Scriptures and Reflections for the week of May 22 – May 27
Monday, May 22
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.
Here is the most human side of us all. When we see arrogant, wicked, selfish people succeed while we feel ourselves to be struggling we fall prey to envy. We ponder whether being good has benefits when others whom we may believe are unscrupulous have had success. Is this fair? And then envy eats away at our hearts, souls, values, and integrity. AND at our relationship with God and others. Jesus Christ challenges us to be like Him, not like our neighbor or a boss or movie star or an athlete. Be cautious of envy. It gets in the way of what God calls us to be.
Tuesday, May 23
Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.
The first five words here are of incredible significance. Pride is actually as dangerous as envy. We may envy others, but pride can make us equally blind to our need for God. In fact, envy will cry out to God. Pride does not even need God. At least that selfish pride which is self-congratulatory and blinds us to the wants and needs of others, to the contributions of others to our lives, sometimes just simply where and when we were born. Avoid envy and pride. Instead rest in the last verse of this psalm – tomorrow’s meditation.
Wednesday, May 24
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
Being close to God solves the destructiveness of envy and pride. It reminds us that we are NOT GOD, and that our Lord is where we find our comfort and hope. That is worth talking about, both to ourselves and to others.
Thursday, May 25
We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds.
The crowd we run with is often the people we become. An intolerant crowd breeds an intolerant person. A compassionate crowd seems to produce caring individuals. When we stay close to God, our story is one of wonder and love and joy. Our story is one of how God is at work in our lives. Stay close to God, and God will stay close to you.
Friday, May 26
Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
The great thing about the Psalms is that they give voice to what we have all wondered. We see chaos in the world, anger where there should be patience and forgiveness, deceit rather than integrity, blaming rather than affirming. We wonder if God has gone silent. This psalm, as with the others included this week, came out of a time in Israel’s history when so many were exiled and in captivity. It is always okay for us to ask where God is. God can handle that. So what is the way forward? Read tomorrow’s meditation – tomorrow! Ponder what you wish could be resolved today.
Saturday, May 27
Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
Memory is a good thing, especially when exercised. When you feel as if all is lost, try remembering a time when you knew the presence of God, the deed of kindness, the goodness of the Lord, the joy of life. We will all have seasons of struggle, just as we have all experienced seasons of success. Don’t ever take the present moment as the final word. God is not finished yet.