Of all that we are thankful for, what could be more precious than God’s Word? In it He communicates His love to us, His provision of a Savior in Jesus Christ and His commitment to guide, protect and care for us until Jesus takes us to heaven.
We all have our favorite verses from God’s Word—usually those that have become as friends to us during some crisis, helping us exercise faith even in life’s darkest valleys. These Scriptures become woven into our individual life stories.
Here are the two that have meant the most to me during the last four decades—one from the Old Testament and one from the New. I’ll share them and then explain why they are so special to me.
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward You.
Nevertheless, I am continually with You;
You hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward You will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I love this because so often I find myself clueless and ignorant, and I don’t know what to do anymore than a beast would. (Just like the cat resting on my lap, who has no idea what I’m typing to you.) Yet even those days when I’m at my worst, God still wants to spend life with me. Not only that, He holds me by my hand like the affectionate, caring father I never had.
Beyond that, He solves my ignorance problem by guiding me with His wisdom, through His indwelling Spirit.
This is how He gets all of us through life! But that’s not all. He wants us to enjoy eternity with Him! How about that! I think you can see why I love this Psalm.
By the way, Psalm 73 was not written by David, but by his worship leader Asaph. We don’t know much about Asaph, except that he served David “by giving constant praise and thanks to the Lord” (1 Chronicles 16:4-5). In other words, his occupation was praising God.
How would you like to have a job like that! Well, you do. All of us live unto the praise and glory of God. It’s in that context that He equips us in the Spirit for selfless service.
Now, here’s my favorite New Testament Scripture:
2 Timothy 4:16-18
At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me.
May it not be charged against them!
But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me,
so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed
And all the Gentiles might hear it.
So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed
and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.
To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
I love this for a number of reasons. First, it keeps me from indulging in self-pity when I feel let down or abandoned, because even when people desert us, God stands with us to strengthen us. Somehow He manages to communicate His message through us, despite all the pain and confusion we go through.
Not only that, He continually rescues us from the lion (meaning the devil—see 1 Peter 5:8) and from every evil deed (literally, every painful event). And once again, as with my favorite Psalm, we have God getting us safely into His heavenly kingdom.
That’s assurance of His salvation, for which we will glorify Him forever.
The main reasons I love Psalm 73 and 2 Timothy 4 is that I am fundamentally a fearful and broken person, given all the stuff I went through growing up—and often since.
But God has worked it all for good, equipping me to have served as a pastor, police chaplain, and now as a volunteer helping abuse victims in addition to my communication responsibilities for the Mid-America Union—where it is my joy and privilege to spread the good news of His saving and healing grace.