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Praise for our astonishingly reliable God

February 27, 2023

Daily Scripture

Psalm 40:1-10

1 I put all my hope in the LORD.
He leaned down to me;
he listened to my cry for help.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of death,
out of the mud and filth,
and set my feet on solid rock.
He steadied my legs.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise for our God.
Many people will learn of this and be amazed;
they will trust the LORD.
4 Those who put their trust in the LORD,
who pay no attention to the proud
or to those who follow lies,
are truly happy!
5 You, LORD my God!
You’ve done so many things—
your wonderful deeds and your plans for us—
no one can compare with you!
If I were to proclaim and talk about all of them,
they would be too numerous to count!
6 You don’t relish sacrifices or offerings;
you don’t require entirely burned offerings or compensation offerings—
but you have given me ears!
7 So I said, “Here I come!
I’m inscribed in the written scroll.
8     I want to do your will, my God.
Your Instruction is deep within me.”
9 I’ve told the good news of your righteousness
in the great assembly.
I didn’t hold anything back—
as you well know, LORD!
10 I didn’t keep your righteousness only to myself.
I declared your faithfulness and your salvation.
I didn’t hide your loyal love and trustworthiness
from the great assembly.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“I put ALL my hope in the LORD,” Psalm 40 said. We may think, “I put some hope (maybe a lot) in God. But there’s also my job, my family ties, my retirement account and….” So much (disease, accidents, earthquakes, severe weather) shows us how fragile many of the human possessions and activities we tend to put our hope in are. The psalmist said was folly to pay attention to “the proud” and “those who follow lies.” He called us to focus on and celebrate God’s wonderful deeds and plans.

  • “Those who put their trust in the LORD…are truly happy,” said verse 4. We’re bombarded with claims that many things, from whitening toothpaste to a luxury cruise to the newest smartphone, will make us truly happy. Do you believe that the source of true happiness which Psalm 40 pointed to is more credible than the ads that barrage you from all sides? In what ways have you found a greater depth of true joy and hope by trusting in God?
  • “You have given me ears” is a mild rendering of a strong Hebrew image. “An arresting phrase in Psalm 40:6 serves admirably as a metaphor…: `aznayim karitha li, literally, “ears thou hast dug for me”…. the psalms poet was bold to imagine God swinging a pickax, digging ears in our granite blockheads so that we can hear, really hear, what he speaks to us.” * What steps can you take to use those God-given “ears” to implant God’s astonishing love and hope deep within yourself?

Lord God, sometimes it’s hard for me to look beyond today’s circumstances, beyond even tomorrow’s problems. Keep teaching me how to focus on your wonderful deeds and your plans for me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt is an ordained Elder in the Missouri Annual Conference, and has served in many different roles throughout Missouri since 2007. She is thrilled to be specializing in pastoral care of elderly adults now as Resurrection's Silverlink Pastor. She is married to Randall, a special education teacher. They have two daughters, Elliott and Marlowe. When Emily is not in a care home sharing communion or with her family on another Kansas City adventure, you can find her curled up on the couch at home binge watching "Friends" or "Golden Girls."

I am a big believer in the theology of Disney lyrics. Seriously. There is so much imagery for us in Disney characters and movies–about who God is and how God moves. Personally, Rafiki from The Lion King has been an example for me through the years of what a pastoral presence with people can look like. Helping them remember who they are calling them to live their truth-sounds pastoral to me.

As I considered the Psalm from this morning’s reading alongside some personal grief and loss I am feeling lately, the lyrics from “Do The Next Right Thing” from Frozen 2 came to mind. At this point in the story, Princess Anna is lost without her sister Elsa and grieving their relationship. The Psalmist has known a seeming absence of God–talk of a pit and despair. And yet, trusts so deeply in God’s salvation and light for their life. Princess Anna ends her song with these words: “So I’ll walk through this night, stumbling blindly toward the light. And do the next right thing. Then I’ll make the choice, to hear that voice. And do the next right thing.” (Click here​ to listen to the song. I highly recommend it.)

It will help you make sense of those times that we trick ourselves into thinking that God has abandoned us. I am reminded of Pastor Valerie’s powerful words from Ash Wednesday–God does not know how to be absent. It is my prayer for each of us that during this Lenten season we will trust in God’s salvation, even when things seem too dark, too hopeless…God will always be there as we walk towards the light and do the next right thing.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Eugene H. Peterson. Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (Kindle Locations 1048-1051). Kindle Edition.