July 5 – July 11, 2016

WORD

1God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: 2“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?”  Selah  3″Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.  4Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

5They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk around in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

6I say, “You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you; 7nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince.”

8Rise up, O God, judge the earth; for all the nations belong to you!

Psalm 82

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Reflection: What does the word justice mean to you?  Does it mean that people should get what they deserve?  Does it mean that the guilty are help accountable?  Can mercy and justice abide together, work together, be displayed together?  It seems through the Scripture that God wants us to live justly.  What does this look like?  How are we to participate in justice?  How are we to further the justice of God?  In doing so, do we act as judge or bridge of mercy?  Look at the scale in the picture above.  Imagine that your righteousness  is on the left side and the righteousness of God is on the right side.  How does the scale move?  Or imagine that your sin is on the left side and God’s mercy is on the right side.  How does the scale move now?  Does this change how you view justice?  Join with God in justice by being merciful.

Daily Readings: 

  • Tuesday, July 5 – Luke 12
  • Wednesday, July 6 – Luke 13
  • Thursday, July 7 – Luke 14
  • Friday, July 8 – Luke 15
  • Saturday, July 9 – Luke 16
  • Sunday, July 10 – Luke 17
  • Monday, July 11 – Luke 18

 

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: Weak, orphaned, lowly, destitute, needy, oppressed by the wicked.  God commands his people to deal justly with those who are overlooked and exploited in society.  Who are these people in our world today?  Who are the lowly, the orphaned, the oppressed?  Who are the trapped, the enslaved, the taken advantage of, the invisible ones in our society.  This psalm reminds us that we will be called to account for the ways in which we deal justly or unjustly with all of God’s children.  Lift up in love those who are despised and discarded.  Ask God how you might be a force of merciful justice in your community.  Pray that the words of Isaiah, quoted by Jesus, will be fulfilled in our world through the work of the Word and Spirit among us:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Isaiah 61; Luke 4)

Meditation Focus: How will others view God based on how they view you and your responses to their faults and sins.  There is a sobering line in this psalm: “You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you.”  However, the judgment of such people is that “they have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk around in darkness.”  If we walk around in darkness, then we will lead others, those who need to see God in us and through us, into darkness.  If we are judgmental and unmerciful, then others might never see the light of God.  Jesus said, “this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).  Jesus also warned, “if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit” (Matthew 15:14).  Perhaps we love our own darkness and find comfort and escape in pointing out judgmentally the darkness of others.  The result is that none of us come to the light.  Let us instead seek God’s mercy for our own darkness and be filled with the light of his forgiveness, grace, and renewal.  Then, let us go out and embrace our brothers and sisters, regardless of their sin and darkness, and show them the brilliant, life-changing love of Christ.

As you meditate this week, ask God to open your heart and eyes to see the depth of your own darkness.  Hold your darkness in your hands; own it.  Picture yourself at a precipice overlooking a great canyon of light.  Look at your darkness, your sin, and say to yourself, “God’s mercy is greater than all my sin.”  Then drop the sin into the light of God’s mercy, feel the release as it slips from your fingers, and watch as it dissolves in God’s grace.  As the light bursts forth from the canyon, let it fill your eyes, heart, and mind with warm, vibrant light.  Allow the light to shine out of every pore.  Then go, and find the person or persons to whom God wants you to be merciful.  Let his light shine from you and onto them.  Lead them in love and acceptance back to the precipice and encourage them as they own their darkness and drop it into the illuminating goodness of God.  Then, let your meditations guide your interactions with others throughout the week.

Journaling Focus: This psalm takes a particular pattern: (1) God addresses the situation of humanity and the world in judgment; (2) the psalmist speaks to the human/world situation; (3) the psalmist, on behalf of God’s judgment, speaks to humanity; (4) the psalmist speaks to the divine response.  So, in this psalm we see the pattern as such: Divine Judgment – Human Situation – Divine Judgment – Divine Response.  However, it is in the first word of divine judgment that God gives a corrective option to the people (“Give justice…Maintain the right…Rescue…Deliver).  It seems, though, that since the divine word of judgment comes again, that the people did not heed the corrective option.  Perhaps the word assessing the “Human Situation” is a description of humanity’s response (or lack of response) to the earlier judgment of God and corrective commands.

Think about the present state of the Church.  Remember that this is written for and about “the children of the Most High,” or Israel.  This is not written to the world at large.  Write out this psalm in such a way that it would reflect God’s view of the Church.  Include God’s judgment of the present situation of the Church and be sure to add corrective options.  Then assess the situation of the Church.  What will the Church’s response be?  First, write a positive response to God’s judgment; then, write a negative response.  What will God’s judgment and response be to each situation?  What will mercy look like?  What will justice look like?  Then write a prayer of repentance on behalf of the Church.  Receive the mercy of God; act justly in the love and grace of God.

Breath Prayer: Father, grant us mercy that we might live justly.

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