Reading: Psalm 105: 1-6, 23-26, & 45
Verse Four: Look to the Lord and His strength, seek His face always.
Our Psalm today opens as a song of praise, recalling the works and wonders that God has done for His people. The psalmist encourages the people to remember in song and to retell of God’s activity among the people through music. It is through music that we best rejoice and give glory to God. In verse four we read these words: “Look to the Lord and His strength, seek His face always”. In looking to God and in remembering God’s mighty acts in song, we are reminded over and over of God’s strength and we are drawn back again.
Giving thanks and singing praises to God is not limited to the times when life is good. It is also not limited to singing about just the times of blessing either. The entire Psalm recalls both times of abundance and power as well as times of want and oppression. In fact, it is often in and through trying times that we see God’s hand at work. When God enters into our pain or when He relieves our burdens are experiences where we feel especially close to God and His strength. They are moments that really remind us to look to God and to seek His face always.
Just as in Israel’s past and at points in our lives when life was hard, in some communities and neighborhoods life is hard. Poverty and lack of decent employment opportunities couples with violence and substance abuse to create difficult environments to live in. Poor schools and inadequate housing add to the hardships that exist in many inner cities and on some reservations. All of these factors lead to higher levels of crime and gang activity and to higher rates of incarceration. These places can be difficult places to seek His face. Yet there God is, working in and through people’s lives, being worshipped in vibrant faith communities that joyfully sing of God’s goodness and love. God’s presence is there in full force, allowing faithful disciples to both trust in God in the midst of hardship and also to go forth to be used by God to bring healing and hope and love. May we all be encouraged and uplifted by God’s presence so that we can share His love and hope and peace today.