Scripture: verse 14
Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest…to make for [Himself] a glorious name.
Observation: God leads us through hard stuff sometimes. Just like the shepherd who carries a map of the mountains in his head, which is far too complex for the sheep to understand, God can see where we are going when we cannot. He keeps us from stumbling in the desert. He leads us to the valley and gives us rest. On account of His glorious name.
My husband played Bill Sykes in a high school production of Oliver! His big song was called “My Name” and it was about all the awful things that Sykes had done on account of his name. Some toff slumming with his valet/Bumped into me in the alley/Now his eyes will never tally/He’d never heard of my name. He hadn’t done that for any particular reason (he may have robbed the men, but that’s not why he attacked), but just to make a name for himself.
God seems to be the same way. He doesn’t particularly need a reason to feed us and teach us and give us new sight. He does those things because of His Name.
Application: Don’t slum with your valet 🙂
Prayer: God, I praise you because of your glorious name. I praise you because you have done praiseworthy things over and over and over again. I praise you because you have already mapped all the mountains I am negotiating. Thank you for keeping me from stumbling. Help me to see. Amen.
Scripture: verse 3
I have ordered My holy ones,
summoned My heroes, eager and bold,
to execute My anger.
Observation: This prophecy is of the doom of Babylon, which is to be punished for…actually we haven’t gotten that far yet, but presumably pride and godlessness and the other things that nations usually got punished for.
I mostly like the imagery of this – the glory and power and might of God’s army, called to war. It needs sweeping music and rioting colors and lots of drums and trumpets and preferably an unusual time signature. (Hero is the one who points out time signatures to me, and we’ve noticed they are common in particularly rousing movie scores.)
We think of war and punishment and God’s anger as bad things. And certainly it is a bad thing that people are hurt and die. But God is good and glorious and loving and beautiful, and that means His anger has to be good and glorious and loving and beautiful. He is always Himself.
Application: Don’t really have one. Look for God’s beauty, I guess?
Prayer: Father, I praise you, for you are yourself. You are powerful and awesome and beautiful and stirring, and there is no part of you that is not those things. Help me to recognize you and respond to you. Amen.
Scripture: verse 6
This is what Adonai has ordered you to do, so that the glory of Adonai will appear to you.
Observation: The classic human religious tradeoff is that humans have to do x, y, and z, and their god will be happy with them and make them rich. This verse is God’s version.
For one thing, we are commanded to be holy. Not good enough, not doing enough good things to outweigh our bad things. Holy. We can’t be holy, so (thankfully) God has arranged for a Substitute to take all the not-holy. But our lack of holiness requires blood and death.
We can’t make up for the not-holy. It has to be taken away.
And once we are made holy, we aren’t necessarily promised health and wealth and happiness. God does provide those things, but He is selective about what He gives us. If a time of sickness or poverty will be better in the long run, that’s what He provides. He’s a wise father, not an indulgent babysitter.
But. We are promised the presence of His glory. Once we are made holy, we get to see our God face to face. We get to ask Him questions and get answers. We get to tell Him things and have Him comfort us. We get to see His glory.
Nobody else promises that.
Application: According to the authors of Happy Money, people who buy experiences are happier for longer than people who buy things. So we have a choice. We can spend our time and energy pursuing things like wealth. Or we can experience the glory of Almighty God.
Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for being my Substitute, for taking my not-holy on yourself. Thank you for being my ticket into God’s presence. Help me to rest in His glory instead of being anxious over my own concerns. Amen.