BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry…But what joy for all who take refuge in him!” Psalm 2:11,12 NLT
The end of the year for me is the beginning of new journey of reading through the Bible. Each year I read a different version. While I have referred to the New Living Translation (NLT) in many New Testament passages, this next year will be the first time that I use this translation for my Bible reading program.
My reading begins with Genesis and Psalms. As I read Psalm 2, I noticed a stark contrast in the opening verses and concluding verses in relationship to how God’s rule is viewed.
As this psalm opens we see the “nations in a rage.” They are under God’s rule, but not submitted to God’s rule. This is probably a period when David was winning battles over many of the surrounding kingdoms in Israel. They are quoted as saying, “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” (Psalm 2:3 NLT)
As the psalm ends we see a call to serve the Lord with fear, to submit to Him and to find in Him true joy and satisfaction.
It is interesting how different people view God and relationship with Him. Many may be cultural “christians.” They view the ten commandments and the “golden rule” as constraints and burdens instead of warnings to keep us from pain and hardship in our individual life and community.
In contrast, we find the greatest joy in life comes when the Lord is served from a willing heart and a response to a God who has demonstrated His love for us and desire for us to know true peace, joy and contentment.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem saying, “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 2337) In contrast, David prayed, “Grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:12) We are called to “serve the Lord with gladness.” (Psalm 100:2) John the Apostle reminds us, “…this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome…” (1 John 5:3 NIV)
As the new year approaches, may our hearts reflect a willing submission to the Lord and His ways. I trust we can anticipate a growing relationship with the Lord amidst all the temptations, distractions and contrary voices that believe God’s ways are oppressive and outdated, instead of a path to experiencing God’s best for our life. May we understand more fully that He who made us, knows how to keep us and to guide our lives into an unknown future as we trust in Him.