Good intentions. Everyone has them. Most people follow them. Some stray far. I always think of New Year’s resolutions as good intentions. We intend to do better at our jobs, lose weight, change habits, be more present with family, etc. but for the most part, our resolutions barely make it to February.
One good intention I hope you have is to stay in God’s Word this year. Be it a New Year’s resolution or just a desire, being centered in God’s will by staying centered in God’s word is good for the soul. This is why I write these devotionals … to help all of us approach and access Scripture in easy to digest bites. I begin 2023 with the same commitment, and I thank each one of you for following along! May we make a commitment together to read every one. If you read these on Facebook or Twitter, don’t forget that you can also sign up on my website to receive them in your email inbox every morning.
Psalm 40 reminds us of the importance of reading, learning, studying, and incorporating Scripture into our lives. The psalmist proclaims, “I want to do your will! Your Instruction is deep within me.” This could be our resolution as well.
Psalm 40 (Common English Bible)
I put all my hope in the Lord.
He leaned down to me;
he listened to my cry for help.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of death,
out of the mud and filth,
and set my feet on solid rock.
He steadied my legs.
I recently tripped going up the stairs and broke my left arm. It is still healing, and it hurts to type. This last phrase, “He steadied my legs” will be my new prayer for 2023. Lord, in your mercy, save me from my stairs!
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise for our God.
Many people will learn of this and be amazed;
they will trust the Lord.
4 Those who put their trust in the Lord,
who pay no attention to the proud
or to those who follow lies,
are truly happy!
Do we pay too much attention to the proud and those who follow lies? Watching the fifteen rounds of votes that it took to elect a Speaker of the House last week had me turning off the news and shaking my head. Lord, in your mercy, save us from the proud!
5 You, Lord my God!
You’ve done so many things—
your wonderful deeds and your plans for us—
no one can compare with you!
If I were to proclaim and talk about all of them,
they would be too numerous to count!
6 You don’t relish sacrifices or offerings;
you don’t require entirely burned offerings or compensation offerings—
but you have given me ears!
I love how the psalmist says, “you have given me ears.” How many times during the day do we neglect to use them? Are you busy looking at your phone so much that you don’t hear your family talking to you? Lord, in your mercy, help us to listen better.
7 So I said, “Here I come!
I’m inscribed in the written scroll.
8 I want to do your will, my God.
Your Instruction is deep within me.”
9 I’ve told the good news of your righteousness
in the great assembly.
I didn’t hold anything back—
as you well know, Lord!
10 I didn’t keep your righteousness only to myself.
I declared your faithfulness and your salvation.
I didn’t hide your loyal love and trustworthiness
from the great assembly.
As we look toward this new year before us, may we commit to not missing a chance to be in God’s Word, whether it is by reading these devotionals, joining a Bible study, attending weekly worship, attending Sunday school, etc. Lord in your mercy, draw us into your Scriptures every day.
11 So now you, Lord—
don’t hold back any of your compassion from me.
Let your loyal love and faithfulness always protect me.
God offers us loyal love and faithfulness. How will you return those things to him this year?
God Leans Down by Jan Wilson