Todays readings.. Exodus 16, Psalm 70&71, Mark 4
We have a particularly inspiring set of readings today – in that they challenge our personal attitudes and ways of living in our godless world. Mark’s gospel has several of the challenging parables of our Lord: does our familiarity with them reduce their challenge to our hearts?
Let’s look carefully at Exodus. In ch. 16 we read of the complaints of the people, now travelling in the wilderness, at the lack of food. Their miraculous deliverance from Egypt should have stimulated their faith! What is stimulating our faith? Can we give a specific answer?
We read of the miraculous provision of manna. Before it is provided they are told “in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD” [v.7] We ourselves are travelling in a desert, but it is ‘food’ for the mind that is lacking – people are looking in the wrong places in their search to know the meaning and their lives. They do not see “the glory of the LORD” as we do – for it is revealed in His word.
They will not “see” it until “the morning” of Christ’s return – and how utterly terrified they will be!! We read in Isaiah 2 v.21 that people will “enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, from before the terror of the LORD, and from the splendour of his majesty ….” And ourselves? We will be eagerly (desperately?) looking for the angels to come “and gather his elect” as we will soon read in Mark 13 v.27.
In Psalm 71 we have the final Psalm of the large group attributed to David: he sets us an example by declaring, “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day” [v.8] May we do the same – but this is not just seen in words, but in the attitudes our words lead us develop so that we constantly sense that “In him we live and move and have our being” [Acts 17 v.28]. We must constantly act and speak in ways which show this.
The next verse in our Psalm can be a personal prayer and petition for many of us – indeed it will apply to all – unless Jesus returns in their (our) lifetime. David says to the Lord, “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.” May we follow the example of David and say, “I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day …” [v.15] Many of us have facilities for doing this that previous generations never had. However, we can only really “tell” of God’s deeds if we are reading and absorbing God’s word every day – and then it will be fully true when we say, “”My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.”