January 23
A lost emphasis
For reading & meditation: Malachi 3:13-18
"Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other '" (v.16)

Although in Psalm 73 the psalmist is beset by doubt, he begins, nevertheless, on a triumphant note: "Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart." Preachers usually leave their conclusion until the end of their sermon - but here the psalmist begins with it! It might seem strange to some that the psalmist should begin with a conclusion, but this is often seen in the book of Psalms. And the reason is this: the psalmist is so convinced of the fact that God is good that he decides to start right there. It is as if he is saying: "I want to tell you how I moved from doubt to faith, but the thing I want you to get right away is this: God is good." Some commentators believe that in the Temple services there was a time of open testimony and worship, similar to that which featured in the old Methodist class meetings, when individuals gave testimonies to their fellow believers of God's dealings with them. This is one of the most powerful ways of building the spiritual life of the Church, but regrettably it does not seem to be widely practised today. If this psalm was part of the psalmist's testimony during an open time of worship, one can imagine the impact it would have made upon the hearers as he related how he emerged from crippling doubt to renewed confidence in the goodness of God. I know of nothing more motivating in the Christian life than for believers to identify and share the spiritual principles which have enabled them to overcome attacks on their faith. When we ignore this principle we do so at our peril.
O Father, show us clearly how sharing with each other what You are doing in our lives not only inspires and motivates us, but greatly strengthens the Body. Help us restore this lost emphasis wherever it is missing. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For further study:
1. When was the last time you publicly testified to the goodness of God?
2. When will be the next time?