Psalm 9 Part 1–Walking in Confidence

As David was blessed by God, He sang of the Lord’s  attributes. In this Psalm, David lists the qualities of God that have impacted the king’s life and reign.  David recounts qualities that show God’s power and His love for those God has chosen. He goes before us in battle. He turns our enemies back and ultimately destroys them erasing their presence from history.  God also acts as our advocate, our refuge, our strength, and our stalwart friend that will not forsake us under any circumstance.  Such a God deserves our trust and praise.  We need to shout from the roof tops How great God is.

Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:7 that whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy needs to be the focus of our thought.  In the psalm, David does that very thing.  He is focusing upon God and His wonderful attributes. David’s focus on God gives the king confidence to trust God in all circumstances.  Conversely, if David focused upon the circumstances that he faced, it might shake David to his core and prevent Him from shepherding his nation.

The lesson for me is simple.  God is great. He is our advocate, strength, protection and refuge when times get tough.  We can be confident that the Lord will come through; He has done so many times.  If we will simply focus on that, then as we move forward in life, we can do so confidently; not because of what we have done, but, because of who God is and what God  has done.

God Bless You

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
    I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

My enemies turn back;
    they stumble and perish before you.
For you have upheld my right and my cause,
    sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.
You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
    you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
    you have uprooted their cities;
    even the memory of them has perished.

The Lord reigns forever;
    he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
    and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 8–The Majesty of God

The God that created the planets, stars, and galaxies considers us the crown of His creation.  Personally, I look at human beings and do not understand what God sees in us.  His love and Grace is one of the greatest mysteries to me.  God has placed people in special relationship.  He made men a little lower than the angels, but established them over all living things on earth. 

  If it were up to me, I would have replaced people long ago.  We are a mess.  But the patience of God is only one aspect of His majesty.  He is a gracious God and while He continues to act as our advocate, people have done little to earn the grace and forgiveness God has displayed.

It requires the mind of God to understand His ways.   Ironically, to become like God, we must become selfless and humble.  When people are in crisis, they sometimes display glimpses of God.  selflessness and sacrifice are the hallmarks of the image of God. Many think they have to prove they are great and lofty to be Godlike, Not so, it is the the things one does for God or for others that point us to God’s majesty.

Paul reminds us in Philippians 2 that selflessness is what makes Jesus stand with God.  Paul said that it was Jesus humility and sacrifice that caused the Father to raise Him to the highest place and given Jesus the name that is above every name…He is the true Majesty of God.  Jesus has brought salvation to men and restoration to all mankind.  As it is written, God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.

God Bless You

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?[c]

You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]
    and crowned them[f] with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their[g] feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 7–God our Advocate and Protector

There simply are times that the only way one will make it through is when God is acting as the advocate.  David is crying out to God to be the advocate against his enemy.  David is clear, unless God intercedes it will end poorly.

David asks God to judge his heart and his actions.  If I am in the wrong God, then let me have what I deserve.  But if I come to you in righteousness, please rip my enemies to shreds.  It is critical for David that His faith and trust be in God.  He is living a life of righteousness and now he is trusting God to be His protector.

In our lives, we to need to seek God and His sufficiency for our lives.  Our enemy is formidable and wants to at least ​neutralize our impact and at most destroy us.  Like David, we must seek God and walk with Him.  Then, during trials, we must allow God to be God!  He will protect us.  He will meet our needs.  We simply must trust the Lord to the end and allow Him to carry out His plan in our lives.

When we do, He is glorified, and we are the beneficiaries of His grace and power.  What can be better than that.

God Bless You 

Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
    save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
or they will tear me apart like a lion
    and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

Lord my God, if I have done this
    and there is guilt on my hands—
if I have repaid my ally with evil
    or without cause have robbed my foe—
then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;
    let him trample my life to the ground
    and make me sleep in the dust.[c]

Arise, Lord, in your anger;
    rise up against the rage of my enemies.
    Awake, my God; decree justice.
Let the assembled peoples gather around you,
    while you sit enthroned over them on high.
    Let the Lord judge the peoples.
Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,
    according to my integrity, O Most High.
Bring to an end the violence of the wicked
    and make the righteous secure—
you, the righteous God
    who probes minds and hearts.

10 My shield[d] is God Most High,
    who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
    a God who displays his wrath every day.
12 If he does not relent,
    he[e] will sharpen his sword;
    he will bend and string his bow.
13 He has prepared his deadly weapons;
    he makes ready his flaming arrows.

14 Whoever is pregnant with evil
    conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
    falls into the pit they have made.
16 The trouble they cause recoils on them;
    their violence comes down on their own heads.

17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
    I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 6-Prayer’s Power in our Weakened Moments

I really love the days when I wake up praising God joyfully and living in the center of His will.  In the times, when I am struggling, frail and feeling separated from God, it is hard to sing the songs to glorify God.  David found himself in the same position.  Psalm 6 was written in a sad time of David’s life.  David was emptied of his confidence and strength because sin had defeated him.  David continues to seek and trust God despite his frailty.  While struggling, David experiences God’s grace and restoration.

From powerless to empowered, from defeated to victorious, David sings of God’s redemption in the presence of all who would defeat him.  The heartening element of this song is that David did not recapture God’s favor because of his saintliness; no, instead He was at his most frail and vulnerable when God’s grace surrounds and restores the king.

Personally, I cling to all these Psalms. They serve as reminders and monuments to all sinners that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  The old testament is filled with stories of failure reclaimed and transformed into victory for those who failed but were willing to admit their sin and submit to God’s authority. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samson, David, Solomon and so many others benefitted from God’s grace when they had no other support. 

Christians have a similar set of promises in the New Testament. John 3, Romans 5, Romans 8, 2 Corinthians 5, all remind us that God’s grace, not our actions, bring salvation and restoration.  We can join David in celebrating that God hears our cry and will forgive, heal, and restore us.  We simply need to admit our need and submit to His leadership.

Jesus said it best, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and sup with them and they with me.” Revelations 3:20

God Bless You

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your wrath.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
    heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish.
    How long, Lord, how long?

Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
    save me because of your unfailing love.
Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
    Who praises you from the grave?

I am worn out from my groaning.

All night long I flood my bed with weeping
    and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
    they fail because of all my foes.

Away from me, all you who do evil,
    for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
    the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
    they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

Psalm 5 Part 1–The Man and Heart of Prayer

Prayer, according to Oswald Chambers, is not the preparation for the greater work. Instead, prayer IS the greater work.  David, in this Psalm, describes the attitude and heart of one that prays. It reminds me of the story in Matthew 6 and Luke 11.  In those gospels, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray. Jesus then prays with them and openly demonstrates the humble heart that seeks first to follow God and His plan. 

As with the Lord’s prayer, David clearly defines the person that will be effective in their prayer. God expects those that appear before Him to do so with humility and reverence.  God has no time to listen to the wicked, the proud , the bullies, or those that live deceitfully and without integrity.

Instead, God expects us to come before Him with a grateful, humble, and expectant heart. He is always happy to entertain us and empathetic to our needs and causes.  God listens and, as our plans line up with the Lord’s; He grants the desires of our hearts.

David is reverently praising God for allowing and answering the prayers of a person seeking Him.  There is no greater source for comfort, provision, protection, or redemption than the throne room of our Heavenly Father.  David knew it, and he took the time to tell the world of God’s compassion and attention. David also took the time to be sure others came to the throne room of God grateful heart and spirit of reverent humility.

God Bless You

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
    consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry,
    my King and my God,
    for to you do I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
    in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you[a] and watch.

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
    evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
    you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
    the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
    will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
    in the fear of you.

Psalm 4–Rest and Peace for a Troubled King

Psalm 4 reflects God’s overwhelming desire to grant peace and rest in all circumstances.  David is on the run from Absalom.  He has been called everything but a good guy.  While the king is not in a good place in his personal and professional life, David recognizes that he safe and at peace while resting in the Lord.

David does not ignore the accusations and threats of his enemies.  David simply camps on the truth that His peace and comfort come from God and God alone.  David knows not to let anger rule the day, it will pull one away from God. Instead, the King focuses on who God is and what God offers to those that seek Him with a humble heart and spirit.

Our enemies lie, ​threaten, and accuse us of everything under the sun.  Despite the world’s attempts to destroy us, if we will simply trust the Lord, rest in Him, and derive our peace and comfort from following Him; then, we will know true peace and rest. 

In our current culture, true peace and rest seem almost extinct.  People chase the illusive peace through money, power, substances, and entertainment.  David reminds us that Adonai, our Father, is our sole source of peace in his and in our generation. It is hard to remember that there really is nothing new under the sun. The struggles we face were faced in David’s time as well.

Most of the Bible’s trials repeat in both the old and new testament and have continued throughout history. That is why Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13, 19 that he had learned the secret of being content in all circumstance knowing that he could do all things through Christ, and that God is faithful to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory.

David’s verse reminds us to rest in the Lord and ignore the lies and taunts of our enemies and the world.  If we trust God, then God himself will provide that peace and rest the world cannot find or claim.

God Bless You

Answer me when I call to you,
    O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles.
    Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people ruin my reputation?
    How long will you make groundless accusations?
    How long will you continue your lies? Interlude
You can be sure of this:
    The Lord set apart the godly for himself.
    The Lord will answer when I call to him.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
    Think about it overnight and remain silent. Interlude
Offer sacrifices in the right spirit,
    and trust the Lord.

Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
    Let your face smile on us, Lord.
You have given me greater joy
    than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

Psalm 3–God the Deliverer

David was no stranger to adversity.  He fought bears and lions as a young shepherd.  He defeated Goliath and hosts of Philistines as a young warrior prince for Saul.  He remained a fugitive for years running and hiding from his father-in-law.  Each day, Saul’s primary goal was to end David’s life.  Even after Saul and Jonathan died, David spent years attempting to unify Israel.

Psalm 3 was written as
Absalom was attempting to overthrow David and humiliate his father before the people.  As David fled from his son, he penned this psalm as a reminder to himself that God is his deliverer.  David had his mighty men, well trained ​troops, and a united nation.  Still,
Absalom had shaken the very core of his kingdom and left David as a fugitive once again.

David remembered that the only true deliverance we receive comes from God our Father.  Whether 1 or 10,000, David relied on God to protect and uphold his kingdom.  We also need to fully rely upon God.  No amount of personal power, wealth, or strength can ever provide the same security or provision that our Lord can provide.

When we encounter trials and tribulation in our lives, it is very tempting to rely upon our own abilities and influence to deliver us.  As God’s chosen, we soon realize that it is the Lord’s love, and provision that also delivers us. The same love and deliverance He provided King David, a man after God’s own heart, that meets and exceeds our expectation.  Like David, we can never forget that in times of prosperity or times of trial.

God Bless You

Lord, how many are my foes!
    How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.”[b]

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
    May your blessing be on your people.

Psalm 2-Prophetic and Reverent

As I study God’s word, the Lord and those that wrote the word, have never wavered about the importance of being reverent to God and His Kingdom. Psalms 2 is a great reminder.  David looks at the anger and rage the men of the nations of the earth feel having to submit to God and the Christ the Messiah. In a word, God is not impressed. 

God has given the world and all within to the authority of the Lord Jesus.  The kicker is that David’s prophetic words came a thousand years prior to Jesus coming on the scene.  Paul reiterates the gift in Philippians 2:8-9, “Therefore God exalted Him (Jesus) to the highest place and gave Him a name that is above every name.  So, that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, in heaven, on earth and under the earth.  Further every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory and praise of God the Father!”

God Has never bristled or retracted from His position of absolute authority. While He loves us, He is still the beginning and the end.  He commands respect and submission and we who submit will be love and blessed.  The rest, well, God will neither be intimidated nor allow them to call the shots.  I look forward to His welcoming call when we come home; not for the Lord to say, “Depart from me, I never knew you!”

God Bless You

Why do the nations rage[a]
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break[b] them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 1 Part 1–Happy New Year

It is a new year, praise God! The Psalms are a collection of some of the most beloved scriptures in history.  David and the other contributing authors share their hearts in each chapter.  They extol God’s greatness in their songs of victory.  They share their anguish as they review various trials and their life condition. The Psalms are a compelling series of snapshots of the writers most genuine and real thoughts about the mighty God they serve.

In Psalm 1, David opens the book with the best and shortest summary of what is the longest book in the Bible.  David contrasts those that seek God and those that do not. David contrasts their lifestyles, The ungodly are defined by whose counsel they value,  their associates, and their disdain and disregard for God and His word. they are never satisfied nor are they happy for the long haul.  they literally dry up and blow away. No matter what direction they turn, it ends badly. 

Conversely, The godly are defined by their love for Adonai and His word.  It is what feeds and protects them in both good times and bad.  David likens them to a tree planted by a river.  Where, even in heat and drought, the tree is fed and thrives. It is not that they do not encounter trials, it is simply that God protects and provides for them during those trials.

In our lives, we must make 2022 the year we seek God, His counsel, and His word.  As we do, we can take root in the Lord, and allow Him to be the stream that feeds and waters us. We can in turn, use his preparation to bear much fruit. Whether that fruit is lives for the Lord, fruits of His Spirit, or simply the fruit of fellowship with others of His chosen; our hearts need to be turned toward the Lord and sunk deeply into His word.

God Bless You

Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do.

But not the wicked!
    They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
    Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
    but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

Best of Isaiah–Isaiah 43

As He has promised many times, God promises the restoration of Israel. Not the Israel that wanted to be like the rest of the world and chase sin and Idols; but instead the Israel the wanted to seek and follow Him.  If Israel would simply seek and follow God, then, God would again meet their needs and help them forge a path into becoming a great nation.

It is ironic that God so carefully set Israel apart from the rest of the nations; only to have them in a constant state of seeking conformity with the world.  God never intended for Israel to be like everybody else. He wanted them to stand out as different–full of peace and purpose. Then they could lead the world back to Him.  He still longs for Israel to be a nation of priests, drawing the world back into relationship with God.

As God’s chosen, we are called to do the same.  We must seek Him and allow Him to lead us.   Then as we are humbly following God, God Himself will do amazing things in our lives and in the lives of others through us.  We need only seek the Lord and follow Him.  He will do the rest.  Help me Lord, to be the type of child that longs to follow you.

God Bless You

“But now listen, Jacob, my servant,
    Israel, whom I have chosen.
This is what the Lord says—
    he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
    and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
    Jeshurun,[a] whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
    and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
    and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
    like poplar trees by flowing streams.
Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’;
    others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
    and will take the name Israel.

The Lord, Not Idols

“This is what the Lord says—
    Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
    apart from me there is no God.
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
    Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
    and what is yet to come—
    yes, let them foretell what will come.
Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
    Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
    No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

All who make idols are nothing,
    and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
    they are ignorant, to their own shame.
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol,
    which can profit nothing?
11 People who do that will be put to shame;
    such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
    they will be brought down to terror and shame.

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