Monday, September 19, 2011

A Sign

This morning, my scheduled Bible reading took me to Psalm 86.  I did a little study and turned to the Wycliffe Bible Commentary: “With the humility of a slave or a handmaid’s son, he (David) asks for God’s merciful protection and requests some sign of divine favor toward him.” The verse the commentator refers to is highlighted in my Bible: “Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O lord, have helped me and comforted me”(Psalm 86:17).

Eugene Peterson moves these words closer to our vernacular by translating this way, “Make a show of how much you love me so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed, as you, God, gently and powerfully put me back on my feet.”

I’ve often been moved to pray this verse for those dealing with a serious illness or problem. I’ve seen God use it in prison so many times for women who not only felt locked away from humans, but locked away from God. God’s “sign” isn’t often accompanied by thunder and flashing lights, but usually appears in a gentle way. 

His touch, though, is unmistakable. 

For me, it can be something as small as new birds at the feeder, but they can be enough to bouy my spirit. It could be hearing from someone I haven’t seen in a long while, and yet the cries of each of our hearts echo in the others and we encourage each other in the Lord.

In doing further study, I came to these words on Psalm 86 written by Donald Williams in The Communicator’s Commentary:

“Life is not to be lived in hope of God’s occasional intervention. Life is to be lived in the presence of the living God, where every day holds the promise of His surprise.”

Don’t you love that—“…the promise of His surprise”?

So the challenge here is that we may be cloaked in humility like David, and live in the company of God always watching for his marvels.

No matter how alone you feel or how desperate your circumstances may seem, I pray a sign of his goodness may be yours today.

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