Psalm 51, Day 2

Devotional for Tuesday, May 19

Psalm 51:4-6
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
    I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
    and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
    yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
    teaching me wisdom even there.

When I first dwelled on the idea of “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned,” I was a bit taken aback. I realized my notion of sin was too limited. In my mind, the problem with sin was the damage we do to others.

Certainly, sin hurts others, and that by itself is a major problem. When our sins do enough damage, we can even drive others to sin. For example, think of the abused child who grows up to be an abuser. There’s no doubt sin runs rampant in the world because we are first born broken, and we then have a tendency to break each other further.

But ultimately, our sins are a violation of God’s will, and our creator has the right to demand a reckoning. We first must repair our relationship with God. Once we are right with God, we then can hope to repair some of the damage we’ve done in this world, trusting divine power to guide us.

Lord, help us to first be right with you so our efforts to help others are genuine and rooted in your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Psalm 23, Day 3

Devotional for Wednesday, April 29

Our devotionals this week are all from the 23rd Psalm, “A Psalm of David,” considered in small meditative bites.

Verse 3b
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.

As his sheep, we follow his lead, behaving as the shepherd would have us behave. Sometimes the concept of Christian holiness is made to sound complicated, but it really is that simple.

downloadWe are known as his flock, and we do not want to confuse others by wandering down paths not leading to eternity. For thousands of years, he has shown us his will through his word, recorded in the Holy Bible. This is how he tells us left or right, stop or go.

Yes, the noise of the world sometimes makes his call a little harder to discern, but if we take time to focus on Scripture in a thoughtful and prayerful way, we will know what to do.

And when we follow the right paths, people do notice. They are astonished when the harm they were expecting is not done to them, or when they receive unexpected goodness.

And when they seek to know why we behave in such an unworldly way, we have earned the right to tell them, “Because I stay in love with God—you can too!”

Lord, call out to me loudly when I amble down the wrong path. Amen.