Dear Church family,
We are studying our Psalm for the Year in worship again this Sunday and I thought it would be nice if you had a copy of it in your email as well. It is printed here for you and followed up with a few thoughts.
Psalm of the Year: Psalm 146
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is in the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their 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 strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!
There is a popular system of belief that is going around the United States now. It is called “prosperity gospel” and it defines itself as Christian. Pastors in packed stadiums are teaching this set of beliefs. At their heart, the beliefs are these:
God’s desire for you is that you to be rich.
If you are rich, then God has blessed you and is publicly showing that he loves you.
If you are not rich, then God has withheld his blessing from you and is publicly showing that he is not pleased with you.
That’s it. That is the prosperity gospel. The only trouble with it is that it is not Christian, at least it does not match with the Father or the Son we meet in the Bible.
Our Psalm for the Year is one good example. This psalm talks about what it takes to be happy and it does not mention wealth. Happiness comes to those who seek their help and hope in God. Even more than this, we learn what God’s desires are for this world and those desires are that prisoners will be set free, that the blind will see, that the bowed down will rise, that the stranger and the orphan and the widow will be cared for. Nowhere in these words do we read that God’s desire is that we be rich. That would be limiting God’s great love for us if we think his love is about money and influence and things. His love is about justice and mercy and freedom and hope. This is what God desires for us. Which means that if your bank account is looking low and your “prospects” are few, that does NOT mean that God has forsaken you. In fact, it is you—in particular—he is seeking out to shelter and guide. And for those who have enough and more than enough, this does not mean God loves us more but it does mean God calls us to a certain responsibility for if we have enough—and more than enough—how do we help others? This is the gospel, plain and simple. And the good thing about it is that it is Christian.
Please pray with me: Lord Jesus, be near me this day. I need your presence every hour, not to fill my bank account but to fill my heart. Help me to be one of those happy ones who put their trust and hope in you. Keep me on the narrow path, even when other paths seem easier. In your gracious name I pray. Amen.
Christ’s Peace be with you all,