Early Morning Examination (Psalm 33:18-22)

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love, that He may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let Your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in You.

Psalm 33:18-22 ESV

An early morning encounter with this Psalm gave rise to some questions prompted by the Holy Spirit:

Whom or what will you fear today?

Will you be afraid of what people will think of you if you do or don’t say or if you do or don’t do certain things today?  Will you be afraid to take risks for the sake of the Kingdom because you’re afraid to fail?  Will you fear what the future will or will not bring?  Will you fear “famine,” the lack of having your daily needs met?  Remember: “the eye of the Lord is one those who fear Him” (vs. 18a).

In or for what will you hope today?

Will the anticipation of good things to come (a delicious meal, a football game, time alone to read, conversation with a friend, fun times with the family) be what keeps you going today, or will you be carried along by the anticipation that the Father loves you and will be with you no matter what happy or hard circumstance you encounter today?  Will you rest your hopes on the love that people show you today or on the “steadfast (covenant-keeping) love” that Jesus has shown you in the gospel?  Will your heart’s hope rise and fall with the so-called “successes” of your work today, or will you be filled with Holy-Spirit-confidence that Christ is advancing His Kingdom in and through you at all times?  Remember: “the eyes of the Lord are on…those who hope in His steadfast love” because He is the one who saves and satisfies (vs. 18b-19).

What will your soul be waiting on or for today?

How will your soul finish this statement today?:  “I can’t wait for __________________.”  or “I can’t wait until __________________.”  On what or whom are you waiting to “come through” for you today?  On what or whom will you depend to be your provision (“help”) or your protection (“shield”) today?  Remember: “Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield” (vs. 20).

What will make your heart glad today?

There are many legitimate reasons to be glad.  Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:17 that we have been blessed with so many good possessions, people, pursuits, and places because God “richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”  But the question is: Will the gladness of your heart land on those provisions today, or will those provisions be springboards to launch your heart Godward until it lands on Him alone?  Remember: the psalmist says “our heart is glad in Him” (vs. 21a).

Whose reputation will you trust today?

On whose name and reputation will you depend today, yours or God’s?  Whose name and reputation will you spend your time and energy building and defending today, yours or God’s?  Whose name and reputation will you work to represent as holy in your various roles, relationships, and responsibilities today, yours or God’s?  Remember: the psalmist said “we trust in His holy name” (vs. 21b).

In whose gospel will you hope today?

Whose “good news” will thrill your heart and fill your head and impel your hands to serve today?  Wall Street’s “good news”?  The “good news” of right relationships with family and friends?  The “good news” of a job?  The “good news” of your own good works?  The “good news” of your favorite team winning the big game?  The “good news” of well-behaved and well-respected children?  The “good news” of good grades or great job-performance rewarded?  The “good news” that your chosen political candidate “won” the debate or was successfully elected?  The “good news” of a new purchase?  The “good news” that you look good?  Remember: “Let Your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in You” (vs. 22).  We do not hope in Jesus “plus” any of these things.  We hope only in the steadfast love poured out in Christ and Him crucified, for He is our only hope.

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