Sunday Devotional 7th August 2022
by Bruce Billington
We are continuing to explore the knowledge of God as expressed in the Psalms. This week we will look at Psalm 40-41 – both Psalms of David’s.
Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
This is a deeply penetrating and insightful verse. The Lord saw nothing satisfactory in the various ceremonial laws. They were only ever meant as a temporary provision – looking forward to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ.
The point made clear here is that God is always looking for the obedience of our heart way more than our offerings and words. Such things need to be done for the right reasons. We can do all the right things – go to church, take communion, make financial offerings or gifts, and many other useful things – but they are all in vain if our heart is not right – both with God, our brothers, and sisters – and in bringing such sacrifices before Him.
We see time and time again with David, that he came to God with a true heart attitude of worship and a deep desire to be in His presence. This is the only way to please God. Lip service alone does not cut it. David brought a sincerity of heart, a faith in the goodness of God and a holy approach to His presence. He yielded himself fully to God.
Psalm 41:1–3 – How blessed is he who considers the helpless; The LORD will deliver him in a day of trouble. The LORD will protect him and keep him alive, And he shall be called blessed upon the earth; And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies. The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health.
The poor, sick, under-privileged, or those who are cast down, tend to be avoided. After all, isn’t that what we have hospitals and rest homes for? And aren’t they poor company when they are down in this fashion?
But this is not the manner or way of behaviour for those who are committed to the way of the Lord. Reaching out to others in this situation is one of the best opportunities to show love, true mercy, and compassion, which all express the heart of the Father.
We cannot do this for everyone, but we can and must for those God has truly put in our path. It is here that we consider what the best response is for them and how we can make their life just a little bit better. Yes, prayer is a wonderful tool we have, but on its own it is not enough. We are the arms God uses to give someone a hug, we are the method God uses to bring hope, love, and some investment of our time.
In a wonderful way, such actions will return the same back to us in our own time of need, that every one of us experiences at least some time in our lives. During these times, God will multiply back to us what we have done or given to others. But it goes one step further than this.
There is true joy in doing good, blessing others, seeing a smile come to the face of someone who is down; seeing a new hope come to the heart of someone who felt forsaken; seeing financial relief come to someone who had no hope of meeting some bills; seeing food delivered to someone whose cupboards were bare – and on the list goes. Being able to play a part in such help and service other people is a privilege that God wants us to have and enjoy.
As a result, we shall be preserved, blessed, ministered to, and brought to a place of healing when on our sick bed (V 2-3). During difficult times we shall find God to be our champion, who will come to our aid, and seeing His presence the enemy will flee.
Again and again throughout His Word, God promises to help us if we help others. The greatest in the kingdom of God are those who serve others (Matthew 23:11). As God has exalted Jesus, who humbled Himself and came to our aid by going to the cross, so He will exalt us when we minister to the weak and helpless (Phil. 2:5–9). We are never more Christlike than when we stoop to help someone in need.
Find someone today, who you can help. No matter how great or small your actions may be – you will bring the presence of God into their lives. This is a great privilege we are all given.
God bless you.