Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
Picture two different groups of people who call you friends. One group is loving, kind to each other, smiling, and laughing while helping someone in need of finishing a project that was too much for one person. They are celebrating the completion of the project with high fives all around, thanking God for helping them.
The other group is huddled around a table in the local Starbucks. They, too, are laughing and talking loudly as they belittle and mock one of their “friends” who is struggling with life. They judge and criticize while tearing down this person in many ways. Their words are harsh, unkind and unloving.
Which group do you come near? Which group will give bring joy to your heart? Which group do you think loves YOU? Which group will be awkward for you?
Now, picture God choosing between the groups. Who will He come near and help? Who will bring a smile to His face? Who will He want to bless? Who will HE want to hang around? Which group of friends brews anger from the heart of God?
Psalm 85, The Message
A Korah Psalm
1-3 God, you smiled on your good earth!
You brought good times back to Jacob!
You lifted the cloud of guilt from your people,
you put their sins far out of sight.
You took back your sin-provoked threats,
you cooled your hot, righteous anger.
4-7 Help us again, God of our help;
don’t hold a grudge against us forever.
You aren’t going to keep this up, are you?
scowling and angry, year after year?
Why not help us make a fresh start—a resurrection life?
Then your people will laugh and sing!
Show us how much you love us, God!
Give us the salvation we need!
8-9 I can’t wait to hear what he’ll say.
God’s about to pronounce his people well,
The holy people he loves so much,
so they’ll never again live like fools.
See how close his salvation is to those who fear him?
Our country is home base for Glory!
10-13 Love and Truth meet in the street,
Right Living and Whole Living embrace and kiss!
Truth sprouts green from the ground,
Right Living pours down from the skies!
Oh yes! God gives Goodness and Beauty;
our land responds with Bounty and Blessing.
Right Living strides out before him,
and clears a path for his passage.
SOMETHING TO THINK OVER…
We cry out for God to draw near to us but are we ready for Him to come into our world of hate and unkindness? If we do not follow His ways of treating others with unselfish love which directly is in correlation to how we treat God, do we wonder why He looks away? It is AWKWARD at best for God to hang around a people who are self centered and unkind to each other and to others they do not care to know, just as it is awkward for us to choose to be like the group who tears down others.
I hear you saying, “Well, Jesus hung around sinners and unkind people.” Yes, He did. He loves us all. But He came to seek and to save lost and misguided people. From a place of love He pointed them back to God. He did not become like them. He showed them a better way. Then He laid down his life for all of us. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you was the mantra of Jesus.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8, NKJV
TO PUT IT EVEN MORE CLEARLY….
“7-10 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” James 4:8-10, The Message
God’s people did not always obey the Lord or show kindness to each other, but they did make a new start. The Scottish preacher George H. Morrison said, “The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings,” and he is right. It is a sin to disobey God and fall, but it is also a sin to stay fallen. We must always make a new beginning, and this psalm gives us some instructions that we can follow after times of failure with God’s discipline.
This prayer psalm of honesty teaches us to:
Give Thanks to the Lord (vv. 1-3).
Ask Him for Renewed Life (vv. 4-7).
Listen for God’s Message to You (vv. 8-13).
Verse 6 links revival, resurrection with joy. Do you believe revival or spiritual renewal always produces joy? Explain.
What picture of Jesus’ person and work do you see in verse 10: “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other”?
How does it help you to embrace the future knowing “the Lord will indeed give what is good” (v. 12)?
Dear Heavenly Father,
We need to give you plenty of room for your passage through our lives. You will draw near to those who follow you. You will bless those who you call Friend and obey You. I am reminded of the old hymn, Lord, that was a favorite of Grandpa Lacquement who led the congregation to sing it with every person’s baptism, declaring new life in You…”Trust and Obey” for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. Yes, you make it clear. Continue to teach and transform us to be and do all you intended for us. I say yes to you!
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe
And I’m singing…“Trust and Obey”
(By John H. Sammis, 1887)
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.