Psalm 146:4-10 (God) who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the sojourners; He upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin. The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!
Have you ever received a compliment sandwich? Sounds fantastic doesn't it? Those getting one want to be smothered in sweetness and told good and true things about themselves! The formula is easy: compliment number one, then another statement followed by compliment number two. Problem is, the compliment sandwich is usually the delivery method for some meatier issues that are more difficult to digest.
* Compliment one: "(Insert your name here), your writing is wonderful and helps me think about my faith in deeper ways."
* (Insert underlying comment here such as): "Sometimes I have to read it five or six times just to understand what you're saying."
* Compliment two: "But I love the poetic cadence to your style."
Now sometimes it's a bit difficult to pick up the message in the middle. Sometimes we don't hear it at all. And sometimes we're not even sure what to make of what's being said, so we just skip over it in our minds. And let's not forget those times when we actually do hear what's being said ... but aren't overly motivated to work on that issue being presented.
Thankfully, there are those rare occasions when a "spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." And it's then when we're most likely open to growth. Often, when these moments arrive, we can look back and realize we've heard this same thing from several different people throughout our lives.
Something like this can happen when we read Scripture with the same desire only to hear those parts that make us feel good, the parts with which we think we know what to do. "God is the Maker of heaven and earth. God remains faithful forever." "Our God reigns for all generations!" Those statements we can affirm. They even comfort us -- as they should.
But the middle section of this Psalm is harder to digest. Sometimes we don't even see oppression or the abuses taking place around us. It's then we can think of the downtrodden, those beaten back by life and circumstances, and we remember Jesus who came to set the prisoner free (see Luke 4:18). Thanks be to God for sending His Son and winning our freedom on the cross!
THE PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your kindness to a thousand generations of those who love You. Please open our hearts through Your Holy Spirit, so we may digest the full message You have for us. Amen.
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