Psalm 66-A Toast to God

Psalm 66 is a song of celebration.  It was probably written for Passover.  It is David’s way of stopping and recounting where He has come as a king, and where the nation Has come as God’s chosen people. 

God brought Abraham from obscurity and built Israel.  Israel has seen very difficult trials, but it has also seen some of the most amazing miracles and leadership that brought them to their current place of prominence.

Here’s to God!

So, David raises His glass, as it were, and says “Here’s to God!” A toast to the Lord that brought this people out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and Jordan River on dry land. God fed them, led them, and loved them through the greatest and worst of times. 

This God allowed horrendous trials and great prosperity to help mold and make this nation.  He forgave a great deal, He blessed a great deal, and he disciplined a “Stiff Necked People”.

It is the same today. Here’s to God! He saved us! He gave His Son. God gave us His word.  God sent the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us as He did Israel.  God hears us! He answers prayer and he gives us eternal life.  God is great and greatly to be praised! Thank You, Lord for being a God we can truly celebrate! Here’s to God!!!

God Bless You

Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
    Sing the glory of his name;
    make his praise glorious.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
    So great is your power
    that your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down to you;
    they sing praise to you,
    they sing the praises of your name.”[a]

Come and see what God has done,
    his awesome deeds for mankind!
He turned the sea into dry land,
    they passed through the waters on foot—
    come, let us rejoice in him.
He rules forever by his power,
    his eyes watch the nations—
    let not the rebellious rise up against him.

Praise our God, all peoples,
    let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives
    and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
    you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
    and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
    we went through fire and water,
    but you brought us to a place of abundance.

Psalm 65–Adoration of a Great and Mighty Lord

For the last several days David has cried out his appreciation for a God that marched with him through adversity after adversity.  Today, however, God’s favorite king stops and takes a different tac.  He simply praises God for who He is and praises God for all He has accomplished. 

Life is tough! Sometimes even though we seek God, it is difficult to not become myopic in our view of God.  We focus so heavily upon His meeting of our needs and preparation for our journey that we loose sight of God as the master creator and a loving caretaker.  David stops and admires creation and he praises God for His handling of all that is majestic.  He looks at mountains, oceans, harvests, and absolute supremacy of God! 

When David looks at the majesty and supremacy of God, his trials, temptations, and travails become insignificant in comparison.  David makes clear this is not about him as king! It is wholly and completely about Who our Creator is and how marvelous of a God that we serve!

One of my frustrations in modern worship is the focus Christians make on God’s taking care of our needs and the lack of focus on the almighty and supreme nature of our Lord.  We each are a small part of an enormous complex plan that is being held together by an all knowing, loving, powerful, and omnipresent God.

It is in the very nature of our creator, that we each must place our hearts and passion.  If we waste our time only being focused upon the benefits we retain from God, we will become a spoiled, soiled, entitled bunch of little brats.

God Bless You

Praise awaits[b] you, our God, in Zion;
    to you our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer,
    to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,
    you forgave[c] our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose
    and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
    of your holy temple.

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
    God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
    having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.

You care for the land and water it;
    you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it.[d]
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
    you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
    and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
    the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
    and the valleys are mantled with grain;
    they shout for joy and sing.

Psalm 64–Allowing God to VIndicate His Chosen and His Anointed

It is important to remember that Davd’s life and reign were filled with strife and with conflict.  While David was the first king to bring peace to Israel, it was a peace that came with much conflict, heartache, and intrigue.  David lived his entire life with enemies, critics, and those that would destroy all that God built through David’s leadership.

This psalm was a reminder to David that no matter how rotten the enemies became, God and God alone would deal with them.  It was the Lord who would destroy David’s enemies in His way, and in His time. 

Since David’s days as a shepherd, he had observed God take out the enemies in the most convincing and final of ways.  Goliath, the Philistines, Saul, and Saul’s minions (like Doeg the Edomite), all met their end in a fashion that made clear God’s hand was against them.

Conversely, God continued to raise King David to prominence after Samuel was led to anoint him. No matter the enemy or plan for David’s demise, God continued to protect David as a leader for Israel and patriarch for the lineage of the Messiah.  In God’s plan, David was to be undefeatable and his legacy eternal.  It is God that wins in His way and In His time.

As God’s chosen ones, we enjoy the same protection and vindication.  We can be assured that our enemies today are under God’s control and will be dealt with as completely and severely as were David’s enemies.  We can only stay focused upon our walk with God and then allow Him to lead us, guide us, and protect us until we join Him after death or until the Lord returns, and we meet Him in the air. Until then, like King David, we must focus our hearts on God and place our faith in the Lord’s plan.

God Bless You

Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint;
    protect my life from the threat of the enemy.

Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
    from the plots of evildoers.
They sharpen their tongues like swords
    and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
They shoot from ambush at the innocent;
    they shoot suddenly, without fear.

They encourage each other in evil plans,
    they talk about hiding their snares;
    they say, “Who will see it[b]?”
They plot injustice and say,
    “We have devised a perfect plan!”
    Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.

But God will shoot them with his arrows;
    they will suddenly be struck down.
He will turn their own tongues against them
    and bring them to ruin;
    all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
All people will fear;
    they will proclaim the works of God
    and ponder what he has done.

10 The righteous will rejoice in the Lord
    and take refuge in him;
    all the upright in heart will glory in him!

Psalm 63–God our Oasis

It was the essence of worship for King David.  He was on the run from Absolom, his rebellious son and in the desert of Judah.  There, in the heart and parched Land, the King’s mind drifted to the Lord. He was so intent on being in God’s presence, that it superseded any thirst from the desert, it overtook any fear from the chase and it filled David like a feast at the banquet.

David was focused upon God, and that focus sustained the king.  David’s Joy and his love for God drove the king to worship the Lord in the difficult times.  That focus would carry David through the rebellion and back to the throne.  Make no mistake; David was devastated that His son rebelled and sought his death.  But, even in that horrendous period, He knew where to turn.  

God our Oasis in the Desert

Like David, we are charged to seek God in the dry, difficult times.  Whatever our physical needs, our spiritual condition always takes center stage. Jesus reminded us in His sermon on the mount, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33. Like David, Jesus knew that seeking God would calm our hearts and then God could work to sustain us physically and spiritually. God Himself becomes our oasis in the desert.

God Bless You

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
    they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
    and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God;
    all who swear by God will glory in him,
    while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Psalm 62–God our Only Answer

This was called the “Only Psalm” by many theologians.  In the original text, David tells us that God is his only salvation, his only shield, his only rock, and his only fortress.  The point being, this psalm is a grateful king’s affirmation that all that he is, has, and does is possible because of the Lord. 

David totally disregards all who would destroy Him.  He knows there simply are none that can compete with the Lord of the universe.

David reminds us that God is our rest, our rock, our salvation, our fortress.  God is our very life.  David simply does not fear any who would try to take life from him. No matter who they are or what force, or armament that they might possess; it is simply no match for God!

In our lives, this same God cares for us as He cared for David! He is OUR only fortress, salvation, provision, and rest.  Amid the storm, God acts like a lovely spa granting us relief and renewal.  The enemy would have us believe that all is lost, and we are abandoned to face destruction on our own.  The enemy would try to lure us away from the safety and love of our gracious and personal God, and into the hands of those that would destroy us.

We have no need to abandon the shelter and safety of our Lord.  We must remain under God’s protection and follow the Lord humbly and without question or fear.  Just as God protected this shepherd king; He will also stand as our fortress and our strength.  No matter how desperate the circumstance, God remains faithful, formidable, and forever our ONLY source of true peace and restoration.

God Bless You

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault me?
    Would all of you throw me down—
    this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Surely they intend to topple me
    from my lofty place;
    they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
    but in their hearts they curse.[b]

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
    the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
    together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
    or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
    do not set your heart on them.

11 One thing God has spoken,
    two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12     and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
    according to what they have done.”

Psalm 61-God our Refuge

David continues to seek God.  David admits that there are times He is overwhelmed, and in those times, there is only one place to go, His refuge and strong tower, God.  As king, it would have been so easy for David to hide in his wealth and power.  David could have “delegated” his troubles to others and hidden behind the throne.  This king, however, being a man after God’s own heart, took refuge in the hands of God.

David knew and lived with God being a strong tower and refuge to him. That reality carried Him through many difficult times. It was so a part of David’s DNA that it was also part of Solomon’s mind set in Proverbs 18.

In our lives,  there are so many places to seek refuge. We can hide behind wealth, power, alcohol, drugs, entertainment, or a host of worldly alternatives to God.  If, however, we will seek refuge in the Lord, He will protect and bless us like He did David.  It will not always be pretty, but we can rest assured that God will meet our needs and protect us from the destruction of our enemy.  

He is a mighty fortress and a strong tower.  We must seek His protection and refuge in our most difficult times.

God Bless You

Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.

I long to dwell in your tent forever
    and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.[b]
For you, God, have heard my vows;
    you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Increase the days of the king’s life,
    his years for many generations.
May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever;
    appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.

Then I will ever sing in praise of your name
    and fulfill my vows day after day.

Psalm 58–God, the Ultimate Warrior

David compares the role of the evil men and false god’s to the ultimate judgement of God.  On the outside, it always seems that the people that do evil triumph.  But David reminds us that God will win in the end. Here is a young king anointed and appointed by God, on the run and being judged a traitor by Saul’s generals and friends.

David knew he had not done wrong.  He remained loyal to Saul even after Saul had started chasing him.  He had several opportunities to kill Saul and gain the throne, but had continued to trust God, instead.  It had to be difficult and demoralizing to continue to trust God when the world seemed to be winning and winning big. But David knew that God would be the one to vindicate him and his men.  David knew that these evil judges would be wiped out in the end.

The Bible reminds us that David does win, and his enemies and critics were destroyed.  God swept in and made all that was wrong, right.  We must rely upon God to do the same for us, His chosen.  When our world seems out of sorts, and we see little hope of victory, that is the time that we, like David, need to lean into God even more.  If we will, the day will come when God makes all things right.  We will see His vindication and know that it was God and not men that maintained control. 

Until then, we need to focus upon God’s care in our lives. We need to cling to the many times He has saved us and been our advocate.  He remains our advocate to the end of time.  Knowing that, it is our choice to follow the Lord and allow Him to defeat our enemies and bless our lives.

God Bless You

Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?[b]
    Do you judge the children of man uprightly?
No, in your hearts you devise wrongs;
    your hands deal out violence on earth.

The wicked are estranged from the womb;
    they go astray from birth, speaking lies.
They have venom like the venom of a serpent,
    like the deaf adder that stops its ear,
so that it does not hear the voice of charmers
    or of the cunning enchanter.

O God, break the teeth in their mouths;
    tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!
Let them vanish like water that runs away;
    when he aims his arrows, let them be blunted.
Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime,
    like the stillborn child who never sees the sun.
Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns,
    whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away![c]

10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
    he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Mankind will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
    surely there is a God who judges on earth.”

Psalm 57–Salvation in Humorous Ways

This psalm originated when David was sure his life was over.  David and his men were on the run; and Saul had chased them down and into a cave.  There, surrounded by troops, all seemed lost.   Then Saul entered the cave and went to the bathroom only steps away from David.  David snuck up and cut the corner from Saul’s robe sparing the King’s life.  When Saul left the cave, David appeared with the corner of Saul’s robe in hand and Saul spared His life and left the area.

It was another of the many times that God brought David through an impossible situation.  As David wrote the song, He gave God the glory for his escape. He also proclaimed that it is and will always be God that saves the day.   I am sure David had many humorous and mean thoughts of how to handle Saul within that awkward situation, but on this day, David was gracious and humble. God’s grace and David’s righteous heart brought David’s rescue and Saul’s continued demise.

In our lives, it is easy to feel life is an impossible situation.  There are days when it seems there is no longer any hope or reason to carry on.  In those moments, God provides a moment to remind us that He, the creator, and Lord, has things well in hand.  Sometimes, the Lord even does it with a little humor mixed in.  We must recognize those moments, memorialize them so that on other difficult days we can remember that God is large and in charge. 

God will complete His plan in our lives. As He does, we will encounter trials and temptations that we can only endure with His assistance.  In those moments, we simply need to embrace His grace and humbly trust and follow God’s lead.

God Bless You

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed.

I cry out to God Most High,
    to God, who vindicates me.
He sends from heaven and saves me,
    rebuking those who hotly pursue me—[c]
    God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.

I am in the midst of lions;
    I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
    whose tongues are sharp swords.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

They spread a net for my feet—
    I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
    but they have fallen into it themselves.

My heart, O God, is steadfast,
    my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
    Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

Psalm 56–When I am Afraid

As a small boy, I had the duty of taking out the trash and placing it in the dumpster behind our house.  The time for this chore was usually after dark and after supper.  As a little guy, I knew there were monsters and creatures outside in the dark so that chore was unnerving to say the least. 

In Sunday school one week, this psalm was the subject.  Verse 3 became the very first bible verse I memorized as a child. “What time I am afraid; I will trust in thee!”  Psalm 56:3. The verse became my Montra on those dark nights traveling out to the trash.  The verse carried me through the many traumatic days and nights growing up and even as an adult! It was a verse my children learned as well.

David knew God was the object of his faith and the answer to his fears.  He was hated by many and the target for scorn and destruction.  Still, David based his life and faith on God’s strength and promise. As such, even when things seemed hopeless, David was able to carry on and remain victorious in the Lord.

We can never forget God must be our fortress, shield, and provision.  Then whenever we are afraid, whether at age 8 or as king of God’s nation, we can trust in God to protect, prepare, and provide for our every need–even when we are afraid!

God Bless You

Be merciful to me, my God,
    for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
    all day long they press their attack.
My adversaries pursue me all day long;
    in their pride many are attacking me.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

All day long they twist my words;
    all their schemes are for my ruin.
They conspire, they lurk,
    they watch my steps,
    hoping to take my life.
Because of their wickedness do not[c] let them escape;
    in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

Record my misery;
    list my tears on your scroll[d]
    are they not in your record?
Then my enemies will turn back
    when I call for help.
    By this I will know that God is for me.

10 In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise—
11 in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can man do to me?

12 I am under vows to you, my God;
    I will present my thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered me from death
    and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.

Psalm 55–David’s Plea Whenever All Seemed Lost

There are days, many of them, in a man’s life when he wants, simply to walk away and fall off the grid.  The forces that we face spiritually, culturally, and personally can both overwhelm and defeat us.  David dealt with that. Chased by Saul, taking over a divided kingdom, Bathsheba and Nathan, Absalom and counting his troops were just a few of the highlighted events of this amazing king that drove him to his knees.

Still, at the end of the day, David always ended up in the arms of the Heavenly Father.  He wanted many times to chuck it and leave; but, always found his way back to God.  There, covered by God’s grace and provision, David became the greatest king Israel ever knew. In a word, that was his distinction–standing in God’s shadow.

In our lives, we were never expected to be perfect. As Paul taught us in Romans, ”God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. If we always make our way back to him, he stands ready to forgive, provide, prepare and protect us–His chosen. As we scan the events in our own lives, like David, it is not the times we fall that define us–it is our willingness to rise and to run back to the one who truly loves and cares for us.

God Bless You

Give ear to my prayer, O God,
    and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!
Attend to me, and answer me;
    I am restless in my complaint and I moan,
because of the noise of the enemy,
    because of the oppression of the wicked.
For they drop trouble upon me,
    and in anger they bear a grudge against me.

My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
    and horror overwhelms me.
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest;
yes, I would wander far away;
    I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah
I would hurry to find a shelter
    from the raging wind and tempest.”

Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues;
    for I see violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they go around it
    on its walls,
and iniquity and trouble are within it;
11     ruin is in its midst;
oppression and fraud
    do not depart from its marketplace.

12 For it is not an enemy who taunts me—
    then I could bear it;
it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—
    then I could hide from him.
13 But it is you, a man, my equal,
    my companion, my familiar friend.
14 We used to take sweet counsel together;
    within God’s house we walked in the throng.
15 Let death steal over them;
    let them go down to Sheol alive;
    for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.

16 But I call to God,
    and the Lord will save me.
17 Evening and morning and at noon
    I utter my complaint and moan,
    and he hears my voice.
18 He redeems my soul in safety
    from the battle that I wage,
    for many are arrayed against me.
19 God will give ear and humble them,
    he who is enthroned from of old, Selah
because they do not change
    and do not fear God.

20 My companion[b] stretched out his hand against his friends;
    he violated his covenant.
21 His speech was smooth as butter,
    yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
    yet they were drawn swords.

22 Cast your burden on the Lord,
    and he will sustain ​you.
he will never permit
    the righteous to be moved.

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