From Despair To Victory
A daily devotion for October 27th
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. (Psalm 77:15)
Psalm 77 has tremendous value for anyone who has ever faced life's serious questions: Is there a dependable God? Are there absolute values in life? Is there meaning to life; is there any purpose to this existence? Here is a man who finds his way from the despairing conclusion expressed in verse 10,
And I say, 'It is my grief that the right hand of the Most High has changed(Psalm 77:10 RSV) to the triumphant declaration of verse 13:
Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?
He does it by meditating on the deeds of the Lord. He thinks long and hard about certain actions of God in history--certain concrete, stubborn facts that cannot be forgotten or explained away, which have been witnessed by thousands and even millions of people, and the results of which have permanently altered the course of history.
The events of the Exodus were redemptive. What was God doing down there in Egypt with these people, bringing plagues upon the Egyptians, sweeping through the land in terrible judgments, eventually taking in death the firstborn of the land? What are these? Miracles, yes, but designed to buy back a people. Here they come, bought back and brought out of the bondage of Egypt. All this is to picture for all time the purpose of God's activity. All the miracles of both the Old Testament and the New Testament have this quality about them.
What does it mean to redeem? It means to restore to usefulness something that has been rendered useless. When I was a seminary student, I spent three years as a summer intern in two different churches in Pasadena. And, probably like seminary students yet today, when I arrived in Pasadena in the spring of each year I arrived penniless, with nothing to hold me over until the first paycheck came. The first time this problem happened, I discovered a way of solving it that I then used every year that I was a summer intern. As soon as I arrived in Pasadena, I took my typewriter down to the pawnshop and hocked it. That carried me over until I got my first paycheck. Then, when the first paycheck came, I would take the necessary money and go down and redeem the typewriter. When that typewriter was in the pawnshop, it was absolutely useless. I could not use it; the pawnbroker could not use it; no one had the right to use that typewriter. It was rendered utterly useless to anybody. It was only when it was redeemed that it was put back into functional service.
That is what redemption does, and that is God's special work. Everything He does in human life is aimed in this direction. These mighty activities of God, recorded as miracles, are all redemptive in character. They serve to buy us back. They restore us. They chip away at all the accretions of years of wrong living, wrongful habits, and hurtful attitudes and strip them off to restore us to useful functioning again.
Father, thank You for Your special work of redemption in the history of Israel and in my own life as well. Thank You that by Your work You give purpose and turn me from despair to victory.
Life Application: How do God's redemptive miracles help us answer life's tough questions? Are we amazed how God's redeeming grace moves us from inefficacy to absolute victory?
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