Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Sum of Hope

“And whatever you do, in word and deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

Colossians 3:12-17 may be the New Testament’s clearest expression of what the Christian life is all about.

Verses 12-14 read, “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must [forgive]. Above all, [put on] love – the perfect bond of unity.” If you take a step back and view the larger picture of what is stated in these verses, you see that the common thread that ties all these words together is the word “relationship.” The Christian life is to focus on building right, positive, and redemptive relationships in the body of Christ.

Verse 15 reads, “And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.” The Christian life is also to focus on the “shalom” of God as the controlling force of the heart. We have this peace of God as the result of receiving the grace of God through a faith commitment.

Verse 16 reads, “Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.” That pretty much describes worship, right? The Christian life is to focus on worship both individually and particularly in the gathered Christian community.

So the Christian life of our calling is to be concentrated on building redemptive relationships, on living the “shalom” life, and on authentic worship. Then, verse 17 very much sums up this hope. Whatever we do, whether in word or in deed, we are to do everything in the way Jesus would, giving thanks to the Father through Him.

Lord, So help us to live this life each day. Amen.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In Christ Alone

“In Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.” (Colossians 2:3)

Heresy, like the leeching process where minerals seep into organic matter over a long period of time creating petrified wood, is a tool Satan likes to use to disfigure and disable the power of truth. The process can be so gradual that many never notice it happening, though some do. Paul was one who did.

Paul saw this happening in the Colossian church and in other Asia Minor churches. The influence of cultic mystery religions and early forms of gnosticism were at work. These folks focused on “mystery,” on the cosmic puzzle of the universe. Their idea was that the understanding or resolution of such mystery comes from “wisdom and knowledge.” Wisdom and knowledge in their worldview was held by beings in the mysterious spirit world, and they impart it to those who seek them and discover their identity or name. Adherents would say such things as, “I know their names, and now I have this wisdom and knowledge. If you join me and follow me, I will give wisdom and knowledge to you so that you can understand the mysteries of the universe and thereby be saved.”

Paul saw through their subterfuge and countered them. He pointed them toward the love of God that would give them the understanding of God’s mystery, which is Christ. God has now revealed His “mystery” through Christ, and it is only in Christ that we find wisdom and knowledge. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in Christ alone.

Truth is never about Christ plus something else. It always centers in Christ alone. That is the only truth that can set us free. All other forms of truth seek to bind us up. So the question is: do we prefer freedom or bondage?

Lord, We thank You for the freedom that comes from Your grace. Help us to live free in You today. Amen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An Unknown Significance

“You learned [this gospel] from Epaphras, our much loved fellow slave. He is a faithful minister of the Messiah on your behalf, and he has told us about your love in the Spirit.” (Colossians 1:7-8)

A 1,000-piece puzzle with five missing pieces can produce a little frustration. Even so, our minds have a way of filling in those missing pieces so that we know at least what should be there. That’s a little of the way it is with this man named “Epaphras,” though there are probably more pieces missing.

We know very little about this man. We are reasonably sure he was from Colossae. We have no clear record of Paul ever visiting Colossae, which means that Paul met him elsewhere, probably Ephesus, since Paul served there for 3 years. Likely Paul led Epaphras to the Lord in Ephesus and for some time mentored and discipled him. Either Paul dispatched Epaphras to Colossae, or Epaphras made the decision himself to return. Either way he ended up back in Colossae, where he had a major role in the church that was started there. He may have started it, or it may have been Barnabas, who was mentioned at the end of the letter. Maybe he even worked with Barnabas.

Though we know little about this man for certain, one lesson we draw from his life is that anyone who belongs to the Lord and serves Him has a life of significance. Significance does not come from what is known about someone. It comes from knowing the Lord. The psalmist knew this when he wrote about those servants of the Lord who lift their hands before the Lord in the temple by night. Anyone who belongs to Jesus has a life of significance, and any Christian can serve in His church and in His kingdom’s work to help encourage and strengthen others. It only takes the resolve of faith to do so.

Thank You, Lord, for igniting the fires of significance in our lives through Your Spirit who dwells within. Amen.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Good to Everyone

“The Lord is good to everyone; His compassion rests on all He has made.” (Psalm 145:9)

Along his life’s journey a light came on for the writer of Psalm 145. He had been taught all his life that the Lord was the God of the Israelites, and that the Israelites were God’s chosen people. As for many, he likely concluded early in life that this conveyed a certain status for him and all other Israelites, and that God's blessings were intended just for His own people. Then, he noticed that God’s blessings seemed to be made available even to those who were unjust, who even worshiped other gods. He saw rain given both to the just and the unjust. He learned that the goodness of God is something that is shared by all, that God’s compassion is not just an individual experience but a blanket experience as well.

Is this not the same thing Jesus taught? He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:43-45)

Other than because it is God’s nature to be compassionate toward His creation, why else would God do this? What might He hope to achieve. Maybe the Lord simply wants to bless everyone so that all might “taste and see that the Lord is good,” with the result that more will enter into that personal faith relationship we call “salvation.”

The goodness of God to all conveys a message. Blessed are all, but especially blessed are those who hear the truth and respond with faith.

Lord, Help us today to live in ways that communicate this same truth. Amen.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Potter’s House

“Go down at once to the potter’s house; there I will reveal My words to you.” (Jeremiah 18:2)

The potter was at his wheel when Jeremiah arrived. He observed as the potter skillfully shaped a lump of clay into a pot, but then something happened. The clay was somehow marred in the potter’s hands. What was to be a beautiful, useful, symmetrical, strong pot was suddenly deformed. So the potter beat the clay back down to its original lump and started all over. He re-worked the clay into another jar he envisioned in his mind.

The Lord’s message to Jeremiah was thus, “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay? Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel.”

A stark truth of creation is that God is sovereign. That isn’t all He is. He is also compassionate, all-powerful, and all-knowing, and so much more than we can comprehend or describe, but certainly He is sovereign. That means that God can do anything He wants to do, and whatever He chooses to do is always right, because He is holy and righteous. Thus, whatever God chooses to do with us in His vision for who He wants us to be and what He wants us to do is, therefore, in His hands as the clay was in the potter’s hands.

Some will not like that idea very much. Some may even rebel against it. Some may not agree that it’s true. All that notwithstanding, we should consider our response to this truth. There are three attitudes that seem to be appropriate. First, as we try to view the sovereignty of God within the larger context of who God is and what He is like, we should humble ourselves before Him. Humility says, “Not my will, but Your will be done.” Second, we should trust God to shape us into vessels that are useful for His purposes. Trust says, “Lord, I trust everything in My life to You, and I want to be useful in the work of Your kingdom.” Third, we should practice obedience to the Lord’s teachings and to His Spirit’s direction. Obedience says, “Lord, I will follow as You lead.”

Lord, Shape us and mold us after Your will, while we are waiting, yielded and still. Amen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Heart

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7)

“The heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick – who can understand it. I, the Lord, examine the mind, I test the heart.” (Jeremiah 18:9-10)

“For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:19)

“And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

I have to confess that I have never really understood this whole heart thing. It isn’t for lack of trying, but it seems to be something “ungraspable.” Reach out your hand and grab some air. How did it go? You can try it with water, too, but the results are still pretty much the same. That’s a little of what it is like trying to comprehend the human heart.

The human heart, not the physical one in your chest, but that part of our being which we call “heart” is capable both of sublime nobility and putrid depravity. We really have difficulty even defining it. We don’t much understand it even in ourselves, and trying to understand it in someone else is a genuine impossibility. We can never be certain what is in someone else’s heart. The closest we come is by observing someone’s actions. Behavior is often an expression of the heart, and yet, even with that, there could be subtle sub-surface workings that defy our comprehension.

What is impossible for us, however, is fully possible for God. God does not stop at the visible as we do. He is capable of seeing through all subterfuge. God can unmask the heart. He tests the heart. He tests the will. Most importantly, God is capable of guarding our hearts by surrounding them with His “shalom,” His peace. His peace, which passes all understanding, shields our hearts when we bring our lives, our hopes, our dreams, and our prayers to Him.

Lord, We give You our hearts. May our hearts conform to Your heart. Amen.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cursed v Blessed

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is in the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

In the larger context of Jeremiah 17:7, Jeremiah contrasted a man who is cursed with a man who is blessed.

The man who is cursed is one who trusts in mankind, in human strength. Humanism is his belief system. He turns his heart away from God. The man who is blessed, or happy, is the man whose trust and confidence is in the Lord.

One who trusts in all things human, says the Lord through Jeremiah, is like a juniper tree in arid wastelands. The juniper just barely survives and is non-productive. It generally appears to be dead. It is usually solitary because nothing else is able to survive there. Someone like this never really knows when good comes his or her way, because their spiritual condition makes them unable to perceive it.
One who trusts in the Lord, on the other hand, is like a tree planted by water. It puts out its roots toward the water and smiles at the heat. It stays green and continually produces fruit, unworried by drought. Those who trust in the Lord draw life from Him and are sustained by His grace.
Let those who trust in the Lord say so.

Father, You sustain us by the power of Your word, and for that we thank You. Amen.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Night Watch

“Now praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who stand in the Lord’s house at night! Lift up your hands in the holy place, and praise the Lord! May the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion.” (Psalm 134)

Imagine the temple of Solomon in all its splendor and ornate detail, then turn off the lights. It’s nighttime in the temple. All the hustle and bustle of the day is now silent because people have gone to their homes. The only light in the temple is that of the menorah in the Holy Place, the embers of the altar fire outside in the courtyard, and the soft flicker of oil lamps on the walls in the court of the men. Soft light and stillness rule, but there is still activity.

The night watch crew is at work. Floors must be swept and other cleaning done. Oil lamps need to be filled. The altar fire must be kept going. Fresh bread has to be baked for the table. Things need to be straightened and arranged.

This is the night watch. These are the servants who work quietly in the house of the Lord during the night, background workers. These are not looking for attention or recognition. They do this simply because they love the Lord. And on occasion, during the watches of the night, they will pause from their duties, overwhelmed by thoughts of the awesome presence of the Almighty and lift their hands in the air to praise Him. Hallelujah.

Lord, In quietness and peace is our strength as we walk with You. Amen.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hold Firmly

“Hold firmly the message of life.” (Philippians 2:16a)

The message of life is the gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ. This message is, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) It is the message, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) It is the message, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27b) This message has come to us in some manner, we have received it by faith, and it has changed our lives. So Paul says we need to “hold firmly” this message. What does that mean? It means two things.

First, it means we must live it. Living a life that clearly demonstrates a personal walk with God gives evidence of the reality of that relationship. It serves to validate the power of the message to change a life. It helps people reach the conclusion, “That could happen to me, too.” This is witness by example, the foundation for the next truth.

The second thing “hold firmly” means is that we must speak the message. People may never know the reason for the change in us unless we tell them, unless we give them testimony about what happened to us. Communication is the vehicle by which the gospel is received by others. They need to hear from us the story of Jesus, and they need to hear from us how believing in Him has changed us. Seeing and hearing helps them respond.

Thus, we must hold firmly to this message of life.

So may it be, Lord.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Family

“For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, that person is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)

The mother and brothers and sisters showed up one day and wanted a word with Jesus. Luke, who evidently had some personal conversations with Mary, added that the reason they went was because they thought He’d gone crazy. They heard He was working all day, not eating much, and getting into some hot water with the religious locals. Word travels. We don’t know if they ever got that word with Him. The Scripture doesn’t tell us. All it tells us is what Jesus said in response to their coming. He looked around the room and said, “So, who is My mother and brother and sister?” Then came the verse mentioned above, “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, that person is My brother and sister and mother.”

Our human family ties are of great importance to us. Some of them treat those relationships like they are treasures, and so they are. But there is another family kind of relationship that is actually far stronger than these. Those who are spiritually related to one another in Christ have an eternal family relationship, bonds that nothing and no one can break. These relationships help to form the core of our true identity. These relationships are united by a mutual commitment to the will of God.

Lord, Today we celebrate the unity we have in You, and we celebrate the spiritual family we are part of. Amen.

Monday, July 13, 2009


“Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep under His care.” (Psalm 95:6-7 HCSB)

Worship is a central to our faith. It is a daily, weekly practice we go through that is the spiritual expression of the deepest thoughts and feelings of our souls. Have you ever wondered why we do this as we do?

One reason we worship God is because of His identity. He is the Lord. That means He is sovereign. He is our Maker. He is the Creator of all things, and we are ourselves created in His image. As our Maker, we owe Him everything we have and everything we are. So we worship. We bow down before Him. He is the holy, almighty, awesome God. We kneel before Him because of who He is.

Another reason we worship God so much is because of our need. We are the people of God’s “pasture.” You’ve seen pasture. Mostly we envision scenes of lush green grass on rolling hills, with white sheep dotting the landscape. The pastures in Israel are not exactly like that, however. Mostly they are pretty rugged and rocky with patches of grass and other edible plants. Shepherds work to find pasture land for their sheep. That is because they care for the sheep and want to provide for them. In case you are not aware, shepherds are rugged individuals. Remember that David once killed a lion with his bare hands, and at another time killed a bear with his bare hands. These are strong, rugged, hardy individuals who use their strength to provide. We are under the care of our God. We trust Him. And we need Him. Thus, it is because of our need that we are constantly turning to God.

Worship that is true and genuine is never just a matter of form. We do not worship because it is some kind of requirement. We do not develop worship services so that we can have something to do. We do this because it is an essential expression of heart and soul. Something within us knows that we cannot be complete apart from worship. Through worship we respond to and glorify our God.

Lord, May our worship always be true and genuine and acceptable in Your sight. Amen.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


"I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Certainty and confidence are the DNA of biblical hope. The Christian view of hope is a faith-based certainty. Sounds a little oxymoronic, doesn’t it? We generally do not talk so much about faith and knowledge at the same time because they seem to be polar opposites. Part of our hesitancy in talking about a relationship between the two stems from our Christian history in which a group of people called “Gnostics” tried to displace faith with what they called “knowledge,” (hence their name). Is there any connection between faith and knowledge, though, that is legitimate?

Probably there is. For example, for someone to make a decision about Christ, we need to impart at least a certain amount of information so they can make a decision of faith. There is some body of material they need to know, and then they decide.

There is another possible connection. Faith can become so strong and hope so clear that we can say with Paul, “For I know whom I have believed.” We know Him in the sense that we have a personal, faith relationship with Him. We know Him as we might know another person, that is, have a relationship. But we also know Him in the sense that we believe in Him and believe His word so strongly that we are certain of what we believe, so that we say that “we know.”

Paul expressed this certainty and confidence in his statement to the Philippians that the Lord who began a good work in them would carry it to completion. That had to be encouraging to them. It’s an encouraging thought to us as well. It’s important that we realize that we are a “work in progress.” God continues to shape and mold us. Sometimes it may feel like He’s starting over like a potter with clay. For some it may feel like He’s whittling away the wood, or chipping off the marble that doesn’t need to be there, so that His “artwork” takes the shape of what He has envisioned for us. This may not exactly be comfortable for the clay, the wood, or the marble, but our certainty and confidence tell us that, even though we may not understand, God knows what He’s doing.

Lord, We trust ourselves to You, that Your will may be done. Amen.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


“Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:1a)

Slavery. Not exactly a fun subject, is it? Most if not all of our association with slavery is negative, primarily because of the intense human brutality that is associated with it. Who could forget watching the TV mini-series called “Roots” and not come away with a total condemnation of slavery. Yet, while we recognize slavery’s inhumanity, we also know that this practice continues even into the 21st century. We may not see it in our country, but there are nations where it is still practiced. Sometimes it’s “under the radar,” and sometimes it is not.

There is another form of slavery that was “born” in the 1st century. Slavery as an institution was widely practiced in the Roman Empire. At least one estimate has suggested that one out of every three people in the Roman Empire was a slave. But that is not the concept we are thinking about here. We are thinking more of the concept that Paul introduced. He saw himself and other Christian leaders and workers as slaves of Jesus Christ. Some versions of the Bible prefer to translate the word in Philippians 1:1 as “servant.” That is a legitimate translation, though the meaning of the word itself is “bond-slave.” The idea of the word would not have been lost on Paul’s original readers at Philippi. Some of them may have had slaves and may have been slaves themselves. The Greek word “doulos” can refer either to a voluntary or involuntary slavery. Jesus never forces such on anyone. He Himself came and took the form of a “doulos,” according to what Paul said in Philippians 2. So, what we’re talking about here is a voluntary submission of someone’s life to the Lordship of Christ, acknowledging a total, absolute, and unconditional dependence on the Lord and a total commitment to do His will. Paul is making a clear statement that he has laid aside personal ambition in order to focus his life on serving Jesus.

We have to wonder: what would the state of Christianity be if every believer decided to lay aside any personal ambition in order to follow and serve Jesus as Lord?

Lord, Help each of us to consider and commit to this concept. Amen.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


“Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds!” (Matthew 11:19b)

Jesus spoke about the current generation of His day. He said that they responded to John the Baptist by saying, “He has a demon.” They said that because John did not come “eating and drinking.” What they meant was that John was not a socializer, and besides he wore funny clothes. So many, though not all, concluded that he was demonized.

Jesus, on the other hand, did socialize, but His social life was not limited to the religious elite. He “ate and drank” (meaning, He took His meals) with tax collectors and sinners. So the general response to Him was to call Him a glutton and drunkard.

This is what prompted Jesus to say, “Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” That means that judgment should not be based on appearances or on behaviors but on what is achieved. That sounds close to “the end justifies the means,” but that is not really what Jesus is talking about. Here’s why. Wisdom is not necessarily known to be wisdom before the fact. Normally, it’s when we’re looking back and observing that some decision turned out well that we then say, “That was a wise decision.” Before the fact we tend to say, “I believe that is a wise decision,” but we do not know until we see the results.

Need some examples? One is Matthew, the one who wrote this first gospel. He was a tax collector. He became a believer and a disciple of Jesus. Jesus changed his life. Then, there was Zacchaeus, another tax collector, who, because Jesus was willing to “socialize” with him and his friends, turned his life around and returned to the Lord. Now, wasn’t Jesus wise for taking this approach? Yep, wisdom is demonstrated by the results.

Lord, We have to trust in You to give us the wisdom we need before the fact. Help us to be willing to follow in faith and trust You with the results. Amen.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Life Paradox

“Anyone finding His life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)

It seems odd that the key to a life of fulfillment is found in a paradox. A paradox is a truth that cannot be true but actually is true. It appears contradictory and non-sensical but is actually true. The perception of that truth takes place after some in-depth reflection.

Jesus stated such a paradox in this verse, “Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it.” How on earth does it make any sense that if you find your life you lose it? One point of view says in fact that seeking and finding your life is what life is all about. Humanly speaking, that is the only thing that makes sense.

The idea is that if you focus your life’s purpose on yourself, your identity, your lifestyle, your needs, and your desires and find all of that as your source of fulfillment, you will miss the point of life altogether. At the end of the day when you have all that, what do you have? You have you, and that’s all. So, how on earth could that be a life of fulfillment?

By the same token, how on earth can losing your life because of Jesus result in finding your life? How does that make any sense? Well, follow the same line of thinking as above. If your replace your own life’s purpose of finding your own life with giving your life to the Lord in the fulfillment of His purposes for you and through you, you then discover what the true purpose of your life is – to glorify Him through a personal, faith-based relationship with Him. He completes your life. So, how on earth could that not make sense? In fact, it does make sense.

Finders losers, losers finders. It may sound odd, but it’s true. Jesus is the One who makes it that way.

Lord, In You we have found life in abundance. Help us to live it today. Amen.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


“Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I keep Your word.” (Psalm 119:67) “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71)


Some folks would read what the psalmist wrote in Psalm 119 and wonder if he’s a few cards short of a whole deck. How could anyone view affliction in a positive way? To folks who don’t know the Lord, it makes no sense at all, and to those who do know the Lord, there may actually be a question mark or two.

If you read Psalm 119 all the way through, looking for themes or for repeated words or phrases, you discover words like “Law,” “statutes,” “word,” and “affliction.” Affliction appears in five different verses in Psalm 119, suggesting that affliction and struggle and trouble and problems are at least a sub-theme if not a major theme.

One of the questions that obviously arise is: What is the source of affliction? And there are related questions. Does God cause it? If He does, why does He? It seems like He would want us to have peace and comfort in our lives rather than affliction and problems.

The true source of all affliction is sin. The original sin of man broke everything. There was no affliction prior to that. Adam and Eve messed it up for us all. Their sin is the real source of human ills, but let’s not just play the blame game. The reality is that every one of us has also sinned. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) So, some affliction may simply be the result of our own sin.

Some affliction can result from the violation of physical and other laws. Stand in front of a moving freight train, and guess what will happen. Do drugs, and guess what will happen. Cheat on your spouse, and guess what will happen. Rob a bank, and guess what will happen.

But what about the person who tries to live a good and right life and still goes through a time of affliction? Well, the original sin idea is still at work. The only reason there is death and sickness in the world is because of original sin. But we can’t just point to that. The reality is that there are times when God may allow some affliction to come into our lives. There are times when God may actually allow Satan to afflict us in some way. To what end? That is where the psalmist comes in. Hear him again: Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I keep Your word… It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes.” Affliction is intended to drive us to God, to seek our answers in Him. His intent is to guide us toward a stronger relationship with Him so that we may do what is right. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that a good father will discipline his son so that he will grow in the right direction.

If you find yourself going through affliction, whatever the source may be, turn to God with it and ask Him to apply His redemptive power to it to use it in ways that can glorify Him.

Lord, We still don’t like affliction, but we do pray that as we go through it we may benefit from it spiritually and relationally. Amen.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day of the Cornerstone

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came from the Lord; it is wonderful in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:22-24)

When you hear someone quote, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” most of the time we think they are talking about today. They are encouraging someone, maybe even themselves, to rejoice in this day today because it is a day the Lord has given us to live in and to serve. Of course, there is great truth there. Each day is a new day that the Lord has given us, and we need to choose rejoicing over every other possibility. Rejoicing wins hands down over anything else.

While this is a great idea, it isn’t necessarily what the psalmist was talking about. When you look at the larger context you see it. He isn’t talking about a particular day but about a time or a season or era. The New Testament in fact quotes verses 22 and 23 of Psalm 118 in reference to its fulfillment in Jesus. The psalmist was looking forward toward that day when the Messiah would come. He would be a stone rejected by the builders but which actually became the cornerstone. It was the promise of the Lord to be fulfilled. The psalmist called it “wonderful,” and we today who know Jesus also call it wonderful. We are now in His day. The Lord made this. It’s wonderful. And we need to choose to rejoice and be glad in it.

Lord, We thank You, and we rejoice. Amen.