After writing some pretty difficult things to his readers, John reminds them that they have received the power to live out what he (and God) has prescribed. We have a present relationship with God, look forward to a future promise of even greater fulfilment, and an ongoing call to live a godly life.
John continues his letter with some criteria to determine whether our walk with God is genuine. It can be difficult to consider, but John’s purpose was to make sure we can know that we are in Christ. The primary difference between a self-centered life and a Christ-centered life is how we obey His command of love.
After encouraging his readers to not deny that, though they were followers of Christ, they still did sin, John clearly expressed the reason for his letter - that they would not sin. Realizing that they (and we) are still likely to sin, though, he tells them that Jesus is both our advocate before the Father, and an effective atoning sacrifice for our sins.
John follows up his introduction in his letter to his “little children” (which, sadly, did not get recorded last week, due to a lightning strike hitting our sound board) by giving them clear instruction to “walk in the light.” Walking in the light involves acknowledging the character of God, living as those whom He has changed, and opening facing our sin.
Biblical scholars debate whether the “Valley of Baca” is a literal or figurative place, but they agree on what it represents - a dry, arid desert where people are desparate for refreshing. The author of today’s psalm praises God for bringing refreshing in this desparate place.
God want hearts that honor Him, but true worship goes well beyond that. Truly magnifying the Lord also affects our lips, hands, and eyes.
God’s works give us ample reason to praise Him. Today’s psalm points out several: how He gives us compassion, how He rules as King, and how He provides us with the provision we need.
Grace is the theme woven through the images used in the Lord’s Supper. This grace has led to the possibility of a restored relationship with God, which we celebrate in a personal yet communal way.
Psalm 92 is the only psalm designated for the Sabbath. It is a song of praise to the Lord, celebrating His character, works, protection, and provision. May we, like the psalmist, praise the Lord and celebrate all that He is.
The people of Israel were under the judgment of God; in this psalm, they call out to Him to revive them. Toward the middle of the song, though, one voice rises above the rest to declare that he is ready to hear the Lord, and will hear Him when He speaks. The parallel to today’s church is easy to see; we, too, need revival, and we will only experience it if the people of God listen to what He is telling us to do.