Hiding Place

‘You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.’ Psalm 32:7 NIV

Have you ever fantasised about running away from all the stresses of life? Surely there’s a place someplace in the world where the pace is slower and the living is easy. That dream motivated a family in 1940 to move to an island called Guadalcanal in the Coral Sea. But two years later war broke out in the Pacific, and the couple found themselves witnessing a battle—in their front yard. Obviously, they had chosen the wrong place. Another family was more careful: they did all their research to find the ‘safest’ place in the world. And they ended up in the remote Falkland Islands, not long before war broke out there too! So where can you go to escape the noise and hustle and bustle of city life? How about another island? There’s one in the Caribbean called Grand Cayman. Vacationers say it is the closest thing to paradise on earth. The residents pay no taxes; the water around them is calm and warm, and there are orchids growing everywhere. Sounds good, huh? Yet medical studies revealed the two major ailments suffered by citizens there are hypertension and anxiety neurosis.

Could it be that the stresses and pressures with which we struggle, actually come from within? Yes. So they plague us no matter where we live, until we learn to deal with the situation as it is. Here’s how the psalmist did it: ‘You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.’ (Psalm 32:7–8 NIV)

SoulFood: Isa 49–52, Luke 3:11–20, Ps 81, Pro 2:11–15

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Isaiah 49–52 ()

( to me, you who know righteousness,
    the people in whose heart is my law;
  fear not the reproach of man,
    nor be dismayed at their revilings.
  For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
    and the worm will eat them like wool,
  but my righteousness will be forever,
    and my salvation to all generations.”
  Awake, awake, put on strength,
    O arm of the LORD;
  awake, as in days of old,
    the generations of long ago.
  Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces,
    who pierced the dragon?
10   Was it not you who dried up the sea,
    the waters of the great deep,
  who made the depths of the sea a way
    for the redeemed to pass over?
11   And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
    and come to Zion with singing;
  everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
12   “I, I am he who comforts you;
    who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
    of the son of man who is made like grass,
13   and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker,
    who stretched out the heavens
    and laid the foundations of the earth,
  and you fear continually all the day
    because of the wrath of the oppressor,
  when he sets himself to destroy?
    And where is the wrath of the oppressor?
14   He who is bowed down shall speedily be released;
    he shall not die and go down to the pit,
    neither shall his bread be lacking.
15   I am the LORD your God,
    who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
    the LORD of hosts is his name.
16   And I have put my words in your mouth
    and covered you in the shadow of my hand,
  establishing the heavens
    and laying the foundations of the earth,
    and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”
17   Wake yourself, wake yourself,
    stand up, O Jerusalem,
  you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD
    the cup of his wrath,
  who have drunk to the dregs
    the bowl, the cup of staggering.
18   There is none to guide her
    among all the sons she has borne;
  there is none to take her by the hand
    among all the sons she has brought up.
19   These two things have happened to you—
    who will console you?—
  devastation and destruction, famine and sword;
    who will comfort you?
20   Your sons have fainted;
    they lie at the head of every street
    like an antelope in a net;
  they are full of the wrath of the LORD,
    the rebuke of your God.
21   Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted,
    who are drunk, but not with wine:
22   Thus says your Lord, the LORD,
    your God who pleads the cause of his people:
  “Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering;
  the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more;
23   and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,
    who have said to you,
    ‘Bow down, that we may pass over’;
  and you have made your back like the ground
    and like the street for them to pass over.”

52:1   Awake, awake,
    put on your strength, O Zion;
  put on your beautiful garments,
    O Jerusalem, the holy city;
  for there shall no more come into you
    the uncircumcised and the unclean.
  Shake yourself from the dust and arise;
    be seated, O Jerusalem;
  loose the bonds from your neck,
    O captive daughter of Zion.

For thus says the LORD: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” For thus says the Lord GOD: “My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing. Now therefore what have I here,” declares the LORD, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail,” declares the LORD, “and continually all the day my name is despised. Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here I am.”

  How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
  who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
  The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
    together they sing for joy;
  for eye to eye they see
    the return of the LORD to Zion.
  Break forth together into singing,
    you waste places of Jerusalem,
  for the LORD has comforted his people;
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10   The LORD has bared his holy arm
    before the eyes of all the nations,
  and all the ends of the earth shall see
    the salvation of our God.
11   Depart, depart, go out from there;
    touch no unclean thing;
  go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves,
    you who bear the vessels of the LORD.
12   For you shall not go out in haste,
    and you shall not go in flight,
  for the LORD will go before you,
    and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

13   Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
    he shall be high and lifted up,
    and shall be exalted.
14   As many were astonished at you—
    his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
    and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
15   so shall he sprinkle many nations.
    Kings shall shut their mouths because of him,
  for that which has not been told them they see,
    and that which they have not heard they understand.

Luke 3:11–20 ()

()

11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

18 So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. 19 But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, 20 added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.

Psalm 81 ()

()

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.

81:1   Sing aloud to God our strength;
    shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
  Raise a song; sound the tambourine,
    the sweet lyre with the harp.
  Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
    at the full moon, on our feast day.
  For it is a statute for Israel,
    a rule of the God of Jacob.
  He made it a decree in Joseph
    when he went out over the land of Egypt.
  I hear a language I had not known:
  “I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
    your hands were freed from the basket.
  In distress you called, and I delivered you;
    I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
    I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
  Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
    O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
  There shall be no strange god among you;
    you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10   I am the LORD your God,
    who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
    Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
11   “But my people did not listen to my voice;
    Israel would not submit to me.
12   So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
    to follow their own counsels.
13   Oh, that my people would listen to me,
    that Israel would walk in my ways!
14   I would soon subdue their enemies
    and turn my hand against their foes.
15   Those who hate the LORD would cringe toward him,
    and their fate would last forever.
16   But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
    and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Proverbs 2:11–15 ()

()

11   discretion will watch over you,
    understanding will guard you,
12   delivering you from the way of evil,
    from men of perverted speech,
13   who forsake the paths of uprightness
    to walk in the ways of darkness,
14   who rejoice in doing evil
    and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15   men whose paths are crooked,
    and who are devious in their ways.

Wed 16 January, 2019


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