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Devotional Word for Friday, April 17, 2020

The week is moving on. It’s Friday already. But I’m still stuck in Psalm 107. Well, stuck might be the wrong word – a better word would be struck with Psalm 107. Between Wednesday and Thursday, we pretty much covered verses 1-32 of Psalm 107. That still leaves verses 33-43, and I don’t want to leave this Psalm without giving them some consideration. 

The last part of Psalm 107 describes the power of God to bless and the power of God to curse. Here’s part of those verses: He changes rivers into a wilderness, and springs of water into a thirsty ground; A fruitful land into a salt waste, Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it. On the other hand: He changes the wilderness into a pool of water and a dry land into springs of water; And there He makes the hungry to dwell, so that they may establish an inhabited city, and sow fields and plant vineyards, and gather a fruitful harvest.

The first thing we must note about these verses is the power of God. Everything depends on Him. He can make red to be green; He can make yellow to be purple. And vice-versa. I’ve always found that to be a most comforting realization. Regardless of my circumstances, God is the One who controls them. That allows me to have rest. I’m reminded of what Paul writes to the Philippians: I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity. [Phil. 4:11-12]  

These verses from Psalm 107 do not mean instantaneous, magical change with the waving of a wand. The changes spoken of are better understood in covenantal, generational changes. The histories of nations testify to this reality. Rome and Germany and Uganda and Russia and the United States and many others provide good examples.

But the best application of this for most folk is to our individual circumstances. I’ll give you a favorite example of mine. Many of us are familiar with the classic daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Here’s something you may not know. Oswald Chambers did not write it. He died in 1917 in Egypt at the age of 43 while serving with the YMCA during WWI. My Utmost for His Highest was first written and published in 1927, ten years after he died. He left behind a wife and toddler daughter. They had few resources. But his wife was an accomplished stenographer and had made a habit of being present as often as possible whenever he spoke from the time they were engaged until the day of his death. She took down all he said in shorthand. She had a couple of trunks full of such notebooks when he died. Her situation was very bleak. What she did was take those notebooks and transcribe them into books. She took no salary or royalties from the books, but used whatever profit accrued to print more books. Her conviction was that God had given something special to Oswald Chambers to say and she was intent on being faithful in getting it out. Though she lived in comparative poverty, surviving through gifts from friends and donations, her life was a spring of water for millions! She worked on My Utmost for His Highest from 1924 to 1927, pulling together and collating things her husband had said. My Utmost for His Highest has never been out of print since 1927. 

Oswald Chambers’ early death would seem to have ended his ministry. Instead, it was the means by which his ministry was extended and expanded. Like Abel, who was killed by Cain, though dead he still speaks. That’s the power and provision of God.

Psalm 107 ends this way: Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things and consider the lovingkindnesses of the Lord. [Ps. 107:43] That’s a good way to end this week of devotions. May the Holy Spirit keep our compasses aligned with God’s compass and may our hearts rejoice in His mercy and grace extended to us. 

Let us pray: Gracious God, thank You for Your great power and Your great faithfulness. Be with us at this time. Help us rest in You. Be with those in much more difficult and dangerous circumstances than us. Protect them and provide for them. Keep all of us from temptation and deliver us from the hand of the Adversary. May Your name be praised through us. We ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.