Devotional for June 5, 2017

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by Mark Malcolm

3  They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, And fought against me without cause.

4  In return for my love they act as my accusers; But I am in prayer.

Psalm 109:3-4 (NASB)

If you read all of Psalm 109 you get the sense that this is more a request for revenge or retribution rather than an act of selfless compassion. I do not believe it is an act of selfless compassion, yet that is what these two verses taken together, and out of context read as, an act of compassion. That is at once a cautionary tale to always read in context and a warning when selecting scripture of any type.

What this selection of scripture does point out is that despite the content of the prayers being uttered, the author (we presume it to be King David as it is labeled as such) is unquestionably in prayer. This, then is our goal, prayer. While the content of this prayer may or may not be worthy of us looking to help others, prayer is a worthy goal and the circumstances surrounding this one are worthy of attention as well.

Not everyone we set out to help is going to be grateful. Some will see our assistance as intrusive. Others might want that assistance to come in a different form and be unwilling to accept what we have to offer. Take for example the homeless person with a sign that reads “will work for food” when offered to be taken to the grocery store. Some insist on the good Samaritan simply providing money. Should we provide the cash? Should we argue the point? Should we simply go on our way? I don’t know, but the Holy Spirit does.

Prayer is never a bad thing to do for someone. Even if we were to believe the non-believer who scoffs openly at prayer, our willingness to think nice thoughts about another human being is nothing short of reaffirming their worth if nothing else. But what if it isn’t just words? What if it isn’t just thinking about someone else? What if it really is everything scripture tells us it is?

If prayer has the power ascribed to it in scripture, then a true believer of the faith is not just a powerful ally to have on your side, but a miraculous one. Scripture tells us if we ask a mountain to move, if we pray for that mountain to be shifted from its bedrock, and have faith as tiny as a mustard seed, IT-WILL-MOVE. Now, Christ taught in parables and so does God. I don’t for a moment believe we can pray and move a mountain off the rocks of the ground by the words of the prayer. I DO believe that Christ’s point was and is that the faithful can do amazing things through the power of prayer when asked for from a faithful heart.

How are those two positions not incompatible? Simple. I believe in a God of honor, truth, and fairness. God set the rules in motion for this thing we call Life, and He keeps them. That doesn’t mean He can’t break them if He wants to. It means He won’t. So how does God fulfill prayer if He doesn’t break the rules? That’s simple too. He’s God. He understands the totality of this physical existence fully. He understands the physical laws, He understands the spiritual laws, and He understands the laws of human interaction completely. He created it all, after all. He can provide stimulus, encouragement, or opportunities that can produce any outcome desired. Whether He does or not is up to Him, and we will only truly understand why He did or did not when we see Him and talk about it with Him.

Bio from my web site :

Smiling Mark IIMark Malcolm is a child of God, husband, father, project manager, technical writer, gamer, fiction writer, Marine (’87-’91), has practiced Shao Lin Kung Fu and Tai Chi, been published in magazines and newspapers (editorial anyway), and seen the Southern Cross.

The goals he has currently are to more accurately identify the path God has for him to walk, continue to provide for his family, establish a solid web presence, build a career writing novels through both traditional and independent publishing, and learn to better relate to the people around him.

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