Psalm 26:1-3 [A David psalm] Clear my name, God; I've kept an honest shop. I've thrown in my lot with you, God, and I'm not budging.  Examine me, God, from head to foot, order your battery of tests. Make sure I'm fit inside and out  So I never lose sight of your love, But keep in step with you, never missing a beat.
COMMENT: God's testing is always intended for our growth in grace, maturing in Christ, advancement in holiness and obedience. Deuteronomy speaks of God's testing in the wilderness, so that we may learn to trust God. Hebrews 12 speaks of God's disciplining us for our training in the way of holiness. I love the way Peterson paraphrases Psalm 26 with the purpose clause coming through loud and clear - Examine me... so I never lose sight of your love but keep in step with you. May that be my prayer to you today, God of holiness and love - that your powerful scrutiny would result in my growth in grace... May my whole life be one long obedient response to you... Amen.
Psalm 126:1-4 [A pilgrim song] It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion's exiles.  We laughed, we sang, we couldn't believe our good fortune. We were the talk of the nations—"God was wonderful to them!"  God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people.  And now, God, do it again— bring rains to our drought-stricken lives…
COMMENT: No doubt we find ourselves from time to time in a spiritual drought... especially when bad things happen to us that we feel we never deserved (I can speak from experience on this one). Why should we expect or hope for God to shower rain on us, when drought has been our experience of late? There is only one thing that can stimulate such exuberant hope (and here I am borrowing from a great book by Walter Brueggemann) - and that is deep memory. How often the Scripture calls us to remember - remember what God has done in the past... that faithful remembering funds our current faith and empowers us to believe that the God who has been faithful to us in the past will once again come through for us. Holy God, when I am afraid, or feeling abandoned, or filled with doubts... when life seems to be crashing in on me and I do not know what to do... help me to remember... to remember your works... to remember your promises... to remember you. Then I will be bold to say, "Thy kingdom come... Give us this day... Forgive us our debts... Deliver us from evil. In the name of your Son, our Lord... Amen.