Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 3.28.22

By March 28, 2022Daily Bread

Good morning!

I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 119:73-80

 73 Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75 I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right,
and that in faithfulness you have humbled me.
76 Let your steadfast love become my comfort
according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78 Let the arrogant be put to shame,
because they have subverted me with guile;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
so that they may know your decrees.
80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
so that I may not be put to shame.

 

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

Today we have another reading from the longest Psalm in the Bible. It is mostly an extended prayer.

In today’s passage, the psalmist makes a request: give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. The prayer for wisdom, for understanding, is surely among the most significant we can pray.

Perhaps the best-known prayer for wisdom came from King Solomon in the Hebrew Scriptures. He was a young king and had struggled to ascend to the throne that was rightfully his, even though he was not the eldest son of his father, the great king David. After he became king, Solomon went to worship at the high place at Gibeon because, at this time, there was still no Temple in Jerusalem.

As the young King Solomon worshipped there, he fell asleep and had a powerful dream.  You may know the kind I’m talking about. The kind of dream that helps you clarify who you are and what you are about. The kind that you remember the rest of your life.

In this dream, God came to King Solomon and said, “Ask whatever you wish, and I’ll give it to you.”

What would you have answered?  Riches?  Honor?  Long life?  Those are the usual answers, aren’t they?  Or maybe it’s Janis Joplin’s prayer:  “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.” God is probably used to the bargaining prayers, “Lord, if you’ll let me win the lottery, I’ll give half to the church!”

But Solomon’s prayer was different. His prayer has been a model prayer used by many leaders since. Harry Truman prayed Solomon’s prayer when he was sworn in as president.

Solomon said,

You showed so much kindness to your servant my father David when he walked before you in truth, righteousness, and with a heart true to you.

You’ve kept this great loyalty and kindness for him and have now given him a son to sit on his throne.

And now, Lord my God, you have made me, your servant, king in my father David’s place.

But I’m young and inexperienced. I know next to nothing.

But I’m here, your servant, in the middle of the people you have chosen, a large population that can’t be numbered or counted due to its vast size.

Please give your servant a discerning mind in order to govern your people and to distinguish good from evil, because no one is able to govern this important people of yours without your help. (1 Kings 3:6-9)

This is a great moment for Solomon. God is pleased with his prayer and says that he will give him wisdom, as he asked for it, and all those things he did not ask that are usually at the top of the list: honor and riches.

There are not many Bible stories I remember hearing for the first time. But this one I remember. I don’t so much remember where I was or who told it to me.  Rather, I remember my utter surprise and my utter puzzlement that Solomon did not ask for a million dollars or a cool car or fame or any of the other things always on my list!  I remember thinking that Wisdom was not that big of a deal and how I would have failed God’s test.

Wisdom was not at the top of my list. In fact, it wasn’t even on my list! Today, however, it’s always on my list! I pray for wisdom nearly every day. The prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 119 is like Solomon’s prayer — Give me understanding, give me wisdom.

I close with this prayer from Kenya from The United Methodist Hymnal, p. 597:

From the cowardice that dares not face new truth,

From the laziness that is contented with half-truth,

From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,

Good Lord, deliver me.  Amen.

 

Hymn Suggestion: “Break Thou the Bread of Life”

Mary A. Lathbury (1877)

Break now the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
as once you broke the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek you, Lord;
my spirit waits for you, O living Word.

Bless your own word of truth, dear Lord, to me,
as when you blessed the bread by Galilee.
Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
and I shall find my peace, my All in all!

You are the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
your holy word the truth that rescues me.
Give me to eat and live with you above;
teach me to love your truth, for you are love.

O send your Spirit now, dear Lord, to me,
that he may touch my eyes and make me see.
Show me the truth made plain within your Word,
for in your book revealed I see you, Lord.

Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture.  I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.

Grace and Peace,


Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

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