Psalm 18 Part 1–God Does Not Take Kindly…

David lived a life devoted and grateful to the Lord.  He wrote this Psalm after God delivered him from Saul and David’s other enemies.  It was indeed no small task.  Saul spread lies and devoted massive resources to the undoing of David and his mighty men.  David hid in the rocks and caves, ran from country to country to avoid the wrath of Saul. There were so many days that the Lord hid the young king when his enemies were only a short distance away.

In all the years of being on the lamb, David learned that God would both protect and provide for him.  It was never as easy as David would have liked, and the trials often left David at the end of his rope.  Still, hanging by a thread, David never lost his heart for God.  He prayed without ceasing, and he kept focused on God’s promise of deliverance to his anointed King.

David started this song by expressing his grateful heart at God’s response to David’s plea.  God came as an avenging warrior on David’s behalf.  God was neither passive nor indifferent, instead, He came as a Father caring for His beloved and endangered child. God was enraged and engaged at the deliverance and restoration of David.

We need to understand that God is as enraged and engaged for us when we face attack.  God hears our cries.  The Lord will meet our needs and restore us, as we follow His plan.  Like David, we will face days that feel like the end, but if we will continue to trust and follow the Lord, He will make all things right.

We, like David, will one day stand and sing with great joy at God’s deliverance and restoration in our own lives.  We need only follow the Lord’s plan humbly and faithfully to see God sweep in and complete His mighty work.

God Bless You

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

Psalm 17–David Allows God to Make the Call

In this psalm, David stands before God and allows Him to be the judge.  He is being accused of being evil and sinful, but David refuses to simply hide from the ​accusations.  Instead, David calls upon the Lord to be both judge and advocate.  David makes his case for innocence before the Father and asks God to show him if that is not true.  Confident in his purity of heart and life, David then asks God to take up his cause and destroy the accusers.  

David is confident in His life, but, more importantly, David is confident in the Lord.  He watched God deliver him time after time.  God did that because David trusted Him.  Now during the attacks by his enemies, David once again stands confident in God’s power to deliver him and to exonerate him from the wrongful accusations.It is a lifetime of faith that allows us to also look to God as both our judge and advocate.  Like David, we stand before God, and He sees and knows our very heart and actions.

  If we diligently seek the Lord, God will not only forgive and exonerate us from the accusations of our enemy, but He will also go before us and clear the way for our next steps.  The Lord cares for us as His chosen ones. He loves us personally and will fight for us.  We simply need to walk humbly before the Lord and allow Him to transform us into His image.God is our Savior, our advocate, and our protection through the attacks of the enemy.  We are so blessed to receive such a great gift of salvation.

God Bless You

Hear me, Lord, my plea is just;
    listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer—
    it does not rise from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from you;
    may your eyes see what is right.

Though you probe my heart,
    though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
    my mouth has not transgressed.
Though people tried to bribe me,
    I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
    through what your lips have commanded.
My steps have held to your paths;
    my feet have not stumbled.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love,
    you who save by your right hand
    those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
    from my mortal enemies who surround me.

10 They close up their callous hearts,
    and their mouths speak with arrogance.
11 They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
    with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion hungry for prey,
    like a fierce lion crouching in cover.

13 Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
    with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
14 By your hand save me from such people, Lord,
    from those of this world whose reward is in this life.
May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies;
    may their children gorge themselves on it,
    and may there be leftovers for their little ones.

15 As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
    when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

Psalm 16–The Golden Psalm

Scholars have agreed that Psalm 16 is prophetic and describes a prayer from the Lord Jesus to His Father.  As one reads the work, it is striking to think of the conversation between Son and Father.  Jesus was God Man and as Paul so eloquently described in Philippians 2 Jesus emptied Himself of His Godhood and became a willing and humble sacrifice.  He did so eyes wide open.  ​

Make no mistake, Christ’s sacrifice was just that! As David penned this prayer, who would have guessed it the prayer of the “Son of David, the Son of Man.”  David allows us to listen in to our Savior’s prayer to the Father and understand Jesus’ passion for the Father and love for us.

I pray we too can embrace the Lord’s heart for the Father and complete faith.  God asks us to follow Him and trust Him as Jesus did.  If we will, we will also experience the true peace and fruit that comes from living sacrificially like Christ.

God Bless You

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 15–God’s Kind of People

After speaking about those that ​despise God and are foolish and rebellious, David focuses on what God looks for in people. The theme is clear, Godly people are focused on the needs and lives of others and not on themselves.  Godly people would never hurt or slander others but would instead seek to uplift the needy and ignore those that do evil.

They tell the truth and keep their word even when doing so hurts. they support the poor and needy without judging or expecting a return for that support.  They seek to honor God and love others above all else. God loves to honor those that live holy lives.  He truly seeks to uplift them and make their lives count.  David wanted to be that kind of man and that kind of king.

  In our lives, we too want to be those kinds of people.  We also want to honor God with our thoughts and actions.  We want to please Him and love and help others. We want our focus to be upon God and we want all that we do to honor Him.  God knows our hearts and He will assist us to be the ones He loves and upholds.  We must trust God and allow Him to carry us through. 

God Bless You

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
    Who may live on your holy mountain?

The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
    who does no wrong to a neighbor,
    and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
    but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
    and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
    will never be shaken.

Psalm 14–A fool’s Perspective

David’s psalm is very clear.  The fool says in his heart there is no God.  In other words, foolish people decide they are God.  They do what they want and hurt whoever gets in their way.  It is easier, in their mind to ignore and discount God than it is to submit to His plan.  

David reminds us that while we may ignore God, He does not ignore us.  He looks for any that are willing to follow Him.  Still, men in general would rather be their own God than to trust the one true God.  while that is true, there has been and is an overwhelming dread for those that try to run their own lives.

First, they are not able to do it.  They try, but in the end, they are destroyed. In addition, men were made to have a relationship with God.  David knew God would provide the means to restore that relationship.  In the last verse David recognizes that salvation will come from Zion, and it did, through our Lord and Savior Jesus.  What a great pleasure that was for the Lord Jesus to seek and to save those who are lost.

We can experience the prophecy David sang about.  We only need to ask, and God will come into our lives and restore us.  It is a blessing and a great gift.  Thanks Lord, for giving us the means to acknowledge you are God and we are your chosen people.

God Bless You

The fool[a] says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt.
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread.
    they never call on the Lord.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
    for God is present in the company of the righteous.
You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is their refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When the Lord restores his people,
    let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

Psalm 13–How Long, Lord?

David is clearly at his wit’s end.  He has prayed all the prayers, heard all the cliche’s.  He has started his share of days with a new attitude, but still the king is feeling alone, unprotected, and defeated.  He is at the point of giving up.  He does not think he can go any farther.  So, as a man after God’s own heart, He simply asks, “How long, Lord?

“David’s frustration stemmed from his desire to take God at His word. He was God’s anointed king and relied upon God for both His personal life and the life of His people.  If David, as God’s man, was not hearing from God; then how could he trust in God’s provision for his people.

Still in the end, the truth remains.  God is the only answer to the questions related to navigating this life. David watched God lead, guide, and protect him from his shepherding days through battles, Saul, Jonathan, and David’s own sin and distrust.  Now again, David is forced to wait on God and trust God to do what He always promised.  No small task for a king.

Then and now, faith is tough, and trusting God in tough times is difficult, at best.  We, like David, need to exercise that faith and a great deal of patience to finally experience God’s protection and execution of His plan in our daily lives.

The enemy would have us give up and take over our life management.  Then Satan could marginalize or even destroy any impact we could have in the lives of others.  If, however, we continue to seek God and trust Him through the difficult times, then we will ultimately see God’s plan executed flawlessly.  

It is that promise as well as God’s great track record of leadership that brings us where David ended up.  David ended His song by admitting God was faithful and Had David’s life in hand.  We need to admit the same and honor God with each passing step, even when those steps seem difficult and precarious.

God Bless You

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

Psalm 12-David Goes there, the World Stinks!

In a word, the world stinks.  People have become so evil, that God is the only trustworthy being left.  What is more, the people do not care that you know this.  That is what David was crying out to God thousands of years ago.  His son, Solomon told us that there is nothing new under the sun, and thousands of years later, Solomon is right.  

2022 is a year with the very same issues David experienced.  There are none righteous.  People today live for themselves and seek their own desires over anyone, no matter what the cost or who it hurts.  That is demoralizing and demotivating.  The great news is that God is still trustworthy.  He seeks to save those who are lost.  He seeks to provide the full and meaningful life for those who diligently seek Him.  It is our responsibility to choose to follow God’s path.  Once we do, He will fulfill our needs and provide a full and meaningful life. 

God’s promise of salvation is the only avenue left that we could trust.  All roads the world offers to provide end in emptiness and death.  Jesus told us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except by me. John 14:6. The alternative is being lost, alone in lies and in death.  That has been the plight of men from the time of Adam.

  David recognized that God alone provided the answers to men’s evil and death.   Even in the old testament, God provided the only means to salvation and restoration.  David looked to the Lord for that salvation and restoration; and even though the Messiah had not yet come to earth, God still wanted to provide a means of hope for what would otherwise be a hopeless situation. 

In our world, Christ has risen and provided salvation for all who would trust and follow Him. So, even in a world that stinks, with people that are selfish, and self-absorbed, God gives us hope and restoration if we will simply accept His gift of Salvation.

God Bless You

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
    those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbor;
    they flatter with their lips
    but harbor deception in their hearts.

May the Lord silence all flattering lips
    and every boastful tongue—
those who say,
    “By our tongues we will prevail;
    our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord.
    “I will protect them from those who malign them.”
And the words of the Lord are flawless,
    like silver purified in a crucible,
    like gold[c] refined seven times.

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
    and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
    when what is vile is honored by the human race

Psalm 11–David’s Heart for God

In my mind, the first line of this Psalm says it all.  “In the Lord I take refuge.”  This, from a man that lived on the run for so many years, hiding in fields and caves with Saul literally sometimes only inches away. This king was not perfect, but he knew God and knew that the Lord was his salvation, protection, provision, and refuge. 

How easy it could have been for David to place his confidence in his 30 mighty men.  They were incredible warriors and loyal unto death to the king.  While David did love these soldiers, David never looked to them for safety.  Additionally, He could have relied upon his own skill and wits.  After all, he had defeated bears, lions , giants, armies, and godless kings.  While he was a valiant and strategic warrior that was not David’s heart either.  ​

David was truly in love with the Lord.  In good times and in bad, David always looked to the Lord.  What is more, God remained faithful to David through David’s years of righteousness and even when David walked away from God.  The love each had for the other was obvious and should be coveted by all of us.  

God never expected us to live a perfect life.  But the Lord calls us, as His chosen, to surrender to His leadership.  The surrender is not hands raised in fear as to an enemy, no, instead, it is simply trusting and following the experienced guide on a treacherous and unnavigable path.  If we will trust God, he will gladly be our refuge, strength, provision, and protector.  He loves us and wants us to have a full and meaningful life.

David’s son Solomon said it best, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart.  Do not lean on your own understanding. Acknowledge God in all your ways and He will make your paths straight!” Proverbs 3:5-6.

God Bless You

In the Lord I take refuge.
    How then can you say to me:
    “Flee like a bird to your mountain.
For look, the wicked bend their bows;
    they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
    at the upright in heart.
When the foundations are being destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?”

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
    his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous,
    but the wicked, those who love violence,
    he hates with a passion.
On the wicked he will rain
    fiery coals and burning sulfur;
    a scorching wind will be their lot.

For the Lord is righteous,
    he loves justice;
    the upright will see his face.

Psalm 10 Part 2–Calling God to Be Our Champion

As David assessed the state of the world, He was very disheartened that the evil people seemed to get all the breaks; and could behave without regard to men or to God.  Rather than simply giving up, or adopting the attitude of joining them, David cries out to God to intervene and to punish the wicked.  David calls God to punish those that are evil. It is not a call to appease evil people, nor is it a call to take evil off the earth.  David is asking God to expose them and punish them.

God is king forever.  He does not have to tolerate evil people abusing those that He has chosen.  So David cries out to the Lord to put an end to the wickedness. David practically hands God an ultimatum for God to pick a side.  David knows that God will choose the oppressed over the oppressor.  While everyone else may lose hope, David, the man after God’s own heart, does not.  David pleads for God to destroy those that would destroy others.

In our world, there is a great deal of evil and oppression going on.  There are many days when it seems that God is allowing evil to win and He is standing back and doing nothing.  Our temptation is to give up.  We quit praying, and quit believing that God cares or will make a difference. 

Like David, we must not give up.  We need to be the people that fall on our knees and call God to stand up for those He loves, and for those that have no one else in their corner.  We have to be the ones to pray.  We cannot expect anyone else to take up that charge.  We can be confident that God will stand for those that are in need and have no one else. Until he does, however, we need to be their advocates. 

God Bless You

Arise, O Lord!
    Punish the wicked, O God!
    Do not ignore the helpless!
13 Why do the wicked get away with despising God?
    They think, “God will never call us to account.”
14 But you see the trouble and grief they cause.
    You take note of it and punish them.
The helpless put their trust in you.
    You defend the orphans.

15 Break the arms of these wicked, evil people!
    Go after them until the last one is destroyed.
16 The Lord is king forever and ever!
    The godless nations will vanish from the land.
17 Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless.
    Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
18 You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed,
    so mere people can no longer terrify them.

Psalm 10 Part 1–Living in an Evil World

When I was younger, I read the Genesis account of Noah and the Ark.  As I read the story, I wondered how God could not have seen the evil of men coming and stopped it before it became irreversible.  Such are the thoughts of a child.  I thought, how bad could people be, after all.  As I mature, I watch the world around me spin farther and farther out of control and evil continues to become the rule and no longer the exception.  I wonder, “How does this happen?”

David wondered as well.  Through the psalms, David makes several references to the seeming good fortune of the evil as compared to the trials of the righteous.  In Psalm 10, David paints a picture of one that does evil right under God’s nose, without limit or without consequence.  One can sense the disheartened spirit of defeat David must have felt.  David is not only saddened for the victims of evil, but he is equally angered on God’s behalf.  Evil men exploit any and everything they can reach and scoff at God for failing to notice or change things.

In truth, nothing goes unnoticed with God. God promises He will settle all accounts.  One must remember that our time on earth is, but a whisper and the judgement of God is eternal.  We can never lose hope or surrender to evil as the champion. It simply is not so. The victories are short lived, and the evil one is doomed to an eternity of absolute judgement and pain. Still, as we face each day, it is difficult not to fall into despair and want to throw in the towel.

As we battle through life, it is important for us to keep our eyes focused upon the prize.  Jesus told us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to us.  Matt 6:33.  Paul reminded the Colossians to set their hearts and minds on things above where Christ is seated Col 3:1-3.  He told the Philippians 3 to remember that our citizenship is not here, but, in Heaven.  If we can do that, we will keep the faith and see the victory awaiting those who trust and follow our Lord. That will fill our otherwise saddened lives with new hope and new joy.
God Bless You

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
    who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
    he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous;
    your laws are rejected by[b] him;
    he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
    He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”

His mouth is full of lies and threats;
    trouble and evil are under his tongue.
He lies in wait near the villages;
    from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
    like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
    he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
    they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
    he covers his face and never sees.”

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