Todays readings… Leviticus 23, Psalm 128 – 130, Luke 6
Our Psalms and Luke readings today link together in encouraging us to think and live positively in a world that buffets us with false values. There are times when these greatly affect us and they threaten to be overwhelming. These Psalms provide us with encouragement, should that be our experience. Psalm 130 is an outstanding example: “Out of the depths I cry to you O LORD … be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” [v.1-4]
Then the question arises, what counts as iniquities? In the days of Moses and ancient Israel the people would look to the 10 commandments; but Jesus, as we read in Luke 6 today describes Christ-like behaviour as being much more than avoiding bad behaviour like stealing and committing adultery.
Jesus taught, “But I say unto you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you … “ [v.27,28] Then Jesus lays down what is often called ‘the golden rule’ saying, “as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” [v.31]
It has always been the greatest challenge to live as God requires. David knew this. Jesus came to spell it out in plain language – and live it – to set us an example. With gratitude we remember David’s words – and see his life as an example, especially for us, if we stumble off the narrow pathway that Jesus described (Matt. 7 v.14).
We therefore need more especially to remember David’s words that God is “feared” because with him “there is forgiveness.” He is not feared because he is an angry God, rather he is feared (‘held in the deepest reverence’ it means in this context – because he is a loving God).
Tomorrow’s Psalm 131 is specifically by David. He writes, “O LORD, my heart is not lifted up … I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” [v.1,2]