Sometimes when we face times of trouble, we may get spiritual amnesia and forget the grace of God. But a good way of reestablishing a thankful heart is to set aside undistracted time and deliberately remember God’s past provisions for us and give thanks.
When the children of Israel found themselves in a barren, hot desert, they developed memory loss about the grace of God. They began to wish they were back in Egypt, enjoying all its foods (Ex. 16:2-3) and later complained about their water supply (17:2). They had forgotten the mighty acts of God in their deliverance and how He had showered them with wealth (12:36). They were dwelling on their current circumstances and forgetting God’s gracious past provision.
The psalmist challenges us: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Ps. 118:1). The word mercy means “steadfast love.” It refers to God’s faithfulness. He has promised to be present always to care for His children.
By remembering specific ways God has provided for us in the past, we can change our perspective for the better. God’s steadfast love endures forever!
Wait on the Lord from day to day, Strength He provides in His own way; There’s no need for worry, no need to fear, He is our God who is always near. —Fortna
Remembering God’s provision for yesterday gives hope and strength for today.
Psalms 113–118, collectively known as psalms of praise or the “Egyptian Hallel,” are used in the Passover celebration commemorating the Israelites’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt (Ex. 12–13). Psalms 113–114 are recited before and Psalms 115–118 after the Passover meal. The emphatic refrain “His mercy endures forever” (Ps. 118:1-4) reminds the Jews of God’s faithfulness. In response, the psalmist calls for renewed trust in God (vv.8-9).
In J. R. R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, the wizard Gandalf explains why he has selected a small hobbit like Bilbo to accompany the dwarves to fight the enemy. He says, “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
That’s what Jesus teaches us as well. Warning us that we would live in dark times, He reminded us that because of Him we are “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14) and that our good deeds would be the power against the darkness for the glory of God (v.16). And Peter, writing to believers in Christ who were facing severe persecution, told them to live so that those accusing them would “by [their] good works which they observe, glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).
There is one force that the darkness cannot conquer—the force of loving acts of kindness done in Jesus’ name. It is God’s people who turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and forgive and even love their enemies who oppose them who have the power to turn the tide against evil. So look for the privileged opportunity to perform acts of kindness today to bring the light of Christ to others.
Lord, teach me the folly of trying to repay evil for evil. May I be so grateful to You for the loving acts of kindness that You have shown me that I gladly look to share good deeds with others as well!
Light up your world with an act of kindness.
Taken from the Sermon on the Mount, today’s passage presents some of the behavioral expectations of the kingdom of God and stresses authenticity. Using the recognizable images of salt and light, Jesus tells His listeners that they cannot follow Him in secret. Salt must be salty and light must illuminate. However, we must be careful not to assume that it is goodness for goodness’ sake that is expected of God’s people. Good deeds are what bring God glory and reflect His character to the world (v.16).
In the African country where my friend Roxanne lives, water is a precious commodity. People often have to travel long distances to collect water from small, contaminated creeks—leading to sickness and death. It’s difficult for organizations like orphanages and churches to serve the people because of a lack of water. But that’s beginning to change.
Through Roxanne’s leadership and the unselfish gifts of some loving people in established churches, clean water wells are being dug. At least six new wells are now operational, allowing churches to be centers of hope and encouragement. A health center and a home for 700 orphans will also be able to be opened because of access to water.
That’s the kind of love that can flow from believers in Christ when we have experienced the love and generosity of God. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 that if we don’t have love, our voices clang on people’s ears and our faith means nothing. And the apostle John says that if we have material possessions and see others in need and take action, that’s evidence that God’s love is abiding in us (1 John 3:16).
God desires that we deal “graciously” (Ps. 112:5) with those in need, for His heart is gracious toward us.
Be not weary in your serving; Do your best for those in need; Kindnesses will be rewarded By the Lord who prompts the deed. —Anon.
Kindness is Christianity with its working clothes on.
While there is no designation of the author of Psalm 112, the common speculation is for Davidic authorship. It may well have been written as a companion to Psalm 111. In both songs, the verses are written in alphabetical order, and both share the theme of the characteristics and life of the person blessed by God. Psalm 111 focuses on the God who blesses, while Psalm 112 focuses on the person who is blessed.