God acts, and the psalmist moves from exaltation to action.
His happiness has given him insight and energy to become
a witness for God to all he meets. Look at the words the psalmist
uses to describe his experience of God’s support: deliverance,
saving help, faithfulness, and salvation. These words provide a
sharp contrast with ideas about things and experiences that supposedly
bring us happiness. The contrast gives us clues to the
true nature of joy.
For example, the world tells us we earn our pleasures in the
same way that some construed their burnt offerings and animal
sacrifices as a way to gain favor with God. The psalmist affirms
that he has made no sacrifice or offering; instead, God’s law
resides within his heart.
The world’s pleasures can leave us uncomfortably stupefied
or aching with emptiness. We may eat too much food, drink
too many intoxicating beverages, or spend beyond our means.
Even when we think we have it all, we may view our supposed
sources of happiness with discouragement or despair.
The psalmist has discovered that friendship with God
brings the kind of wholesome, fulfilling life that the Creator
intends for us all. His joy at this insight fuels the psalmist’s
motivation to share his experience of God with others. The
psalmist eagerly tells “the great congregation” how his relationship
with God has changed his life for the better. He tells us
that the joyful experience of God’s saving mercy and grace isn’t
something we can keep to ourselves. With unrestrained lips, we
tell others “the glad news of deliverance”: God’s steadfast love,
faithfulness, and mercy will keep us safe forever.
Day by day, O God, may I tell those around me of my delight in living close to you. Amen.
The theme of God’s calling all believers to a life of ministry runs through all four of this week’s scripture passages. We discover that God’s call always requires a response! The Isaiah passage, one of the Servant Songs that points to Jesus, reminds us that God is the one who pursues and calls. The psalmist exemplifies the call to give witness when God shows up and is found to be faithful. In the opening of his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul reminds us of his own calling and then goes on to emphasize that all are called by God and set apart for ministry. And in John’s Gospel, we receive an example of testifying to God’s presence in our lives and the important calling of bringing others to Jesus.
• Read Isaiah 49:1-7. How has God taken the initiative to work in your life and call you to faith? What mission has God given you?
• Read Psalm 40:1-11. List the ways that God has been faithful to you in showing up and answering your prayers. How have you given witness to God’s faithfulness?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. What gifts has God given you to fulfill your calling to ministry?
• Read John 1:29-42. How might you cultivate the discipline of “mindfulness” in your spiritual life?
Respond by posting a prayer.