November 21, 2013

Promises promises


Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.
Joshua 21:45 NLT

When paper currency first came into use everyone new that it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. The paper wasn’t the important part – it was the promise that was written on it: I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of £1 sterling. Whoever had the note had a promise that would be kept – turn up at the Bank of England, hand over the note and you will be given silver (sterling) to the value of the note.

That doesn’t work now.

God’s promises are different. They are eternal. They are always kept. 

They work.

Grave power


But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.
Psalm 49:15 NLT

It’s the words that I miss that do the damage. If I was reading a sentence where every second word was missing, I would either not have a clue about what was being said or, in some cases, I would get the completely opposite meaning. So I read this verse and, as normal, I don’t pay any real attention to the words ‘the power of.’ I know that one day I’ll die. I know that one day I’ll be at my own funeral. But do I believe that the grave, ie death, is pulling me there? Do I really understand the power that it can literally have over my life?

More to the point, do I understand the power it has over the lives of those who are dearest to me? I am sure that I would do all I could to protect my family in any situation. I would warn then of risk, pull them back from danger, donate organs for life-saving treatment. But what do I do to warn them of the power of the grave? Death has a terrible power over their lives which they cannot fight and resist.

I need to warn them of that power, and tell them of the alternative. I cannot snatch then from that power, but I know someone who can.

Better said than read


How great is the Lord, how deserving of praise, in the city of our God, which sits on his holy mountain!
Psalm 48:1 NLT

Words can lull me into a false sense of understanding and intention. It’s so easy to read this verse and agree with it. God is worthy of praise  – it’s obvious, isn’t it? Reading done, next verse,  please!

But there is so much more to it than that! If God is worthy of praise, deserving of praise, then who is going to do it and when it’s is going to be done?

An earlier version of the NLT puts the line as ‘and how much we should praise him.’ That makes a difference!  He doesn’t just deserve to be praised. He should be praised so very much, by us – and that means me! I have to praise him all the time,  everywhere, in and by everything I do, with all that I am!

Praise the Lord, oh my soul!