Through the difficulties of life, do you believe the Lord is there?

Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” – Psalm 118:4

God is a God of steadfast love. We can trust the Lord day in and day out. Because the Lord walks with us, carries us even, we can rejoice in the valley as well as on the mountain tops.

The Lord cares for those who are His. As the psalmist says in verse 27,

“The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us.” – Ps 118:27a

Do you believe the Lord is shining on you day in and day out? Through the difficulties of life, do you believe the Lord is there? Do you believe the Lord is in the valley just as He is on the mountain top?

Our God is a God of steadfast love. He never leaves us despite the position in which we find ourselves. God is always there.

In Luke 12:22 Jesus provides these words of comfort to the anxious when He says,

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. – Luke 12:22

God knows our needs. He will provide for our needs. As we daily depend on Him to provide, we grow in our understanding of and in our trust and dependence on God. Life is not about us amassing so much wealth that we can live comfortable lives (see Luke 12:13-21). If God gives us with wealth and the ability to live without worry of money, that is a blessing. But a comfortable life is should not be our goal. That is the American dream, not God’s will for our life. Sometimes we must live uncomfortably, if we even know what that is as middle class Americans, to grow in our trust of God’s provision, care, and steadfast love.

Our God is a God of persistent love. When we recognize God’s persistent love and presence is our life through His day to day provision, we can and will give thanks to the Lord. We can say that He is good. We should praise and worship Him despite our circumstances.

Are you giving God your all?

God’s statement through Malachi to the returned exiles is strong. He has no pleasure in them nor their offerings.

The returned exiles don’t recognize who God is — the Lord of hosts, the all sovereign God of the entire universe (Mal 1:11). Nor do they recognize the privilege position in which they sit under the love of God as His chosen covenant people — God chose Jacob over Esau because He loved Jacob and hated Esau (Mal 1:2-3). Not recognizing the magnitude and magnificence of God, they take Him for granted. They believe they can worship God any way they like and God should accept their half-hearted worship and even provide them blessings.

But should God be content with us worshipping Him in the ways in which we prescribe? Or should we seek to worship God according to His divine commands?

Consider how David would answer this question from the daily Psalm that accompanies the reading in Malachi.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

– Psalm 63:1

Does your soul thirst for God? Does your flesh faint for him? Do you desire God in such a way that you are driven to worship Him with your entire life? Seeking Him with all you have, recognizing He is the sustainer of your life?

The Israelites didn’t seek the Lord with all their soul. They simple went through the motions. Bringing sacrifices because they were required. Taking God for granted, they didn’t bring the best and the first. They offered the blind, the lame, the sick (Mal 1:8). They brought sacrifices to God that they would not bring to their secular rulers, expecting God to accept their offerings and bless them accordingly (Mal. 1:8b-9).

God doesn’t want our left overs! He doesn’t want our half-hearted worship. He wants all of us. He wants us to thirst for and hunger for Him as David did.

Do you thirst for the Lord? Are you giving your all to the Lord? Or are you giving Him what’s leftover of your time, energy, and resources? Are you seeking Him for Him, or are you seeking Him for what you believe He can provide you?

“So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

Psalm 63:2-8
Psalm

Pour out your heart to the Lord

I’m reading through the Bible using the Bible Project’s reading schedule with my church. It has been great. We are at the end of Zechariah and beginning Malachi. As I read today, I was struck by Zechariah 14 and the accompanying Psalm, which is Psalm 62.

Combined with our recent reading in Zechariah 14 regarding the day of the Lord, we find that we can place our trust in the Lord. Zechariah prophesies in verse 9 “And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.” – (Zechariah 14:9).

Do you trust in the Lord? Is He your refuge in times of trouble? Do you pour your heart out to Him? Or do you seek comfort, refuge, protection, purpose in someone, or something else?

Do not seek comfort from the world’s false idols. They can’t and they won’t provide you the comfort you seek. Put your card back in your wallet, the snacks back on the shelf, the ice cream back in the freezer, let the selfie remain in your camera roll, and your posts about your performance go unposted.

Instead, drop to your knees and seek the Lord in prayer. Pour out your heart to Him and trust Him to act. He is the King over the whole earth now and forevermore.