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Psalm 29

1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord, over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
    the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
    and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
    and strips the forests bare,
    and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
    May the Lord bless his people with peace!

This Psalm is calling us to praise the Lord, giving Him the glory that is due. His voice is awe striking, powerful, and full of majesty. But what is His voice? In verse 9, it is attributed to the creation of life and the bringing of death, but through both His people “cry, ‘Glory!'” The Psalm uses strong nature images to convey the might of His voice, of His power.  There is a big storm with rolling thunder and flashing lightning, but all the while His people praise Him. They do not turn or run away, but find their shelter in the Lord and rest in His temple.

Crazy things happen in our lives, but if we are trusting in Jesus, we need not be afraid of what is to some. Even through the storm we can praise Him because we know that He has promised us eternal glory. He is good and gives good gifts to His children (Matt. 7:11). But who qualify as His children? Those who trust in Jesus as their LORD and SAVIOR. Those who turn from of their sin that has separated them from God and turn to Jesus for their rescue. Those who do not trust in themselves to be saved, but trust in the only true Savior, Christ Jesus. He died that we may live if we trust in Him and believe in Him. Jesus sums up the entire Old Testament Law with this: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt. 22:37-40) How do we love God? “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). We turn from our sin to walk in obedience; that is how we show that we love God. That is how we are free from our guilt, shame, and short-comings. We live for Him. 

Jumping for Joy

Psalm 30

1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
    and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
    you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
    I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cry,
    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
    if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
    Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Life isn’t always easy, and we all run to something when it gets hard. Maybe it’s a spouse or friend, or maybe its sleep, alcohol, drugs, or something to numb the pain. Whatever it is, if you do not run to God, you are simply masking the hard reality, causing you to run back to it again and again. That is why addiction is so prevalent in society. The vice creates a mask that satisfies for a moment, but eventually, it fades and you need more.

God isn’t like that though. Jesus calls himself “living water” when talking to the Samaritan woman: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). God is ever-satisfying and ever-capable. He can handle all that you give to him–all your pain, guilt, shame, frustration. He takes it away by His grace and mercy.

David is turning to God. He is not turning to himself or to someone else; he is resting in the Lord. That is why he has such joy! When we turn to God, He turns out “mourning into dancing” because He loves us. When we give Him all of our struggles, He heals us.

For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

When we turn to Jesus, it doesn’t make all of our problems go away, but it gives us hope through it all. It gives us hope that joy will come, and that drives us to worship and praise Him like David.

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Psalm 31

1 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me;
    rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
    a strong fortress to save me!

For you are my rock and my fortress;
    and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
    you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
    but I trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
    because you have seen my affliction;
    you have known the distress of my soul,
and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
    you have set my feet in a broad place.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eye is wasted from grief;
    my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
    and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
    and my bones waste away.

11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
    especially to my neighbors,
and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
    those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
    I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
    terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
    as they plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, O Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand;
    rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16 Make your face shine on your servant;
    save me in your steadfast love!
17 Lord, let me not be put to shame,
    for I call upon you;
let the wicked be put to shame;
    let them go silently to Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be mute,
    which speak insolently against the righteous
    in pride and contempt.

19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
    which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
    in the sight of the children of mankind!
20 In the cover of your presence you hide them
    from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
    from the strife of tongues.

21 Blessed be the Lord,
    for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
    when I was in a besieged city.
22 I had said in my alarm,
    “I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
    when I cried to you for help.

23 Love the Lord, all you his saints!
    The Lord preserves the faithful
    but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
    all you who wait for the Lord!

When we read the Bible it is important to think about 3 things in regards to the passage.

What does this passage say about God?

This Psalm shows that the Lord is faithful (v. 5), capable, just (v. 23), loving (v. 7), and trustworthy (v. 6 & 14). We see how David relies on God, which shows us that we can rely on Him too. He “prepays the one who acts in pride,” showing that He is a just God (v. 23). He works for us, executing His goodness for our good (v. 19). If David did not believe that He was capable, he wouldn’t be asking God to save him. David believes firmly that the Lord is capable to rescue him not only because He has rescued David before, but also because David has read about it throughout the whole history of Israel.

What does this passage say about Jesus?

English Theologian, Charles Spurgeon once said:

“. . . do you not know that from every little town and village and tiny hamlet in England there is a road leading to London? Whenever I get hold of a text, I say to myself, ‘There is a road from here to Jesus Christ, and I mean to keep on His track till I get to Him.”

Even if the text does not explicitly mention Jesus, the whole Bible is to exalt Him, so we must seek to see how He is exalted in each text.

Read the Psalm in light of Christ’s crucifixion. Read it as if Jesus is the speaker. Remember Jesus’s struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane? He says, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). I have no doubt that He remembered this Psalm of David throughout His persecution. His final words in Luke 23:46 are from Psalm 31:5: “Into your hand I commit my spirit.” Jesus knew that this Psalm applied to his life, death, and resurrection, so we should consider that as we read it. 

What does this passage say about me? 

The Jesus connection stirs me to worship our God who subjected Himself to misery simply so that I may live. Reading is as if it were Jesus, lets me see how Jesus felt through His persecution and it humbles me. David is writing in the midst of literal war, but Jesus would have been enduring spiritual warfare, as well as external torment. God is good through it all. If Jesus, forsaken by God for a time, can see Him as good, loving, and faithful, I definitely can. What we endure on this earth is nothing compared to what Jesus went through to save us. Praise God for His loving kindness! We should be stirred to worship the God who loves us.

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Psalm 32

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.                                      Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.                                                               Selah

Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance.                                                    Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

This Psalm aligns itself with 3 notable verses on confessing sins:

1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

Though confessing sins is uncomfortable, it is necessary for sanctification (the gradual removal of sin). As believers, we must hate and fight sin no matter what the cost. God assures us that confession is an important way to do that. When we confess to fellow, trusted believers, a burden is lifted as we are no longer trying to hide our transgressions. They are out in the open, available for all who know to fight the sin with you. That is another great thing to come out of confession: prayer partners. If I know that my dear friend is suffering with a temptation, I can pray for them regularly. Also, when I confess a sin to a brother or sister in Christ, I expect them to respond in prayer for my soul. We are called to bear each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2) and pray for one another (James 5:16). It truly is freeing to confess sins to one another, and you may find that others are struggling as well, which means you can help each other fight the same battle.

Praise God for the freedom we have in Christ to have our transgressions covered by His blood! It was not a small price to pay, it was huge! but I am beyond thankful that we can rest assured that the Lord has forgiven us of our sins if we trust in what Jesus has done for us. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). He does not hold it against us once we repent. When we trust in Christ, God turns from a wrathful judge to a forgiving hiding place. Our debt is paid in full so that we can dwell with the Lord in closeness.

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Psalm 33

1 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
    Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
    make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

For the word of the Lord is upright,
    and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
    he puts the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.

10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
    he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
    he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
    on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
    and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
    a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
    and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
    and keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him,
    because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
    even as we hope in you.

This is a great Psalm of worship, but verses 5 and 6 stuck out to me:

He loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Thinking about the earth and its beauty, creativity, and awesomeness strikes me with awe for the One who created it all. And thinking how much greater heaven will be, made through “the word of the Lord” and “the breath of his mouth.” How amazing! The earth, where He chose to let us dwell, is FULL of His steadfast love. We watch a beautiful sunrise or a faun learn to walk, and we are struck by the earth’s beauty. He created it this way so that we can enjoy it. I love the beach, but I love even more that my Father made the beach so that I could enjoy it. Isn’t that amazing! His earth, that He created, is full of His love for us and for His creation. How cool!

David uses the word hope as in “hoping in His steadfast love” or “hoping in [God],” and that is a clear distinction of Christians versus the world. We have hope! We have hope that this world is not all there is, but there is eternity of paradise awaiting the faithful. We have hope that we will be delivered from sin. We have hope in His love, meaning we trust in Him because of His love for us. We have hope that death is not the end. Christians should be full of hope in God because we can be! Jesus came to give us hope. But, unlike today’s day and age, there is not instant gratification, we have to “wait” to see the fulfillment of this hope. Paul says in Romans 8: 25, “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” We know that we will obtain eternity with Christ if we have repented from our sins and placed our trust in Him; we have that hope, but now we must joyfully wait patiently for it to come to fruition.

 

1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11 Come, O children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is there who desires life
    and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
    and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
    not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
    none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

This Psalm is so happy and uplifting!! “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” He is so good! I would like to pray through a portion of it for us, but first I want to talk about fearing the Lord.

The phrase “fear the Lord” does not mean that we tremble, run, and hide from Him. It does not mean that He desires us to be afraid of Him, but it means to respect him in a sort of awe. Christina Fox, from Desiring God, describes it like this:

This kind of fear is to grasp the wonder of the gospel that a holy and righteous God would take on flesh and enter into this sin-stained world to rescue us from the clutches of death. It is to be utterly blown away that, because of Jesus, we are children of God and we go freely before the throne of grace with complete confidence and without shame. It’s to see his work in our lives and be amazed at how he loves, provides, and cares for us.

God is so great that we should be in wondrous awe of Him. God desires a personal, intimate relationship with us, so if we were afraid of Him, that would be impossible. The 1st letter of John states that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). God loves us perfectly and does not desire for us to be afraid of Him.

Father God,

You are so good Lord! This day, help me continually praise you (v. 1). Let me find my boast in you because you are good, perfect, and loving (v. 2). Let other believers look on my life and be glad by your work in it (v. 2). It is only by your work that I am saved. I pray that this post could cause others to magnify your name with me and that we could exalt your name together as children of God (v. 3). I know that you are good because I sought you and you answered; you delivered me from my fears (v. 4) I thank you that those who turn to you are bestowed your righteousness, giving off a radiance for your glory. Praise be to you that they will not be put to shame! (v. 5). You rescue all who cry out to you Father, rich, poor, black, white, yellow, male, female. There is no discrimination to your love (v. 6). You protect us continually when we lovingly fear you (v. 7). Thank you Father for these truths!! Let us all taste and see that you are good (v. 8). Let us see that you are worth anything that may come from being your children. You have conquered death and sin for us, so how could we turn elsewhere? You have provided access to you through Jesus, so how could we not see you as enough? Humble our hearts to you Lord, so that we may exalt you with pure hearts. Let us fear you rightly as to bring you more glory (v. 8). Help us to meditate on these truths today, good Father.

I ask all these things in Jesus’s name, Amen.

Check out this song by Shane and Shane that is based on this Psalm!

1 Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
    fight against those who fight against me!
Take hold of shield and buckler
    and rise for my help!
Draw the spear and javelin
    against my pursuers!
Say to my soul,
    “I am your salvation!”

Let them be put to shame and dishonor
    who seek after my life!
Let them be turned back and disappointed
    who devise evil against me!
Let them be like chaff before the wind,
    with the angel of the Lord driving them away!
Let their way be dark and slippery,
    with the angel of the Lord pursuing them!

For without cause they hid their net for me;
    without cause they dug a pit for my life.
Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it!
And let the net that he hid ensnare him;
    let him fall into it—to his destruction!

Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord,
    exulting in his salvation.
10 All my bones shall say,
    “O Lord, who is like you,
delivering the poor
    from him who is too strong for him,
    the poor and needy from him who robs him?”

11 Malicious witnesses rise up;
    they ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good;
    my soul is bereft.
13 But I, when they were sick—
    I wore sackcloth;
    I afflicted myself with fasting;
I prayed with head bowed[e] on my chest.
14     I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother;
as one who laments his mother,
    I bowed down in mourning.

15 But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered;
    they gathered together against me;
wretches whom I did not know
    tore at me without ceasing;
16 like profane mockers at a feast,
    they gnash at me with their teeth.

17 How long, O Lord, will you look on?
    Rescue me from their destruction,
    my precious life from the lions!
18 I will thank you in the great congregation;
    in the mighty throng I will praise you.

19 Let not those rejoice over me
    who are wrongfully my foes,
and let not those wink the eye
    who hate me without cause.
20 For they do not speak peace,
    but against those who are quiet in the land
    they devise words of deceit.
21 They open wide their mouths against me;
    they say, “Aha, Aha!
    Our eyes have seen it!”

22 You have seen, O Lord; be not silent!
    O Lord, be not far from me!
23 Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication,
    for my cause, my God and my Lord!
24 Vindicate me, O Lord, my God,
    according to your righteousness,
    and let them not rejoice over me!
25 Let them not say in their hearts,
    “Aha, our heart’s desire!”
Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”

26 Let them be put to shame and disappointed altogether
    who rejoice at my calamity!
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
    who magnify themselves against me!

27 Let those who delight in my righteousness
    shout for joy and be glad
    and say evermore,
“Great is the Lord,
    who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
28 Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
    and of your praise all the day long.

I am sure that we have all put forth effort to help someone but were met with harsh words instead of the expected praise or friendship. The whole people of Israel are facing that in this Psalm. Though they were kind to their neighboring nations, they now attack them for seemingly no reason. David, as king, must respond, and he does so by calling out to God.

We see that David trusts God abundantly even though he doesn’t understand why God is allowing this persecution to happen. David knows that God is in control and can change the situation at any moment, so he cries out to Him. He does not turn to his personal army or his own strength, but turns to God, the One in control of the universe.

David is heart broken, pleading with the Lord to deliver Israel from their foes, and he expects it to happen. Jesus says in Matthew 21:22 that “whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” That does not mean that the Lord will give us everything we ask for because not everything would be good for us because “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). But it does mean that, like David, we should know that God has His hand in all things. We can trust that He will do what is best for us in light of eternity.

Lay your situation at the foot of the Cross. Let Him worry about it and take care of it because He is the one in control.

How Precious Is Your Steadfast Love

To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the Lord.

Transgression speaks to the wicked
    deep in his heart;
there is no fear of God
    before his eyes.
For he flatters himself in his own eyes
    that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
    he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
He plots trouble while on his bed;
    he sets himself in a way that is not good;
    he does not reject evil.

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
    your judgments are like the great deep;
    man and beast you save, O Lord.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
    The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
    and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light do we see light.

10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
    and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
    nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie fallen;
    they are thrust down, unable to rise.

Sorry I am late!! For this post, I would like to pray through this Psalm. If you’ve never done it, it is a great prayer exercise! I’ll demonstrate best I can. It is really helpful to pray God’s word for ourselves and others, and I think I’ve grown a lot doing it over the years. Try it for yourself as we continue reading. 🙂

Father God,

I pray for those in my life who do not fear you (v.1). I know that transgression and sin run deep in those who do not fear you, as they once did for me, and I pray that you would reveal your truth to them (v.1). They cannot see their faults, “his iniquity cannot be found out and hated” as it can for those who have your Spirit (v. 2). They are unable to do good and act wisely because they have despised you, and they do not turn away from evil (v. 3-4). You are the only goodness we have, the only hope we have. I thank you for your steadfast love that “extends to the heavens” and your faithfulness which extends to the clouds (v. 5). You are righteous Lord, to an extend that we cannot imagine; your judgments are just and consistent (v. 6). I praise you Lord for saving us. Thank you for giving us your righteousness through Christ. Your love is precious and I thank you for revealing it to me (v. 7). We can run to you Father, taking refuge in you (v. 7). You provide for us greatly giving to us in abundance and fulfilling us with your love (v. 8). You give us life; you are light, and only because you are light can we see the light (v. 9). You make a way for us to be with you through Jesus, the light of the world, and being your children, we are also the light of the world. What an honor and privilege! Father, let us never fall or stray from your love. Without your love we are nothing, so please never revoke it from us (v. 10). Keep us in your way, not giving in to arrogance or wickedness, both of which pulls us away from you and your goodness (v. 11). Those who do not trust in you are cast down, away from your presence, and I pray that you would give us the opportunity to share hope and truth with them (v. 12). Let us be your light to bring others to the knowledge of yourself. I pray for the people in our lives that do not love you and I ask that you would give us loving boldness to go to them and share the truth about you. Give us the courage and the words Father. Let us see that out of love we must share the Truth, so that they will not be cast away from you for eternity.

I thank you for the access we have to you through Jesus Christ, and it is in His mighty name I pray, Amen.

He Will Not Forsake His Saints

Of David.

1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;

    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
    Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
    though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
    and delight themselves in abundant peace.

12 The wicked plots against the righteous
    and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
    for he sees that his day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
    to bring down the poor and needy,
    to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
    and their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is the little that the righteous has
    than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
    but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
    and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
    in the days of famine they have abundance.

20 But the wicked will perish;
    the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
    they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
    but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
    but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old,
    yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
    or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
    and his children become a blessing.

27 Turn away from evil and do good;
    so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
    he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
    but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land
    and dwell upon it forever.

30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
    and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
    his steps do not slip.

32 The wicked watches for the righteous
    and seeks to put him to death.
33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power
    or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
    and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
    you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
    spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
    though I sought him, he could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
    for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
    the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
    he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.

It is tempting to look at the world and desire what it has. It is easy to look at those who are successful or happy without God and think, “I am obeying God, but they have it better.” Take heart! This is the truth: if you’re trusting in Christ, you have the best thing in the world. You have salvation (v. 39). You have eternity with the Creator of the universe. You have freedom from sin, which is freedom from death (Rom. 8:13). Your worth is found in Christ; He saw you worth dying for, and you are made righteous through Jesus’ sacrifice. There are so many wonderfully beautiful things that come from turning to the Lord.

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act” (v. 5). Our eternal Father cares about you and your heart, and He will act. That is a promise from his word! It may not always be what we want, but He acts in our best interest and we should trust that promise–like David (Rom. 8:28). He is an active God, a good Father, who loves His children and will give good gifts to them (Matt. 7:11).

“Wait for the Lord and keep his way” (v. 34). Don’t give in to the temptations of the world; it is not worth it. Temporary pleasure is not worth eternal separation from God. Wait for Him and walk in obedience to His word. You are loved and cherished, and the Lord is faithful. He was faithful in David’s time and he is faithful today. Life can get hard, as we saw in previous Psalms, but there is eternal glory (Rom. 8:18) waiting for those who trust in Jesus and turn from their sins, which is better than anything on this earth. He is trustworthy and gracious. You can rely on Him as you wait for Him act.

 

Do Not Forsake Me, O Lord

A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.

Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
    nor discipline me in your wrath!
For your arrows have sunk into me,
    and your hand has come down on me.

There is no soundness in my flesh
    because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
    because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
    like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.

My wounds stink and fester
    because of my foolishness,
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
    all the day I go about mourning.
For my sides are filled with burning,
    and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and crushed;
    I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

O Lord, all my longing is before you;
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
    and my nearest kin stand far off.

12 Those who seek my life lay their snares;
    those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
    and meditate treachery all day long.

13 But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
    like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
14 I have become like a man who does not hear,
    and in whose mouth are no rebukes.

15 But for you, O Lord, do I wait;
    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
16 For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,
    who boast against me when my foot slips!”

17 For I am ready to fall,
    and my pain is ever before me.
18 I confess my iniquity;
    I am sorry for my sin.
19 But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty,
    and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
20 Those who render me evil for good
    accuse me because I follow after good.

21 Do not forsake me, O Lord!
    O my God, be not far from me!
22 Make haste to help me,
    O Lord, my salvation!


David’s life seems very dark in this Psalm. He is heartbroken over his sin; his enemies are seeking him; his friends and family have become distant. He is in a low place. Sometimes, more often than we may like, we come to this place. We are weighed down by our sinfulness, begging God to have mercy because we know there are consequences.
We fear those who dislike us, knowing that they will see our failures and shame us. We feel alone, having been seemingly left by those we rely on. It is easy to come to this place and dwell in the darkness, but that is not what God desires.

He wants us to look up to him. Only he is our savior. Only he can change the situation. He desires us to run to him and not worldly self-helps. He longs for us to trust him and wait for him to act rather than rush through irrational decisions. He is all satisfying. Nothing in this world – money, sex, friends, alcohol, drugs, family, work, or anything else – will satisfy us outside of Christ. There will always be something lacking. Yes, following Christ means abandoning our fleshly desires and seeking to obey his word, but it is far better that way. He is merciful, gracious, and abounding in steadfast love. We can rely on him and him alone.

David knew these truths. He knew that he could rely on the Creator of the Universe to care personally about his issues, so he sought God. Take heart when it feels like the world is against you because it was first against Him to whom you belong (John 15:18).

 

get up

I felt convicted to write this post after my personal bible study this morning. Matthew Chapter two is pretty straight forward compared to many chapters in the bible; however, I found myself re-reading this chapter many times, as the Lord taught me a lesson through His word.

Instead of  giving an overview on what Matthew Chapter 2 talks about, I encourage you to pause here to go and read it for yourself. I believe that when we read scripture for ourselves, it results in a much different experience and understanding then when we merely listen to others’ interpretations of the word. While blog posts, sermons, group study’s, and podcasts are great insights on God’s Word, Scripture is so perfect and Holy, that we should never want to take other peoples word for what it says. No summary of God’s holy word is as true and perfect than the word itself.  Maybe that could be a post for another day! Anyway…

  • Four instructions from God in the chapter:
  1. Matthew 2:12 says “….. for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
  2. Matthew 2:13 says “After the wise men were gone, and angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
  3. Matthew 2:20 says “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”
  4. Matthew 2:22 says “But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee.
  • Each time the Lord the asked the wise men or Joseph to Get up, they did just that:
  1. Matthew 2:12 says “ When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route…”
  2. Matthew 2:14 says “That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his Mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death.
  3. Matthew 2:21 says “So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother”.
  4. Matthew 2:23 says “So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth”.

Usually when I read scripture over and over again, it’s because it is difficult to understand, which  usually results in me grabbing a study bible of some sort.  This morning it was different. Within this one chapter, the Lord gave four different instructions, and each time, they did just what the Lord commanded them to do. It seems that every time Joseph and his family got comfortable, the Lord commanded them to do something else.

When the wise men were asked to return to Herod, they followed the Lord’s instructions instead. When Joseph and his family were comfortable in Judea after giving birth to Jesus, The Lord commanded them to flee to Egypt. Once Joseph and his family settled in Egypt, the Lord commanded them to move back to  Israel after Herod’s death.  After being instructed to go back to Israel, He was warned in a dream to go to Nazareth.

Joseph and His family must have experienced fatigue, uncertainty, and fear through this time. However, they always responded to the Lord’s will and found rest in it. Like Joseph,  there are many times when the Lord seems to pull us in a different direction just as we get comfortable right where we are. This can mean spiritually, mentally, or physically.

Have you ever felt like the Lord is pulling you towards a different job than the one you’re  in, when you feel just fine right where you are? Maybe you’ve devoted your schooling and money to a specific major, and the Lord calls you into something completely different. Or, maybe the Lord calls you to anew church when you’ve grown up in the one you are at all your life.

When we encounter these dreadful experiences, we are called to “Get up!” and trust that what the Lord says in Isaiah 55:9 is true: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. This is true in both our comfort and discomfort.

I pray that when the Lord instructs us to “Get Up!”, we are able to respond to the Fathers will in looking to Joseph as an example of the Lord’s ways being higher than our own.

 

Author: Nola Preston