December 18, 2017
Read: Psalm 146
Bible in a Year: Obadiah; Revelation 9
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.—Psalm 146:5
The week before Christmas, two months after my mom died, holiday shopping and decorating sat at the bottom of my priority list. I resisted my husband’s attempts to comfort me as I grieved the loss of our family’s faith-filled matriarch. I sulked as our son, Xavier, stretched and stapled strands of Christmas lights onto the inside walls of our home. Without a word, he plugged in the cord before he and his dad left for work.
As the colorful bulbs blinked, God gently drew me out of my darkness. No matter how painful the circumstances, my hope remained secure in the light of God’s truth, which always reveals His unchanging character.
Psalm 146 affirms what God reminded me on that difficult morning: My endless “hope is in the LORD,” my helper, my mighty and merciful God (v. 5). As Creator of all, He “remains faithful forever” (v. 6). He “upholds the cause of the oppressed,” protecting us and providing for us (v. 7). “The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down” (v. 8). He “watches over” us, “sustains” us, and will always be King (vv. 9-10).
Sometimes, when Christmas rolls around, our days will overflow with joyful moments. Sometimes, we’ll face loss, experience hurt, or feel alone. But at all times, God promises to be our light in the darkness, offering us tangible help and everlasting hope. —Xochitl Dixon
Father God, thanks for inviting us to know and rely on Your unchanging character as the source of our eternal hope.
God secures our hope in His unchanging character.
INSIGHT: Psalm 146 is a psalm of contrasts. But the opening and closing phrases of the chapter are identical: “Praise the LORD.” This literary technique is called an inclusio. An inclusio sets the framework for understanding the content in between. In the case of Psalm 146, that framework is praising the Lord.
In verses 1-4 the author describes the frailty and ineffectiveness of the strength of humans—they are a breath; they cannot save. Then comes the contrast. In verses 5-9 God is described as the Maker and Ruler of everything. And specifically in verses 7-9 the author says that the Lord watches over and protects those who are in trouble. What greater reason to praise the Lord than that He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves!
In the midst of difficult circumstances the Lord is faithful. How can you remind yourself and others of this today? J.R. Hudberg
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