Scripture:

Psalm 118

Vs. 4 “Let those who fear the Lord say His steadfast love endure forever.”
Vs. 14 “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
Vs. 18 “He had disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.”
Vs. 19 “Open the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.”
Vs. 29 “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his steadfast last endures forever.”

Observation:

The author has gained a deep understanding of God’s Covenantal Love. It is steadfast. It endures forever.
The author recognizes that this type of Covenantal Love means God is everything!
God is how he endures struggle. “God is my strength.”
God is how he celebrates good. “God is my song.”
God is the very reason he is alive. “God is my salvation.”
Yes, God is everything!
And when God is everything, even discipline is recognized for its good purpose.
Discipline is not punishment.
Discipline’s intention is to draw us even closer to God.
“Open the gates that I may enter and give thanks!”
This is someone who deeply appreciated the Covenantal Love of God.

Application:

Is God everything to me?
Is He who I lean on and seek first to get through a struggle I may be in? Is He my strength? Or do I rely on self?
Do I look around and see His goodness at work in my life and in my family and in the world?
Do I see God at work and celebrate Him?
Or do I just see the frustrations in my life and let that darkness overcome His light?
There is light. There is goodness. There is reason to celebrate and sing.
God is with me. He is here.
He is my salvation. That is enough.
Because of this I can “give thanks always”, as Paul says.
And because he is my salvation, even when I endure discipline, I can see it as an act of His enduring love.
It’s in this understanding that I can actually appreciate discipline.
I can it draws me to God, not away from God!
Our culture misunderstand discipline as punishment because it misunderstands Covenantal Love for conditional love!
God’s love is now and forever. I can always draw close to Him, regardless of circumstances, and thank Him, and love Him.

Prayer:

God, thank you for your goodness.
Thank you that you are all good. Even when you discipline.
Help me see you always.
As my strength when I struggle.
And as my song when I celebrate.
Holy Spirit remind me to be grateful even for breath because You are my salvation.
Thank you that you love me forever.
Help me love others the way you love me.
In Jesus name, Amen.