Intro: During this Lenten season, every devotional will begin with a quote from C.S. Lewis (author and theologian), followed by two readings: 1) A passage from the Psalter and 2) a writing from one of the Old Testament prophets or New Testament authors. We will look at both passages as a whole through the fulfilling work and wisdom of Christ—Truth.
God is calling us to replace our discouragement and sins of the past with His abiding and eternal love.
“What does not satisfy when we find it, was not the thing we were desiring.”
(C.S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress)
Today’s psalm comes from the sons of Korah. Jealousy had led Korah to start a rebellion with 250 community leaders against his cousins, Moses and Aaron. God judged Korah and his leaders and they all died when “the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned.” (Numbers 16:32) By God’s mercy, the sons of Korah did not die and thus we can begin to understand their great reverence for God. We can also understand the pain from their past, but God does not want that pain to bring them discouragement; rather, God wants them to learn from that pain so that they may move forward in serving Him and growing His Kingdom. God wants to love each of us into wholeness. Our past is merely a tool for God to use for our good and for the good of others. He can only do that as we grow up in our faith and call on the Holy Spirit to bring us Godly wisdom and overshadow our soul; our minds need to think like Jesus, our will needs to be in alignment with Jesus’s will, and our emotions need to be rooted in Jesus’s Truth so that they are bathed with His love.
Psalm 42:1-8 (NLT)
For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.
1 As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
2 I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him?
3 Day and night I have only tears for food,
while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
“Where is this God of yours?”
4 My heart is breaking
as I remember how it used to be
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
amid the sound of a great celebration!
5 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and 6 my God!
Now I am deeply discouraged,
but I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
from the land of Mount Mizar.
7 I hear the tumult of the raging seas
as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life.
In today’s psalm, we know that God’s mercy and love saved the sons of Korah. That same merciful and loving God sent His only Son, Jesus, to save you and me and “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) Jesus lovingly laid down His life so that you and me would be forgiven of our sins; as a result of that pure love, we have the opportunity through our salvation to abide in God and His love, as He abides in us and eternally loves us. John makes sure, in today’s passage, as he does in most of his writings, to express that God is love, and when we invite Jesus, Who is love, into our lives, then and only then can the Holy Spirit guide us to experience true and everlasting love.
1 John 4:7-16 (NLT)
Loving One Another
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for laying down Your life to save mine. That sacrificial act of pure love is the greatest gift. Help me, Lord Jesus, to be more like You. I want a heart that loves like Your heart. Forgive me for my sins, please use those places of sin that have once been a great discouragement for good and to further grow Your Kingdom. I ask all of this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.