Remember to Remember

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“Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” (Psalm 42:5a).

 

Why, I wondered, with so much Joy in my life, am I so down? Why am I so discouraged? Why do I feel like there’s such a weight over me? I asked the Lord about it this morning and He showed me an image of a heavy, gray blanket over me and my house. “Where did this come from Lord?” From the enemy. He has covered me with a spirit of discouragement. Add to it my own battle with depression and anxiety and that blanket becomes a dead weight over me. What can I do? How can I be free?

The Psalmist that asked the question also provided the answer: “Put your hope in the Lord” (v. 5b). Oh, that sounds really spiritual, doesn’t it? But not very practical. Ah, but he’s not done. He said, “My soul is downcast within me, therefore I will remember you . . .” There’s the answer. Remember God. Remember His promises. Remember His faithfulness. Remember His Son on the Cross bearing that heavy, grey blanket of my sin. Remember the empty tomb. Remember His Spirit in me. Remember His power. Remember His mercy and grace. Remember every time He came through for me. Remember the rainbow in my backyard. Remember that He bends His ear to hear my cries. Remember and be at peace that “By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me. Remember that He is “the God of my life” (v. 8).

Have you felt the same heavy weight? It’s understandable given the way this year has gone. Even if everything was peachy-keen in your life, the virus, lockdown, unrest, political turmoil, and sense of fear and hopelessness that has gripped the nation is enough to bring even Pollyanna down. But, Beloved, you have a God in heaven who loves you. So much that He gave His only Son to redeem you and give you eternal life. Remember?

Kingdom first

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Painting by Eric Enstrom

“I’ve got my priorities in order: God first, my family second, church third, work fourth, and everything else after that. That’s what the Good Book says!” “That’s great,” the teacher replied, “I am sure God will honor you for honoring Him.”

We had been discussing Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:33 – “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The teacher, following the printed material, presented this verse as the man interpreted it: prioritize God above everything else in your life. I felt like this was falling short. As so often happens when we lift one verse out of a passage, we lose the context and when we lose the context we lose the meaning and the application.

This verse is not about priorities – when you put it back in its place, this verse is about the futility and faithlessness of worry. It would be helpful right now if you grabbed your Bible and read verses 25-34, then zero in on verses 31-32. Jesus said that “Pagans run after all these things” meaning food and clothing and the basic necessities of life. Is He saying “these things” are worldly and don’t matter to God? No. Notice the end of verse 32: “Your heavenly Father knows that you need [all these things].” They are legitimate needs. And God acknowledges that. What Jesus said that worry is out of place in the life of God’s children. He said that people who don’t have a heavenly Father have to seek the things they need. God’s children are to seek their Father, who sets a bountiful table.

Here’s something else that stuck out at me as I meditated on this passage. Jesus said “seek first His Kingdom” but He never says what to seek second or third. The truth is, there’s no other priority.  When you seek the kingdom first, you will find everything you need.