Monday, February 28, 2011

Psalm 60

PSALM 60
"A Prayer for Deliverance of the Nations"

After many psalms which David penned in a day of distress, Psalm 60 was written for a day of TRIUMPH.  It was penned after he was settled in the throne, upon an occasion where God blessed his forces with victory over the Syrians & Edomites.  This psalm reflects the time David was in the zenith of his prosperity and the affairs of his kingdom seem to have been in a better posture than they ever were before or after. 
The general design of this psalm of David is to TEACH.  The Levites must teach it to the people, both to trust in God and to triumph in Him. 
In Biblical account, it is noted that David in prosperity was as devout as David in adversity.  Can this be said of me?

The psalm opens in verses 1-3 as a melancholy memorial of the many disgraces and disappointments which God had, for some years past, put His people under. 
You have shown Your people hard things:
You have made us drink the wine of confusion.  ~ Ps. 60:3

In verse 4, David states:
You have given a banner to those who fear You,
That it may be displayed because of the truth.  ~ Ps. 60:4
A banner is a battle flag used to identify different troops –
here, it identifies those who follow TRUTH
 I love verses 6-8!  Verse 6 reads
God has spoken in His holiness; I will rejoice . . . ~ Ps. 60:6
David is referring to God’s power and ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY.  The warfare of the nations is incidental; God determines destinies.  All the nations listed in verses 6-8 are under God’s sovereign control. 
Hope in God is the best principle of true courage – what need those fear who have God on their side?  ~  Matthew Henry
WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • God is my restorer
  • GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER THE NATIONS (and everything else too!)
  • God saves with His right hand
  • God is holy
  • God is my helper
  • Only through God, only with His help, do we do valiantly
 HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise God for His absolute sovereignty - when I am fearful, I can trust that He has all things under His control
  • I praise God for His might, that through Him all things are possible. 
  • God helps me in trouble; the help of man is useless without the help of God
  • I praise God for showing me hard things, even though I don’t like it when I am going through the “lesson” of it; yet, I love the end result - the way He refines, teaches & molds me through it
 PRAYER:
      Thank You, O Lord, that You are Sovereign God, the Blessed Controller of all things.  How my heart finds such rest in this truth, it is a balm for my soul when I am fearful and anxious.  May Your Holy Spirit impress this truth upon my mind & heart, that I will never forget it or cease to rest upon it. 
     Father, even today, I bless You for Your servant David - a man who has taught us how to know You more intimately, to trust You more deeply, to love You more fully.  May I grow in all of these things as I continue this meditation of the psalms.  In Jesus' name I pray ~ Amen

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Psalm 59

PSALM 50

"Petition for Deliverance from Enemies"

Another Michtam of David, written during the time when Saul sent men to watch the house where David was hiding in order to kill him.

This psalm is of the same nature and scope with the previous seven psalms we’ve read – they are all filled with David’s complaints of the malice of his enemies and of their cursed & cruel designs against him, his prayers and prophecies against them, and his comfort and confidence in God as his God.  In this psalm, David prays to God to defend and deliver him from his enemies, and he foresees and foretells their destruction. 

A perfect example of David allowing God to be his Avenger is in the matter of King Saul.  The psalms we have been reading lately were penned by David when Saul was in pursuit of David’s life.  Even though David had been anointed as the future king of Israel by God Himself, David had not yet ascended to the throne.  King Saul, in his might and power as king, was seeking to kill David . . . as David, can you imagine a more terrifying position in which to find yourself! 
A cave at En Gedi

Yet, when David had an opportunity to personally kill Saul, to put an end to running for his life . . . he did not take it!  This story is told in I Samuel 24 – David and his men were hiding in the caves in the Wilderness of En Gedi from pursuit of Saul & his army.  Not knowing that David & his men were there, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself.  David’s men believed that God had delivered Saul into David’s hand, and David secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.  However, David’s heart was troubled and he told his men that Saul was the Lord’s anointed and thus he would not harm Saul.

David later showed Saul the corner of the robe that he had cut off, telling Saul that he could have killed him but did not. 
King Saul and his mighty men
David did not take Saul's life when he had the opportunity - he allowed God to avenge his enemy Saul. 
Let the Lord judge between you and me and let the Lord avenge me on you.  But my hand shall not be against you.  ~ I Sam. 24:12
Saul eventually died by falling on his own sword after a mortal wound in a battle with the Philistines.

We see in verse 16 of Psalm 59 that David trusted God as his defense against his enemies:
I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;
For You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.  ~ Ps. 59:16

WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • God is my Deliverer & Defender
  • God is my Protector
  • God is Ruler of the universe and over all the nations
  • God is my strength
  • God is my avenger
  • God is powerful and merciful
  • God is my refuge
HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise God for how safe I feel knowing He is able!

    PRAYER:
     O Lord, how marvelous You are!  How small I am!  Forgive me, Father, when my anxieties overwhelm me.  Forgive me when my trust is weak and my faith is small.  I know You are my deliverer & defender, my protector, my ruler, strength & avenger, my shield, my power, my refuge, and merciful to me!  To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises.  Bless You, Lord, that You are my God of mercy.  In Jesus' name I pray ~ Amen

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Psalm 58

PSALM 58

"Wicked Judges will be Judged"

In verse 1, David is addressing the "silent ones" - those rulers or judges who fail to speak up  in defense of justice.  In verse 2, he is commenting about these corrupt judges and rulers providing unjust leadership in the community. 

Matthew Henry makes this comment:
It is believed by some Biblical scholars that before Saul began to persecute David by force of arms, he formed a process against him by course of law.  As a result, David was condemned unheard and attainted as a traitor by the great council, and then proclaimed 'an outlawed wolf' whom any man might kill and no man might protect.

The rulers - in order to curry favour with Saul - passed this bill of law; thus, David penned this psalm on that occasion. 
President Abraham Lincoln made this great statement:

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.  ~ Abraham Lincoln

How frustrating - and even terrifying - it is to be misunderstood, to be unjustly accused without means to defend yourself or clear your name.   How hurtful when those who know you - your friends even - won't come to your defense.  We understand very well the emotion of rejoicing that David expresses in verse 10 when he sees vengeance upon evil-doers and justice prevails at last.

WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • It is God who avenges
  • God judges the earth
HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise God that He does avenge wrong-doing
  • I praise God that I can rest in that truth, knowing that I am free to forgive and can let God deal with avenging
PRAYER:
     Thank You, O Lord, that there is a reward for the righteous!  Thank You that You are the Judge of all the earth, that You are a righteous Judge!  I bless You that Your eye sees, that nothing escapes Your gaze.  You don't need me to avenge the evil done to myself - You will take care of it!  Thank You, Lord - there is much rest in that truth, and peace which comes from trusting You and "allowing" You to be God in my life, just as You were in David's.  ~ Amen and amen!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Psalm 57

PSALM 57

"Prayer in the Midst of Perils"

This psalm is another "michtam" of David.  "Michtam" means "golden psalm (i.e., "precious"), and this word occurs in the titles of 6 of the psalms of David:  Psalm 16, and Psalms 56 - 60.  These are psalms that are written at particularly difficult times in  David's life. 

This psalm, much like yesterday's Psalm 56, was penned when David was in peril.  In yesterday's psalm, he was in Gath and was feigning madness so that King Achish would believe he was indeed a madman and not the king of Israel.  He then fled from Gath to the cave of Abdullam, which was in the lowland country of Judah. 
David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Abdullam.  ~ I Sam. 22:1
In verse 1, David's appeal to God begins with the recognition that deliverance has not been earned but would be an expression of God's mercy.  Also, as we have read in previous psalms, this is not the first time David has referred to protection under "God's wings" - as a chick nestles secure under its mother's wings, so David trusts God.  Verse 1 is one of my favorites!  I love where he says, " . . . until these calamities have passed by."


Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp!
I will awaken the dawn.  ~ Ps. 578



We also see in verse 8 that David's praise of God begins early in the morning - it is his first order of the day.  May we learn from David's example and give our first thought of each day to God - and start our day praising Him!







I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples;I will sing to You among the nationsFor Your mercy reaches into the heavens,And Your truth unto the clouds.  ~ Ps. 57:9-10
   

My Bible makes this note about the verse above:
Part of David's praise is the recognition that God's mercy and truth extend far beyond ordinary human ideas.
Isn't that wonderful in itself!  That God doesn't "fit" in our heads - our God is too big for our minds to hold!

WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • God is merciful and will protect me in the shadow of His wings
  • God performs all things for me - wow!
  • God is exalted and His glory is above all the earth
  • God's mercy reaches the Heavens
HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise God for His mercy 
  • For His truth! 
  • I praise God that, when calamities are upon me, He is my refuge
  • I praise God that He is the One who performs all things for me - that I don't have to depend upon myself or any of my own ability
PRAYER:
     O Lord, make my heart steadfast.  May I trust You more with each passing day.  I praise You that You are a God who is too big for my mind to grasp.  I pray that I will know You in the fullness about which You have made Yourself known - be pleased to reveal Yourself to me, O God!
     My heart praises You that You are the Performer, and that my performance is not required ~ You perform all things for me.  Your providence and faithfulness are great, and I praise You with my whole heart for the beauty of Yourself.  In Jesus' name I pray ~ Amen



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Psalm 56


Fear in the Midst of Trials

This psalm of David was written when he was fleeing for his life from Saul.  He was convinced that he was no longer safe in any territory under Saul’s dominion, and had fled to Gath, one of the five principal Philistine cities.

In Gath, the Philistines believed they recognized him:

And the servants of Achish said to him, “is this not David the king of the land? . . . now David took those words to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath.  ~ II Sam. 21:11

David feigning madness before King Achish
David so feared for his life that he pretended to be a madman so that Achish did not believe he was indeed David, King of Israel.

Deliver me, I pray, Abba Father, from the fear of others.  May I fear You alone, with the fear born of love.  ~ F.B. Meyer, Daily Prayers
Even in his iminent peril, David is certain that nothing that he is undergoing is insignificant to God.  God sees every tear that falls and lists them in His book; not one is lost.  The person who is surrendered to God can know that every facet of his life has meaning.  Matthew Henry makes this note:
God has a bottle and a book for His people’s tears, both those shed for their sins and those shed for their afflictions.  He observes them with compassion and tender concern; He is afflicted in their afflictions, and knows their souls in adversity.
You . . . put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?  ~ Ps. 56:8
WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • God is merciful
  • God is worthy of my trust
  • God saves my tears- my sorrows are significant to Him
  • God is for me – He will defeat my enemies
  • Our vows to God are binding – as Christians, we are bound to live to God
  • God delivers my soul from death
HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise God that He does render my soul from death.  Glory to God!
  • I praise God that He saves my tears – He knows each one.  I praise Him that He is a merciful God who cares about the afflictions of His children.
 PRAYER:
     O Lord, my Lord, how majestic is Thy name in all the earth!  My soul sings praises to the Lord for His glorious attributes.  Father, I am forever grateful that, through Your Son Jesus Christ, You save my soul from death.  Thank You for my gift of faith.
     May I live a life faithful to You, Father.  May I not fear man or my enemies, but trust You with my life as David did.  May I put my trust in You alone.  Will You keep my feet from falling, that I may walk before You?  In Jesus’ name I pray ~ Amen

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Psalm 55

Cast Your Burden on the Lord

 
Many Biblical expositors conjecture that David penned this psalm upon the occasion of his son Absalom’s rebellion, and that this particular enemy that David is referring to in verses 12-14 is Ahithophel:
For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it . . . but it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance.  We took sweet counsel together and walked to the house of God in the throng.
King David, burdened and heartbroken by the rebellion of his son Absalom
David was in great distress when he penned this psalm . . . he prays for God’s favor and pleads his own sorrow and fear.  David reminds himself of what he knows to be true of God .. . he assures himself that God would, in due time, appear for him against his enemies.  He comforts himself with this hope, and encourages others to trust in God. 

 
David opens this psalm with a prayer - "Give ear to my prayer, O God, and do not hide Yourself from my supplication."
Prayer is a salve for every sore and a relief to the spirit under every burden.  ~ Matthew Henry

So I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest."  ~ Ps. 55:6
The reader can clearly ‘feel’ the weight of David’s burden, especially in verses 4-8.  David wishes he could escape and “fly away” – have you ever felt like this during difficult circumstances?  David reminds us in verse 22 to “fly” to God . . . that He will sustain you. 

 
Verse 22 is a wonderful verse of comfort.  The word ‘burden’ is a broad word meaning our lot in life, our total circumstances.  We can trust God to this extent because He is in total control!  Matthew Henry again comments:
To cast our burden upon God is to stay ourselves on His providence and promise.  If we do so, it is promised:
  • That He will sustain us.  He has not promised to free us immediately from that trouble which gives rise to our cares and fears, but He will provide that we aren’t tempted above that which we are able. 
  • That he will never suffer the righteous to be moved – to be so shaken by any troubles as to quit either their duty to God or their comfort in Him.
Sustain:  to support, hold or bear up; to keep from giving way
  • God hears my prayer - He attends to me
  • He is trustworthy
  • God will save me from my trouble
  • God is my Redeemer
  • God is in control, even when my circumstances seem bleak or dark
 HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise God that He hears, saves, and sustains me
  • I praise God that the circumstances of my life are in His control
  • I praise God that He is worthy of my trust
  • I praise God that He is mightier than my enemies
 PRAYER:
     Give ear to my prayer, O God!  And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.  Attend to me and hear me.  Thank You, O Lord, that You are the bearer of my burdens.  Thank You that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light.
     Thank You that You save me what I call upon You in my trouble. 
     O Father, how I praise You that You have redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me!  You know my struggle with anxiety.  It is my sin and lack of trust.  If I really knew You, if I really understood . . . would I ever be anxious, Lord?  You know my frame is dust.  Bear me up in my weakness and show Your mercy & lovingkindness to me.
   Never permit me to be moved.  Sustain me at all times, dear Lord.
     I love You, Lord, even though I know that I love You so little.  In Jesus’ name ~ Amen 
    


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Psalm 54

The Lord is Our Helper



Again, this is a psalm David penned when Saul was in pursuit of his life.  David is writing about the time the Ziphites betrayed him to Saul - they informed Saul where David was and set up a plot of how to seize him.  They actually did this twice. 

Like we saw in Psalm 52, in verse 1 once again David calls on the power of God's name
"Save me, O God, by your name . . . "  ~ Ps. 54:1
The Ziphites' betrayal of David to King Saul
“Is David not hiding with us . . .  our part shall be to deliver him into the king’s hand.”  ~ I Sam. 23:19-20

In this psalm, we can read of David’s confidence that God is on his side. 
“Behold, God is my helper.”  ~ Ps. 54:4
David also trusted God to be his avenger – not rendering evil to his enemies but allowing God to handle that. 
“He will repay my enemies for their evil." ~ Ps. 54:5 
WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • God's will cannot be thwarted.  God had chosen David to be the future king of Israel - his life would not be taken by his enemies.  What God has deemed will come to pass can't be thwarted by the schemes of man.
    God is my Savior and my vindicator
  • God is my Helper
  • God is my Avenger
  • God’s name is good
  • God hears my prayers
  • My enemies are no match for God's might
HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:

  • I praise the Lord that He is my Helper!
  • I praise the Lord that He hears my prayer
  • I praise the Lord that I can trust Him to be my avenger - I can leave my enemies to His hand and not need to exact my own revenge or vindication
PRAYER:

     O Lord!  Save me by Your name!  And vindicate me by Your strength.  Hear my prayer, O God, and give ear to the words of my mouth.
     Be my helper, O Lord.  May I never look to another.  I will praise Your name, O Lord, for it is good!  In Jesus’ name I pray ~ Amen

Monday, February 21, 2011

Psalm 53

PSALM 53

"A Portrait of the Godless"

Psalm 53 is a psalm of David - does this psalm sound familiar?  It is almost exactly the same as Psalm 14, except for verse 5.  The scope of this psalm is to convince the reader of his sinful nature. 

In verse 3, we are reminded again –
There is none who does good
No, not one.  ~ Ps. 53:3
Aside from divine grace, everyone is by nature and practice corrupt and sinful.  It is God who makes us spiritually alive – our “rebirth.”  Jesus refers to this in His conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:3
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.  ~ John 3:3
God looks down from Heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.  ~ Ps. 53:2
 WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • God sees – He looks down from Heaven
  • It is God who is the Seeker - I am simply the responder to His inward call in me
HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise the Lord that He is there – He IS God – He IS real!
  • I praise God that He sought me - that the salvation of Israel came and saved me.
PRAYER:
     Lord, I know that without Your call I would never seek You.  Thank You, Father, that You sought me and saved me! 
     I pray that my heart will always be sensitive to Your Holy Spirit . . . always sensitive to my sin.  May You look down upon me and find someone who desires to seek after You, all the days of my life.
     In Jesus’ name I pray ~ Amen

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Psalm 52

The Lord Shall Judge the Deceitful

This psalm is a contemplation of David at the time David was fleeing for his life from the pursuit of Saul.  David penned psalm 52 when Doeg the Edomite went and told Saul, “David has gone to the house of Ahimelech.”  I Sam. 22:9  As a result of this information, Saul killed the Lord's priests.  David is grieved over the loss of these men, and is recording his thoughts concerning Doeg’s deceit. 


The last verse of Psalm 52, “I wait on Your name, for it is good” reminds me of the verse in Proverbs:
The name of the Lord is a strong tower
The righteous run to it and are safe.  ~ Prov.  18:10
John Wesley says this regarding this verse:

The name of the Lord is the Lord, as He hath revealed Himself in His works, and in His word by His promises.
Clarke made this note:
John Gill said this:
The name of the Lord is a strong tower - The name of the Lord may be taken for the Lord Himself; He is a strong tower, a refuge, and place of complete safety, to all that trust in Him. What a strong fortress to the besieged! 

The name of the Lord is a strong tower,.... By "the name of the Lord" may be meant, either the attributes or perfections of God by which He is made known, and which are the strength and security of his people;
His goodness, grace, and mercy are their defense;
His favour encompasses them about as a shield;
His justice protects them from all injuries and insults;
His truth and faithfulness preserve them; they are kept by His power, as in a garrison
In verse 8, David likens himself to a 'green olive tree' - this indicates a life full of vitality and with prospects of many productive years. 
The Lord called your name
Green Olive Tree, Lovely and of Good Fruit. ~ Jer. 11:16
WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • God’s goodness endures continually
  • God will destroy evil
  • God is my strength, and I can trust in His mercy forever
  • God’s name is good!
HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise God because His name is good
  • I praise God that His mercy endures continually.  Where would I be without the mercy of God?
PRAYER:
     O Lord, I will praise You forever!  Make me like a green olive tree in Your house.  Thank You that I can safely trust in You alone.  Thank You that You are a merciful God – and for Your mercies towards me and my family.  Would You be pleased to continue to bless us, O Lord?  May each member of my family ‘taste’ Your mercy in such a sweet way in their lives.
     Make I make You my strength, O Lord, and heed the words of David to never trust in the abundance of riches or anything of myself.  Like David, may I wait on Your name, O God, and live my life in dependence upon You.  In Jesus’ name I pray ~ Amen

In reflecting on Psalm 52, don’t you think David would have enjoyed this prayer by F.B. Meyer:
O Lord Jesus Christ, Captain of Salvation, who knows the hatred and working of evil against my soul, deliver me from the manifold temptations and trials that assail me, and make way of escape for me.  Give me Your mighty power, and help me to become more than a conqueror.  ~ F.B. Meyer, Daily Prayers

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Psalm 51


Confession and Forgiveness of Sin

Psalm 51 is a reference to a very sad story – that of King David’s fall.  Of his sexual sin with Bathsheba, the ‘cover up’ attempt with the murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah the Hittite, and then the conviction of David’s sin through Nathan the prophet. 

Psalm 51 serves as a reminder to every reader, to take heed lest he / she may fall!  This psalm is also a beautiful expression of remorse and repentance, and an example of humble contrition over sin.  Do you acknowledge your sin, or “excuse” it away? 

The whole life of believers is to be one of repentance!

What sin is:
In dealing with sin, it is important to know what sin in  I John 3:4 says, “ . . . sin is lawlessness.”  Put simply according to this verse, sin is anything that is contrary to what the Word of God commands or forbids. 
The best definition for sin is found in I John 5:17, “All unrighteousness is sin.” 

As sinners, we should meditate again and again on this psalm.  Matthew Henry describes it as the most eminent of the penitential psalms, and the most expressive of the cares & desires of a repenting sinner..  In Psalm 51, David:
  • Confesses his sin – v. 3-6
  • Prays earnestly for pardon of his sin – v. 1,27,9
  • Asks for peace of conscience – v. 8,12
  • Asks for grace to go and sin no more – v. 10,11,14
A beautiful example of repentance!

In verse 5, David makes this statement:
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
In this verse, David is referring to the sinful nature with which we are born – that the refusal to do right is an integral pat of human character from birth onward.  The sin problem is endemic to us from the first moment of our existence.

FOREVER WORTHY
                               ~ Ruth Harms Calkin

Dear God
I have sinned
Against Heaven
And against You.
I am no longer worthy
To be called Your child.

Child, I know . . . I know . . .
But My Son
Is forever worthy
To be called Your Savior.


My Bible makes this note:
An important prerequisite to walking in the Spirit is the confession of sin.  Sin must be confessed in order to restore fellowship and to continue receiving God's power.

Confession means that we agree with God about our sin.  This involves much more than simply acknowledging the sin - confession requires an attitude of sorrow for the sin and a willingness to turn from it.  It does not mean that we will never commit the same sin again, but it does mean that the attitude of repentance is present.
Psalm 51 is a beautiful example of Biblical repentance and confession of sin!

WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • God is full of mercy & lovingkindness
  • God blots out my transgressions
  • It is God who washes me and cleanses me
  • It is against God that I have sinned
  • It is God who upholds me with His Spirit!
  • God desires a broken spirit
  • He is my Deliverer, and the God of my salvation
  • God is pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness

HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise God that He is able to create in me a clean heart – wow!
  • I praise God that I am filled with His Holy Spirit
  • I praise God for the joy that is my salvation
  • I praise God that it is He who upholds me – I only have to rely on Him, the God of the Universe.  HE’S dependable, don’t you think!

PRAYER:
     O Lord!  How my heart is grieved over my sin!  My heart grieves that my sin caused the need for the death of Your Son Jesus Christ, yet my mind marvels at the wonder of the cross.  Thank You, dear Lord, for Your lovingkindness, Your mercy, Your righteousness, Your generous Spirit. 
     Father, my sin is always before me.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  O Lord, may You never take Your Spirit from me.
     Thank You for the joy that is mine because of my salvation.  May I be always humble, and may You find pleasure in me.  In Jesus’ name I pray ~ Amen

Friday, February 18, 2011

Psalm 50

PSALM 59

"The Lord Shall Judge All the People"

Psalm 50, a psalm of Asaph, is also an instructional psalm.  I love so many of the verses in this Psalm – especially this one:
 Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.  ~ Ps. 50:15

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God will shine forth.  ~ Ps. 50:2
WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.  ~Ps. 50:12
    God will shine forth!
  • God will judge His people
  • God Himself is Judge
  • God is my God
  • God will deliver me in the day of trouble
  • Every beast of the forest is His . . . and the cattle on a thousand hills
  • The world is the Lord’s and all its fullness
  • God is worthy of my praise and thanks
Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.  ~ Ps. 50:23

Matthew Henry made a great statement regarding verse 23:
Thanksgiving is good, but THANKS-LIVING IS BETTER! 
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, as we are here told that whosoever offers praise glorifies Him, whether he be Jew or Gentile.

Man’s chief end, in conjunction with this, is to enjoy God; and we are told that those who order their conduct aright shall see his salvation. 
HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise God with my whole heart that I will be judged righteous through the redemption of Jesus Christ.  Forever I will praise the Lord for this gift, and that I will live with Him for eternity.
PRAYER:
     Lord, I want to order my conduct aright.  I want to offer You "thanks-living."  May I present my body a living sacrifice, holy & acceptable to You.  May I, through Jesus Christ, be holy as You are holy.  I desire to live a life pleasing to You, O Lord.
     I fail at this every day.  My heart is sinful, my motives are selfish, my thoughts are wicked.  Father, the forgiveness through Your Son Jesus Christ is my redemption, and my heart is forever grateful for this unspeakable gift.  I only plead the righteousness of Christ before You.
     By my conduct, may I show the salvation of God. 
     Thank You, Heavenly Father, that I may call upon You in the day of trouble.  Thank You for Your deliverance.  May I trust You more and more each day.
    I love You, Lord, and make this prayer in Jesus’ name ~ Amen

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Psalm 49

PSALM 49

"Riches Cannot Redeem"
Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches;
None of them by any means can redeem his brother,
or give to God a ransom for him . . .    ~Ps. 49:6
Psalm 49 (and tomorrow’s Psalm 50) are not psalms of prayer or praise, but rather psalms of instruction.  In Psalm 49, the psalmist is preaching to his hearers & readers.  He is awakening a worldly people out of their security, endeavoring to convince them of their folly in doting upon the wealth of the world.  He is also reminding them that they cannot, with all their wealth, save their friends nor themselves from death. 

Written in 2002, the hymn In Christ Alone has become one of my favorites and is popular around the globe.  Part of the lyrics below reflect much of what the psalmist has written in Psalm 49:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all-in-all
Here in the love of Christ I stand

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand

In Christ Alone, by Stewart Townend & Keith Getty

Verse 15 uses the phrase, “for He shall ‘receive’ me.”  This is a strong assertion of faith in a blessed afterlife for the righteous.  The same Hebrew word translated ‘receive’ was also used in Gen. 5:24 describing Enoch where it is said,” And God took him.” 
And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.    ~ Gen. 5:24
WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave; He shall receive me
HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise the Lord that riches cannot redeem, that worldly riches mean nothing to Him, that He does not measure a man’s worth by his wealth the way the world does.
PRAYER;
     Thank You, my God & my Father, that you will receive me from the power of the grave.  There is no fear in death ~ there is no fear anywhere!  Thank you, Lord.  I often so easily fall back into anxious thoughts, but You are sufficient for me.  Lord, there is none like You!
     May I never find my security in wealth, O Lord – may I look to You only as my security and may I never trust in anything or anyone else.  May my allegiance never fade, fail, nor turn.
     I love You, Lord – in Jesus’ name I pray ~ Amen


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Psalm 48

PSALM 48

"The Praise of Mt. Zion"


 Psalm 48 is another triumphant song.  Some believe it was penned after Jehoshaphat's victory, others believe it was used in celebration of the defeat of Sennacherib.
The joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion . . .   ~ Ps. 48:2
In Old Testament times, Mt. Zion was the area occupied by the temple, the place where the presence of God dwelt.  Mt. Zion also has figurative references throughout the Bible, referring to the nation of Israel as the people of God, to God's spiritual kingdom, and to Heaven.

I heard a comment on a TV drama medical show the other night - the doctor was telling his patient, "Every one dies alone."  He was telling her that we all must pass to death by ourselves, no one can accompany us.  I believe the psalmists would argue that point with that doctor - just like in Psalm 23, we see again in Psalm 48 that the Lord is with us, even in death.  What a sweet promise!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me . . .  ~Ps. 23:
For this God, our God forever and ever, He will be our guide, even to death.             ~ Ps. 48:14
Matthew Henry records a beautiful summary of this Psalm: 
Let us triumph in God, and in the assurances we have in His everlasting loving-kindness.  Tell this to the generation following:  that this God, who has done such great things for us, is our God forever and ever.  If He be our God, He will be our guide - our faithful, constant guide.  He will be our guide beyond death; He will conduct us safely to a happiness on the other side of death, to a life in which there shall be no more death.
The name of God, Yahweh, in Hebrew

WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • Great is the Lord!
  • The Lord is to be praised!
  • He will be my guide, even to death!
  • God’s right hand is full of righteousness!
HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise the Lord for His righteousness
  • I praise the Lord that He is my God forever & ever, and that He will be my guide even to death.
PRAYER:
     Thank You, O Lord, that according to Your name so is Your praise!  Your name is to be magnified and exalted!
     I praise You, O God, that You are my God forever and ever and will be my guide even to death.  What sweet comfort that is, and a wonderful promise to claim.  What blessed security is found in You.  Forgive me, dear Lord, when my faith is so small!  You are worthy of all my faith and trust – Your faithfulness is unwavering and Your immutability is to be praised.  You know that I am dust; You know my frame is weak.
     I ask You to be my guide.  Go with me, O Lord.  May I not take one step without You leading me.  How encouraging to know that You will be my guide all the days of my life.
     I love You Lord, and make this prayer in the name of Jesus ~ Amen