Reader: “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart,”
Response: “the Lord would not have listened.”
Scripture: Psalm 66:8-20 (Genesis 6:5-22 additional reading)
Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises.
Our lives are in his hands,
and he keeps our feet from stumbling.
You have tested us, O God;
you have purified us like silver.
You captured us in your net
and laid the burden of slavery on our backs.
Then you put a leader over us.
We went through fire and flood,
but you brought us to a place of great abundance.
Now I come to your Temple with burnt offerings
to fulfill the vows I made to you—
yes, the sacred vows that I made
when I was in deep trouble.
That is why I am sacrificing burnt offerings to you—
the best of my rams as a pleasing aroma,
and a sacrifice of bulls and male goats. Interlude
Come and listen, all you who fear God,
and I will tell you what he did for me.
For I cried out to him for help,
praising him as I spoke.
If I had not confessed the sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But God did listen!
He paid attention to my prayer.
Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer
or withdraw his unfailing love from me.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
You may or may not realize that in choosing the Scripture passages for each day, I am following, for the most part, the lectionary Year A. I have a choice of a Psalm, and Old Testament, or a New Testament passage. I pick one and write about it. The choices for today were pretty interesting in light of the news we hear every day. I’m writing this on April 2nd. COVID-19 is about the only news. As you have and are experiencing (most likely), this virus has affected everything, especially our reaction to it. In light of the way our society has been living in the United States and in the world in general, I have to wonder about God’s hand in all of this? As a society we are in love with: children’s sports schedules, watching sports of every kind―our weekend religion, music concerts, attending the theater, accumulating money, workaholics, divisive family schedules―how many families eat a meal together (?), worship taken for granted, isolation from neighbors―we don’t know the people we live next to, love travel and cruises, and we avoid, at all costs, thinking about our own death. In Daniel 12:4 he talks about people rushing here and there and rapidly gaining knowledge. It almost seems as if God said to the world, it’s time to repent of your ways. Time to stop and reflect. Unfortunately, I’m afraid at this point there has been little reflection or repentance. As the psalmist wrote concerning God, “Our lives are in his hands.” “You have tested us.” Is that what is occurring? “You caught us in your net.” It does seem like you, God, put the brakes on everything we hold dear. I wonder how many people have made promises to God regarding this trouble. The end of the psalm is addressed to those who fear God. There is the God element in all of this. If we miss that, we have missed the entire point! At the heart is repentance. “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen!” Confessing our sin and the Lord listening to our prayers seem to be directly related, further evidence of what we said yesterday in regards to being honest in our relationship with God. I’m wondering if our society will ever get to this repentance part of the psalm. I’m afraid not, but we can pray. These are some things to think about. Maybe sometimes it seems God doesn’t hear our prayers. It would appear confession might have something to do with it. Read the psalm again and pray as you read asking God to show you his thoughts.
Music & Prayer combined today: “A Broken and Contrite Spirit” Sons of Korah
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RnDuwbz5UI Make this your prayer today.