Off the Ash Heap

Opening Prayer

If you are able, give physical expression to your worship; maybe hold your hands open, kneel, or raise your face upwards.

Read Psalm 113

1 Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, you his servants;
praise the name of the Lord.
2 Let the name of the Lord be praised,
both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.

4 The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 he seats them with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.

Praise the Lord.

Reflect

What has the Lord done for you that elicits praise?

Our psalm today has three parts: verses 1 to 3 are a call to the entire globe across all history to worship the Lord. Verses 4 to 6 begin with a reminder of just how exalted and holy and worthy of worship this Lord is, and then tell us the shocking, crazy truth that this Lord stoops to see his
creation. He’s concerned with it, he’s involved with it, he’s in touch with what’s going on down there. And then in verse 7, we find out just how involved he is, and with whom his greatest concern lies.

The ash heap was located at the outskirts of towns in the Ancient Near East. The ashes would be warmed by the sun during the day and retain some heat during the night. It was where the outcasts, the diseased and the destitute would gather to keep warm. Our God, exalted over all nations (4), more glorious than the heavens (4), enthroned on high (5), nonetheless has time for the ash-heap people.

Down the years, he’d stoop low enough to become one of these pitiful people, lifting all who would be saved up with him out of the ashes and seating them with him—Prince of the universe.

Apply

Look around you today. Are there those in the “ash heap” of life whom you can lift up and breathe hope into?

Closing prayer

Praise the Lord: “The Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:14,15).

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider