Prepare to listen. Be still to cultivate the attitude suggested in these words from Isaiah: Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. (Isaiah 55:3)
Read Psalm 27:1-5, 13-14
1The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh--
my adversaries and foes--
they shall stumble and fall.
3Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
4One thing I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD,
and to inquire in his temple.
5For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.
13I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
14Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!
‘I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.’ This is the psalmist’s creed, and a good creed to live by. Lest we think the psalmist lived in good times, notice his four difficulties—evildoers assailed him, adversaries and foes against him, an army encamped against him, war arising around him. This isn’t living the dream! So how come the psalmist had such unwavering confidence in God’s goodness? Where did it come from? It came from the pray-er’s deep love-relationship with the Lord, seen in his one desire to live always in the presence of God. His goal was to ‘behold the beauty of the LORD.’ This doesn’t seem very practical in our doing-oriented culture. But relationships aren’t formed by running here and there doing lots of good works. They’re formed in stillness and silence with the other; by loving and being loved.
A story is told of an elderly peasant who daily went into the church and sat in a pew doing nothing, as far as the pastor could see. One day the pastor finally asked the peasant why she came to church every day to simply sit and stared. She replied, ‘I sit, and God looks at me and I look at God, and we’re happy together.’ The goodness of the Lord was to simply know he looked at her.
What’s your creed for today, your ‘I believe…’ claim? And what is it based in?
Respond to Jesus in prayer
Today, Lord I pray for just one thing, to live in your house all the days of my life, to behold your beauty, and to inquire in your temple. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world believing in God’s goodness.
Reading the Bible has always been essential to followers of Jesus. I've been reading, studying, teaching and writing reflections on biblical texts for as long as I can remember. I invite you to read the Bible with me during the Lent and into Easter Sunday.