READING: Psalms 80-85
Today’s reading both alarmed me and blessed me. One verse in psalm 81 alarmed me: “So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices” (Psalm 81:12). The context was God’s speaking about His people and their tendency to turn from Him even after He had blessed them. When God had had enough of their rebellion, He simply allowed them to go their own way and to pay the consequences of their sin. We know that He allowed them to do so in order to bring them to repentance and return, but they nevertheless wandered before they repented.
What alarms me is my own stubbornness and rebellion at times. One of my prayers today is that I not so continually ignore God’s blessings and protection that He finally determines to let me “follow my own devices.” I know He would do so only out of love, but frankly, I fear where “my own devices” would take me. I don’t trust my own heart enough to take a single step without God’s directing me.
That’s why other verses in today’s reading encourage me. Even in Psalm 81, God said He would quickly subdue His people’s enemies if they would only listen to Him and follow His ways (Psalm 81:13-14). He left them to pay the price of their choices, but still He waited aggressively for them to return. Later, we read via four verbs that God “forgave” the iniquity of His people, “covered” all their sins, “set aside” His wrath, and “turned from” His fierce anger toward them (Psalm 85:2-3). With those images in mind, it’s easy for me to pray with the psalmist today, “Show your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation” (Psalm 85:7). That’s why I’m blessed while also holding a healthy alarm about my sin.
- Consider where you would be if God really did turn you over to go wherever your heart wants to go.
- Claim the verses of Psalm 85:2-3, pausing to think about what God has done with your sin.
PRAYER: “God, I’m aware that I would be in trouble if You left me to my own devices. Thank You for guarding me from myself and for forgiving my sin.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Psalms 86-89