Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, April 7, 2013


Psalm 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24

“I was hard pressed and falling,
but the Lord came to me as savior.”

Once again we visit this powerful psalm
of praise and thanksgiving.  This time the
verses stress the enduring love that God
has for us – so much so that despite the part
we played in crucifying his Son, God went
ahead and carried out His plan to save us.
Jesus’ risen presence among us is living
proof of God’s enduring love.
“God’s mercy endures forever.”

We may be 'hard pressed and falling,' or
we may be spiritually sick and weakened
by sin.  Are we really any different from
those Dr. Luke speaks of in our 1st reading,
any less desperate or in need of the Lord's
healing power and presence in our lives? 

Fortunately the Lord comes to us as Savior,
as our psalmist says.  And the Lord is present
to us when we are frightened, as he was present
to those frightened disciples in the upper room.
Who would have been more hard pressed and
falling than they were before Jesus appeared
to them and blessed them and extended his
peace to them?  That same source of strength
and might the psalmist speaks of  is available to us –
all we have to do is believe and open our hearts
to receive his saving grace.  

As the psalmist says, the Lord is our strength.
He is present to us,  just as He was in those early
days of the church described in our 1st reading
and in the Gospel.  We may not have the awesome
experience Thomas had of physically putting our
hand in the Lord’s side and our fingers into the
nail marks on his hand, but He is with us.
“The Lord comes to us as Savior.”

We are victorious over death.  The Lord’s
deliverance is cause for joy.  Just when we were
down, the Lord raises us up.  “I was hard pressed
and falling, but the Lord has been my Savior.”
“The joyful shout of victory is heard.”
We are on firm ground after all.

When Thomas put his fingers into the Lord's
side,  it was clearly a moment of victory for him
and for us.  Thomas was struck with awe, and
came to believe, in that upper room, with those
other righteous men.  What does it take for us,
though we have not seen, to get down on our
knees and say, 'My Lord and my God.”

Christ has become our cornerstone, as our
psalmist reminds us.  Christ has become a
source of strength for us, despite his apparent
weakness that day on the cross, when he died
a shameful death. 

Only the Lord could have done this remarkable
thing: “By the Lord has this been done; it is
wonderful in our eyes.”  This is cause for rejoicing --
“This is the day the Lord has made.”
Along with the disciples and the early church,
“Let us be glad and rejoice in it.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Have you ever been 'hard pressed and falling,'
as was our psalmist?   Describe how the Lord has been
your strength and courage in times of trouble.

2.  As the Psalm says, 'The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.'   Speak of how o
ur Savior has
become the rock you can rely on in your life.



  1. After the passion and death of Jesus, the disciples were huddled in the room upstairs, and they were scared to death.....and Jesus came to them. And He will continue to be with us.......we are not alone.

    It's amazing that these disciples, who had daily contact with Jesus, had to physically see Jesus one more time, to fully believe. Although it's hard, we believers accept Jesus on faith and don't require that physical presence in order to believe. I think it's simply amazing, and I'm sure our faith is much appreciated by Him.

  2. j. kim10:58 AM

    "Confidence in God's eternal love. God's love is unchanging in the midst of changing situations. This gives us security." So reads the subtitle under Psalm 118 in my Life Application Study Bible. Confident. Unchanging. Secure. Three aspects of God's love are revealed in an instant. These should be uplifting words and the source of much peace and joy during this 2nd week of Easter. However, I can't help but feel a little uneasy. Perhaps, it's because His love is so perfect that I can't measure up when trying to follow His example.

    I pull from about ten different devotionals on a daily basis. I do not share this as a means of boasting, but merely to explain that I have a variety of sources through which I feel God's guidance. One of them for this very day begins, "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 5:44 (NIV) But then, I ask myself, "What? Do I really have to follow such a command? I have heard it over and over. Why do I keep hearing these words? I readily offer prayer for a friend who is hurting or ill. I understand that it is a gift that I can give them. But do I need to give this precious gift of my prayer voice and intentions to someone I don't like and who doesn't like me?" And as I fight the command in my head, there in print, lower on the page... is yet another: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." Romans 12:14 (NIV).

    After a little contemplation, I understand. That confident, unchanging, and secure love of God... reflected in the Psalm... is from the same source that created both my enemy and me. I need to see him/her as precious to Him as I am precious to Him. He loves all of us even when He does not approve of all our actions. I am able to get to that place of understanding in my head, but my heart is a different story. If I am able to attain that "heart-understanding," then I have my victory. I can proclaim that "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation," as we read in verse 14 of the Psalm. (NIV) I know that I can rely on Him for the strength to carry out His commands, even when my flesh does not wish to do so.

    The Lord's plan to sacrifice His only son is the ultimate example of the Psalm's "confident, unchanging, and secure love." In a sense, we were His enemies while Jesus walked the Earth. We persecuted Him to the point of death. However, because the Father's love is perfect, he could create a way to redeem us, even when our nature was to rebel and reject His Son. He valued the salvation of each of us so much... that He literally gave up His Son. We are the heroes of such an incredible love story!

  3. Jesus said in John 20:29, "Blessed are those who have not seen but have believed," when Thomas had his doubts about Jesus resurrection. Even though Thomas had a deep faith in Jesus, he refuses to believe unless he sees the nail marks in His hands. No doubt I would do the same as Thomas did, because of my human wickedness and weakness. Jesus appears in the midst of his disciples who are frightened. He assures them in love and peace that He has truly risen from death showing his wounds and nail marks in his hands.

    He is alive and lives forever among us and dwells in us through the Holy Spirit. His eternal and unchanging love toward us gives us security and comfort to lean on. Seeing is believing. His disciples have seen Him and touched Him physically. How can I witness his resurrection from death? Inwardly, through the eyes in my heart as well as my faith in Him as my Savior. And also reading the Bible.

    The anxiety and the worries about my physical condition have pressed me hard lately. I was not able to focus on Him and to pray to Him. In spite of all that my soul was searching for His presence. In desperation, I cried out for His Mercy and strength. He held me up to shine his light on me. He led me into light from the darkness. Where does my help come from ? Of course from my risen Lord who died to redeem me from my sins. Yes, He is my strength and Salvation. His Mercy endures forever.