Here are today’s nuggets from A Long Obedience in the Same Direction….
Psalm 128—Happiness—“You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.”
“Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian.” G. K. Chesterton
“Fear the LORD.” Reverence might be a better word. Awe. The Bible isn’t interested in whether we believe in God or not. It assumes that everyone more or less does. What it is interested in is the response we have toward him: will we let God be as he is, majestic and holy, vast and wondrous, or will we always be trying to whittle him down to the size of our small minds, insist on confining him within the coundaries we are comfortable with, refuse to think of him other than in images that are convenient to our lifestyle?
Psalm 129—Perseverance—“Yet they have not prevailed against me”
The person of faith outlasts all the oppressors….
Stick-to-it-iveness. Perseverance. Patience. The way of faith is not a fad that is taken up in one century only to be discarded in the next. It lasts. It is a way that works. It has been tested thoroughly….
The psalms are not sung by perfect pilgrims. They made their mistakes, just as we make ours. Perseverance does not mean “perfect.” It means that we keep going….
Perseverance is not the result of our determination, it is the result of God’s faithfulness….
The reason why our childhoods were one enthusiasm after another was that we hadn’t yet found an organizing center for our lives and a goal that would demand our all and our best. The Christian faith is the discovery of that center in the righteous God. (Eugene Peterson)
Psalm 130—Hope—“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits”
“Many people suffer because of the false supposition on which they have based their lives. That supposition is that there should be no fear or loneliness, no confusion or doubt. But these sufferings can only be dealt with creatively when they are understood as wounds integral to our human condition. Therefore ministry is a very confronting service. It does not allow people to live with illusions of immortality and wholeness. It keep reminding others that they are mortal and broken, but also that with the recognition of this condition, liberation starts.” Henri Nouwen
“The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” George MacDonald
“Waiting does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation. It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions. It is not compelled to work away at keeping up appearances with a bogus spirituality. It is the opposite of desperate and panicky manipulations, of scurrying and worrying.” Eugene Peterson
Psalm 131—Humility—“My eyes are not raised too high”
Psalm 131 is a maintenance psalm….
The two things that Psalm 131 prunes away are unruly ambition and infantile dependency….
Aspiration is the channeled, creative energy that moves us to growth in Christ, shaping goals in the Spirit. Ambition takes these same energies for growth and development and uses them to make something tawdry and cheap, sweatily knocking together a Babel when we could be vacationing in Eden….
Christian faith is not neurotic dependency but childlike trust.
When Charles Spurgeon preached this psalm he said that it “is one of the shortest Psalms to read, but one of the longest to learn.”