Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
The Two Ways
1 Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
3 They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Today’s scripture reading is the same one we had only three weeks ago (October 17). In my writing on that day, I talked about how people can have have deep roots like “trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.” I also referred to Ephesians 3:17 about how we can be “rooted and grounded in love.” In that devotional, I invited you to think about what it means to be deeply-rooted in God, the source of our life and strength.
Today I invite you to consider the two paths we can follow. On one path we “follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers.” Can you think about what that path looks like today? What are the cultural influences that lead people down that path. Rather than deep roots that draw from the best of who God created us to be, that path leads to a shallowness of life that really leads to a dead end. “They are like chaff that the wind drives away.” I think of a tumbleweed, which has a shallow root, dries up, breaks loose and is blown wherever the wind take it.
Then, there is the other path. It is the path of those whose “delight is in the law of the Lord.” We can think of that as striving to follow God’s will and way for their lives. That is the path of being rooted and grounded in love—rooted and grounded in God. When the difficulties come, there is a source of strength. Rather than being blown around by the cultural whirlwind, there is a steady groundedness in who Christ calls us to be and how Christ calls us to live. He taught what he called “the narrow way” (Matthew 7:13-14) and he summarized it succinctly: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-30)
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster