As we exit lockdown and begin services of worship again, what should our thoughts be? We may experience all kinds of anxieties and concerns, but as Christians, our focus must surely be on the Lord. Much has changed, but he has not. Consider Psalm 115:12-13.
12 The Lord remembers us and will bless us:Psalm 115:12-13 (NIV)
He will bless his people Israel,
he will bless the house of Aaron,
13 he will bless those who fear the Lord—
small and great alike.
1. God has remembered
Our basic attitude is expressed in v1 ‘Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory’. The fundamental reason is ‘because of your love and your faithfulness’. These truths lie behind the statement of v12. The verb refers primarily to the past – ‘The Lord has remembered us’ (ESV). This then describes his fixed attitude and so NIV reads ‘The Lord remembers us’. When Scripture says that the Lord remembered, it is not merely referring to his having exhaustive information about us – it speaks of his saving action on our behalf. The Lord saves those he remembers. He could remember our sins, but instead, we have the language of grace: ‘I am he who blots out your transgressions…and remembers your sins no more’ (Isaiah 43:25). The name he uses is significant: ‘the Lord’, the God who makes a covenant of love with his people.
2. God will bless
The Lord’s remembering us in grace includes all the provision we require, yet he loves his people so much that he goes on to give rich promises: ‘The Lord…will bless us’ (v12). The future is always uncertain (as James 4:15 reminds us) and our present circumstances emphasise that uncertainty. If we focus on the uncertainties we will become worried, fearful or even depressed. The ultimate solution is to focus on the Lord. In the full light of the New Testament we see that all blessing comes through Christ whose redemptive work has made all necessary provision. Hence we have the promises of Philippians 4:19 and 2 Peter 1:3. Note 3 times, ‘He will bless’ – absolute assurance.
3. God is to be feared
The promise of blessing is only for ‘the house of Israel…the house of Aaron’ – God’s own people. The language of 1 Peter 2:9 shows that we can apply these words to ourselves as Christians (see also Galatians 3:29). As v13 shows, the blessing is for those ‘who fear the Lord’ – who love and reverence their heavenly Father. The blessing is for ‘small and great alike’ – the only qualification is godly fear for the Lord who saves us. With such an assurance those who fear the Lord can face whatever the future brings.