Dust or Grace?
Please enjoy the “Gospel” as found in the “The Leather Journal” devotional writing of Pastor Phil Newton of the South Woods Baptist Church Memphis, TN. It is brought to you by this blog, South Woods Baptist Church https://www.southwoodsbc.org/ and The Inverted Christian https://www.invertedchristian.com/ We are all here to serve you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dust or Grace?
“For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes” Psalm 103:114–19.
David reminds us of who the Lord is and the actions that make clear His merciful ways. He is the Lord who pardons, heals, and redeems. He is the Lord who crowns His people with covenant mercy in provisions of grace and compassion manifested in our weaknesses and helplessness. He is the Lord who satisfies our lives with good things from His hand, renewing us even as the eagle who finds rest while soaring in flight. He is the Lord who in the diverse experiences in life meets us with Himself (vv. 1–5). The psalmist teaches us to not be satisfied with dust when God’s grace abounds.
He is the Lord who performs righteous deeds. He knows no injustice, nor does He act in any way without it being consistent with His perfect justice. He lifts the oppressed. He makes Himself known in history (think of Moses and the Exodus; Joshua and entering Canaan; David and Goliath), so that we learn something of how He acts. He is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in grace.”
Consider how often we turn away from Him, live in selfishness, deny Him, let unbelief control us to live in unwarranted fear and despair, indulging in sin, maligning others, neglecting corporate worship and body life, acting listless in our spiritual disciplines. Yet, He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and heaps grace upon us to correct and restore and renew us to know life and joy in Him. That is our Lord! He is full of grace (covenant mercy, lovingkindness). So, David reminds us, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness [grace] toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Forgiveness and grace, renewal and restoration, compassion and kindness mark His actions toward us day after day. Have we paused to think on Him and to give thanks—to bless the Lord, O my soul”? (vv. 6–14). Dust won’t do.
The problem the psalmist exposes is common with us. We forget how temporal we are. We treat our few years of existence as though the earth waited for our arrival so that it might revolve around us. We fail to consider, “that we are but dust,” and with that, we have our being only by the grace of God. “As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind passes over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.” We tend toward exhibiting a god-complex, treating life as though it never ends, rather than treating everyday as a gift of God’s grace to meet us in living to His glory in dependence upon Him. We are to consider that the Lord’s covenant mercies, His grace manifested in the new covenant promises inaugurated by Jesus Christ, “is from everlasting to everlasting to those who fear Him.” His grace in Christ never ends. So, why would we even consider living apart from dependence upon Him who in His generosity is everlasting? Why depend on dust when grace abounds?
We’re fading grass and withering flowers. The Lord, with all His abundant grace, is everlasting. Don’t rely on mere dust when everlasting grace abounds.
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