Talking to Myself

Today is Monday, the 21st of November, 2022, in the 34th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ rain down on you today!

Day 23,629

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

I have chosen the way of faithfulness; 
I set your rules before me.
(Psalms 119:30 ESV)

Lord God, whose might is over all the world, over heaven and over earth, we want to find strength in you, for you have given us thousands of proofs that you are with us, helping in all that happens. And when we meet with difficulties, we want all the more to find strength in you, we want all the more to hope in you and await your victory. Let your light shine into everything, in life and in death. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

Accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God's people. 
Ephesians 6:17–18, TEV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the strength that I find in God, both when things are going well and when I find myself in difficult circumstances
  2. for words of Scripture that I can use to pray back to God, especially the Psalms
  3. that God alone is worthy of my worship, my praise, and my hope; I shall not put my trust and hope in any human
  4. that, if I wait on God, he gives me strength to run and not be weary, to walk an not faint (Isaiah 40)
  5. that talking to myself isn’t such a bad thing, after all; several of the psalmists did it (Psalm 103; Psalm 42; Psalm 146)

For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.
(Lamentations 3:31-33 ESV)


For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, 
for my hope is from him. 
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
 I shall not be shaken. 
(Psalms 62:5-6 ESV)

And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”
(Matthew 19:17 ESV)

“There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”
(1 Samuel 2:2-3 ESV)

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV)

He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).
(2 Kings 18:4 ESV)


Bless the LORD, O my soul,
 and all that is within me, 
bless his holy name!
 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
 and forget not all his benefits, 
who forgives all your iniquity, 
who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the pit, 
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
(Psalms 103:1-5 ESV)

Have you ever considered that David, King of Israel, “poet laureate” of the Bible, talked to himself?

That’s what he is doing in Psalm 103. And he does it in some other places, as well.

I feel like I’m in really good company, now, because I talk to myself all the time. Almost every time I turn on my video game and resume playing Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, I say, “What am I doing?” Out loud.

And who hasn’t, while roaming through the grocery store, muttered things like “Coffee, Coffee, Coffee?” (Thanks to Pastor Eibel of Living Word Lutheran Church for that one.) Supposedly, that actually helps you find the coffee. Something needs to, because they keep rearranging the grocery store for no good reason.

But here, in Psalm 103 (and other places), David is talking to himself, to his soul, reminding himself to “bless the Lord,” to praise the Lord, to give thanks to the Lord. What an appropriate psalm to read, as we approach Thanksgiving (at least here in the U.S.).

He then reminds himself of the benefits that God brings to his life.

He forgives all our iniquities
He heals all our diseases (sometimes here, sometimes after this life, but most especially, the disease of sin)
He redeems our lives from "the Pit" (the grave)
He crowns our lives with steadfast love and mercy so that our youth is renewed like the eagle

And that last one, of course, reminds us of Isaiah 40, also quoted up there.

Bless the Lord, O My soul. And also, soul, wait for Him alone, wait in silence for Him alone (Psalm 62).

Elsewhere, in Psalm 42, the Sons of Korah employ the same device. Whoever wrote that psalm is talking to himself, and encouraging himself.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, 
and why are you in turmoil within me? 
Hope in God; 
for I shall again praise him, 
my salvation and my God.
(Psalms 42:11 ESV)

We have all “tried to be good,” at some point or another, in our lives, right? At least I hope so. There do seem to be people in this world who never try to “be good,” but for most of us, that is, no doubt, a regular occurrence. And the Bible tells us to “be holy,” so we try to be holy.

But then, we get told by Jesus that there is only who is “good,” and that is God. And we get told in 1 Samuel (and other places) that there is no one holy but God. That truth can have one of two effects on us.

It can cast down our soul, and the psalmist in Psalm 42 was dealing with that, and was talking to himself to try to lift up his soul from being in turmoil. He is thirsty for God, He longs to meet with God, but something seems to be preventing him.

Note that, in the Isaiah 40 passage, it is God, alone, who gives power to the faint, and strength to him who has no might. And it is those who wait on God and only God who mount up with wings like eagles, who run and are not weary, walk and are not faint.

Andrew Murray reinforces this by telling us that we will not find many who can help us in this. “There will be plenty of fellow Christians who will entice you to put your trust in churches and doctrines, in schemes and plans and human devices, in special men of God, and in special ways of receiving grace.” (Waiting on God, quoted in Power in Prayer) But even the ark and the temple became stumbling blocks for Israel.

It is in God and God whom we must put our trust.

I leave you with the orphan Psalm 146, where, once again, a psalmist talks to himself and reminds himself that only God is worthy and deserving of his hope.

Praise the LORD! 
Praise the LORD, O my soul! 
I will praise the LORD as long as I live; 
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 

Put not your trust in princes, 
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; 
on that very day his plans perish. 

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, 
whose hope is in the LORD his God, 
who made heaven and earth, 
the sea, and all that is in them, 
who keeps faith forever; 
who executes justice for the oppressed, 
who gives food to the hungry. 

The LORD sets the prisoners free; 
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. 
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; 
the LORD loves the righteous. 
The LORD watches over the sojourners; 
he upholds the widow and the fatherless, 
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 

The LORD will reign forever, 
your God, O Zion, to all generations. 
Praise the LORD! 
(Psalms 146:1-10 ESV)

Father, if talking to myself will remind me to praise You, thank You, and worship You; if it will remind me to not place my hope in any human or institution, but only in You, then I will talk to myself all the more. Hopefully, however, it will also result in my talking more to You and less to me.

I praise You for Your holiness and Your goodness, that, truthfully, only You are good, and only You are holy. My best efforts at being good and holy fall flat, Lord. But thanks to Your great grace, steadfast love, and mercy, I need not be downcast. My soul has reason to rejoice, because You lift me up; You give me strength when I am weak and weary; You give me power when I am powerless; You help me mount up like wings of eagles, walk and not faint, run and not be weary.

But only when I remember to wait on You. So help me to do that, constantly. Help me to remind myself, to talk to my soul, and pray to You without ceasing. Before I get out of bed, remind me to pray Scripture back to You. Before I go to sleep at night, remind me to pray Scripture back to You. And, should I wake up in the night, remind me to go to those precious “wonderful words of life” and cite them back to You as I remind myself of Your goodness and holiness.

Then, and only then, can I make any progress at all in what would otherwise be a hopeless venture to be “good” or “holy,” because I can only be good or holy in You, through Christ, and by the Holy Spirit.

Help me to remember to give thanks in all circumstances, and I pray for all of humanity, this week, that the human race would know You, acknowledge You, and give thanks and praise to You for all the benefits and blessings that You have lavished on us, even on those who refuse to acknowledge You.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me, 
bless His holy name!

Grace and peace, friends.

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