Present & Powerful | Summer Devotional 2022

You're never too far away from God to come back

Getting Started

Last year, our family got sheepadoodle puppy. I drove eight hours to Pennsylvania to pick up Buster from an Amish family that had been raising him on a dairy farm. Buster was a cute puppy in the way that all puppies are cute. He was also visibly dirty, and brought some unwanted relics of the dairy farm with him. This guy needed a bath.

I can only imagine how disorienting it was for him to go from the dairy farm to my car, where I put him into a tiny dog-carrier. Had he ever been constrained before that in his 14 weeks of life? He tried to chew off the leash that I’d attached to his new collar as we walked into the dog-friendly hotel that night. Once we got up to the room, he sprinted out of the bathroom as soon as I started to fill the tub. Somehow, he knew. He squirmed and fought me pretty hard, soaking me and every towel in the bathroom in the process. I outweighed him by about 150 pounds, though, and eventually I scrubbed him clean. Afterwards, he looked like a drowned rat, which may have affected his puppy confidence.

As he slunk out of the room, I began to wonder what my new dog thought about his new owner. Strong. In control. Able to enforce my will upon him. All good and necessary elements of beginning the process of bringing a puppy into a new home. What if that’s all he ever experienced of me, though?

In this passage, we see the power of God on display from the start. As you read this excerpt of Hebrew poetry, however, notice the change that starts to come into the passage a little less than halfway through.

Psalm 145:1-21

1 I will exalt you, my God the King;

    I will praise your name for ever and ever.

2 Every day I will praise you

    and extol your name for ever and ever.

3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;

    his greatness no one can fathom.

4 One generation commends your works to another;

    they tell of your mighty acts.

5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—

    and I will meditate on your wonderful works. 

6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—

    and I will proclaim your great deeds.

7 They celebrate your abundant goodness

    and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

 

8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate,

    slow to anger and rich in love.

 

9 The Lord is good to all;

    he has compassion on all he has made.

10 All your works praise you, Lord;

    your faithful people extol you.

11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom

    and speak of your might,

12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts

    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

    and your dominion endures through all generations.

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises

    and faithful in all he does. 

14 The Lord upholds all who fall

    and lifts up all who are bowed down.

15 The eyes of all look to you,

    and you give them their food at the proper time.

16 You open your hand

    and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

 

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways

    and faithful in all he does.

18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,

    to all who call on him in truth.

19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;

    he hears their cry and saves them.

20 The Lord watches over all who love him,

    but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.

    Let every creature praise his holy name

    for ever and ever.

Questions to Consider

  • What do we learn about God from his actions; his works, acts, and deeds in v.1-7?
  • What seems to change from how God is described once we reach v.8? Imagine this was all that we knew about God – how would that shape your connection with Him?
  • Which sections of the Psalm paint God as powerful and glorious? Relational and compassionate?
  • What desires have you seen God satisfy in the past? What desires could you bring before him that have yet to be met?
  • Which set of traits do you need to meditate on? Do you need to remember God as being in control and in your corner? Or intimate and deeply caring?

Closing Reflection

After the bath, I gave Buster a treat for… well not exactly for good behavior. Maybe more as a recognition of how difficult his first bath must have been for him. Then, I proudly presented him with a new dog bed and a few toys that we’d bought in preparation for ‘new puppy day’.

He never used his own bed once that night. Instead, he used all of his puppy strength to jump up onto the hotel bed and sleep right next to me, which is still his preference even now. At the end of the day, Buster just wants to be close to the people that love him, and to experience the affection and attention that we enjoy giving him. 

Obviously, this analogy breaks down at some point, as we aren’t God’s pets – he’s called us friends. He’s adopted us into his family. And while many of us grew up with a clear view of God as powerful and in control, the Psalmist here also notes the tender care that He has for all of his creatures, and how God delights in meeting our desires – not just our needs. He is certainly in control and mighty, glorious and powerful. But he is also gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

My hope is that this scripture passage reminds you of the spectrum of characteristics of our God; infinitely powerful and intimately present in every moment of your life.

Do you want to listen to the podcast recording of this devotional? Available now anywhere you get your podcasts! Here is the link to this week's episode.

 
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About the Author
Associate Director of Growth

NATIONAL TEAM

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