but, I promise you, it is worth it. 
  2. If you need to find rest (verse 1), you may need to find a place where you can silence all of the noise, the voices, the distractions of life.  Rather than try to make sense of things, just believe.  Rather than trying to do, work, or act, be quiet and listen.  Rather than go your own way, choose to go God’s way. 
  3.  What character trait of God do you need to hold onto today? 

Stay in the Shelter of the LORD

New Testament Reading:  1 Corinthians 14

*Psalms Reading:  Psalm 61

Old Testament Reading:  Numbers 1-3

I really enjoy a good thunderstorm.  Sometimes in the spring and summer in Minnesota we can watch the sky turn dark and see and feel the lightning and thunder.  I find it incredible, and it causes me to praise God for his awesome power and might.  I should clarify, I enjoy it when I am in the safety of my home.  If you have ever been trapped outdoors during a powerful storm it is amazing how weak and helpless you can feel.  The first four verses of Psalm 61 remind me of a time when that happened.

Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me dwell in your tent forever!
    Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! (ESV)

Amy and I were out fishing in Canada when a powerful storm swept in out of nowhere.  Being outside in a thunderstorm is scary enough but being in what amounts to a 16-foot aluminum lightning rod brings it to a whole new level.  We were far enough from camp when the storm started that I knew we couldn’t make it back before the serious weather hit.  In the middle of the lake, you are the tallest thing, especially if your wife is short.  As it turns out, what we did is not advised but it worked out for us.  We headed toward shore and pulled the boat under a large rock overhang and waited out the storm.  It was still nerve wracking but being protected under that large outcropping gave a feeling of safety and security that would not have been found had we stayed in the middle of the lake.  It’s good to know that in the storms of life, the only safe, reliable shelter is the rock that is higher than I.  Our God is a strong tower against the enemy that we can take refuge in.  Once we are there, verse 4 should be our heart’s cry:  Let me dwell in your tent forever!  Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!

-Todd and Amy Blanchard

Reflection Questions

  1. Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt very near to God?  What were the circumstances that brought you there?  Are you still there?  If not, why?
  2. Unfortunately, often we are closest to God when we are in dire circumstances.  What can you do to find/maintain that closeness with God in your everyday life?
  3. How did God show himself to you today?

The Snail that Dissolves into Slime

New Testament Reading:  1 Corinthians 11
*Psalms Reading:  Psalm 58
Old Testament Reading:  Leviticus 23-24

It is not easy to watch the wicked – those who don’t know God or choose not to follow God – prosper.  Whether it’s wealth or power or fame, it can be very frustrating and disheartening.  It’s easy to think, “That’s not fair!”. 

In Psalm 58 David describes the rulers as wicked, having hands that deal out violence, lying from birth, and having venom.  He follows that by asking God to deal with them….and not very kindly.  Verses 6-9 are David asking God to “break the teeth in their mouths”, “when he aims his arrows, let them be blunted”, “let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime”, and that God would “sweep them away”.   At first, verse 10 seems to speak of enjoying seeing the rulers fall, “The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;  he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.”.  But it is not enjoyment, but rather an encouragement to the righteous to see God judge the wicked rulers.  An encouragement in that we can know that, even though they had the power in this life, God will judge them.  He ends this Psalm by encouraging the righteous, “Mankind will say, ‘Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth’”

Don’t pray for bad things to happen to others.  Even those who make really, really bad choices.  Pray, rather, that God gives you the strength to stand firm.  Then you will be able to say, as Paul does in 1 Corinthians 11, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 

-Todd and Amy Blanchard

Reflection Questions

  1. Paul’s statement is a very confident one.  One I don’t feel comfortable making.  Maybe in some areas, but not overall.  What characteristics do you have that are good for others to imitate?  What areas might you need to more closely imitate Christ? 
  2. It’s easy to want bad things to happen to bad people.   It’s hard to wait for God’s vengeance to “give them what they deserve”.  Is there anyone you need to leave in God’s hands?  To trust in God’s timing and ability to judge rightly?  Pray that God will give you strength to trust He will take care of it.
  3. There were many parts of God’s character in today’s reading.  Which ones were you most drawn to?

No one is all bad, they can always serve as a bad example

*New Testament Reading:  1 Corinthians 10

*Psalms Reading:  Psalm 57

Old Testament Reading:  Leviticus 21-22

Have you ever wondered why some things “made it” into the Bible?  Why do we need to hear about what people did thousands of years ago?  1 Corinthians 10 gives us one reason.  In verses 6 and 11 Paul writes that these things took place as examples for us.  He was referencing the Israelites as they wandered in the desert and telling us not to do the things they did (indulging in sexual immorality, putting God to the test, grumbling, etc.). 

Yesterday we talked about God’s expectations.  Sometimes rather than just giving us a list of do’s and do not’s He gives us examples of others’ choices and how that worked out for them.  We can look in the Bible and find a lot of examples of people who made good choices and bad choices.  We can learn from both of these. 

We can also learn from David’s example in Psalm 57.   Many of the Psalms tell us what the circumstances were when it was written.  This one says it was when David fled from Saul into a cave. 

Verses 1-3 – David cries out to God, believing He will save him

Verse 4 – David tells God some of his problems

Verse 5 – David exalts God

Verse 6 – David tells God more of his problems

Verses 7-11 – David tells God that his heart belongs to Him; he gives thanks and sings praises to God

It seems as if David does believe in God’s ability to protect him, but at the same time sees the big problems that are in his life at that moment.  He reminds himself of God’s faithfulness, but the fears and trials don’t go away.  He finally simply decides to praise God and recognize Him for his greatness, even in the midst of his difficult circumstances. 

-Todd and Amy Blanchard

Reflection Questions

  1. What can you praise God for right now in your life, no matter what your circumstances are? 
  2. Whose example in the Bible do you want to follow?  Whose do you want to avoid?
  3. Are you being a good example of a faithful child of God for others to follow?
  4. What character trait of God did you see in today’s reading?
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