Monday, April 14, 2014

The Strength of the Lord -- Devotional for Holy Week

PSALM 118:14-17


14 The Lord is my strength and my might;
 he has become my salvation.
15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of
the righteous:
"The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
16 the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
 the right hand of the Lord does valiantly."
17 I shall not die, but I shall live,
 and recount the deeds of the Lord.

It is the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday is immediately behind us. We've joined Jesus in the triumphant march into Jerusalem. We've waved the palm branches. We've shouted words of acclamation. There is a hopeful Spirit in our midst. We've returned to the camp and begun to sing the songs of victory. We celebrate the valiant right hand of the Lord. The right hand is the one in which the warriors carry their weapons. It is with the right hand that power is expressed. The Lord our God is marching into town, the right hand holding the lance and the flag. Victory is at hand – therefore let us celebrate with thanksgiving! 

With the reign of God ready to commence, it is appropriate to sing songs of praise, but we also know that we've begun a week that will lead us through difficult times. Victory will not seem so assured, when the soldiers come to take Jesus away. Things won't look so bright when Jesus is nailed to the cross. We may feel like it's time to flee, to give up, but the promise remains: "the LORD is my strength and my might." 

The message that I take from this passage is this – no matter what happens in life "the LORD is my strength and my might." We all face difficult times – some more than others – and when these strike we can get overwhelmed. But there is in this Psalm a promise – God has become our salvation. God is our source of renewal and grace. God is the one in whom we experience healing and salvation. Yes, when things seem overwhelming, God is there, lifting us up, so that we will not die, but instead, we shall live and declare the Lord's deeds. 

[Written for the Central Woodward Christian Church 2014 Lenten Devotional edited by John McCauslin]

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