October 30, 2023

October 30, 2023

To prevent the frustration of falling behind, which most of us tend to do when following a Bible reading plan, each month of this plan gives you only twenty-five readings. Today we start a few “free days” . We encourage you to catch up on any readings you may have missed this month.

If you have finished the month’s readings, you can use these final days of the month to study the passages that challenged or intrigued you.

Daily Devotion

Psalm 139:1-18 (NLT)
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 O LORD, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, LORD.
5 You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!

There is a lot going on in our world right now. Earthquakes, natural disasters and rumors of war. Jesus spoke on these subjects specifically in Matthew 24.

Matthew 24: 4-12 (NLT)
4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, 5 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. 9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. 10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 

That’s a lot. I completely understand how stressful and intimidating current events can become when we focus on them. We see all these things playing out before us now. Similar things were transpiring in David’s life when he wrote Psalm 139. David’s thought process, however, wasn’t on the chaos and negativity around him. His attention was laser focused on understanding how he could see and feel God with him everywhere he went. Jesus continued to speak in Matthew 24, finishing with a much more encouraging ending than His statement began with.

Matthew 24:13-14
13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.

The Psalms of David are one of my go to portions of scripture when I feel overwhelmed or stressed. You can see David’s humanity, but also his great faith and understanding of who his God is. David would often speak to what was happening in his life, with great emotion and humanity in his words, but then just as quickly he would pivot and praise God for being his strength. David didn’t ever allow his situation to distract him from what he knew to be true. He knew God was with him. He knew God was on his side. He knew that if he could endure and trust God, then he would be able to make it through another day. 

Jesus said, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” 

David said, “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.”

The key to overcoming the anxiety and fear that permeates our society is to pair these two thoughts together. Endurance and understanding that we can stay in God’s presence. We will endure to the end and be saved if we can continually remind ourself that Jesus is with us.

~Jesse Sanders