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Perhaps more than any other season of the Church year, Lent and Easter are a time of the psalms…
During Lent we confess: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5).
On Palm Sunday we sing: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! (Psalm 118:26).
On Good Friday we hear: Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord (Psalm 130:1) and “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1).
And on Easter Sunday, we rejoice, saying: For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption (Psalm 16:10) and This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).
Leading up to Easter, the traditional Gospel lessons depict God’s people in need of His help. There’s a family plagued by demons and there are even accusations that our Jesus is actually working with those evil powers.
The Fourth Sunday of Lent addresses our physical needs, or daily bread. It does so by showing us “The Feeding of the 5,000” in John 6:1-15.
Five thousand men, plus women and children, have followed Jesus into the wilderness to hear Him teach and preach about the Kingdom of God, and in doing so, they have separated themselves from the basic necessities of food and sustenance.
But these people aren’t forsaken by God. Out there, He has them right where He wants them. Now they can clearly see that “He richly and daily provides me with food and clothing, home and family…”
The people in the wilderness will not starve! Their shepherd is with them even there! The Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for His sheep, will feed them in both body and soul!
This Lenten and Easter season, you may feel like a flock scattered by the threat and precautions of COVID-19. Many churches are not yet “back to normal.” Midweek and Holy Week services may not be what you are accustomed to.
The psalm for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Psalm 125, assures all God’s people that now, as back then and back there, our Savior provides.
Psalm 125 (NKJV)
A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the Lord Are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.
Nothing in all Creation shall move, remove, or shake God’s people. Not want, not hunger, not threats of violence, not quarantines or disease. Even when everything appears to be hopeless and lost and seems to work against you, He governs these things, even today’s things. He promises to protect you from every side.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.
The scepter, the reign, the rule of wickedness shall not rest, shall not reside, take over, control, or govern God’s people.
Persecutions of the faithful will not destroy God’s people.
Pestilence will not destroy God’s people.
Division and schism will not destroy God’s people.
He has promised to protect you and He will! He will even protect you from temptation to sin.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts. As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, The Lord shall lead them away with the workers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel!
Those who “are good” have been made that way by the Lord Himself. Providing for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness is how faith is created and strengthened. That gift of faith causes such a change of person that it even changes the heart. Faith makes your heart upright.
Your crooked lives become straight and level. Peace exists where it seems there should only be panic, sorrow, and fear.
In Christ, God is the one who provides for you. People in the spiritual wilderness of this world will not starve! Our shepherd is with us even here! The Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for His sheep, will feed you in both body and soul!
Those who trust in the Lord Are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
Safe in want or plenty, sickness or health, in war or peace. The Lord has compassion on you; you shall not be moved.
Rev. Tony Pittenger