Saturday, May 16, 2020

Never again!

Psalm 66:12b-15
. . . you brought us out to freedom!
13  So I’ll enter your house with entirely burned offerings.
    I’ll keep the promises I made to you,
14  the ones my lips uttered,
        the ones my mouth spoke when I was in deep trouble. 
15 I will offer the best burned offerings to you
    along with the smoke of sacrificed rams.
    I will offer both bulls and goats. 

Get me out of this one, Lord, and I swear I’ll never do it again.  I’ll go to church every single week.  I will never touch another drug or drink or cigarette or do anything you don’t like.  Just please, get me out of this! 

I have no idea how many times I cried out to God for help when I was in trouble.  I promised impossible things, things that I really had no intention of following through with. I’m not even sure that I believed God was listening.  And yet, more often than not, a way was found where there was no way.  Even though I hadn’t I hadn’t kept any of my promises, God always found a way out for me, when I was sure there was no way. 

It sounds like the psalmist also made some promises he hadn’t intended to keep.  Possibly he didn’t believe that God would answer his prayer, because he knew that God had allowed the enemy to roll over them, had laid burdens upon them and tested them.  It sounds as though the psalmist hadn’t been at all certain that God would help them,  bring them safely out of danger into freedom.  And that happened, when it was clear that God had not even let their feet slip, then he said, “I’ll keep those promises I made, the ones my mouth spoke when I was in deep trouble. I will sacrifice all the best things to you. Because you brought us to freedom.

The time came eventually when I began to believe. And when I began to believe, I also began to realize that God doesn’t need for me to make all those extravagant promises.  All God wants is for us to show how much we love, by loving our neighbors, helping the needy, forgiving our enemies, freeing the oppressed.  All God wants is our love.  

Gracious God, today I know that you are always there, an ever present help in times of trouble, a balm to soothe all my hurts. May I be as faithful to you as you have always been to me.  Amen. 

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