Psalm 78–If Not Now, When? If Not Us, Who?

In a culture that thrives on its ability to get and disseminate information, so little has been done to make sure the true history and true nobility of God is passed along.  The psalmist reminds Israel and Judah that it is the responsibility of the adults to train the young of God’s mighty feats, and Israel’s abhorrent behavior that cost them their freedom and standing in the world.

It was God’s intention that these people were to be a nation of evangelists. Israel was not born to rule the world–it was born to lead the world back to the Father. Sadly, as time progressed, Israel forgot their purpose and attempted to be like everyone else.  The result was the division and ultimate demise of a great nation. Still, even now, Israel is set apart in the world and either loved–because God’s people see God’s plan; or hated, because the world simply hates God!

Our call is like Israel’s–we are called to make disciples of all nations. baptizing them and teaching them all the truth that Christ taught us. Matt 28:18-20. We have to be doggedly tenacious in our teaching the truth to those who have come after us–not because we have done things so well, but because our enemy would love us to skip a generation so the truth could be lost forever.  Neither our Government or our education system want the truth of God shared with our kids–they have prohibited it in schools and banned it from the Government activities.  We must teach the truth to all who will listen and trust that God, who has made his name known throughout history will carry the message forward util his return. Let us remain faithful in who we are, so that we can embrace the Lord’s great commission to the next generations.

God Bless You

O my people, listen to my instructions.
    Open your ears to what I am saying,
    for I will speak to you in a parable.
I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
    stories we have heard and known,
    stories our ancestors handed down to us.
We will not hide these truths from our children;
    we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
    about his power and his mighty wonders.
For he issued his laws to Jacob;
    he gave his instructions to Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
    to teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know them—
    even the children not yet born—
    and they in turn will teach their own children.
So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
    not forgetting his glorious miracles
    and obeying his commands.

Psalm 77–Remembering Who God Is

All of us at one time or another have questioned whether God still cares. It seems like the world has sunk to its lowest levels and very few even notice. There is chaos on the world stage and tragedy on the home front. The greatest evangelist of our day has gone on home and we all wonder what is left. Then, as he always does, God reminds us He still loves us. 

He reminds us of his resume. He created the world and all that is in it. He separated the nations, he brought salvation through His Son. He promised and kept his word to Adam & Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and to Israel. As the Psalmist remembered, he took the slaves from captivity, and led them across a sea on dry land.He fed them for 40 years–1 day at a time. He gave them a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. He cleared Israel for their inheritance–and has protected them even to this day. 

We need only remember his faithfulness through the generations; to trust his continued faithfulness in our lives. His plan is perfect, and his timing exact. We simply must remember that it is not about us alone–we are not the center of the universe. We are loved, we are offered eternal life, and full and meaningful life–but, we were never offered an easy or event-free life. Like Israel, we have to walk through the trials and crisis of our day; and, remember this really is the journey and not the destination. As Paul said in Philippians 3, “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”

We must not give up. We simply need to remember that he has our lives in his care and as he has loved and forgiven our great failures. We too must, therefore, live lives of love and forgiveness; pressing on to take hold of that for which he has taken hold of us.

God Bless You

And I said, “This is my fate;
    the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
    I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
    I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

13 O God, your ways are holy.
    Is there any god as mighty as you?
14 You are the God of great wonders!
    You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude

16 When the Red Sea[a] saw you, O God,
    its waters looked and trembled!
    The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
    the thunder rumbled in the sky.
    Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
    the lightning lit up the world!
    The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea,
    your pathway through the mighty waters—
    a pathway no one knew was there!
20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
    with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.

Psalm 76–The Protector of His Own

Really, it made no sense. Here Israel a once great nation was now divided. 10 tribes north and Judah and Levi remained based in Jerusalem.  Still, God was the protector of the tribe of Judah. As such, as enemies would attack, Judah would prevail. Sure they had a fine army and were well trained and armed. But, at the end of the day–they were protected by God. He got the glory for their safety and God remained ever vigilant in his efforts. 

That same vigilance and effort also protects us today.  The same God that stood in the Gap for Judah, serves as our shield as well. He protects us, provides for us and prepares us for the journey ahead. In his efforts, He teaches us to trust him and to follow him through what often seems like dark and narrow passages. We find out later, that He was the light and direction.  And, while it is rarely how we plan it, God is faithful in what He plans and executes.

We do not have to be like any stereotype. We simply need to follow him closely and patiently and allow him to be our protector, provider and friend.

God Bless You

God is honored in Judah;
    his name is great in Israel.
Jerusalem[a] is where he lives;
    Mount Zion is his home.
There he has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy,
    the shields and swords and weapons of war. Interlude

You are glorious and more majestic
    than the everlasting mountains.[b]
Our boldest enemies have been plundered.
    They lie before us in the sleep of death.
    No warrior could lift a hand against us.
At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob,
    their horses and chariots lay still.

No wonder you are greatly feared!
    Who can stand before you when your anger explodes?
From heaven you sentenced your enemies;
    the earth trembled and stood silent before you.
You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God,
    and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. Interlude
10 Human defiance only enhances your glory,
    for you use it as a weapon.[c]

11 Make vows to the Lord your God, and keep them.
    Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One.
12 For he breaks the pride of princes,
    and the kings of the earth fear him.

Psalms 75–Don’t Shake Your Fist at Me, Young Man

It is easy to forget that God literally holds the earth in its foundation. Men sometimes act as if they are in control and have everything figured out; but, then God chuckles and says–“You get that I hold the world in place, right?”  Man’s need to feel like he is in control has always been a sticking point with God. He reminds us that we never have the right or even the reason to raise our fists and shake them in defiance to him.

Control is such an illusion.  On any given day, a change in weather, a change in health or financial condition can take our status quo life, and unhinge it–right before our eyes. The media has done a great job of reminding us that we cannot count on our own efforts to dictate the outcome of our lives.

God reminds us that he is in control. He gives life and takes it. He tells those that would defy him and try to undermine him–don’t! First, you are not ever going to take control; and second, you just look silly! The right approach is simply to seek God and allow him to be the boss. As one allows God to lead, and waits patiently for God’s direction–that person enjoys the peace of not having to rest the world on his shoulders.  We are called to simply trust him, follow him and allow him to complete the plan he has started in our lives.  

God Bless You

We thank you, O God!
    We give thanks because you are near.
    People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds.

God says, “At the time I have planned,
    I will bring justice against the wicked.
When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil,
    I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. Interlude

“I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’
    I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists!
Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens
    or speak with such arrogance.’”
For no one on earth—from east or west,
    or even from the wilderness—
    should raise a defiant fist.[a]
It is God alone who judges;
    he decides who will rise and who will fall.
For the Lord holds a cup in his hand
    that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices.
He pours out the wine in judgment,
    and all the wicked must drink it,
    draining it to the dregs.

But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done;
    I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked,
    but I will increase the power of the godly.”

Psalm 74–Remembering God’s Credential

God is a loving father. Make no mistake—his sense of justice, mercy and presence is undeniable. Still, sometimes in the midst of harrowing trials, we forget exactly with whom we are dealing. In this Psalm, the writer is begging for restoration for Israel. It is in a time of extreme trial, and the nation is in shambles. Still,  in the midst of his heartfelt plea—the writer remembers who he is dealing with. 

 
We serve almighty God. The author and creator of the universe. There is never a time that he has not been in control or  is unaware of the nature of things or people. The writer is begging for God to notice Israel—but then, he remembered God is always dialed in. 
 
We also need to remember God is dialed in and is aware of our needs, requests and desires. We must never believe the enemies lie that God has forgotten or abandoned us. Like the writer, we need to remember who we serve and seek, follow and trust him—to complete his plan for our lives. That is simply who God is and what he does. 
 
God Bless You. 

But God is my King from long ago; he brings salvation on the earth. It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters. It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert. It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever-flowing rivers. The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter. Remember how the enemy has mocked you, Lord, how foolish people have reviled your name. Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.

Psalm 73–Focusing On What Is Real

We are still human.  It is so difficult to face our daily lives and the struggles that come with them; all the while, watching the godless seem to always have it easy. We do our best to focus on the Lord, but it is easy to get distracted by others for whom the rules do not seem to apply.  The Psalmist transparently confesses that he almost lost his way in a very good place by growing focused and jealous.  He simply could not take the fact that the proud and selfish always seemed to have everything, and have it easy.

The fact is, the godless and selfish chase their God of stuff and notoriety.  Those two gods are flashy and make things seem super on the surface–but, in reality, they are  like cotton candy.  They melt away with no substance or real value. People that chase those Gods, find themselves empty and broken in the end.  The Psalmist recognized that fact–but it was almost too late.

If we can recognize this life as the journey, not the destination; then, we will not get caught up in the transient and misleading lies of the enemy. We will focus on God and his purpose in our lives; rather than on the world and all that sparkles and shines.  If we stay focused on him, we will not envy the proud, in fact, we may lead a few of them to Christ. Jesus said that if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness than all other things will be added to us! Matthew 6:33.  I would rather wait for what he adds, than chase the cotton candy of this world!!!

God Bless You

Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those whose hearts are pure.
But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
    My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
For I envied the proud
    when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
They seem to live such painless lives;
    their bodies are so healthy and strong.
They don’t have troubles like other people;
    they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
They wear pride like a jeweled necklace
    and clothe themselves with cruelty.
These fat cats have everything
    their hearts could ever wish for!
They scoff and speak only evil;
    in their pride they seek to crush others.
They boast against the very heavens,
    and their words strut throughout the earth.

Psalm 72-What a Blessing

Psalm 72 is the first psalm of Solomon.  As one begins reading it, it is a prayer of blessing for the new king.  It is a great prayer of blessing.  In the prayer, He asks for a just king.  A king that protects the needy, the people that are oppressed.  He prays for justice, for honor and for his enemies to recognize that he is God’s king.  It is a prayer for God’s favor, men’s recognition and the world’s response to a king that God protects and promotes.  Amazingly, it is not until the end of the psalm, that we realize it is not Solomon’s prayer at all–but David’s.  It is the prayer of a father for the son that will carry on where he left off.  It changes from  bold and confident prayer of a boy to a loving blessing from a dad.

We as parents need to pray for our kids.  They will be the ones that carry on after we are gone.  They are the ones that will continue to build, Lord willing, long after we are done. We who have children, know that there is nothing we would not do help our kids be what they  can be. Why not do the most important thing–bring them before God and place them under his hand of mercy.  As we do, we cannot assure that they will not face trials and hardships, but, we can assure that God will be there for them, with them and by them as long as we have breath to pray. 

God Bless You

Give your love of justice to the king, O God,
    and righteousness to the king’s son.
Help him judge your people in the right way;
    let the poor always be treated fairly.
May the mountains yield prosperity for all,
    and may the hills be fruitful.
Help him to defend the poor,
    to rescue the children of the needy,
    and to crush their oppressors.
May they fear you[a] as long as the sun shines,
    as long as the moon remains in the sky.
    Yes, forever!

May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass,
    like the showers that water the earth.
May all the godly flourish during his reign.
    May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more.
May he reign from sea to sea,
    and from the Euphrates River[b] to the ends of the earth.
Desert nomads will bow before him;
    his enemies will fall before him in the dust.
10 The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands
    will bring him tribute.
The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba
    will bring him gifts.
11 All kings will bow before him,
    and all nations will serve him…

(This ends the prayers of David, Son of Jesse)