Today’s Readings: click here – Psalm 63:1-8; Exodus 40:34-38; Revelation 18:1-10, 19-20 (to open the scripture links – hover over, right click, open hyperlink)
Our Psalm today, much like Psalm 61 & 62, encompasses David’s quiet confidence and intense loneliness, seeking refuge from his enemies in the barren wilderness of Judah, during Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 15-18). Wandering alone and longing for a friend he could trust and share his despair and fears with, he remained close to God, crying out how his soul yearned for Him, in such a dark and weary land. This reminds us that when we too are experiencing loneliness and isolation in times of trouble, fear and doubt, our soul will ache for God’s comfort, strength and peace, so CRY OUT! Like David, Let your heart recall all the ways God has been by your side, his faithfulness being your source of strength and power, blessing your exposed pain and sorrow, covering you with his mighty love and healing to take root to face each new day, again and again.
Our Exodus passage is the last chapter of the book of Exodus that began with gloom but finishes in glory, paralleling our progress through Christian life. We begin as slaves to sin, redeemed by God and end our pilgrimage through our salvation through Christ Jesus and eternal life with Him. God’s presence day and night in the cloud that hovered over the tabernacle was the Israelites assurance of His promises, provisions and faithfulness. We too can look to the beauty and splendor of the earth as our guide in life to embrace the same promises, provisions and faithfulness of God through His Son Jesus, who is our gateway and with us always! With eyes wide open and hearts faithful to love and serve, the bounty of God enriches us with His Glory everyday.
In our reading today in Revelation, it illustrates the complete destruction of Babylon and Babylon as a metaphorical name for the evil power in the world and all it represents, even today. Our world continues to be infectious of the same sinful temptations of self-righteousness and evil as Babylon, spreading like wildfire through families, church communities, governments and nations. We are warned to avoid Babylon’s sins, to not become complacent and deluded by the myth of our own independence , ignorance and pride. This is dishonoring to God. His judgement and wrath against it is harsh.
This chapter reminds us of forceful evil dangers lurking around every bend, tempting and enticing us for an easier, fuller, and richer life, that we soon become caught up in the material things of this world and take advantage of deceitful opportunities and others for selfish-gain while losing sight of God’s favor, protection and promises. We find ourselves no longer living according to our Christian values; service, giving, self-sacrifice, obedience and truth. We become complacent in a luxury lifestyle at whatever cost, feeling invulnerable, in control, secure with no sense of needing God or anyone else. We lose our way. We can’t seem to break free from Satan’s grip. We, the righteous are most sought after by Satan so our battle is vicious. His main goal is that we would turn our face from God and follow his sinful ways until we no longer can recognize ourselves.
We must always be on our guard from these powers of evil destruction; through prayer, God’s word and church community. As I like to say ‘stop, drop and pray’ at any sign of temptation, wavering faith, conflict, questionable instinct, weakness or uncertainty.
God always brings us right back to the basics, here’s a few spotlights:
Never compromise God’s Word or His Will – Do what is right no matter what the cost.
Consider the means of making money – If it feels wrong, it probably is – go with your gut;
Look to things that work for the good of others and build God’s kingdom not the world’s desires.
Love God, love others and yourself before material things – Our faith, character, and relationships are more important than any amount of money, power or pleasure.
Don’t let pride displace your plans and success – Give God all the glory, always!
Here are a few songs that relate to todays post for your spiritual listening and development!
Prayer: Lord, your love consumes me, your word strengthens me, your spirit flows through my veins, yet I live in the flesh with temptations and evil all around me. Every day is a challenge to remain strong in faith and character. Help me to keep my heart and mind on You Jesus, for you are The Way, The Truth and The Life. Let nothing turn my face from you. I pray this in your mighty name, Jesus. Amen