Thursday, September 23, 2021

Today’s Reading: Psalm 141

May my prayer be set before You as incense, the raising of my hands as the evening offering.

Psalm 141:2

Reflection: In their days of wandering, and even after Solomon had built the LORD’s Holy Temple in Jerusalem, Israel gave offerings of incense which were burned in the the dwelling place of God. These offerings symbolized the prayers of His people which rose up to Him like smoke. Offerings of bulls, goats, doves, and grain were given to the LORD to show thanks or repentance. But before long, these actions became rituals which were not reflective of the people’s hearts. They became empty deeds with no meaning behind them. They became detested by God, purposeless practices that a people far from Him maintained without truly seeking Him. But here, the words and actions of King David show a purity in heart for His God.

His prayer is set before the LORD as incense. The burning desires of his heart are uttered to God for His hearing, rising up like wisps of smoke fragrant with a desire for God to be near. The raising of his hands to the LORD is far more precious than the choicest bull or goat offering, for it is a sign of David’s earnesty in seeking God. He has surrendered his will to Him, and has used his hands to give Him praise instead. This is the sacrifice by which the LORD is pleased. This is the offering that gives Him the greatest pleasure. The works of human hands are but menial compared to the things God can do. The gifts we can offer Him have first come from His storehouse of blessing. But the offerings that He desires are the ones which reflect hearts of longing and hearts of love for the LORD. What are things that we offer to God? Let them be time, talent, and treasure that are given out of a desire to serve Him.

Prayer: Loving God, You bless richly and love deeply. You are so good. There is nothing that we could give that You have not created, and nothing we could surrender that was not already yours from the beginning. But I know that a heart surrendered to You gives you great pleasure. Please, LORD, teach me to live a life that seeks You, that trusts in You, that honors You, that I would be ever driven by a longing to please You in all things. Please help me live my life for You, LORD. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, 2 Peter 3; Jeremiah 45-46; Psalm 141