September Devotion: The ways of God
Psalm 119:33-40 (lectionary text for September 7, 2014)
Doesn’t the writer of this Psalm sound needy? “Teach me. Give me. Lead me.” Geesh. Then again, maybe that’s the point. The psalmist is needy, and so are you, and so am I. Honest prayer, like this psalm, is one way to remember that we are dependent on God.
The psalmist recognizes, though, that we shouldn’t expect God to intervene in every moment and show us the right thing to do. Rather, our fulfillment comes from learning ways of living and making the decision to put those ideas into practice. “Teach me…the way,” says the Psalmist. “Lead me in the path.” “Give me life in your ways.”
Like the psalmist, we need to learn and practice these ways in order to live into the fullness of life. The psalmist may sound needy. But, by asking guide to teach, give, and lead him in God’s ways, he’s reminding himself that he already has what he needs - the teachings of a loving creator who has made a world in which his creation can thrive and take delight. Read in this light, the psalm is an encouraging prayer, not a needy list of demands.
Question for sharing
What are some of the ways of stewardship that you want to follow more fully? What are the attitudes about money and time, the disciplines of giving, the practices of caretaking, that shape your stewardship life? How have you been taught these ways? Which ways do you need God to remind you of?
(pray together the words of the psalm) Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain. Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways. Confirm to your servant your promise, which is for those who fear you. Turn away the disgrace that I dread, for your ordinances are good. See, I have longed for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life. Amen.