Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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January 23 – God Is Always Praised By His People

“Do You work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise You? Selah.  Is Your steadfast love declared in the grave, or Your faithfulness in Abaddon?  Are Your wonders known in the darkness, or Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?  But I, O LORD, cry to You; in the morning my prayer comes before You.  O LORD, why do You cast my soul away? Why do You hide Your face from me?”  Psalm 88:10-14  

Devotional Thought For The Day

The next psalm that we meditate on is far more joyous.  I write this because I am already weary with the darkness and depression of this psalm.  It is not death that is depressing for a Christian, or even questions or concerns about what happens “in the grave.”  What is terrible in this psalm is the struggle over faith in God’s love, the discipline and training in faith that God sometimes provides for His dear children, of His seeming not to care – remaining silent, hiding His face from us, not providing us with deliverance and relief.  These are difficult “testings” to face and endure personally, but they are, I think, even worse to watch in others.  All that we can do is commend them into God’s care, pray fervently for them, and provide the comfort of our presence.

The faith of the psalmist is rather remarkable – his concern is with praising God and bearing witness to His “steadfast love” and “faithfulness,” which seem in short supply in the psalmist’s current circumstances.  His complaints are precisely about God’s apparent lack of concern and attention to his plight – and yet even in such lament he continues in faith, praying each day for God’s help and deliverance.  No one would do this without an unshakeable faith and trust in God’s “steadfast love and faithfulness.”  So, if all “empirical” and “experiential” evidence was contrary to such faith, where did the psalmist get such faith, and what sustained his faith and strengthened it even in his tribulations?  Obviously it came from the Word of God [Rom. 10:17] and was sustained by the Holy Spirit of God working through the Word of God.  There is simply no other explanation.  This should give us pause for thought – to recognize the importance of God’s Word, of continuing in Christ’s Word, Holy Scripture, and basing nothing of our faith in anything other than God’s precious promises and assurances.

In regard to the psalmist’s questions regarding death and the grave, these answers have been supplied to us in God’s Word. It is true that in death our body returns “to the earth as it was” – and so is unable to sing praise to God.  However, “the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” [Eccl. 12:7], for “judgment” [Heb. 9:27], to be remanded to hell – as in the case of the rich man and all other unbelievers, OR joyously received into heaven – as in the case of Lazarus and all other believers [Luke 16:19-23; John 3:36], those who have washed their robes in the blood of Jesus Christ, through faith in Him [Rev. 7:14].  Amongst the souls in hell there is suffering and misery – and no praise of God for His steadfast love and faithfulness: these are all unbelievers and rebellious against God.  However, the description of the praise of God’s great love among the souls of those inhabiting heaven is glorious.  This description can be found in Revelation 5:9-14 and Rev. 7:9-17.  Yes, those believers whose bodies are decaying in the grave until the Day of Resurrection, are singing glorious praise of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness – in spirit, in the wondrous bliss of God’s heavenly kingdom! And we will rise up from death to praise Him!

So let us take care to be strengthened in our faith and trust in God’s love through His Word, that we have a sure and unfailing anchor for our faith in all circumstances – that like the psalmist we continue to assert and affirm the steadfast love and faithfulness of God no matter what tribulations and afflictions we may be enduring.

Scripture Cited

Eccl. 12:7  “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

Heb. 9:27  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

Luke 16:19-23  “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, thanks and praise be to You for the shedding of Your precious blood in steadfast love and faithfulness to us, that we may praise Your wondrous grace here and now, in all circumstances, and forever in the joy and bliss or Your heavenly kingdom. Bless and preserve all of Your children in such faith and trust, especially those in dark and grinding experiences.  Grant deliverance, but most importantly Your peace and joy.  Amen.