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On first impression, a psalm describing a king preparing for battle and a petition for victory may not seem relevant to most of us. Is David giving his blessing to violence or power? We may struggle with this idea. Yet an honest engagement with the psalm can teach us about...
O God, help me to trust not in external power but in your unseen strength that is always with me. Amen.
From a human perspective, we tend to judge people by appearances: how attractive they are, how wealthy they seem to be. God’s standard, however, is not outward appearance but the attitude of the heart. David was the youngest brother in his family, but God knew his mighty heart and chose him as the next king of Israel. The psalmist declares that God gives victory to those who put their trust in God, not in the outward appearance of might. Jesus reinforces this truth with the parable of the mustard seed. Paul tells the Corinthians that we should no longer judge by what we see on the outside, for God changes what really matters—what is on the inside.
Read 1 Samuel 15:34–16:13. When have outward appearances prevented you from seeing someone’s value as a child of God?
Read Psalm 20. How do you discern whether your “heart’s desire” is in line with what God wants for your life?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:6-17. In what ways are you “urged on” by the love of Christ? How do you behave differently because you know Christ’s love?
Read Mark 4:26-34. When have you seen God make much of a small gift that you offered?
Respond by posting a prayer.
The Upper Room lifts the spirits of residents I serve as a correctional chaplain. Christians and non-Christians read the devotions, reminding them of an alternative path to a loving God that will walk alongside them through the good and ugly of life.”
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