Devotional Word for Wednesday, April 15, 2020
This morning one of the biblical texts my wife Pat and I read during our devotions was Psalm 107. It’s a wonderful Psalm. We’ve loved it for years. When I was first converted, the first part of verse two resonated in my soul. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Far too often we, the redeemed of the Lord, are too quiet about what He has done in our lives; how He has redeemed us. Here is a clear, straightforward command from God to speak personally of our redemption.
But today, I want to reflect a bit on verse three of Psalm 107. Here are the first three verses: O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary, And gathered from the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south.
When the Psalmist mentions the directional points of the compass, we don’t think much about it, I suppose. At least I didn’t for many years. It was just east and west, north and south. But somewhere along the line I began to understand how significant those terms are for the entire world. If the guidance system one is using is not aligned accurately, one could end up way off course, even completely lost. Initially, if one is off by a mere 5 degrees, it’s not too bad. But the farther one proceeds with that inaccurate bearing, the farther off course one goes. You could end up in a place you never intended – or wanted – to go.
Did you know that is the reason Leidy’s Church is positioned the way it is? Our building sits rather cockeyed to the roads. That’s because our building is oriented according to the true coordinates of the compass. The sanctuary faces due east. When you walk out of the sanctuary, you’re facing due west. For centuries that was always the case with church buildings. When one faced the front of the sanctuary, one always knew that was due east. One could always get one’s bearings by checking out the how the church building was situated.
We still use language that reflects that reality. If you start new job today, most likely you’ll have some orientation time. New students and their parents usually have orientation activities to do. Those orientation materials are designed to show how everything works. The word orientation is rooted in the word for East, that is The Orient. If one can determine which direction is true east – is true orient – then one can figure out all the other directions as well.
Isn’t life a lot like that? It’s very easy to get disoriented. When circumstances change and we’re not sure what’s going on or what’s going to happen, we can become very disoriented. That describes what is happening now with the coronavirus. It also describes where we are culturally and ethically – disoriented from the genuine points of the cultural and ethical compasses. It makes us very weary, very confused, very lost. That’s why Jesus said, Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. [Matt. 11:28] That’s on the Leidy’s Church cornerstone. That’s what a church is meant to do: to invite folk to come to Jesus and be reoriented to the world, or, to be truly oriented!
Then, once such is the case, we need to tell of that reorientation to others who are disoriented. That is, Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. The other Scripture verse on the Leidy’s Church cornerstone is Jesus’ final command to Go . . . make disciples of all the nations. [Matt. 28:19] There is only one true East. God has created it and put it in place. His mandate to us, His people, is to let others know there is a true East, and invite them go to the Lord Jesus for their compasses to become aligned with God’s true compass, the one which is over all the universe. Today, let’s give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, for the reality of East and West, North and South. And let’s ask Him to keep us properly oriented.
Let us pray: Lord God, You are the Creator of all. We thank You that the universe runs according to Your plan and purpose. It’s so easy for us – for all of mankind – to get out of sync with You. Draw us back to You. Renew and reorient our hearts and minds according to Your Word. May we be faithful followers and faithful witnesses of Your mercy and goodness and truth. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.