A Life of Sacrifice and Praise

Today's Bible reading: Psalm 2


Though the average Israelite might rarely find his way to the temple, this did not mean that worship was not an every day feature of his life.  Every Sabbath was a religious family festival in which God blessed and sanctified His people.  And once a year the Passover festival meant that – in a special sense - the father functioned as a priest in his own family.  Furthermore, the pious Jew recited the Shema "Here, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord," three times a day.  The sacred laws on what was clean and unclean were to be strictly observed.  Thus, the whole life was meant to be one of sacrifice in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

The Psalms, though often originally very personal outpourings of praise or cries for help, became the possession of the whole people of God.  In particular, the royals psalms, sung had a coronation or enthronement, pointed forward to the coming of the great King whose rule would never end.  Thus, the most quoted Old Testament texts in the New are those which come from the Psalms (especially Psalms 2 and 110).

In several books of the Old Testament, which form the so-called wisdom literature, wise men, led by God's Spirit, gave practical advice as to what it meant to live a life of worship, a life dedicated to God and lived according to His expressed will. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" is a key thought underlying this approach to life, which combines the concept of reverent awe in the presence of God and in His will for us, with practical goodness in relation to other people.  It was this kind of worshipful living which represented the special form of "wisdom" into which God guided His people.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, despite our miserable and constant rebellion, You rescue us from sin.  Lead us to embrace Your gracious rule with joyful hearts.  Amen.