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Bible Reading: Psalm 40

Psalm 40
I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord.
How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count.
Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”
I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation;
Behold, I will not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.
You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me;
Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.
For evils beyond number have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see;
They are more numerous than the hairs of my head,
And my heart has failed me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
Make haste, O Lord, to help me.
Let those be ashamed and humiliated together
Who seek my life to destroy it;
Let those be turned back and dishonored
Who delight in my hurt.
Let those be appalled because of their shame
Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let those who love Your salvation say continually,
“The Lord be magnified!”
Since I am afflicted and needy,
Let the Lord be mindful of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.

I’m mid-career at this point in my life. I was truly blessed to have a man named Mike Zier give me my first job out of college. Mike gave me more responsibility than I deserved several times over the years, he taught me to pursue excellence and he encouraged me when my tank was empty. As a believer, he also reminded me by his example that there’s more to life than work.
Mike and I don’t work together any more. Recently I needed help with something with a situation at work and I reached out to Mike out of the blue. I’ve not always been great at keeping in touch with him, but no matter. Mike responded immediately. It never occurred that he wouldn’t be willing to help, because he’s always been there for me.

Today’s passage is split into two parts: the first 10 verses reflect praise to God for his faithfulness in past difficulties, and the last 7 verses ask God to deliver the writer from current difficulties. There’s a reason for that order. I think there’s also a reason why there’s more verses on thanksgiving than petitioning.

Whether due to evils surrounding us or our own sin, we all go through seasons in life when we are just treading water, whether that’s at work or with our loved ones. During those times, we must reflect on God’s past faithfulness in carrying us through tough situations.

If you’re battling today, recall first God’s faithfulness to you in the past. Then thank Him and tell Him you are trusting Him with today’s battle. If you have a loved one or a friend that is battling, be like Mike, and encourage them to be grateful for what God has already done and trust Him with it all. God’s always been there for us and he always will be.

Weekly Memory Verse: As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. Psalm 42.1