March 17 - When the Land Shakes and the People Stagger

By Julie McDonald

Today's Scripture: Psalm 60

Central Thought: Though God may show us desperate times, He is also our only hope.

    Sometimes there is no getting around the fact that the misery we find ourselves in is a product of our own making. Or perhaps we recognize God's punishment on our lives for sinful behavior of which we are very much aware. The Psalmist finds himself in such a position and offers this lament, without defense, on behalf of Israel.

    Eventually we all find ourselves experiencing God's correction. As with Israel, God sometimes has to step back a little and let us face the full impact of our willful disobedience, our determination to chart our own steps and to seek our own glory. Not too long ago my own world was shaken, torn open and quaking while I staggered around looking for solid ground. When the dust cleared, all I could do was to be stupefied at the consequences of my own self-idolatry and beg God to mend the fractures of my life.

    When we are willing to examine our hearts and confess our sins, we can respond like the Psalmist. He offered no defense, nor was he angry with God for the punishment Israel received. There was only acceptance of the consequences, a plea for deliverance, and a confession of Israel's need for God. Unfortunately, too often we look at a hopeless situation, or the turmoil that has become our lives, and let it become an excuse to continue our disobedience. We say to ourselves, 'God turned His back on me, so I'll turn my back on Him.” Instead of making excuses, let's follow David's example. Resist this prideful stance and acknowledge that only God can mend the fractures. God owns the world and all that it is in it. All authority and all power belong to Him, and to be without Him is to be without hope.

    To paraphrase David, 'The help of man is worthless. Whatever punishment my countrymen and I need to endure, Lord, we accept. Only don't reject us forever because we can do nothing without You.” May we all seek the wisdom and humility of David. May we all seek David's source of help and hope, the Lord.

Devotional Prayer: Father, I thank You for Your correction. As painful as the situation may be, You are always just and always merciful. Support me with Your love, and heal the fractures of my heart. Nothing the world can offer can mend what has been torn—no amount of money, no great plan, no promotion, no new love. Only in Your goodness and power is there hope. Restore me!

Today's Bible Readings: Numbers 26:1-51; Luke 2:36-52; Psalm 60:1-12; Proverbs 11:15