13 O LORD, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! 14 Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. 15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. 16 Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. 17 And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful! Psalm 90:13-17 (NLT2)
We all long for something simpler and more predictable; surroundings less threatening and tumultuous, more comfortable and secure. But such is not our lot. We are not nostalgia freaks, trying to retreat to a more comfortable past. We move confidently into an uncertain future emboldened by our Lord who gives us his word of hope and life to preach to a world lost in despair and death.
He is so completely devoted to the dearest will of his Father that he forgets about his own death, his sin, and his hell imposed on him, and he intercedes for his enemies, for their sin, death, and hell [Luke 23:34]. We must, similarly, let these images slip away from us to wherever they wish or care to go, and remember only that we cling to God’s will, which is that we hold to Christ and firmly believe our sin, death, and hell are overcome in him and no longer able to harm us. Only Christ’s image must abide in us. l.
It would seem that the stresses of this time have no comparison to the past
Yet there have always been wars and rumours of wars. There has always been violence in the streets. There have always been broken relationships between parents and children, husbands and wives, co-workers, and even among churches. Anxiety has aways been there, though known by different names.
Such worldly oppression, on top of the weight of our own sin leads us to want to “return”. Return to a simpler time, or a more peaceful place. (My choice is Ossipee, N.H. or kneeling and praying in St Francis Church in Lawrence, Mass – circa 1978) as if those times and places were closer to heaven. Others think their peace depends on a form of worship, or a translation of the Bible.
As long as we are looking nostalgically, whether the time we want is 1963, 1973, or 2018,the hope and peace we are delusional. Given time to think, we could find the stressors and oppression in those times.
Luther comes up with the solution, as does David. What we long for in our memories is the peace that comes in the future, that comes in the time of rest where we know God is, and who He is. We need to see HIs glory and majesty, and we need to see His intimacy. We need those moments to come, just not be in the past. Only when we are focused on Jesus will sin, guilt, shame, resentment, and all that comes with them. Those things are nothing compared to knowing Jesus…
What we are looking for in the past actually awaits us, and can be experienced today. It is Jesus. This is why the psalmist prays we see His glory, why Luther, who lived in a dark time, wrote as he did.
Lord Jesus, we need to see the Father’s glory as much as those in King David’s time, as much as in Martin Luther’s time. Break open the heavens, and show us, that we and our children, and our communities may find Your satisfying peace! Amen!
Harold L. Senkbeil, The Care of Souls: Cultivating a Pastor’s Heart (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019), 272.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 42: Devotional Writings I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 42 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 108.
Backseat Conversationson the Way to Heaven:
This Trip Was So Fast!
† Jesus, Son, Savior †
May your confidence in the grace, mercy and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be strengthened, and enjoyed!
The Journey Continues as We Draw closer
As we’ve compared our life to a long car journey, often times the journeys included a little conflict as some of the sermons mentioned. But there were times of great fun as well. Times were we competed in quizzes, or saw the glorious surroundings, or just had great times talking or singing silly songs…..
Anyone remember 99 bottles of beer on the wall?
Did anyone ever finish it? The song, not the beer!
There were times when we had so much fun in those journeys that we were disappointed when we arrived at Grampy’s house, or Auntie Lainey’s. We would be so disappointed that we’d have to be dragged out of the car.
It is as if we forgot what was waiting for us when we got to where we were going. The feast of incredible proportion
We would get to the door, and smell the sausages, or remember there were presents or French onion dip awaiting us, and of course the car was a faint memory.
We had forgotten the destination, we were so intent on the fun.
As we look at the psalm that was read earlier, we can see we aren’t the only ones who spend the journey forgetting about the destination.
We so need what the psalmist prays for, in verse 12 where he writes:
12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
The Trip Is Too Fast to Get it Right!
Have you ever gotten to the end of the week and realized that all the things you meant to get done didn’t happen? Then Friday comes, and as we come to think about the week, we realize all that we’ve done that wasted time, and all the important things that we didn’t accomplish.
Life can be like that, it flies by too fast. One moment I am sitting in a favorite hiding place, reading a Hardy Boy’s book, the next moment I am approaching 50, watching my son read the same story.
Beneath this time issue is an ominous problem. Like the servant with only one talent in the parable today, when the master returns, what will we have to show Him?
Will Jesus find that we did what He’s asked, giving others the message that God has given them the gift of reconciliation? Will He find us making disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? Will He see us confessing our sins to one another, that we would be healed? Will He hear of us caring for the sick, the imprisoned, the lame, the widow and orphans?
Or will our lives be like the Psalmist describes?
3 You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!” 4 For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. 5 You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. 6 In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered. 7 We wither beneath your anger; we are overwhelmed by your fury. 8 You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all. 9 We live our lives beneath your wrath, ending our years with a groan.
In thinking about how short the time is, do we see a need for God’s desires, God’s will, God’s priorities to be out own? Or do we do what we think is right in our own hearts? If we bother to think about time from God’s perspective, then what follows should be realizing how much of God’s wrath we deserve.
Yes, the wrath we deserve.
We admitted to it, if we meant the words we said during our confession and absolution. Or did you not really mean it when you said you deserve His temporal and eternal punishment? We do. You do, I do. The world does.
What if God, as the psalmist describes, spread out your sins before him, like a card dealer spreads out a deck of cards? Or a thousand decks of cards… or 100,000 decks of cards.
How would you react, if every sin you committed, with all the documentation, was laid out before God?
How would this time that we have been used? Would it be well spent, or would we be in fear for our eternal lives?
That is the question the psalmist is asking,
And the very reason we have to be able to know how brief a time our journey is…..
The Verse of the Day
I am not sure if it is because of time constraints, or why those who choose the length of readings shorten some of the psalms and the readings. I mean I understand Psalm 119 being broken up. But here, as in other places, the breaks don’t quite work.
We ended our reading today, with a prayer that God would teach us to realize that the is short, that life is very brief, so that we can gain wisdom, wisdom to spend our time well, and in a God pleasing way. But how? When we deserve His wrath?
I put part of the psalm in the Alleluia and Verse today, it is a continuance of the prayer to realize how brief the time is…
13 O LORD, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! 14 Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
It is a prayer, that was fulfilled at the cross, a prayer where God did come back, and lived among us., he didn’t delay any longer, but He heard the prayer of His people, and responded, and came to us, and died for us.
A prayer answered as He took pity on us, paying the debt for our sin, and even more, He satisfies us with His unfailing love.
A love that will cause us to sing His praises far into eternity, a prayer that is the result of our realizing the time is short, and spending this journey with God. The psalm goes on, describing the reality of wisdom in prayer,
“15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. 16 Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. 17 And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful.
This is what Moses meant by understanding the brevity of time when he wrote this Psalm, about the joy and good that God provides for us in our lives. That is what redeeming the time as Paul the apostle calls it. It is about seeing God at work in us, walking with us, and leading us to do work bringing the message of His love, and reconciliation. This is how we fulfill His desire…as we share our lives with Him, trusting Him,
It is then, knowing the value of our time spent with Him, trusting in Him, that we know His peace, and may that peace of God, which passes all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. AMEN? AMEN!
Devotion of the Day:
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (TEV) 26 Now remember what you were, my friends, when God called you. From the human point of view few of you were wise or powerful or of high social standing. 27 God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. 28 He chose what the world looks down on and despises and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. 29 This means that no one can boast in God’s presence. 30 But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God’s holy people and are set free. 31 So then, as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done.”
This morning, after a very early dental appt, (Awesome Dentist is Dr. Grammas) I went to breakfast at a place I spent all to much time in college.
You see, I worked graveyard shift – both in High School and College, and I went to the Denny’s that was up the street from my dentist – the very one I worked at.
Memories of the kids from Chapman College – regular Friday night customers, and the staff from a local night club called Oscar’s, and the 3 couples that came in every night, ordered 3 bottles of wine and a plate of nachos. Sam the Limo driver (a great tipper btw) and them Lisa and Vicky – my coworkers, and John and Miguel the cooks. My senior pastor’s mom – who always left me very encouraging comment cards (they still sit in my file cabinet – one rubber banded handful fo them) – I was taken back there…even thought the restaurant has been radically remodeled. It’s been over 25 years since I worked there, yet the memories still are powerful….
The thoughts also made me think of this unique journey I’ve been on, and where I am now, of what I’ve done – of what I do.
It is a unique life, that of being a pastor – that of serving people when life it at its hardest, when it is at its most complicated, when they realize that they need God to come to them. It is often then, that people finally listen a bit (there are some that always listen – but the bulk of people we minister too… get to distracted by life.) they finally realize what it means to know God is with you. When all else falls away, when our culture is seen to be worthless, when money or prestige, or possessions can not make a difference. What has been set aside, what is considered not worth the time, becomes such, that which is passively rejected – now means something. And pastors and priests are there to provide it.
What would life look like, if we didn’t ignore our faith? What would it look like if we didn’t neglect our salvation? How different would our lives look, and how would we spend our time? Would we stress out as much, when the world seems to collapse?
What would it look like if we daily realized, “ 30 But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God’s holy people and are set free.”
To be honest I am not sure – but I know today – we can realize this… and may our lives reflect it to others…