Psalm 18 Part 2–God Treats Us Fairly–But, Also Mercifully

To be honest, I do not always want God to treat me according to my righteousness. David, in his younger days, was so excited about God protecting him according to his righteousness.  Still, in the end–I am so grateful that God is equally merciful and full of grace.  

There is a great sense of peace, when we submit to his leadership and follow his ways. David felt unstoppable.  He knew God would be there whatever the danger; whatever the need.  He also knew that God would deal with his enemies–their deceit and evil would haunt them and cause their demise. 

Still, in the midst of that, God looks at each of us and deals with us justly, but mercifully.  Like any father, he weighs the costs of our choices and allows us to walk through the trials and consequences. Still, he stays with us and so many times he grants us mercy–when none is deserved. David, in later years, would come to love God for his grace and mercy. He would stand as a broken man, but venerated king–all due to God’s grace.

During this week of Thanksgiving, as we count the many gifts we have been given, the greatest of them is God’s grace and mercy. Love that restored a broken relationship of hopelessness and death; to an eternity of love and life. I am so glad God meets me where I am–but with love and an open hand.

God Bless You

The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
    I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
    but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop[e];
    with my God I can scale a wall.

Psalm 17 Part 2–The Apple of God’s Eye

One simply does not mess with the “Apple of Daddy’s Eye”!  That is what the enemy and the world seemed to have forgotten in David’s day, and still forgets this day!  David was God’s beloved King.  Saul had been Israel’s first King–but God used the people’s criteria–“We want a King like everyone else!” Saul was a king like every other. Selfish, Godless and corrupt.

 

Conversely, David was a man after God’s own heart–He was truly the apple of God’s eye.  From Goliath forward, David wanted nothing more than to please God, and be his man for Israel. Because of that, God protected, prepared and provided for him–until David was the king of a mighty and united Israel.  He was chased by the finest of every adversary; including Saul and Absalom–his own son. Still, He was a beloved, prosperous king to the end of his days.

 
God calls us to trust and follow him. As we do, like David, we become the apple of God’s eye.  He will do for us exactly what he did for the mighty King of Israel–protect, prepare and provide for us.  So, as we go into the week of Thanksgiving, we need to determine whether we want to be the King like everyone else (Saul) or the Apple of our Heavenly Father’s eye (David).  Just call me “Honey Crisp!!!”
 
God Bless You

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,

Psalm 9 Part 1–God, Our Shield and Fortress

When one stops and considers how active God is in our lives, it is awe inspiring.  We as a people need to recognize the great things God has done for us, and how he has preserved us in the midst of this chaotic world.  It is no secret that through his love and sacrifice–God has restored our ability to walk with him and have fellowship with him. He has freed us from sin and death.  We are his chosen, and are secure behind his shield and fortress.

Our enemies–in the world, and in the spiritual realm, cannot defeat God.  They are useless against him.  So, as we follow his lead–we watch as he devastates them, and clears a path for us.  He protects us in our journey.  He provides for us as we move forward. We see his hand in our lives each day and in various aspects–simply, to remind us, that he will always be there. He loves us and hates those that hate us–He is on our side! Those who choose to stand against us–truly stand against him! That is a place no one longs to be!

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 7–When Choosing, The Smart Kings Pick God

There was no king like David.  He alone demonstrated the true understanding of being the king of a nation of priests. He actually lived a life in submission to God.  In doing that, He also trusted God to meet the needs of the king and the nation.  He was always under attack–whether Goliath, Saul, the Philistines, his son or anyone else–David learned early on; it was his dependence on God that always brought him a victory and kept him safe from death.

While David realized he was not the boss, he was the most loved and venerated king of Israel. He was large and in charge.  His men would die a thousand deaths for him. His God loved him despite his frail humanness. He led Israel to become a power in the region.  He finally brought peace back to a nation that had been at war for generations.  Still, in the midst of all his success and struggle–he never forgot he was under the leadership Of God.

Like David, we need to live a life under God’s authority. When we choose God over the world–he prepares, provides and protects us from the enemy.  As his chosen, we gain the respect and the peace that only he can provide.  Make no mistake–there will be battles, trials and temptation throughout the journey, but, in choosing sides, the wise money is always on God!

God Bless You

Lord my God, in You I put my trust;
Save me from all those who persecute me;
And deliver me,
Lest they tear me like a lion,
Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

Lord my God, if I have done this:
If there is iniquity in my hands,
If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me,
Or have plundered my enemy without cause,
Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me;
Yes, let him trample my life to the earth,
And lay my honor in the dust. Selah

Arise, O Lord, in Your anger;
Lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies;
Rise up for me[b] to the judgment You have commanded!
So the congregation of the peoples shall surround You;
For their sakes, therefore, return on high.
The Lord shall judge the peoples;
Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness,
And according to my integrity within me.

Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end,
But establish the just;
For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.
10 My defense is of God,
Who saves the upright in heart.

Elohay Mikarov – God Who Is Near: Jeremiah 23:23, Psalms 73:28,Psalms 34:18, Psalms 145:18

It sometimes feels like we are facing this journey alone. At least, that is what our enemy would have us believe. The truth is, we serve a God that remains near to us at all times.  What an irony, when we consider the sheer magnitude of the universe. Alpha Centauri, the next closest star from earth is 4.367 light years away which is approximately 25,671,408,688,655.13 miles. Consider the billions of stars and galaxies in the vast universe–and then think about the fact that the same God that placed them stays near to us at all times.
 
Like anything else, we always have time for what is important to us.  The most driven people will stop in their tracks when they have a serious illness.  Or the most focused people will change course immediately for their family–especially their kids. That is why the God that spread the stars across the night skies remains near to us.  He loves us and gave his life as a sacrifice for us.
 
When we pray, He hears us. When we are seemingly alone, He is with us.  His spirit dwells within us to lead, teach and comfort us. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. God is not some distant, aloof patriarch that turns a blind eye to the current state of affairs.  Instead, he loves us hears us and most importantly remains with us throughout the journey.  We must never forget–God created us for the purpose of being in relationship with us.  He desires nothing more than to be close and be a part of our lives. We must never take that for granted, nor should we ever deny the fact he is simply one prayer away. Elohay Mikarov–My God who is near at all times! 
 
God Bless You
Jeremiah 23:23

“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off?

Psalm 73:28

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.

Psalm 34:18

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 145:18

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

Jehovah Nissi (I AM the Banner)–Exodus 17:15

It is a great comfort to know that God battles for us. In the midst of the spiritual war we face on a daily basis, we can stand confidently–knowing, that it is God who is at work in and through us to win the battle. God, as our father, acts as our banner of victory against our enemies.  As  the Israelites were marching to freedom, the Amalekites decided to attack and raid God’s people.  Moses, with hands raised to Heaven, saw God defeat the Amalekites and promise their ultimate destruction.  God became the banner of victory for Israel.

Moses built an alter to God at the site of the battle and he called it Jehovah Nissi–God is our banner of victory.  We carry the same banner of victory in our hearts. Jesus’s death and resurrection defeated the hold sin and death had over us and restored our relationship with God.  As we march along on this journey, our very lives display God’s banner of victory.  In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul reminds us that if we are in Christ, we are new creations, the old is gone and the new has come. Our new lives in Christ remind us of the banner of victory we have through our Lord.  Each day, each prayer, each time we see his hand in our lives; we see God as that banner of victory we wave; knowing, we are a part of the army of God.

God Bless You
Exodus 17

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”

15 Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. 16 He said, “Because hands were lifted up against[c] the throne of the Lord,[d] the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

El-Shaddai (Almighty Sustainer) Genesis 17, Exodus 6

 EL-Shaddai has a two-fold  meaning among the many names of God.  God himself uses this name in his personal references to Abraham and Moses.  The name means “God Almighty”, but, it also carries with it the aspect of sustainer and protector.  When God spoke to Abraham and entered into covenant with him, he said he would make Abraham the father of many nations. In that promise, God spoke of his might; but, also he also spoke of his protection and provision.  

In Exodus, when God called Moses to free Israel, He introduced Himself as the Almighty God that built Israel and promised Canaan, to the Israelites as their land. Once again, his might unquestioned, and his promise to deliver and sustain his people–in focus. God, as he addresses those he has called, not only reminds them of his might, but, he reminds them of his desire and ability to sustain them. Abraham, Moses, Job, Ruth all saw God as the almighty sustainer of life.

So, we also need to revere God’s power and believe in his ability to sustain and lead us on this journey.  His covenant with Abraham includes us, his adopted children.  We walk by faith, knowing the God that built Israel, led them to freedom and gave them the promised land–is equally committed to our deliverance, provision and safe completion of this journey, the amazing journey he has laid out for us!

God Bless You

Genesis 17

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to himand said, “I am God Almighty[a]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram[b]; your name will be Abraham,[c] for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

Exodus 6

God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty,[a] but by my name the Lord[b] I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant