Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

GOD — THE STRENGTH OF THE RIGHTEOUS
Psalms 31:1-5
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. (Psalms 31:3,4)
The most prominent feature of Psalms 31 is its frequent alternation between petition and trust. The petitions are accompanied by reasons that indicate the severity of the psalmist's plight. Verse 1 contains an appeal to the Almighty. 'Deliver me in your righteousness'. The Psalmist has taken refuge in God, about which he is not ashamed of.
Strength of the righteous is in total dependency: The Psalmist through a strong entreaty, demands the Lord to be a 'rock of refuge' and 'a strong fortress' for him (verse 2). As his life depends on God, he appeals to Him to deliver, rescue or save him. The words 'rock', 'refuge' and 'fortress', emphasize his dependence on God. Some of the words contained in this verse are repeated in Martin Luther's ageless hymn of the reformation, "A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing..." The expression 'for the sake of your name' directs attention to God's character. He affirms that it shall be a motivating force and that it shall set things right. The fundamental characteristics of God — faithfulness and steadfast love — are highlighted. The Psalmist rejoices in appealing to God's steadfast love.
God is the refuge in difficult situations: Because of the Psalmist's great suffering and affliction, he appeals to God to protect him from his enemies who have spread hidden nets to trap him (Verse 4). It is his strong conviction that the Almighty shall rescue him. For one who lives in faith, God shall be a refuge when one confronts difficult situations. God is one who sees affliction and liberates captives. The Psalmist wishes to be removed from the sphere of the enemy's power to the shelter of divine refuge. The most direct affirmation of the Psalmist's dependence on God is found in V. 5 (a) 'into your hands I commit my Spirit'. These are the last words spoken by Jesus on the cross to express his complete trust in God. It is said that every Jewish mother teaches her child to say this prayer before going to sleep. Most Christian Malayalee mothers teach their children to suffix the word Appacha' to the word Yesu'. Such children when they grow up repeat the expression Yesu appacha' in their personal prayers or invocation.
Jesus' serenity in the face of death has become a model for many like the first Christian martyr Stephen who at his death prays, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Only when there is total submission, can there be complete redemption. It is God's righteousness, not our acts of faith that reigns supreme.
Prayer:
Lord Jesus, we are sure you shall redeem us in your righteousness. We are safe within the mighty fortress that you are. Save us from the net spread by the evil one. Lord, help us to be serene in the face of death. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
When our strength is in God we are at our strongest.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church