March 4: A Prayer for Guidance
Numbers 3:40–4:49; John 12:20–50; Psalm 5:1–12
When we feel downtrodden, it’s easy to lash out at those around us. Too often, caught in the injustice of our circumstances, we might begin to feel an unhealthy amount of self-justification. It’s difficult to see where the lines of right and wrong fall when anger and hurt overwhelm us.
The psalmist presents an alternative to this: turning to the God of justice for guidance, protection, and insight. Psalm 5 records a heartfelt cry. This cry is directed at the God who acts justly in a world where evil seems to win (something not always easy to comprehend). Before making a judgment, the psalmist says, “I will set forth my case to you and I will watch” (Psa 5:3). Rather than push forward with his own agenda, he calls out for God’s justice because Yahweh is “not a God who desires wickedness” (Psa 5:4).
The psalmist acknowledges God’s sovereignty and love, which is the basis for his confidence: “through the abundance of your steadfast love I will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you” (Psa 5:7). Before calling out the evil actions of his enemies, he prays for direction: “lead me in your righteousness because of my enemies; make straight before me your way” (Psa 5:8). The psalmist prays; then, he acts with God’s justice in view.
In John 12, Jesus states that utter and complete devotion to God and His kingdom should be the focus of our lives: “Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor” (John 12:25–26).
How can you pray for guidance in a world that often seems cold and uncaring? How can you trust God to lead you to act in ways that please Him?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- And the Lord said unto Moses, Number all the firstborn that are males among the children of Israel from a month old and above, and take the number of their names. And thou shalt take the Levites to me for all the firstborn of the children of Israel (I am the Lord) and the cattle of the Levites for all the firstborn of the cattle of the children of Israel. And Moses numbered, as the Lord commanded him, all the firstborn of the children of Israel. And all the firstborn males rehearsed by name (from a month old and above) according to their number were two and twenty thousand, two hundred seventy and three. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites for their cattle, and the Levites shall be mine, (I am the Lord.) And for the redeeming of the two hundred seventy and three, (which are more than the Levits) of the birstborn of the children of Israel, Thou shalt also take five shekels for every person: after the weiht of the Sanctuary shalt thou take it: and shekel containeth twenty gerahs. And thou shalt give the money, wherewith the odd number of them is redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons. Thus Moses took the redemption of them that were redeemed, being more than the Levites: Of the firstborn of the children of Israel took he the money: even a thousand three hunred three score and five shekels, after the shekel of the Sanctuary. And Moses gave the money of them that were redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Numbers 3:40–4:49
- Now there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feats. And they came to Philip, which was of Bethsaida in Galilee, and esired him, saying, Sir, we would see that Jesus. Philip came and told Anrew: and again Andrew and Philip told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Sono f man must be glorified. Verily, verily I say unto you, Except the wheat corn fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life, shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me: for where I am, there shall my servant be: and if any man serve me, him will my father honor. Now is my soul troubled: and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but therefore came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy Name, Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. Then said the people that stood by, and heard, that it was a thunder: others said, An Angel spake to him. Jesus answered, and said, This voice came not because of me, but or your skes. Now is the udgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I were lift up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. Now this said he, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the Law, that that Christ bideth forever: and how sayest thou, that that Son of man must be lift up? Who is that Son of man? Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you: walk while ye have that light, lest the darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in the dark, knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have that light, believe in that light, that ye may be the children of the light. These things spake Jesus, an eparted, and hid himself from them. And though he had done so many miracles before them, yet believed they no on him, That the saying of Isaiah the Prophet might be fulfilled, that he said, Lord, who belivered our report? and to who mis the arm of the Lord revealed? Therefore could they not believe, because that Isaiah saith again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that thye should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Isaiah when he saw his glory, and spake of him. Nevertheless, even among the chief rulers, many belieeved in him: but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him , lest they should be cast out of the Synagogue. For they loved the praise of men, more than the praise of God. And Jesus cried, and said, He that believeth in me, believeth not in me, but in him that sent me. And he that seeth me, seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in me, should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that refuseth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, it shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself: but the father which sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak. .And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: the things therefore that I speak, I speak them so as the Father said unto me. John 12:20–50
- Hear my words, O Lord: understand my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my king and my God: for unto thee do I pray. Hear my voice in the morning, o Lord: for in the morning will I direct me unto thee, and I will wait. For thou art not a God that loveth wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: for thou hatest all them that work iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak lies: the Lord will abhor the bloody man and deceitful. But I will come into thine house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thine holy Temple. Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness, because of mine enemies: make thy way plain before my face. For no constancy is in their mouth: within they are very corruption: their throat is an open sepulcher, and they flatter with the tongue, Destroy them, O God, let them fall from their counsels: cast them out for the multitude of their iniquities, because they have rebelled against thee. And let all them that trust in thee, rejoice and triumph forever, and cover thou them: and let them that love thy name, rejoice in thee. For thou Lord, wilt bless the righteousness, and with favor wilt compass him, as with a shield. Psalm 5:1–12