A daily chat with Pastor Mike and other resources to encourage listeners to connect with the Word of God and grow in their faith.
“I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together." David is hiding in the cave of Adullum after he barely escapes from the Philistines at Gath, and at the same time he is fleeing from the wrath of King Saul who is determined to kill him. 1 Samuel 22:1-2 tells us of this experience: “David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.” It is here that David writes Psalm 34. Out of his experience in Gath, David shared in this psalm four instructions for his own followers, as well as for us today, to help us keep out of tight situations and live a life that pleases God. Like David we should, “Bless the LORD” (vv. 1-3), “Seek the LORD” (vv. 4-8), “Fear the LORD” (vv. 9-16), and “Trust the LORD” (vv. 17-22). Why should we “bless the LORD”? Of course, David was delighted to be out of enemy territory (where he probably shouldn't have gone to begin with) and back in the wilderness with his men. Notice the verbs he uses to begin this Psalm. Bless, boast, magnify, and exalt. Positive words of praise and worship. Also, you can't help but notice the number of times the name "LORD" is used. It is used sixteen times in the psalm. It appears that David was speaking to his own men and he was asking them to interrupt warfare and focus on worship. Remember this was basically a band of “outlaws” who were “in distress, in debt, and were discontented”. They definitely needed to refocus! This description suits a lot of us today in America and even in our churches! David, despite his circumstances, chooses to give thanks to the Lord by magnifying Him and exalting His name. Instead of seeing the temporal and the bad he was determined to “see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Paul encouraged us to do the same in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” David reminds his men what the LORD did for him. The LORD answered his prayers (vv. 4, 15). The LORD provided his needs (vv. 9-10). The LORD delivered him from trouble (v. 17). The LORD had protected him from danger (v. 7). David didn't boast about his own cleverness or skill. Instead, he boasted about the Lord, who He is and what He does. David saw God's people as nothing in themselves, for they were only the humble and the poor (vv. 2, 6); but they had everything because they belonged to the Lord. They feared the Lord (vv. 7, 9), they were set-apart ("saints") as His righteous ones (vv. 10, 15,19, 21), and they were the servants of the Lord God (v. 22). Knowing who we are in Christ and who the LORD is ought to make us want to bless the Lord also! God bless!
Today we will begin looking at one of “my favorite” chapters in all the Bible! I have probably quoted more verses from Psalm 34 in my private devotional and prayer times than from any other chapter in Scripture. Especially in times of suffering, disappointment, discouragement, and being overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a husband, a father, and a pastor, I have found great comfort and inspiration and hope by meditating and praying these verses. For starters, here are some of them: “I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears (v. 4). “This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles (v. 6). The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing” (v. 10). And in the second part of the Psalm these verses have greatly encouraged me: “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all” (vv. 17-19). When you know the background to this great chapter you will appreciate it even more and probably relate to it in even a more personal way! The superscription on this psalm tells us it was written by David when the Philistines seized him in Gath. Let us remind ourselves of his situation. David had killed Goliath the Philistine giant of Gath, in the battle of the Valley of Elah. Instantly he becomes a national hero and this kick starts his military and political career. The slaying of Goliath not only spelled triumph for David, it spelled trouble as well. It meant trouble with King Saul, for Saul was instantly jealous of David, wished him ill, and began a campaign of persecution which lasted to the day of his death. First Saul eyed David with a resentful, envious eye. Then twice he cast a javelin at him. He set a gang of bullies to murder David in his bed, he hounded him all over the country. And so it went until David, for all his trust in the Lord, began to weary of this deadly game of hide and seek in and out of the cities and strongholds of Israel. At last, David's faith failed. David then made a decision that I will never understand, he goes down to Gath and seeks asylum with Achish, one of the great Philistine lords. Achish is called Abimelech in the title of this Psalm. The Philistine king is called Achish in 1 Samuel, but the dynastic title of Philistine kings was Abimelech. Egyptian rulers were called Pharaoh and the Amalekite kings called Agag. Too late David realized his mistake, so he pretended to be mad or insane, and he did it so well that the disgusted Achish “drove him away” out of the land. Once safely back in Israel David went to the famous cave of Adullam in the hill country of Judea southwest of Jerusalem. There he waited while his band of fellow outlaws assembled. There he picked up his harp and converted the cave into a cathedral, echoing to the strains of Psalm 34. David wanted his experience and his escape, and above all the lesson he had learned, to be remembered, so he wrote this song and sermon. First David lifted up his heart in gratitude to God, then he gathered his outlaws around him and gave them a sermon. As we look at Psalm 34 we will find that the first part of it is a song, the second part is a sermon. The first part is devotional, the second is doctrinal. Part one shows us the grace of God, part two the government of God. As we read and meditate on this beautiful song and sermon, it is my prayer that you will, “Magnify the LORD with me, And we will exalt His name together.” God bless!
It might be today that you feel like the Psalmist in Psalm 142:4 when he said, “Look on my right hand and see, For there is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul.” The New Living Translation Bible says it this way: “I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me.” We live in a broken world and so often we are broken emotionally, physically and spiritually and we wonder does it really even matter anymore. And we lose our hope for a better tomorrow! My friend, if you feel this way, there is hope and these verses before us today are for you!!!! The LORD is looking down from heaven and He sees you and all your needs, and He cares! (vv. 13-19). Not only does He keep His eye on His individual saints (32:8; 34:15; 1 Peter 3:12), but He watches "all the sons of men" and "all their works." He knows what the saints are doing and what the sinners are doing to the saints! The word translated "look" in verse 14 means "to gaze intently." As God watches, He sees not only the actions of the body but the "thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12). He made the human heart, He understands it better than we do (Jer. 17:9), and He knows our motives (Ps. 11:4; 34:15; 2 Chron. 16:9). It does not matter how big the problems are, or the people seem to be, that are against us. The king's heart is just like the heart of any other man, and no nation can win a war just because it has a big army and a large supply of weapons and ammunition (vv. 16-17). At The Exodus, God looked down at the great Egyptian army and destroyed it (Ex. 14:24). God delivers His people from danger and death, and He keeps them alive when times are difficult. He cares for us (1 Peter 5:6-7). What happens when we believe and worship the LORD in this way (vv. 20-22)? These words may have been expressed by the congregation and choir as the song came to an end with a confession of faith in the living God. Because they had worshipped the Lord, they had peace in their hearts and could quietly wait for Him to work. Their hope had been strengthened, and they looked expectantly for Him to accomplish His purposes in them, through them, and for them. They had confidence in the Lord that He would send help when they needed it (Psalms 30:10; 40:17; 46:1; 54:4; 63:7; 70:5; 115:9-11; 146:5). “He is our help and our shield”. God protects us, not to pamper us but to prepare us to go back into the battle. He is a "refuge and strength" Who hides us long enough to help us. Worship should not only strengthen our inner peace and power, increase our hope, and give us greater confidence in the Lord, but it should also increase our joy. The Psalm begins and ends with the theme of joy. Along with that blessing, we find our faith strengthened as we behold the beauty and glory of the Lord in our worship. "Let your unfailing love surround us" is the closing prayer (NLT), so we have the three great Christian virtues brought together: faith “trust” (v. 21), hope, and love (v. 22). It isn't enough to leave the place of worship simply "feeling good," because feelings are temporary and sometimes deceptive. If we find ourselves loving God and His people more, having greater faith and hope in the Lord, and going forth into the battle of life with greater confidence and joy, then our worship has accomplished what God wanted it to accomplish. Amen!!!! God bless!
"The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations." Where should we go for help with decisions and difficulties of life? Where do you go to get help or counsel to take care of something that is broken and needs fixing? When my heating system quit working here in the middle of the winter, first I was thankful for some warm days. But fixing it was beyond my ability, so I went to the “experts” in the HVAC world. They immediately saw what the problem was and were able to repair the system. It was an expensive fix (over $1,100), but of course it was well worth it to have it working properly! My friend, when your life is broken and you are facing major or even minor decisions and you don't know what to do, you can always go to the One Who knows best and that is the LORD! The biggest decision you will actually make is who you are going to trust to give you the best counsel! And really you only have two choices. You can either trust the world and its ungodly counsel or you can trust the LORD and His Word to get “godly” wisdom and guidance! Remember the very first Psalm? “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly… but his delight is in the Law of the LORD and in His Law he meditates day and night…” (Psalm 1:1-3). There is no one who knows more about life than the One Who created it, and that's the LORD! Psalm 33 is a call to worship the LORD and it is very difficult to worship when you are disturbed, discouraged, depressed and emotionally distraught about things and life in general. That is why the Psalmist here is encouraging us to make sure we go to the LORD for our counsel. Because, “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.” This reminds me of 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” We worship and praise the LORD for His wonderful goodness and character, for His majestic creation, for His marvelous works, and for His powerful Word, but we must also thank and praise the LORD for the wisdom of His counsel (vv. 10-11). People with authority make decisions that affect the destinies of nations, and when God isn't permitted to rule, then He overrules; for His will shall be accomplished. He can turn the policies and plans of a nation into nothingness (Isa. 8:10; 19:3). The will of God for His children comes from the heart of God and is an expression of His love for them, so there is no cause for us to be alarmed or afraid (Jer. 29:11). What a privilege it is for Israel to be the people of God and the Lord's treasured inheritance (v. 12; and Ps. 28:9; 74:2; 78:62, 71; Deut. 4:20; 32:9). Today as His church we are His inheritance and the sheep of His pasture! When you are daily in His Word, and His Word is alive and working in you, and you are being cleansed by His Word and by confession of your sins, His counsel will always lead you in the right way. A couple of my favorite verses in Proverbs are: “A man makes his plans, but the LORD directs his steps….” “Man's goings are of the LORD, how then can a man understand his own way…” My friend, you can absolutely trust the LORD to give you the best counsel for every decision and difficulty you are facing in your life today! (Proverbs 3:5-6) God bless!
"By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." The more I look at and study this chapter, the more it is becoming one of my favorites in the book of Psalms. Actually over the years, whatever verse I'm memorizing, whatever chapter I'm reading and studying, whatever book I'm in becomes my favorite. And for some of you that know me, whoever I'm talking to is my “favorite” person in all the world. So, I have a ton of “favorite”! But you have to admit the longer that we look at Psalm 33 the better we like and love it. Psalm 33 is a call to praise and worship! We are told who should worship, how to worship, and of course we are told Who we should worship and why we should worship Him! We worship the LORD because His Word gives us a knowledge of His character. The LORD is a righteous and holy God, a God of justice, and He is so good that all the earth is full of His goodness! Creation tells us there is a creator God. There is a Designer behind the design! It would be foolish to believe that you could throw a bunch of metal and wires into a hanger, blow them up, and low and behold, an airplane comes out of it that can fly! My friend, it would be just as foolish to believe that the world got here by a big bang billions of years ago. Only God can speak something out of nothing! And we know Who that God is, and how He created it “by the breath of His mouth”! This chapter affirms this great truth! We are called to worship the Creator and praise Him for His wonderful works (vv. 6-9). Out of nothing, He created everything by the power of His Word (vv. 6, 9; Psalm 119:89-91; 147:15, 18; 148:5; Gen. 1:1-2:1; Heb. 11:3). The Word that created the universe is also holding it together (Heb. 1:3; 2 Peter 3:5-7). "The breath of his mouth" may refer to the Holy Spirit of God (Gen. 1:1-2), for "breath" and "spirit" are the same word in Hebrew. "Host" includes the stars and planets (Gen. 2:11), and verse 7 takes us back to Genesis 1:9-10. When you see the heavens above and the earth and seas below, you must marvel at the handiwork of God and stand in awe at the power of His Word. The New Testament affirms this in Colossians 1:15-17, where we read that Jesus, “Is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Also in Hebrews 1:2-3 we read that God, “Has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Goodness! Doesn't this sound like Psalm 33? As we worship the Lord, we must praise the Creator and the provisions He has made for us to live on this planet. We must also resolve to be good stewards and not abuse and waste His wonderful gifts. God bless!
This morning as I was preparing for this chat I kept thinking how the Bible is the oldest Book in history, actually is all eternity, because it is His Eternal Word! (John 1:1-3). As far as humanity is concerned the Bible has survived the ages like no other book. Yet the Bible never grows old! This Bible is His Story, History! When you read and study the Bible you find it has all the answers to all the big questions! Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? And why am I here? Who, what, why and where! The more I read and study the Bible, it seems to be more new, interesting and refreshing as time goes by. It just never grows old. It is a living Book! I was worried when we started this study on Psalms that we might grow weary of all the repetition concerning worship and praise, but today as I was reading and looking at Psalm 33 for our chat, that concern went out the window. Worshipping the True and Living God of creation never grows old! Psalm 33 is a call to worship! We learn who should worship the LORD, and that is the righteous person who is walking uprightly. We are instructed how to worship the LORD! We worship with joyful songs of praise on stringed instruments. And today we are looking at why we should worship the LORD. I'll never forget my first trip to Israel in 1972 with a group of college students from a brand new school, Lynchburg Baptist College, now Liberty University. Israel had just recently gained control of the old city of Jerusalem. Everywhere we heard the young people and adults singing and dancing in the streets and public places. Their songs were happy joyful songs. Songs of rejoicing! Matter of fact most Jewish music is happy type music because their God is the LORD! “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…” (Psalm 33:12). Every time I read Psalm 137, I think of my first visit to Israel. In this Psalm the people of Israel were in captivity in Babylon because of their sins of idolatry and disobedience. It appears that their captors wanted them to sing the “songs of Zion”. This is what the psalmist wrote: “By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion. We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" How shall we sing the LORD'S song In a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:1-4) Why couldn't they sing the LORD'S song? Because His songs are happy joyful songs! When we put the Lord first in our lives and live in obedience to His Word, and we worship Him because of Who He is and because of His character and creation, our hearts will be filled with joy and happiness! We can't help but sing songs of praise and rejoicing if we have experienced His redemption and salvation! The mention of God's Word in verse 4 reminds us that by knowing the Word of God, we get better acquainted with the God of the Word. Creation reveals His existence, power, wisdom, and majesty, but the revelation in Scripture tells us about His mercy and grace and His wonderful plan of salvation. He is a faithful God, a God of truth, righteousness, justice, and goodness. God's throne is built on righteousness and justice (Psalm 89:14; 97:2; Isa. 9:7; 32:1, 17). To eyes of faith, the earth is full of His goodness (v. 5), His glory (Isa. 6:3; Num. 14:21-22), and His praise (Hab. 3:3), and one day will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord (Hab. 2:14). The beauty of both God's character and His creation should elicit from His people songs of praise and thanksgiving. Unless our worship focuses on the character of God, we have ignored the Person who ought to be the center of true worship. I trust your heart is filled with His joy today! God bless!
"Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy. For the word of the LORD is right, And all His work is done in truth.” Psalm 33 begins with a call to worship the Lord, to rejoice in the LORD and praise Him with music. This call to worship included both instruments and people singing! Yesterday we talked about the people who are called to this worship and praise service. They are those who have been redeemed and are righteous in God's sight. This also means that not only do they have heart that is “right” with God, but they are also living and walking in His truth and have a life that is right with Him, and is a witness to the lost world around them. As we said yesterday, it is very difficult to sing songs of praise and rejoicing when we have unconfessed sin in our hearts and lives. We find the motivation for worship and praise in verse 4: “For the word of the LORD is right, And all His work is done in truth.” I'm not sure that there can be “true” and genuine worship without the Word of God involved in some way! In John 4:23-24 Jesus said, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." We might sing praise and worship songs in a church service or a concert and get so emotionally involved that we get “goose bumps” and have a good feeling. But unless our hearts are filled with the truth of God's Word, and we are overwhelmed with Him and His great work of truth and redemption, that found its greatest expression in the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary and His resurrection, maybe only a musician or a song was really worshipped instead of God! In this passage it must be noticed that both voices and instruments were used in public worship at the sanctuary (see 1 Chron. 25). According to verse 3, the voices were to be enthusiastic ("shout for joy") in the Spirit but not demonstrative in the flesh, and joyful in the Lord but not jovial and jolly. The instruments should be played with skill and the players give their very best to the Lord. The "new song" may mean new in time or new in expression. The term is used nine times in Scripture (40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa. 42:10; Rev. 5:9 and 14:3). The Spirit of God can make an old song new to us as we grow in our knowledge of God and His Word, or as we have new experiences, and He can also open our hearts to a song completely new to us. It is sad that some people don't like to learn new songs. Our growth in our appreciation of "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" is one indication of our development in the Christian life. In Ephesians 5:18-20, we learn that true worship begins first with, being “filled with the Spirit”, and then, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Colossians 3:14-17 really puts it all together in a meaningful and powerful way! “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Today, and every day, let us sing with grace unto the LORD a new song because our hearts and lives are filled with His love, His peace, and the Word of Christ is dwelling in our hearts as we give Him thanks! God bless!
“Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the LORD with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy." Today, we will begin to look at Psalm 33. This is one of the few Psalms that does not have a title or inscription at its beginning. We are not sure who wrote it, but most Bible students would conclude that David was the writer because of its location especially next to Psalm 32. Psalms 32 and 33 are linked by their subject which is the mercy and majesty of God. Together they set Him forth as a God of infinite grace and greatness. Psalm 32 deals with God as Redeemer, and Psalm 33 with God as Creator. Psalm 33 seems to have been written in a time of national crisis. Psalm 33 reveals that the God of Heaven is the God of history, for His hand can be seen just as clearly in the way He controls the destinies of men as in the way He creates empires in space. Souls and stars alike bend ultimately to His will. I love what Spurgeon said about Psalm 33. “The praise of Jehovah is the subject of this sacred song. The righteous are exhorted to praise Him in verses 1-3. They praise Him because of the excellency of His character, in verses 4-5, and for his majesty in creation in verses 6-7. Men are bidden to fear before Jehovah because his purposes are accomplished in providence in verses 8-11.” Someone else noted that Psalm 33 is a primer for praise. It is so easy to be overcome and overwhelmed by the cares and problems of this old world and we forget and lose sight of how awesome our God is! But when we start praising the LORD and rejoicing in Him, it seems the windows of heaven open, and the blessings come down. As someone said, “When the praises go up, the blessings come down!” The first few verses of this Psalm are a call to rejoice in the LORD and praise Him. God created us to worship and praise Him and that is what all eternity will be about! Read about this in Revelation 4 and 5. Who is called to worship? Two groups of people are called to Praise the LORD. Verse 1 tells us the “righteous” or those who are godly should praise Him. And verse 8 says: “Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” So, both the godly and the globe are called to this praise! “Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful”. (v. 1) Why should the “righteous” praise and rejoice in the LORD? Interestingly, this verse parallels the last verse of Psalm 32:11: “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” They both remind us that only those who are righteous by faith and obedient in their walk ("upright") can sincerely worship the Lord (Psalm 15; Gen. 15:1-6). It's a fitting and proper thing for those who have experienced the grace of God and his forgiveness (Psalm 32:1-3) to praise the Lord (Psalm 147:1). The LORD is the Creator and cares for us. He is the Lord of all and watches over us. "We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture"(Psalm 100:3). He has redeemed us, and we belong to Him. No wonder in this Psalm, the worship leader exhorted the people to rejoice, praise, play instruments, and sing to the Lord. A sinner who has been saved by God's grace ought to have no problem praising the Lord. My friend, today please let this Psalm speak to you and “prime” your heart and mouth to praise the LORD and rejoice in Him! God bless!
"Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” David begins this Psalm talking about the blessedness or happiness of the man who has his sins forgiven! And now he ends it with some instructions from the Lord and speaks of the joy of the person who has a heart that is right with the Lord. I've always thought that genuine happiness is the outward expression of the inner joy that we can only really experience in Christ Jesus! Jesus told His disciples in John 15:9-11: "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” The joy the Lord is speaking of here is that satisfaction and sense of completeness and fulness of life that is experienced by those abiding in the Father's love and free to do His will and keep His commandments! When David sinned and disobeyed the commandments of God, he lost the joy of his salvation and freedom to worship and enjoy life! Remember in Psalm 51:12 David prayed, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation…”. When we sin as believers, we lose the assurance which gives us the joy of our salvation. We don't feel complete any longer. Something is missing in our life. The first three fruits of the Spirit are love, joy and peace. Our love for the Word and prayer is gone. Our love for fellowship with other believers is gone. We want to avoid them. And the peace of God is gone when we willingly rebel against the Lord's commandments. We lose our joy, but thankfully, we do not lose our salvation! In these last verses of Psalm 32:8-9, God speaks to David, assuring him that the joy of salvation would be restored to him (51:12) if he obeyed the Lord and walked in His way. David's wrong thinking got him into serious trouble, but the Lord would instruct him, guide him, and keep His loving eye on him (Psalm 33:18; 34:15). David's faith (vv. 5-6) must now issue in obedience, for faith and works must go together. God doesn't forgive us so that we can go back and sin! "But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared" (Psalm 130:4). When David gazed at Bathsheba, lusted after her, and then committed adultery, and when he plotted to kill her husband, David saw himself acting like a free man; but God saw him acting like an animal! We are made in God's image, but when we choose to knowingly rebel against God's law, we descend into what the older translations call acting "brutish" (Psalm 92:6; 94:8; Jeremiah 10:8, 14, 21) and modern translations call "senseless." Like the horse, David rushed ahead impetuously, and like the mule, he was stubborn and tried to cover his sins. The only way to control animals is to break them and harness them, but God didn't want to do that to His beloved servant David. Instead, He would teach him His Word and keep His eye upon him, surrounding him with mercy. No wonder David would later say when he wrote Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life….”. He found God's wonderful and sweet forgiveness! Yes, my friend, “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him…”. When we confess our sins and turn from them and experience God's forgiveness we can join with David and say, “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” God bless!
"You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah” David begins this Psalm with praise and thanksgiving proclaiming the blessings of forgiveness (vv. 1-2). He then tells of how miserable he was when he tried for over a year to hide and cover his sin (vv. 3-4). In 2 Samuel 12, we read how the Lord eventually sent the prophet Nathan to David to confront him with his sins and bring him God's word of forgiveness. David's confession "I have sinned against the Lord" was answered with, "The Lord also has put away your sin" (2 Sam. 12:13). The king didn't have to do penance or go on probation; all he had to do was sincerely confess his sins, and the Lord forgave him (1 John 1:9). The burden of transgression had been carried away, the debt was canceled, the twisted was made straight, and the Lord didn't put David's sins on the record. Instead of imputing our sins, the Lord puts the righteousness of Christ on our account, and we are accepted in Him. You can read about this wonderful Biblical truth in Romans 4 and 5; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; and Galatians 3:6. When David was confronted with his sin, he offered no excuses, he simply admitted that he had sinned and was guilty before God. The world we live in today tries to tell us that it is wrong to make people feel guilty about anything. They say you shouldn't feel guilty about being lazy, about being angry, about hurting others, about anything you do that is wrong. But my friend God gave us guilt as an emotion that is actually very good for us. Guilt is to the conscience what pain is to the body. When you feel pain, you know something is wrong and you need to go to the doctor or get some medicine to deal with it. Guilt tells us that something is wrong and must be made right, or things will get worse. For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be found (v. 6). The promise of forgiveness is for everybody. The “godly” are God's children, His chosen ones, and we must confess our sins immediately, when we find them out, and while God may be found (Psalm 69:14; Isaiah 55:9; Proverbs 1:24-33). The waters of chastening will only get deeper and the storm increase, so don't tempt the Lord! David exchanged hiding his sins for a hiding place in the Lord. God removed his troubles and put a wall of protection around him. Did David deserve these blessings? Of course not, and neither do we! But this is the grace of God as found in Jesus Christ our Lord. "God's kiss of forgiveness sucks the poison from the wound," wrote Alexander Maclaren, and that says it all. This doesn't mean that David didn't suffer because of the consequences of his sins. God in His grace forgives us, but God in His government says, "You will reap what you have sown." Bathsheba conceived and gave birth to a son, but the baby died. David's son Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar (2 Sam. 13) and was slain by David's son Absalom. Then Absalom tried to seize the throne and was slain by Joab (2 Sam. 14-18). While David was dying, his son Adonijah tried to take the scepter from Solomon (1 Kings 1), and Adonijah was slain. However, David faced these calamities with God's help and lived to assemble what was needed for the temple so that Solomon, Bathsheba's second son. could build it. After David was forgiven and restored, he went to the sanctuary to worship the Lord (2 Samuel 12:15-23), and there with the other worshipers, he was surrounded by "songs or shouts of deliverance," that is, praise to God for His mercies. That's exactly what David needed to hear! That is exactly what we too need to hear when we go to church on Sundays with other sinners who have found forgiveness! Thank God we can be delivered from the guilt of our sin and find a hiding place in Jesus! God bless!
Yesterday I said that the most joyful, happy, blessed person around is the one who knows that he is forgiven, and his sin is covered and gone (vv. 1-2). Today, I want to talk about the most miserable person around. It is the person who is a believer but has sinned and, in his pride, will not admit it or confess it, but tries to cover it up. The lost person really does find and have pleasure in their sin, even if the pleasure is short lived. Hebrews 11:25 speaks of “enjoying the pleasure of sin for a season”. But James 1:15 also reminds us that the end of sin is always death. The genuine believer can't enjoy his or her sin and at the same time enjoy fellowship with the Lord and other Christians.! They are most miserable! Now in Psalm 32:3-4, David tells his own story and honestly admits what a fool he had been to hide his sins for almost a year. Charles Spurgeon said, "God does not permit His children to sin successfully." The Lord chastened David for almost a year and made him miserable until he stopped lying, humbled himself before God, and confessed his sins. What happened to David during those difficult months? For one thing, he became a physical wreck. He was probably about fifty when he disobeyed the Lord, but he began to feel and look like a sick old man. Usually robust and ready for action, David now had constant pain in his body (see Psalm 51:8) and was groaning ("roaring," KJV) because of it. The hand of God was heavy upon him, and instead of feeling fresh and full of vigor, he was dried up like a plant during a drought (see Psalm 38:2 and 39:10). Did he have a fever that dehydrated him? Whatever it was, he was miserable, for he had a defiled conscience, a worried mind ("When will I be found out?"), and a sick body. But it was worth the pain, for the experience brought him back to the Lord. Chastening isn't a judge punishing a criminal; it's a loving Father dealing with His disobedient children to bring them willingly to the place of surrender. God's chastening is proof that He loves us and that we are genuinely His children. Please read these verses from Hebrews 12:5-13 carefully: The writer of Hebrews first quotes from Proverbs 3:11-12. “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." Then he goes on to say: “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.” Then the writer encourages us with these words: “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” When we cover or try to hide our sins we will not prosper (Proverbs 28:13). God will give us grace to deal with our sin, but we must humble ourselves and receive it. Like I said, I am convinced that the most miserable and bitter people are usually believers who refuse to submit to the Lord's discipline. But thank the Lord for 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God bless!
I am convinced that the greatest human emotion that a person can experience is the sense or the knowledge that they have been forgiven! And that God loves and accepts me! I will never forget the day, February 21, 1971, in Cincinnati Ohio, on the church property of Landmark Baptist Temple, at the house of Dr. Harold Rawlings, around 4pm in the afternoon, when I fell on my knees and confessed that I was a sinner in desperate need of salvation. At that moment, the overwhelming emotion of forgiveness flooded my soul, and the burden, the weight and guilt of sin was lifted off me and I felt that I could walk on clouds. The tears were flowing, my heart was full of joy, and the darkness of sin was forever gone!!!!! That is what the first two verses of this Psalm are about! Instead of starting with a catalog of his sins, David launched into the psalm with a song of praise for everybody in the assembly to hear. Remember the first beatitude in the Psalms pronounces blessing on the obedient (Psalm 1:1), but this second beatitude pronounces blessing on the disobedient who have been forgiven. Chronologically, this experience of David's forgiveness came long after he had committed his sins and covered them up for almost a year (vv. 3-5). But having now entered into the freedom of forgiveness, David couldn't wait to shout about it. If we know we have acceptance with God, it matters not what else may happen to us. David uses several words here to describe what sin is. “Transgression” is "crossing over the line" and rebelling against God. David knew the Ten Commandments and that adultery, murder, and deceit were forbidden. “Sin” means "to miss the mark" and not live up to the standards God has set. “Iniquity” means "twisted" and describes what happens to the inner character of the sinner. “Guile” (In Old King James) means "deception." This vocabulary of sin will reappear in verse 5. For about a year David tried to cover his sins and pretend nothing had happened, but the Lord chastened him until he confessed that he had sinned. “Forgive” means to remove a burden. In the Old Testament it is pictured by the "scapegoat" in the Day of Atonement service (Leviticus 16). The priest would take two goats for this ceremony. One of the goats would be sacrificed and its blood would be taken into the Most Holy Place and put on the horns of the altar to atone for the sins and transgressions of the people of Israel. The priest would then take the other goat, the “scapegoat”, and lay his hands on its head and confess the sins of the people. Then this “scapegoat would be driven deep into the wilderness. Symbolically this goat "carried" the sins of the people into the wilderness (Lev. 16:20-22; Ps. 103:12; John 1:29), where they would be forever gone! Like Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:8), David tried to "cover" his sins, but his schemes didn't work. They never do (Prov. 28:13), but when God covers the sins we confess to Him, they are hidden from sight and never seen again. (See Isa. 38:17, 43:25, 44:22; Jer. 31:34; Mic. 2:18-19; 1 John 1:7-9.) On the Day of Atonement, the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on the mercy seat by the high priest, and that covered the sins the people had committed. “Impute” is a bookkeeping term that means "to put on the account, to add to the record." When we confess our sins, God cancels the debt and it's no longer on the books. As the children say, "It doesn't count anymore." Why? Because Jesus paid the debt on the cross, and His blood cleanses the record and the heart of the offender. Have you ever experienced God's acceptance and forgiveness by the gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ? (Roman 6:23) If you have, you indeed are a “Blessed” person!!!! God bless!
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Today I am attending a memorial service at the Tabernacle Church in Danville, Virginia, for Dr. Lamarr Mooneyham, a dear friend that I met at Lynchburg Baptist College, now called Liberty University. Lamarr, along with his wife Debbie, came to LBC the second year the school was in existence in 1972. He came with a group of other students from North Carolina who were pretty excited about Jesus. I remember thinking that they were kind of a wild group, hooping and hollering, and throwing their Bibles in the air in our regular chapel services. Honestly, I think Lamarr was on the more reserved side of the group. Lamarr and I had the privilege to play on Liberty University's first football team in 73. I think we were the only married guys on the team. We called Lamarr the Hollywood Preacher because he could take his helmet off and his hair would still be perfectly in place. We became close friends during those years, studying the Bible together in many classes, doing evangelism and visitation, and spending lots of time together going to practices and games! He would preach for me in the church I pastored in Winchester Virginia on special occasions. He had his wife Debbie were faithful servants of the Lord and were greatly used to advance His kingdom. The following is from Lamarr's obituary: Dr. Lamarr Mooneyham, (74), was born on October 3, 1948 in Greensboro North Carolina, and passed away on January 12, 2023. During his college years, Lamarr planted a church in Boydton, Virginia. After his graduation in 1976, he would plant another church in Durham, North Carolina. He made political waves during the Helms-Hunt Senate race of 1984, then served as an interim pastor at Northside Baptist Church in Charlotte, before accepting the position of senior pastor of The Tabernacle in Danville, Virginia, in 1986. He would serve in this role until his retirement in 2016, picking up a doctorate from Liberty University along the way. Lamarr is survived by his bride of 54 years, Debbi, and their four children: Isaac Mooneyham of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina (wife Corrie, daughter Olivia, and sons Michael, David and Benjamin), Kelley Nix of Fairfax, Virginia, (husband Jason, sons William and Jacob, and daughters Phoebe, Evelyn, Ophelia and Eliza), Jacob Mooneyham of Bethesda, Maryland (wife Gena), and Joseph Mooneyham of Bethesda, Maryland; as well as numerous members of his extended family. Aside from his love for pastoral ministry, Lamarr was most passionate about missions. He will be remembered as a friend and advocate for the orphans of Haiti, the Jewish refugees, and countless other missionaries and mission organizations. I also personally want to note that Lamarr loved my parents, J.O. and Albertina Grooms, and made sure they received a very good financial support from his church. After my dad passed, Lamarr was very specific about my mother being taking care of with their support. I'll miss my dear friend, but I know he is greatly enjoying heaven because of his faithful service to the Lord. He no doubt heard these words from the Lord when he entered heaven the other day, “Well done you good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord”. I just wanted to use my chat today to honor Lamarr's memory and celebrate his life! Truly the greatest blessing Lamarr enjoyed was what we read in Psalm 32:1: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Lamarr is in heaven because one day he found forgiveness through the precious blood of Jesus Christ! Are you ready for heaven? Have you ever experienced God's forgiveness? God bless!
We see from the title that David is the writer of this Psalm. Also, from the title we learn that this is a Maschil Psalm. Some scholars put this Psalm in the category of the penitential psalms. But others believe that it is a Maschil psalm, the first of thirteen such teaching psalms in the Hebrew hymnbook. (see Psalms 42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89, 142). The word Maschil has been interpreted in many ways: "a skillful song, a song of instruction, a contemplative poem." The word means "instruction" and is translated that way in verse 8. However, Maschil may be a musical direction, the meaning of which is still unknown. This psalm is used by our Jewish friends at the close of the annual Day of Atonement; and on the church calendar, it's assigned to be read on Ash Wednesday. Paul quoted verses 1-2 in Romans 4:7-8 as part of his argument for salvation by grace alone, apart from the works of the law. If anyone could teach us and instruct us about the consequences of sin, the guilt and burden of sin, and the weight of unconfessed sin, it would be David! Ask him! David is such a help to us in this prevalent and personal matter of sin because he, himself, was such a great sinner. For although David was one of the greatest saints of Scripture and one of the greatest sages of Scripture and one of the greatest sovereigns of Scripture, he was also one of the greatest sinners of Scripture. He sinned with a highhanded rebellion and with a depth of cunning and duplicity which would astonish us did we not know the wickedness of our own hearts. David was a haunted man after he had seduced the wife of his most loyal soldier and arranged with Joab for the murder of the man himself. For the best part of a year, David put up a bold front and tried to cover it up, hid it, and ignore it. Then God sent Nathan the prophet to publicly accuse and condemn the king. When Nathan saw the tears of repentance flow, he then gave David the promise of forgiveness. Like the lancing of a boil, it brought immediate relief. At once David wrote Psalm 51 in which he promised he would teach transgressors God's ways (Psalm 51:13). David kept his promise by writing Psalm 32. From his own bitter experience David intends in Psalm 32 to set forth a sermon in song on the nature of sin, what happens when it is concealed, and what happens when it is confessed, cleansed, and conquered. Three times David uses that significant word, selah! Which means, "There! what do you think of that?" First, there is Conviction! "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old... my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah." (vv. 3-4). Then there is Confession! “I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah” (v. 5) Last, there is Confidence! “You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah” (v. 7) Conviction! Confession! Confidence! Think about that! Psalm 32 is both a sermon and a song. It is my prayer today that we will find this same wonderful forgiveness for our sins as we acknowledge and confess them. God bless!
In Psalm 31 David is describing the physical, mental, and emotional roller coaster that he has been on when his son Absalom turned the people against him and tried to take over the kingdom of Israel. But David did what he always did when he was in trouble, he cried out to the Lord and put his trust in Him. This is what we read about in the first 18 verses of this chapter. In these last verses 19 through 24, we watch David's pain turn into praise as he experiences the goodness of the Lord. When I was reading these verses in preparation for this chat, I couldn't help but remember a message I heard as a young pastor 45 years ago from 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 entitled, “Knocked Down but Not Knocked Out”. This happens in every believer's life who wants to please the Lord and be a witness to His grace and goodness to the world around him. We get “knocked down” by the devil, knocked down by circumstances, we get knocked down by problems and difficulties, and we get knocked down by people through relationships that go sour. There are so many things that seem to knock us down. But my friend, if your faith, your hope, and your love for the Lord Jesus Christ is right, you have not been knocked out and you can get back up! In this chapter we see how David was knocked down but as we read these last verses he was not knocked out! God had a plan and a purpose for the difficult times in David's life and He has one for our lives too. The face of the Lord did smile upon David (Num. 6:22-27), and though he was severely chastened by the Lord, he was not abandoned. David knew that the Lord had laid up a supply of goodness and kindness for him (see 21:3), and that His mercies would never fail. Throughout the tragedy of the insurrection, God had protected David from danger, and he was as safe as if he had hidden in the Holy of Holies. As for the plots of the enemy and the lies they spread about the king, the Lord also took care of them and revealed the truth to the people. God's great goodness and marvelous lovingkindness were all that David needed to weather the storm and survive to lead his people. However, at one point, David may have been ready to give up: "In my alarm I said, 'I am cut off from your sight!'" (v. 22). It wasn't the enemy that frightened him but the thought of being abandoned by the God he trusted and served. He did what all of us must do when we sense that God is no longer near: he cried out to the Lord for His mercy, and the Lord answered. God wants the world to know who Jesus is, and the way He does it is through the difficult and desperate times in our lives. We see this in 2 Corinthians 4:7-11: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-- always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” When the terrible experience of the rebellion was over, David spoke to the people (vv. 23-24) and gave God the glory for delivering him. David had written about his faith in the Lord (vv. 1, 6, 14, 19), but now he encourages his people to love the Lord and put their hope in him. Faith, hope, and love always go together (1 Cor. 13:13). The courage and strength we need in the trials of life are available from the Lord if we will put our faith in Him. Let's be sure that we give Him the glory. Yes my friend, we might get knocked down, but we are not knocked out! By His grace get back up! God bless!
"But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me. Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies' sake. Do not let me be ashamed, O LORD, for I have called upon You;" There is a verse in Proverbs that says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). In any country, whenever ungodly leaders take control of the government there will always be confusion, chaos, and everything will be broken including the people. This seems to be context of Psalm 31 when Absalom led the armies of Israel to rebel against his father David. Today, we will be looking at the middle verses of this Psalm. In verse 4. David had prayed, "You are my strength", but now he said, "You are my God" (v. 14) and asked Him for the mercy he desperately needed (v. 16). When you consider the vocabulary, he used to describe his plight, you can well understand his need for mercy. David was filled with grief; he was sighing; his physical strength was failing; and his very bones were weakening. His soul and inner being were pained because of the troubles that others were causing. One of the things David did during this time was examine his heart and he discovered sin there, so he confessed it to the Lord (v. 10). This is something we should also do when we are overwhelmed with trouble in our lives. Along with David's physical and emotional anguish was the way people were treating him (vv. 11-13). His enemies were spreading malicious lies about him and people believed them. Of course, these lies spread rapidly, and David's close friends and neighbors heard and believed them. Even casual acquaintances avoided him when they saw him coming, for who wants to be seen speaking to an evil man? He became like a dead man who had been forgotten and like a useless piece of pottery that had been thrown away. It didn't take long for "the strife of tongues" (v. 20) to poison the nation and prepare the way for Absalom to take over. The phrase "fear [terror] on every side" (v. 13) is used six times by the prophet Jeremiah (6:25; 20:3, 10; 46:5; 49:29; Lam. 2:22). In David's day, the disruption of the government and the exile of the king brought great fear to the people, and all sorts of rumors spread throughout the land. It is not hard to see the parallel of this in our country today with the double standards of justice, the lies of the media and government, and the terrors of covid and violence. We are not safe in our own homes, the workplace, or the streets. David's answer to this confusion? "My times are in your hands" (v. 15). He had committed himself into God's hands (v. 5), and now he committed his circumstances into God's hands. "My times" refers not to some special schedule, but to all the events and circumstances that surrounded David (see 1 Chron. 29:30). We would say, "All the affairs and details of my life are in the Lord's hands." This is the Old Testament version of Romans 8:28. David trusted God to bring light into the darkness and truth into the sea of lies that was overwhelming the people. Instead of the king being ashamed, his enemies would be ashamed when the Lord exposed their wickedness and defeated them. Today, we also can put our circumstances and all the details of our life into the Lord's hand and be confident that He will see us through it all! God bless!
Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth." From the title we immediately learn that this is a “Psalm of David” that he wrote to give to the “Choirmaster” or the “Chief Musician” to be sung by the Levitical choirs during worship. The emphasis is on trusting ("taking refuge") in the Lord, no matter how difficult the circumstances might be (vv. 1, 6, 14, 19). David was surrounded by subversive whispering campaigns and wicked conspiracies (vv. 8, 13, 15, 18, 20), and everything seemed against him. Even his best friends and neighbors didn't want to be seen with him (vv. 11-13), and there was "fear on every side" (v. 13). The reference to "a besieged city" in verse 21 has led some students to connect this volatile situation with David's experience at Keilah (1 Sam. 23:1-15) or perhaps at Ziklag (1 Sam. 30). However, it appears that what is described in the psalm best fits what happened during the rebellion led by Absalom (2 Sam. 15-18). Over many months, Absalom led a subversive campaign against his father, and even Ahithophel, David's wisest counselor, deserted the king and followed Absalom. "They took counsel together against me" (v. 13) reminds us of the conference recorded in 2 Samuel 17. There can be no doubt that this Psalm is very special in that it is quoted by Jonah, by Jeremiah, and by Jesus. The first three verses are quoted in 71:1-3, an untitled psalm probably written by David. He affirms his trust in the Lord and asks Him to deliver him and defend him on the basis of divine righteousness. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25). How can the righteous Lord permit wicked people to prosper and overthrow His anointed king? Such a thing would make David ashamed, a statement he repeats in verse 17. As David often did, he begged God to act speedily (69:17; 70:1, 5; 71:12; 141:1; 143:7) and be to him a rock and a fortress (see 18:1-3). Along with God's protection, David needed God's direction so he would avoid the traps the enemy had set for him. "You are my strength" was his affirmation of faith (v. 4), for his own strength had failed (v. 10). David's prayer of commitment in verse 5 was quoted by our Lord from the cross (Luke 23:46). The word "commit," means "to deposit in trust, as money in a bank." The hand of the enemy was against David (vv. 8, 15), but he knew he was safe in God's hand (see John 10:27-30). The God of truth would keep His promises. His enemies were idolaters; they weren't trusting in the living God but in "lying vanities, worthless idols." Note the repeated "but I trust" (vv. 6, 14). The word trust means to depend on, to lean on. Jonah quoted verse 6 in his prayer from the great fish (Jonah 2:8). In His mercy, God had delivered David from many dangerous places, and David knew he could depend on Him again, and this brought him joy. As in the past, God would deliver him from a "tight place" and enable him to stand in a "wide or spacious place" (v. 8). He would grow because of his trials and his faith in the Lord. I will finish our devotion today with a quote from John Phillips: “We creep up Calvary's hill just as the sufferings of Jesus are about to end. For six long hours the Holy One has suffered beyond our ability to comprehend. For the past three hours He has been the sin offering, alone with God and our sins in the darkness. Now it's all over. He is about to utter His very last words and he turns to this Psalm: "Father, into Thine hand I commit My spirit."That quotation alone embalms this Psalm with fragrance and significance. Today, will you commit yourself into the Father's hand! God bless!
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” It seems like there are some lessons in life we must keep learning over and over again. As I read and think about the last verses of Psalm 30, I am reminded that one of the biggest problems, (probably the biggest), that I have is dealing with the sin of pride of my heart. It appears that this sin resurrects every morning when I wake up. This is what David is writing about in verses 6 through 10. This is where the story really began, for it was David's pride that made it necessary for the Lord to chasten him (2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21-22). David said in verse 6: “Now in my prosperity I said, "I shall never be moved." "Prosperity" means "careless ease, a carefree self-assurance because things are going so well." This is frequently the attitude of the unbeliever (Psalm 10:6; 73:12; Luke 12:16-21), but it is also a constant temptation to believers also. God had warned Israel about this very thing in Deuteronomy 8 just before they entered the Promise Land. One reason the Lord permits trials is that we might not get comfortable in our faith and stop growing. "I was at ease," said Job, "but He shattered me, and He has grasped me by the neck and shaken me to pieces: He has also set me up as His target" (Job 16:12). Prosperity without humility can lead to adversity. David's mountain, his kingdom, seemed strong, but the Lord showed David how weak he was. When God's face is shining upon us (Numbers 6:23-27), then we enjoy His rich blessings; but when we rebel, He may hide His face, and this causes trouble (Psalms 10:11; 13:1; 27:9; 88:14; Deut. 31:17-18; 32:20). The Hebrew word translated "troubled" describes "intense agony, terror, anguish." It's used in 1 Samuel 28:21 to describe King Saul's feelings in the house of the witch. David, knowing he had sinned, kept crying out to the Lord for mercy and even debated with Him. "Am I more useful to you in the grave than I am alive on earth? Can the dead praise you and serve you?" (Psalm 88:7-12; 115:17; Isa. 38:18-19.) David was a great king with a strong kingdom, but he was only dust, one short breath away from the grave. He humbled himself and confessed his sin, and the Lord mercifully forgave him and restored him. Seven times in this Psalm David wrote "You have" (vv. 1-3, 7, 11), bearing witness to the strong and gracious hand of the Lord working on his behalf. Even God's chastening of David was an expression of His love. We read in Hebrews 12:5-6: “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” Once David knew he was forgiven and accepted, he moved from the funeral to the feast. He took off the sackcloth of sadness and put on the garments of gladness. In Scripture, a dramatic alteration of one's life was often marked by a change of clothing (Gen. 35:2; 41:14; 45:22; Ex. 19:10, 14; 2 Sam. 12:20; Luke 15:22). "My glory" means "my heart, my soul." David was singing to the Lord from the depths of his being. He realized that he would be singing praises to God forever (v. 12), so he wanted to start getting ready now! Every difficult experience of life, and David had many of them, is an opportunity to have a "pity party" or attend a rehearsal for singing in the choirs of heaven! We have a lifetime of grace (v. 5), to prepare us for an eternity of glory, where we will sing praises of thanksgiving forever (v. 12). How are you handling your adversity today? Pity or praise? It's your choice! God bless!
"Sing praise to the LORD, You saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” Do you ever get discouraged with being discouraged? Well, that has been my experience over the many years with my own Christian life and spiritual journey. We say or do something and almost immediately, or at least later, we say, “That was so dumb, what in the world ever processed me to say or do that?” And we feel condemnation, and we are usually reminded by the Holy Spirit that it was the pride of our heart that was at the root of our words or deed. It appears that Psalm 30 could have been the experience of David dealing with the same thing. In the first three verses, David experienced three problems: the sinking mire beneath him that would take him down to the pit, the enemies around him who wanted him to die, and the distress within him that was like a painful sickness. But when he cried out to the Lord, the Lord delivered him from all three! Because of his pride and his disobedience, David was in the depths, and the Lord had to lift him up. (See Psalm 18:4-6; 69:1-2, 14-15; 71:20; 88:6; 130:1-3; Lam. 3:55; and Jonah 2:2.) The "grave" or the "pit" refers to sheol, the realm of the departed spirits. The Greek equivalent of this is hades. But instead of allowing David to go down, God lifted him out and brought him up. God had done this for David before (Psalm 18:16). David's foes would have been glad to see him die (Psalms 13:4; 25:2; 41:11), but the Lord saved David's life and silenced their taunts. The "healing" mentioned in verse 2 may not have involved actual physical sickness, because the word is also used to describe not only forgiveness and spiritual restoration (Psalm 41:4; Isa. 6:10; 53:5; Hos. 6:1 and 7:1) but also deliverance from mental and emotional distress (Jer. 8:21-22; 14:19; Lam. 2:13). It was David's pride that had brought the plague to the land, and he felt the pain of this deeply, so much so that he thought his convicted conscience and broken heart would kill him. But God heard his pleas and brought him from death to life. The Psalm is not only David's personal expression of praise and thanksgiving, but it was also used by the congregation in worship; and here David addressed them in verses 4-5. We read in Psalm 34:3, "Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together". Personal worship that doesn't enrich our corporate worship may become selfish and lead to more pride! Notice the contrasts in verse 5 that are the motivation for David's praise. He goes from God's anger to God's favor; from chastening for only a moment to a lifetime of His grace (Isa. 54:7-8); and from a night of weeping to a morning of joy. For David, this was the dawning of a new day after a painful time of suffering in darkness. Jeremiah reminds us in Lamentations 3:22-23 that “God's mercies are new every morning”. God's special help often arrives in the morning. Psalm 46:5 tell us: “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” It is usually darkest just before the dawn. The resurrection of Jesus Christ brought the dawning of a new day for all who trust in Him (Matt. 28:1). Weeping comes as a guest, but God's gracious favor is with us for a lifetime. (See 2 Cor. 4.) As Jesus explained to His disciples, God doesn't replace sorrow with joy; He transforms sorrow into joy (John 16:20-22). The same baby that causes the mother pain also brings the mother joy. Today, by God favor and with His help, let us step out of the darkness of our discouragement and distress into His glorious resurrection life and the victory that comes with it! God bless!
"Sing praise to the LORD, You saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” The title of this Psalm informs us that David is the writer of it. It also tells us that David wrote it as a song to be sung at the dedication of the temple. Some translations say house instead of temple. So, we are not sure of the exact occasion on which David wrote this Psalm, which we will discuss later. This Psalm, like so many of the Psalms, is repeating the theme of someone who has experienced a difficult time because of their own disobedience or sin and needs the Lord's grace and forgiveness. Or like many of us who might have a heart to serve the Lord, but still troubles, heartache, suffering, and trials abound time and time again. We hardly get through one and we are facing another. We continually need a Psalm like this to remind us that the “anger of the Lord is but for a moment, but His favor is for life”. The Psalm opens and closes on a note of thanksgiving (vv. 1, 12; and see vv. 4 and 11). The emphasis is on praise to the Lord for rescuing David from a dangerous and difficult situation that included sickness; “You have healed me” (v. 2), being near death; “You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit” (vv. 3, 9), God's anger; “For His anger is but for a moment” (v. 5), weeping; “Weeping may endure for a night” (v. 5), mourning; “My mourning into dancing” (v. 11), and emotional turmoil; “You hid Your face, and I was troubled” (v. 7). But the trial also involved the nation, for David addressed them in verses 4-5. Apparently, this was a national crisis that David had helped to precipitate because he disobeyed the will of God. It came at a time when he was enjoying ease and security and was proud of himself and his kingdom (vv. 6-7). According to the superscription, David wrote this psalm for "the dedication of the house." The word "house" can be translated "palace," referring to David's house, or "temple," referring to the Lord's house. If it's the first, then perhaps 2 Samuel 5 describes the historical setting, when David captured Mt. Zion and made Jerusalem his capital city. (Note "my mountain" in Ps. 30:7.) All Israel had crowned David king, he had won great victories over the Philistines, and he had built himself a palace. He knew that his kingdom was established and exalted by the Lord. This context has all the ingredients necessary to make David proud and this would have invited the chastening of the Lord. However, if "house" refers to the temple of the Lord, then we must look to 1 Chronicles 21:1 - 22:1 and 2 Samuel 24 for the context. This is the record of the national plague David caused when he arrogantly numbered the people and 70,000 people died. This caused David great distress (2 Sam. 24:10, 14), and he put on sackcloth and begged God for mercy for the people (1 Chron. 21:16; see Ps. 30:11). David purchased a plot of ground from Ornan and dedicated it to be the site for the temple (1 Chron. 22:1), and he began to use the plot as his own personal place of worship. This second explanation seems to cover the facts better. In either case, the message of the psalm is clear: the Lord forgave David and gave him the blessing of a new beginning. "The victorious Christian life," wrote the noted Scottish preacher George Morrison, "is a series of new beginnings." That definition beautifully fits this psalm. My friend, maybe you need to be encouraged today as you read this Psalm and remember when we truly trust the Lord to forgive and to help us, that the pain of our suffering is only a brief time because His grace and favor is for life! God bless!
“Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty." Yesterday we talked about the “Awesome Voice of God”. Today we want to think about the “Wonderful Voice of Jesus”. In Psalm 29 the Voice of the LORD is magnetified and God is glorified. His voice is powerful and full of majesty! When we come to the New Testament, we find that the Voice of the LORD is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. We read in John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” To have a “word” you need to have a “voice” that speaks that word. In the beginning was the “Voice of God” and His Word spoke the world and everything made into existence. Then John writes in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John and the disciples and hundreds of others who were alive at that time, saw Jesus and beheld His glory as He lived a sinless life, heal the sick, gave sight to the blind, walked on water, fed the hungry, and raised the dead! The same glory of God that we read about in Psalm 29. When people came to John the Baptist and ask him if he was the Messiah, he replied and said, “No, I am only a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way for Him.” And basically, he went on to say that the Voice of Jesus was the greater Voice that would bring transformation to people through His life and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In John 10:3-4, Jesus proclaims that when the True Shepherd comes that the sheep will hear His Voice and that they will know His voice and they will follow Him. Jesus repeats this in John 10:27: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” How do you know if you are genuinely a follower of Jesus? You both hear and know His Voice and will be following Him. The Apostle John would later write in 1 John 1:1-4, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-- the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” Twice in these verses John says, “we heard” Him. John fully recognized Who Jesus was and is! He is the “Word of life”! And John invites us to know and receive Him like he did so that we can also have salvation and fellowship with Him and with His Father! In Acts 9:1-22, Saul was on the road to Damascus to persecute believers and had an experience with the Voice of Jesus that changed everything. He heard a “voice”, and when he asked who the voice was he heard the voice say, “I Am Jesus….”. And Saul's immediate response was, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Today we have the Spoken Voice, the Written Voice, and the Living Voice of God all in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. And He is still saying to all of us today, “Come unto Me all you who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Do you hear and know His Voice? Are you following Him? God bless!
We go from the silence of God in Psalm 28 to the powerful voice of God in Psalm 29. It is almost like David is saying, “It might appear that God is silent at times in our life, but I want to remind you that the God of Glory thunders and speaks with a loud, powerful and mighty voice”! There are a number of ways in which we can look at this psalm. First, we can see in it a present thunderstorm. David is out in it and feels its fury. He describes the first rumblings of the storm over the Mediterranean (29:3-4): "The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thunders... the voice of the Lord is full of majesty." The storm sweeps eastward, in from the sea. From the west come dark clouds and the rumble of thunder. He then describes the fierce raging of the storm as it breaks over Lebanon and Hermon (29:5-6), making the mighty cedars break in pieces: "The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars.... He makes them [the very mountains] also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sidon [the old Sidonian name for Hermon] like a young unicorn." He describes the final results of the storm as it bursts over the desert (29:7-9). Sweeping southward, shaking forest and hill, pouring down rain in torrents, it hurries out to the desert in the far south toward Kadesh, toward the borders of Edom (a place famous in the history of Israel's wanderings). The lightning flashes. Even the animals are affected: "The voice of the Lord makes the deer to calve." Beneath the storm clouds there is a great convulsion of nature, but above, everything is at peace. David hears the voice calling to the angelic hosts to ascribe glory to God: "The Lord sits upon the flood; yea, the Lord sits King forever." Some have graphically rendered verse 9: "In His temple everything saith, Glory!" But we can come back and look at this psalm another way. We can see in this psalm a powerful throne, for this psalm is clearly a prophecy. David was not only a patient sufferer; he was a perceptive seer, a prophet. The psalm looks ahead to the coming of Christ at the end of the age to rescue Israel. The very cedars are broken—cedars, the noblest and strongest of trees, symbolic of worldly magnificence. The mountains themselves—used symbolically for world powers which are shaken. Prophetically this psalm looks forward to the day when the Lord Jesus will come as King and sweep His enemies away in a mighty outpouring of His wrath. There will be fearful convulsions on the earth and the powers of the earth and of the heavens will be shaken. Above it all, enthroned in glory, will be the Lord. And the very last word is peace! There is still another way we can view this psalm, a practical theme, for it clearly pictures the storms of life. Nobody is exempt from them. They sweep in, in their fury and power, and tear at us, breaking, destroying, sweeping away family, fortune, friends. The godly Israelite saw all the phenomena of nature in a religious mirror. He did not admire the beauty of nature just for its own sake. It mirrored to him the greatness of God's power, beneficence, glory, and wrath. The sun, the storm, the seasons all supplied him with symbols whereby to express God's attributes and ways. It is appropriate then to see in the thunderstorm a pictorial unfolding of a practical theme. It is a theme which finds its way into many of our hymns: God would have us dwell in Him, above the storm. In His temple everything and everyone says, "glory!" Things may look very black down here at times, but nothing can disturb the serenity of God's throne and "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). God bless!
Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty. This Psalm was written by David and seems to be a sequel to the preceding one where David expressed his fear that he might perish with the ungodly in some sweeping national disaster. Now he expresses his faith that God will abundantly save His own. This is a very significant Psalm for it mentions the Lord eighteen times. If we add to that the use of pronouns and the mention of God and King we have God mentioned no less than twenty-five times in eleven short verses. David was an outdoorsman who appreciated nature and celebrated the power of Jehovah the Creator. Jewish worshipers today use this Psalm in the synagogue as a part of their celebration of Pentecost. In Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost when the church was born, we saw the manifestation and promise of the Holy Spirit being given. There was the sound of a rushing mighty wind, tongues of fire, and the "thunder" of God's voice through His Word. Like the Jews on Pentecost the church today can also use Psalm 29 to celebrate Pentecost. Israel's neighbors believed that Baal, the storm god, controlled rain and fertility, but this psalm says otherwise. It magnifies the sovereignty of God and the power of God in His creation, both of which bring glory to God. The word "glory" is used four times in the psalm (vv. 1-3, 9), for David saw in the storm God's glory revealed in three different places. First David saw God's Glory in the Heavenly Temple (vv. 1-2). Heaven is a place of worship (see Rev. 4-5), and here the command is given for the angels ("mighty ones, sons of the Mighty") to ascribe, to attribute to God glory and strength, because these divine attributes magnify His name. Psalm 96:7-9 speaks of how all the earth should do this: “Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Give to the LORD glory and strength. Give to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come into His courts. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth.” The Psalm begins and ends mentioning God's "strength" (vv. 1&11). And verses 4-9 demonstrate that strength in the description of the storm. The “mighty ones” are angels are also called "sons of God" in Job 1:6, 2:1 and 38:7; and see Psalm 89:6. The Jewish priests and Levites had to dress properly as they served at the sanctuary (Ex. 28:lff), and even God's angels must come before Him in proper "attire," what is called "holy array" and "the splendor of his holiness". True holiness is a beautiful thing to behold. I can't even image the “beauty of God's holiness” that is displayed in heaven right now! But certainly, the greatest demonstration of holiness was in the life of Jesus Christ when He ministered on earth as He lived a pure and sinless life, without spot or blemish. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, caused the lame to walk and raised the dead to life again! Sin is ugly, no matter what we may call it, but true holiness is beautiful and brings glory to God. We are told to worship the LORD in the beauty of Holiness. This means we are to be a holy people, cleansed by the blood of Jesus and daily washed in His Word! I'm convinced when we worship the LORD in this beautiful holiness that we will clearly hear “the voice of the Lord” in all the storms of life that we will experience in this world! Are you hearing His Voice today? God bless!
The title that I would give to this entire Psalm is Silence, Prayer, Praise and Patience. Yesterday we talked about the “Silence of God”. In the devotional Utmost for His Highest, January 19 devotion, Oswald Chambers said, “Abraham went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all self-sufficiency was destroyed; there was no possibility left of relying on common-sense ways. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not of displeasure. Never pump up joy and confidence, but stay upon God (cf. Isa. 50:10, 11).” In John 11, Mary and Martha had asked Jesus to come quickly to Bethany because their brother Lazarus was very sick. But Jesus tarried where He was and didn't show up until four days after Lazarus had died. Mary and Martha both confronted the Lord saying, “If you had been here our brother would not have died.” They were very disappointed and didn't understand God's silence until a few hours later. Again, Oswald Chambers in Utmost for His Highest devotional on October 11th, deals with the meaning of God's silence with some great thoughts that I think bear sharing: “Has God trusted you with a silence—a silence that is big with meaning? God's silences are His answers. Think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything analogous to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking for a visible answer? God will give you the blessings you ask if you will not go any further without them; but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into a marvelous understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? You will find that God has trusted you in the most intimate way possible, with an absolute silence, not of despair, but of pleasure, because He saw that you could stand a bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, praise Him, He is bringing you into the great run of His purposes. The manifestation of the answer in time is a matter of God's sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you said—"I asked God to give me bread, and He gave me a stone." He did not, and today you find He gave you the bread of life. A wonderful thing about God's silence is that the contagion of His stillness gets into you, and you become perfectly confident—"I know God has heard me." His silence is the proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, He will give you the first sign of His intimacy—silence.” (You can't say it better than that.) Now in Psalm 28:6, suddenly, the scene changes and David is singing instead of sobbing! The reason is given in verse 7, "My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped". Faith in Jehovah made all the difference. The hands of the enemy were busy doing evil (v. 4), but when David believed God and lifted up his hands in prayer (v .2), then God's hands went to work and met the need (v. 5). Faith moves the hands of God, and God's hands control the universe. David blessed the Lord for his deliverance and wasn't ashamed to confess it. His testimony was clear: "God heard me and God helped me! I trusted Him and now I praise Him!" David now had the strength to obey God's will, no matter what the enemy might do. He also had the Lord as his shield (3:3; 7:10; 18:2, 30; 33:20; 84:11; Gen. 15:1; Deut. 33:29). David had God's power and God's protection. How wonderful that David turned a painful experience into a song of praise to the Lord and that he left behind a witness that has encouraged other believers for centuries. I trust that today we will be patient during the time of God's silence and continue to pray and praise Him anyway! God bless!
“To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary." Today we will begin looking at Psalm 28. From the title we know that David wrote this Psalm, and it appears that once again, David found himself in difficulty and cried out to the Lord for help. We don't know what caused the problem, but it involved wicked people and workers of iniquity, and deceptive people who pretended to be David's friends but were working for his ruin. The period leading up to Absalom's rebellion would fit this description. But regardless of the background, this psalm teaches us some important lessons about prayer, praise and patience. Remember we said that there is a connection between Psalms 26, 27, and 28. In all three of the Psalms we see how David desired to worship the Lord in His sanctuary. David had a heart to worship despite the problems and trials that he was facing. He desired to know and sense the presence of the LORD. But sometimes it must have felt to David that God was silent! Where was God when he needed Him the most? Do you ever feel that way? David had prayed fervently about his dangerous situation, but the Lord hadn't answered him. (See Psalms 13:1; 35:22; 39:12; 40:17; 69:3; 83:1; 109:1; 119:82.) It has often been said that "God's delays are not God's denials," and David was learning that important lesson. In verse 1, he "called" on the Lord, and in verse 2, he "cried out" to Him in desperation, but the Lord didn't answer. Do you ever feel like you finally got through one mess and you no sooner went around the corner and there was even a bigger problem staring you in the face! I couldn't help but remember the story of Job. Job was the wealthiest, most popular, most successful, and even called, the “man that was the greatest of all the people of the East”(Job 1:3). But on a day, Job was given the news that all his wealth was lost. Even before he can begin to deal with that news, another servant comes with the news that a windstorm destroyed the house where all his children were having a feast and they all were tragically killed. Then, if that was not enough, he lost his health as painful boils covered his whole body. Just when you need your family and friends the most, they seem to turn against you. Job's wife comes with the advice, to “curse God and die”. His four best friends finally show up and begin telling him that he deserves all these calamities because he is a big hypocrite. At first Job seems to respond well as he falls to the ground to worship and says, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:20-21). But later Job gets discouraged and says, “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes" (Job 3:25-26). And later he says: "Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble”(Job 14:1). Well, that is how David felt and maybe you are having the same experience in your life, and you wonder where God is. He appears to be silent and not answering your prayers. But David prayed anyway and “cried out” to the LORD and so should we! God has a reason for the silence in our lives! Life is definitely full of trouble but we should trust Him anyway! God bless!
"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” What are the fears that you are facing today? What are the fears you are facing in your tomorrows? One of the great fears we all face is death. It might we are dealing with the fear of the death of a close friend or relative. Just this past weekend, my wife Edith had a first cousin suddenly pass away, that she was very close to and best friends with as they were growing up. I'll be preaching her home going service this Friday in Appomattox Virginia. Also, on New Year's Day, we had another close lifelong friend pass away. Both of these dear friends were younger than me. Hebrews 2:15 speaks of being held in bondage or slavery to the fear of death or dying. Many of us are facing the fear of aging and failing health. Maybe it is the fear of a failing marriage and divorce that will change everything in your life. Or it could be financial fears because of the loss of a job or a failing economy. It might be the fear of your past sins or mistakes catching up with you. With all the tension between nations, we might be fearful of nuclear war. We could be living in fear of the future of our children with all the violence in the streets and schools of our nation. Well, if you are being overwhelmed or overcome by fear of any kind, Psalm 27 is a wonderful chapter for you to read, study and meditate on. As David faced the future, he first asked the Lord for guidance: “Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path (v. 11). A smooth path is a level path without traps in it, and for victory over the liars who were slandering his good name (vv. 11b-12). We definitely need God's wisdom in making today's decisions that will determine our tomorrows. James 1:5, says that if we lack wisdom, and certainly most of us do, we should ask God for it, and He will graciously give it to us. Verse 13 is one of my favorites in the Bible: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.” The world says, “show me, or prove it to me and then I will believe it”. God always says, “Believe it first and then you will see it”. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”(John 3:3). My friend you will lose heart, you will faint, you will give up, unless you believe to see God's goodness in the land of the living. The land of the living can be a messy place filled with pain, anguish, and suffering. A place where it hard to see God's goodness unless you by faith believe the promises and truth of God's Word. David, by faith believed and that is why he wrote Psalm 23:6: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life….” Jeremiah by faith and believing could still write, in the midst of sinful and ungodly nation facing coming judgment: “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD”. (Lamentations 3:21-26). David's last words in the chapter are for us today: Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” God bless!
“Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, "Seek My face," My heart said to You, "Your face, LORD, I will seek." Do not hide Your face from me..." The fact that we are reading this, or listening to the chat today, is proof that we made it through last year! Which means that the LORD took care of us, met our needs, and saw us through the trials and challenges we have faced to this point. But that doesn't mean there won't be new difficulties and problems to face this coming year. As we have already seen in Psalm 27:1-6, David experienced God's grace, mercy and help in his circumstances when he was fleeing from Saul (v. 2). Instead of fear, he had confident faith in the LORD's help (v. 3)! He made his personal worship and communion with the LORD a priority every day and could experience the “joy of the LORD” in the difficult times of his life (v. 6). Now in verses 7 through 10, we see and hear David again crying out to God, not just in his heart silently, but loudly with his voice, and he was asking for mercy (v. 7)! David knew that yesterday's blessings were not enough for today or for the future. He knew he was a sinner in constant need of God's grace and forgiveness. We never arrive to a point were don't need God's love and mercy. We need it today as much as we ever did! It's one thing to behold the Lord in the sanctuary and quite something else to see the enemy approaching on the battlefield. What if there was something wrong in David's life and the Lord abandoned him in the midst of the battle? When David cried out, he heard the still small voice of the Spirit of God answer him in his heart saying, "Seek my face." (If you have time, you can read these many references about seeking the face of God: Psalms 24:6; 105:4; Deut. 4:29; 1 Chron. 16:11; 2 Chron. 7:14; Hos. 5:15.) What does it mean that the Lord's face "shines upon us" (Num. 6:22-27) or is turned toward us. In the Scriptures, it means that God is pleased with us and will help us. But it also indicates, that when His face is turned from us, that He is displeased with us (Psalm 69:16-18; 143:7). And this is definitely a time we must search our hearts and confess our sins. One of my favorite stories in Genesis is about Jacob having to face his brother Esau after being away for over 21 years (Genesis 33). Jacob had stolen both his brother's birthright, and his brother's blessing from their father Isaac, and knew that Esau had threatened to kill him. As Jacob prepared to meet Esau, he first met with the LORD at Jabbok's Brook and was transformed and renewed. Now as he made things right with his brother, asking forgiveness, he made this statement: “And Jacob said, "No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me” (Genesis 33:10) People sometimes ask me where they can find God. My answer is always the same. You will find God where you lost Him! We lose “the face of God” upon us when we disobey and selfishly sin against His Word and His will in our lives. Go back to that place and confess your sin and acknowledge your wrong and you will find the “face of God” upon you once again. My friend, today do you hear God's tender small voice saying, “Seek My face”? If you do, James gives us instructions in how to respond: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:7-10). God bless!
"One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.” Happy New Year!!!!! Today is the first day of a new year, the first day of a new month, the first day of a new week, and most important, the first day of the rest of your life! Isn't it awesome how God gives us new beginnings all the time! The most important thing you can do each day is to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and He promised that He will meet every need in your life (Matthew 6:33). I want to challenge you to seek the Lord daily by reading through your Bible this year. I have prepared two Bible Reading schedules on my Pastor Mike Impact Ministries website. One plan helps you read though the Old Testament once, the New Testament twice, the Psalms twice and the Proverbs every month. This will take about 20 to 25 minutes a day. You can access it at this link and download it or print it: https://www.pmiministries.org/daily-bible-reading-calendar The other schedule plan helps you to read through the Old and New Testament once, and the Psalms twice. This will only take about 10 to 15 minutes a day. You can access it at this link: https://www.pmiministries.org/bible-reading-calendar-plan-b Every month I will be posting the new schedule for that month. I know I said this yesterday, but it bears saying again. In this great chapter, David was confident that if his heart and his worship was right, he could face whatever troubles might come his way. He could deal with the fear of circumstances (vv. 1-6), the fear of failure (vv. 7-10), and the fear of the future (vv. 11-14). Like David, we make the choice every day, to either live with confident faith or live in constant fear! David had learned at an early age that it was a priority each day to seek communion and fellowship with the Lord. So even though he is fleeing from Saul and hiding in the mountains, he had one great desire! “One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek:” David's heart was set on seeking the presence of the Lord in His Word and in prayer as he began each day! The imagery in verses 4-6 is the Old Testament equivalent of "abiding in Christ" (John 15:1-8). In the ancient Near East, when a visitor entered his host's tent, the host was personally responsible for his protection and provision, and the flimsy tent became a fortress. Jesus made it very clear in this passage in John 15 that only as we abide in Him can we be fruit bearers. Remember the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, and so on! Jesus said, this happens as we allow the Word of God to cleanse us (John 15:3). And also as we bear fruit the Father will also “prune” us so we can bear more fruit (v. 2). He does this through trials and difficult things in our lives that challenge us to totally rely on His strength, His grace, and His help for everything we face and do. Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (v. 5). I have the idea that “nothing” means “nothing”! Please start this year praying for a heart to seek after the Lord every day in private communion and devotion. God bless!
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident." Who do you put your confidence in? We put our money in a certain bank because we are confident that they will keep it safe. We purchase a certain car because we are confident that it will safely get us where we need to go. We place our children in a certain school because we are confident that it will give them the best education. We build relationships with certain people because we are confident that we can trust them, and they won't let us down. But so often we are sorely disappointed! People break their promises, cars break down, banks can fail, and we can become fearful that we can't trust anyone or anything. In this great chapter, David was confident that if his heart and his worship was right, he could face whatever troubles might come his way. He could deal with the fear of circumstances (vv. 1-6), the fear of failure (vv. 7-10), and the fear of the future (vv. 11-14). Like David, we make the choice every day, to either live with confident faith or live in constant fear! David begins this chapter with: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? This is the first time in Scripture that light is used as a metaphor for God, although in many texts He is associated with the light. Notice these verses that tell us God is light. “…God is light and in Him there is not darkness” (1 John 1:5). “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:4-9). Jesus said in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." My friend, when you are following Jesus in His light you do not have to fear what is hidden in the darkness. No matter what the tactics might be, the enemy didn't frighten David. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31). The secret of David's public confidence was his private obedience: he took time to fellowship with the Lord and get directions from Him. David knew that the most important part of his life was the part that only God could see, and this was one priority he would not negotiate. David was living in the wilderness of Judea, away from the sanctuary of the Lord, but he was still able to enter into fellowship with his God. The word "beauty" in verse 4 means not only the glory of God's character but also the richness of His goodness and favor to His people (Psalms 16:11; 90:17; 135:3). David took time to meditate and to contemplate the wonders of God's grace. He came away from his times of worship feeling the rock under his feet and seeing above and beyond the enemy to the victory God had prepared. No wonder he vowed to God that, when he returned to Jerusalem, he would bring thank offerings to Him and joyfully worship Him. My life verse is Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”As we enter a new year may the Lord help us to put our confidence in Him. Jesus never fails and always keeps His promises! God bless!
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident." Today, we live in a world full of fear! In a couple of days, we enter a new year, and we are facing new challenges. We have no idea what the future holds for us. Proverbs 27:1 tells us: “Boast not yourself of tomorrow for you know not what a day may bring forth.” Fear is a good thing but it can also be a bad thing. I'm convinced that the two greatest motivations in our lives are love and fear. Both of these emotions can spring us into action to do something we might not ordinarily do. But fear can also paralyze us and keep us from doing anything. We can make the choice every day to either live in faith or to live in fear. One of the signs of the “last days”, will be that “men's hearts will fail them because of fear” (Luke 21:26). David ends this chapter by saying that he would have given up hope in his fear of the violent and wicked people who were trying to kill him unless he by faith believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). According to the title of this psalm, as recorded in the Septuagint, David wrote it "before he was anointed." This means it was probably written when he was exiled from home and being hunted by King Saul and his men. The psalm does reveal that David was in great danger from violent evildoers (v. 2) who were lying about him (v. 12) and wanting to kill him (vv. 2 and 12), and Saul and his men qualified. But in spite of this difficult and dangerous situation, David was confident (v. 3), he was courageous (v. 14), and he was unafraid (v. 1). In this psalm, David teaches us that when we know the LORD and trust Him, He helps us overcome the fears that can paralyze our lives. We can face the fears of our circumstances (Psalm 27:1-6), because we can be sure that the LORD will help us. We can deal with the fears of failure (vv. 7-10), because the LORD will care for us. And we can confront the fears of the future (vv. 11-14), because the LORD will guide us and “strengthen our hearts”. In verse 1, we see that David didn't close his eyes to the circumstances around him; rather, he looked by faith to the Lord and examined his circumstances from heaven's point of view (Heb. 12:1-3). The Lord was everything he needed just as He is everything we need today. David proclaimed that, “The LORD is my light and salvation”. Jesus is our light, so we need not fear because of darkness. Jesus is our salvation, so the victory is sure. David said, “The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid”. Jesus is our strength (or stronghold; see Psalms 18:2; 31:2-3), so we need not fear because of our weakness. We might not know what the New Year 2023 holds for us, but we can be assured that the LORD holds us, and He will be with us every step of the way! We can either choose to live in fear or we can live in faith! And our faith can be strengthened if we spend time feeding it every day with God's Word! God bless!
I've had the wonderful privilege of pastoring three churches over the past 47 years. If you ask anyone in those churches what you remember most about Pastor Mike, they will probably say, “His passion to get us to read our Bibles every day.” Years ago, I heard someone make this statement: “Feed a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. But teach a man how to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.” People will not remember my messages and say how wonderful they were, but if they were motivated to read their Bibles, and study and memorize them, I feel like I've taught them how to feed themselves daily for the rest of their lives. When the devil tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread after His forty-day fast, Jesus responded by quoting a verse from the Book of Deuteronomy. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Deut. 8:3). Did you notice that He said, “every word”. The Apostle Paul would later write to Timothy and tell him, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). That would mean “every and all the words”, from the first verse in Genesis to the last verse in Revelation. The more I'm studying and teaching through the Psalms, I am being reminded how David must have been very familiar with the “Book of the Law”, the Bible that he had available in his day. In our passage in Deuteronomy 6 today, we read the “Great Commandment”, which is to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:3). How can you faithfully and diligently keep this commandment? Well, the next few verses give us the answer! We must keep God's Word in our hearts and before us at all times! Which means we center our activities and keep our life surrounded by the Word of God! And we make sure that our children grow up being taught to do the same. If you ask me what is really wrong with America and our families today, I would tell you that the problem is an absence of God's Word in our lives! If God's Word is living in your heart, you will not forget God! You won't forget His promises to bless when you obey, and you won't forget His warnings if you disobey! In other words, you will practice “the fear of the LORD which is the beginning of wisdom”! There are only three days before we begin a new year. I want to encourage you to listen to God's Word. Two great Bible apps to assist you are the Bible.Is app found at: https://www.faithcomesbyhearing.com/audio-bible-resources/bible-is or the YouVersion app found at https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app/ These two wonderful apps are free and have a ton of resources to help you stay in God's Word daily and faithfully. I also want to encourage you to memorize God's Word. As a brand-new believer in 1971, I memorized my first 180 verses in the Bible by using a little book my dad, J.O. Grooms produced called Treasure Path to Soul Winning. Today my brother, Mark Grooms is the president of Treasure Path Ministries, and you can find the website and resources at: https://treasurepath.org/ Or you can purchase the book on Amazon. God promised Joshua, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8). I believe this is for us today too!!!! God bless!
It is hard to believe but the old year is almost gone, and a New Year is just around the corner. It's about this time that we start thinking about how we can have a better year and we start making “New Year resolutions”. Most of them concern our physical health. We are determined to eat better, exercise more, and hopefully lose some weight! Some of them concern our relationships, others are about our finances, or they might be about our success in our vocation. These are all good and worthy of attention, but we often miss the most important thing we can do that will actually determine our success or failure in every area of our lives. I'm convinced that the most beneficial thing we can do is to have a daily intake of God's Word. Of all the spiritual disciplines, this one stands out above the rest! To daily, regularly, diligently, consistently, and systematically listen to, read, study, memorize and meditate on God's Word will do more for us and our relationships both with God and man than any other thing we do (Proverbs 3:1-6). But I guarantee you that the devil will do everything he can to keep you from practicing this discipline. We are promised again and again through the Scriptures that if we have God's Word in our minds and hearts, we will have strength to face any day and deal with any and all circumstances that might arise. There is not enough space to write about them here, but please take the time to listen to our chat today and tomorrow as we share these promises. I've often said that there are two reasons that I'm still in the ministry and serving the Lord and people around us. The first is prayer. My mother and dad faithfully and consistently prayed for me in the past. I have been blessed with a wife who prays for me. God has blessed me with dozens of people over the years who have daily lifted me up in prayer! Secondly is the fact that I took the time and practiced the discipline of taking in God's Word every day. Listening, reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on it from the very first days of my spiritual birth, February 21, 1971 until now. I'm convinced there is no substitute for this discipline of a faithful and regular intake of God's Word. Listen to the many verses that we share in the chat and there are many many more that assure us if we do this, we will be supernaturally empowered by God's grace to stand against temptation and live a holy and healthy life! Years ago, we begin producing a daily Bible reading calendar to pass out at the churches I was pastoring. We have one we call Plan A that gives you a daily schedule so that you read through the Old Testament once, the New Testament twice, the Psalms twice and the Proverbs monthly. Today, you can access this one from Pastor Mike Impact Ministries website at this link: https://www.pmiministries.org/daily-bible-reading-calendar You can both download and print it. I will be posting a new calendar for each month so you can keep up with this schedule. This schedule will only take about 20 to 25 minutes a day. I call the other schedule Plan B. With this one you will read through the Old and New Testament once, and the Psalms twice. You can access it at this link: https://www.pmiministries.org/bible-reading-calendar-plan-b This schedule will only take about 15 minutes a day! If you can't access them, please message me or email me and I will send them to you. firstname.lastname@example.org It is my prayer that you will determine with God's grace and help to make and take the time to do this one thing that will impact and transform your life more than anything else this next year. God bless!
David had a heart of worship and loved the place of worship for the nation of Israel which is the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was where the “Glory of God” dwelt in the “Holy of Holies”, where the “Ark of the Covenant” was housed. Only the High Priest was allowed to enter the most holy place, but the people were allowed to worship in the outer courtyard, as close to it as they could. But not all who gathered to worship at the sanctuary were sincere in their walk or their worship, and some of them were openly disobedient and spread lies about the king. The enemies who were slandering David are described in verses 4-5 and 9-10. They were deceitful, hypocritical, and wicked evildoers, sinners who schemed to rob others and even accepted bribes (Ex. 25:8; Amos 5:12), murdering those who stood in their way. David the king was a godly man, but not every judge and official in the government was walking with the Lord. Perhaps all of this occurred at the time when Absalom was trying to seize the throne by spreading lies about his father (see 2 Sam. 14-15). David would see these deceitful men at the tabernacle altar, bringing their offerings, and it deeply grieved him. (See Psalms 119:28, 115, 136, 150, 158.) Throughout the history of both Israel and the church, there was a "congregation of evildoers" (v. 5; 50:16-21) along with the congregation of true worshipers (v. 12), the tares among the wheat (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-41), and wolves in sheep's clothing (Matt. 7:15, Acts 20:26-31). It was this situation that led to the writing of this psalm. In it, David makes three requests of the Lord. He asked the Lord to “vindicate” him (v. 1), to “examine” him (v. 2), and to “redeem” him (v. 11). As I read this prayer of David making his plea for God's help, I couldn't help but remember a parallel passage in Psalm 1:1. In Psalm 1 the psalmist proclaimed a blessing on the man who does not “walk” in the counsel of the ungodly, who does not “stand” in the path of sinners, and who does not “sit”with the scornful. Did you notice that twice David mentions his “walk in integrity” (vv. 1, 11). He said he did not “sit with the idolatrous mortals and hypocrites” (v. 4). And that he was also “standing in an even place”. One translation says, “stands on level ground”. I wrote in my Bible above this verse that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. When we stand there, we are admitting that we are all sinners, no one is better than someone else and we all need mercy and grace! When David said that he “walked in his integrity” this was not an expression of self-righteousness (see Luke 18:9-14), but rather the honest testimony of a real man of God. The words translated "examine" and "try" refer to the testing of metals to determine their true value and also to remove the dross (12:6; 17:3). "Heart and mind" is "kidneys and heart" in the original, the kidneys being the seat of the emotions and the heart the place of moral decision. (See Psalm 139:23, Phil. 4:7 and Rev. 2:23.) David's life was motivated and controlled by God's love and truth (faithfulness; see Psalm 6:4; 25:5-7, 10; 40:10; 57:3; Ex. 34:6). When David was confronted with his sin of adultery and murder by the prophet Nathan, he repented with a broken heart (Psalm 51). When King Saul was confronted with his sin of disobedience, he made excuses and blamed others for his failure (1 Samuel 15). See the difference? As we seek to be true worshippers, we should also ask the Lord to “vindicate”us (to defend us), to “examine us”, and to “redeem” us. Jesus is our Redeemer, Who alone paid the price for our sin and sets us free from the guilt and penalty of them. And then like David, we can say, “I have trusted in the LORD, I shall not slip” (v. 1). God bless!
“Vindicate me, O LORD, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the LORD; I shall not slip. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth. I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, Nor will I go in with hypocrites. I have hated the assembly of evildoers, And will not sit with the wicked. I will wash my hands in innocence; So I will go about Your altar, O LORD..." How interesting is it that on this 26th day of the month we begin our study on Psalm 26. I've mentioned several times in these chats how I read five Psalms every day beginning with the Psalm that corresponds to the day of the month and then read every 30th Psalm. Today my reading will be Psalms 26, 56, 86, 116, and 146. Since there are 150 Psalms this allows me to read the entire book of Psalms every month. As we approach a New Year, I would like to challenge you to do the same and enter a time of worship with the Lord each day in the Sanctuary of the Book of Worship, the Psalms! Psalms 26, along with Psalm 27 and Psalm 28, reveal David's love for God's sanctuary. You see this in: Psalm 26:6-8: “I will wash my hands in innocence; So I will go about Your altar, O LORD, That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works. LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells.” Psalm 27:4-6: “One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.” Psalm 28:2: “Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.” In David's day was the tabernacle on Mt. Zion. David had a great desire to build a temple for the LORD in Jerusalem, but God didn't permit David do it because “he was a man of war (2 Samuel 7: 1 Chronicles 22:8-9). But God give him the plans for the temple and helped him accumulate from the spoils of battle great wealth to provide material for constructing the temple (1 Chronicles 22, 28-29). We know from the title of the Psalm that David wrote it. Some commentators believe that he wrote in on the occasion of a great famine that God sent to punish the nation of Israel for past sins (2 Samuel 21). Others believe it was written when David's son Absalom was winning the hearts of the people of Israel as he was planning an insurrection against his father. David's enemies were lying and scheming against him and at the same time showing up for worship at the tabernacle as if they were his fellow worshippers. David senses that he is surrounded by insincere and hypocritical worshippers and in this Psalm, he is crying out to the Lord to vindicate him. Twice we read that David mentions that he is by God's grace walking in his integrity. This means he was coming to the tabernacle with a pure heart that was cleansed of sin. David had faith that the Lord had forgiven him of his past sins and sincerely was living a life of obedience in accordance with God's Word. In other words, despite the insincerity and hypocrisy of the worshippers around him, David came with a heart of worship that was innocent and pure. May the Lord give us this kind of heart also to worship! God bless!
The three greatest and most significant days in human history began with the events of this day two-thousand years ago. The three days that impacted history, involved heaven and eternity, and changed everything forever was the day that the virgin birth of Jesus took place, the day that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and three days later, the day when Jesus resurrected from the dead and arose from the grave! The birth of Jesus has no real meaning without the other two days! It is wonderful that we are celebrating Christmas day this year on a Sunday. The day that has been set aside already to remember that on the first day of the week when our Savior arose from the grave! Yesterday we talked about the Mystery and Miracle of Christmas. Today, as we reflect on the real reason for the season, I want to mention three more things. First, the Majesty of Christmas, then the Message and Mission of Christmas, and finally the Mistake of Christmas! The Majesty of Christmas! The Glory of heaven came down to earth! John says it so well in John 1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men….. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-4; 14). The angels appear to the shepherds, the star guiding the wise men, and today the whole world celebrates His birth! The Message and Mission of Christmas! Luke recorded the angel's message: "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord….”. A good, gospel message that will produce great joy and peace in anyone and everyone's heart when they receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior! This message never grows old, and the mission is always the same! We must tell the world about God's great love for all of us! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). The Mistake of Christmas! “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” No room for Jesus! I can't imagine the emotional feelings of Joseph and Mary as they went from inn to inn looking for a place to sleep and to give birth to Jesus. At every inn they were turned away and told “there was no room” for a weary pregnant lady to give birth to her baby. Later when Jesus presented Himself to His own people, they rejected Him too. “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12). The greatest mistake anyone can make is to reject Jesus as their Savior! The greatest decision anyone can make is to make room in their heart for the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as their Savior! Have you ever made room for Jesus in your life? Do you make room for Him to live His life through you every day? I trust today that you will worship and celebrate Jesus, Who is the real reason for the season! God bless!
Today, on this Christmas Eve, the whole world celebrates the greatest fact of human history and that is the birth of a baby born in a stable for animals in the little village of Bethlehem two thousand years ago. The secular world loves to call it just a story for Christians and they speak about the “magic” of Christmas. A time that the “spirit of Christmas” invades our lives and the spirit of giving and kindness seem to be more evident. The mean selfish Scrooge becomes a kind and giving person. And magical things take place. But my friend, the real meaning and message of Christmas is far more than magical, it is a fact that is miraculous and one of the greatest mysteries that ever took place. How a virgin, who never had a physical relationship with a man, would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit is both mysterious and miraculous at the same time and beyond human comprehension. God Himself comes into the world through the womb of a virgin to live a perfect human life without sin for thirty-three and half years and then die on Roman cross. But three days later He resurrected from the dead and appeared to many for forty days before He ascended back into heaven miraculously. We might not understand all this, but it is still a fact. Matter of fact, every time anyone writes down the date, they are acknowledging that Jesus was born two-thousand years ago. We date our calendar based on His birth. Everything before is BC, and everything after is AD. which means “Year of our Lord”. It doesn't matter if you are a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, an atheist, or an agnostic, when you write the today's date, you are acknowledging the fact of the birth of Jesus. Years later Paul would write to Timothy and tell him, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). The angel told Joseph that His name would be called Immanuel which literally means, “God with us”. This was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 that was written almost six-hundred years before Jesus was born. And Joseph was specifically told to name the baby, Jesus, which means Savior, “for He shall save His people from their sins”. The Christmas Message is Jesus! God manifested His love for us through Jesus Christ so that we might have forgiveness of sins and find real life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). When we repent of our sins and by faith receive Jesus as God's gift for our salvation, God Himself comes to dwell in us! “Immanuel” means God loves us, God with us, God for us and God in us! How awesome it that! Yes, it is mysterious and miraculous, but it is a true fact, and one that can change everything for you and me! God bless!
Christmas time should be a time of joyous celebration as remember the Lord's birth two-thousand years ago. But it can also be a very difficult time for many of us. Maybe you had a loved one who passed away this past year and this is your first Christmas without them. Or it could be that there are broken relationships in your family and even the thought of getting together is bringing great emotional distress. Life is full of regrets, bad memories, hurt, pain and suffering that comes from both without and within. So, what should we do when we are stretched out, or stressed out emotionally? My friend, we should follow David's example here in Psalm 25 and cry out to the Lord in prayer and remember His mercy and lovingkindness! David is in the midst of a great trial as he is writing out his prayer in this Psalm. David once again turns to prayer and mentions to the Lord the special burdens that beset him, the dangerous enemies without, and the distressing emotions within. But he wouldn't mention them to the Lord if he didn't believe the Lord could help him! What were the enemies that God helped him to conquer? Danger (v. 15). The enemy had put snares in the path, but David trusted the Lord to protect him. Satan is a destroyer and a murderer and would trap us all if he could, but if we are in God's will, he can't harm us. Loneliness (v. 16). Those who have never had to exercise authority and make difficult decisions involving other people sometimes overlook the loneliness of leadership. As we obey the Lord, we sometimes see friends and even family members turn against us, and this is painful. Three of David's sons—Absalom, Amnon, and Adonijah—turned against him, and so did his close friend and counselor Ahithophel. A broken heart (v. 17). If we sit alone and feel sorry for ourselves, we will never grow in the Lord and accomplish greater things for Him. Enlarged trouble will either make us or break us, turn us into giants or crush us into pygmies. Review Psalm 4:1 and 18:19 and 36 to see how God helped David to grow. God can heal a broken heart if we give Him all the pieces and let Him have His way. Regrets (v. 18). As we have seen from verse 7, David may have had deep regrets because of things he had done in the past, and these regrets were robbing him of peace and joy. Satan is the accuser (Rev. 12:10) and wants to remind us of our sins, even though the Lord has forgiven them and holds them against us no more (Heb. 10:11-18). Fear (vv. 19-20). We don't know what the situation was, but whatever it was, David feared for his life. Even more, he feared that he would fail and bring disgrace to the name of the God he loved. His enemies were increasing and so was his fear, but he trusted the Lord to take care of both. Despair (vv. 21-22). "I wait on you" also means "I have hope in you." To lose hope is to surrender the future to the enemy, and that only destroys the meaning of the present. David was a man of integrity (Psalm 7:8; 26:1, 11; 41:12; 78:72); he was wholehearted in his obedience to the Lord. Whatever lies the enemy was spreading about him, David knew that the Lord saw his heart and approved of his character. The prayer in verse 22 may have been added so the psalm could be used in public worship, but it expresses a basic truth: we are never alone in our trials, for as members of God's believing community, we have encouragement from one another. Our brothers and sisters around the world are also suffering trials (1 Peter 5:9), so we are not alone. David survived his trials and was able to write in Psalm 26:12: "My feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the Lord". May the Lord help us to follow his example! God bless!
Remember in Psalm 25 that David is in the tough valley of life facing great difficulties and big challenges. It is critical that he makes the right decisions because he knows that today's choices will determine tomorrow's outcome. So what does David do? He looks up and he prays and puts his trust in the Lord (v. 1). He asked the Lord to: “Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day” (vv. 4-5). Now in Psalm 25:8-14, David paused to meditate on the character and attributes of the Lord his God. After all, why pray to the Lord if He can't be trusted? But my friend, God can be trusted! To begin with, He is "good and upright" (v. 8), and what He says and does is always right and good and best for us. When you stop and think about it, life is really made up of and consists of a series of choices. Every moment of every day we are deciding what to do next. “Do I get out of bed, or do I stay in bed?” “Do I take a few minutes for devotions with the Lord, reading my Bible and praying, or do I skip them this morning?” “Do I eat breakfast or do I skip it this morning?” And on and on it goes all day long. But those constant choices, right or wrong, determine the path I take every day and also decide my future. How can we be assured that we are making the right choices and choosing the right paths or way? The answer is found here in verses 9-14. We must humble ourselves and admit we are sinners and desperately need God's help. If we submit ourselves to Him in meekness, He will teach us His ways, but if we are arrogant, He will be silent. The reason a person will not get saved is really very simple. He will not humble himself to admit he is a sinner, and he thinks he knows better than God and can make it on his own. But James 4:6 tells us that, “God resist the proud but gives grace to the humble”. And only “by grace can we get saved through faith and it is not of ourselves because it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9). In the New Testament, the word "meek" describes a horse that has been broken, a soothing wind on a hot day, and a healing medicine. Meekness is not weakness; it is power under control. God can be trusted to guide those who obey His Word (v. 10), for a willingness to obey is the first step toward spiritual understanding (John 7:17). God can be trusted to be merciful and gracious to those who repent (v. 11), but we must walk in the fear of the Lord (v. 12). "He [God] will instruct him in the way chosen for him" (v. 12). Knowing that the Lord has a plan for our lives, and that this plan is the very best for us, should give us great joy and confidence as we seek His will (Psalm 16:11; 139:13-16; Eph. 2:10). According to God's covenant arrangement, those who obey will receive His provision and protection, and there will be blessing also for the next generations in the family (Deut. 4:1-14). The word "children" is used nearly forty times in Deuteronomy, reminding us that our descendants can receive blessing from our obedience or sorrow because of our sins. If we love Him, fear Him, and obey His Word, He will draw near to us and share His plans with us. "Secret" in verse 14 means "intimate conversation, plans and purposes." This is what Jesus spoke about in John 15:15, and what Abraham experienced in Genesis 18. (See also Jer. 23:18 and 22, Prov. 3:32 and Amos 3:7.) As we "walk with the Lord in the light of His Word," we develop a close fellowship with Him and better understand His ways (Proverbs 3:5-6). Yes, my friend, you can trust the Lord to help you, and when He helps, He always does it in “mercy and truth”. “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11) God bless!
Yesterday we learned that in Psalm 25 we come down from the mountain heights of Psalms 22-24 and go down into the valley of life where it is tough, it's hard, it's difficult, there are challenges. And there are enemies all around us. That's what David was facing here in Psalm 25. He was fleeing from his rebellious son Absalom, and from the renegade army that had been deceived into turning against him. And he is looking to the Lord for help and to save him. This is a great Psalm for us to think and meditate on as we face the trials of life. The first thing we notice is that David looked up to the Lord for help! Other people may lift up their hearts to idols (Psalm 24:4) which are only manufactured substitutes for God. Idols which are but the making of man's hands, carved out of wood and stone that can never hear or see nor save. David lifted his soul, his heart, his emotions, his mind up to the Lord, for He is the only true source of encouragement. He reaffirmed his trust in God! Earlier in one of the darkest hours of his life, when David had lost everything at Ziklag, he "encouraged himself in the Lord his God" (1 Sam. 30:6). It has well been said, "When the outlook is bleak, try the uplook." He affirmed his faith in the Lord and his desire to glorify His name. He didn't want to fail and bring disgrace to the name of the Lord. So, he waited on the Lord, worshiped, and confidently asked for His help. He desperately needed wisdom to make the right decisions, avoid the traps, and reach the goal. David not only prayed for God's guidance, he asked for insight to understand the Word; for only there could he learn God's ways and understand his own path. "Lead me in your truth" reminds us that the Word and prayer always go together (1 Sam. 12:23; John 15:7). David is referring to God's covenants with His people, the precepts and promises He gave them to keep them in His will so they could enjoy His blessing (v. 10; Deut. 27-30). David knew well the history of Israel, and that God had graciously helped them when they cried out to Him. That is why David could pray with assurance and faith. But David also prayed with contrition, confessing his sins to the Lord (vv. 7, 11). He had regrets about some of his youthful omissions of obedience or commissions of sin, and he wanted forgiveness. He prayed "for your goodness' sake" (v. 7) and "for your name's sake" (v. 11; see Psalm 23:3; 31:3; 79:9; 106:8; 109:21; 143:11). "My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:2). Sometimes as we are facing a trial or difficult situation we struggle in praying because the devil brings to our mind all the reasons we deserve to suffer, especially our past sins, wrong choices and stupid mistakes. I'm sure David must have felt the same thing in this particular trial, especially as he probably remember his sins of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah. Today, I pray the Lord will help you to lift up your soul to the Lord and put your trust in Him! God bless!
“To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause." Today we will begin our study on Psalm 25. In this Psalm we come down from the top of the mount. In Psalms 22, 23, and 24 we were occupied with our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ on the “Mount” where He was lifted up and glorified. In Psalm 22 we followed Jesus to Golgotha, on up to Mt. Calvary where we saw our “Good Shepherd”, Jesus, being crucified. Then in Psalm 23 we went up to the green pastures in the highlands of the mountain where we experienced our “Great Shepherd” loving and caring for us. And finally in Psalm 24 we get to the peak of the mountain with our “Chief Shepherd”, where He is glorified before us and the whole world. This reminds me of Matthew 17:1-8, where “Jesus took Peter, James and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light….. When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.” In the very next verse, we read, “Now as they came down from the mountain…” (Matthew 17:9). And then in the following verses, down in the valley, Jesus and disciples encounter the multitudes of broken, hurting and hungry people being plagued by demons. In Psalm 24, the Lord Jesus is seen claiming the world, calling out those who are to be joint heirs with Him in His kingdom, and coming to summon to His home on high all those who belong to Him. But now, after we are giving a glimpse of the Lord's glory, in Psalm 25, we come down from the mount to the valley of life where we find ourselves surrounded by demonic enemies and we desperately need help! We do not know when Psalm 25 was written but most of the commentators believe that it was probably written sometime during the Absalom rebellion. The writer, of course, was David, as we learn from the title given to it. It is a psalm which belongs as much in the prayer book as in the hymnbook. There are three prayers in the psalm. It begins with prayer (25:1-7); there is prayer in the middle (25:11); and there is prayer at the end (25:15-19). The closing prayer is not nearly as bright and full of faith and hope as the opening prayer. But, after all, that's the way it is in our experience. Often we end up on a note of discouragement even in our brightest moments of spiritual exercise. Psalm 25 pictures life as a difficult journey that we can't successfully make by ourselves. The word "way" is used four times (vv. 4, 8, 9, 12) and "paths" once (v. 10). We find the psalmist crying out to God for wisdom as he makes decisions (vv. 4-5). He is surrounded by enemies (v. 2) who hate him (v. 19), lay traps for him (v. 15), and who want him to fail and be ashamed (vv. 2, 3, 20). The psalmist knows he is a sinner who doesn't deserve God's help (vv. 7, 11, 18), but he relies on the goodness and mercy of the Lord. A renowned psychologist once said, "Once we truly know that life is difficult, and once we truly understand and accept it, then life is no longer difficult."David knew that the path of life wasn't easy, but he succeeded in the journey because he held the unwavering assurance that he could trust the Lord to help him and that God would bring him to victory! We live in a broken, hurting world and we all desperately need help as we deal with it and respond to the needs of those around us! God is waiting to help us if we but call on His name in faith and trust! God bless!
Today, we will be completing our study and chats on Psalm 24. Remember that Psalms 22, 23 and 24 form a trilogy of our wonderful Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. Psalm 22 tells us of the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who gives His life for the sheep. If we have trusted Jesus to be our Savior, we can then enjoy Him as our Great Shepherd in Psalm 23. He will lead us, provide for us, protect us and always be with us! Now in Psalm 24, we see Jesus as our Chief Shepherd, Who is coming again to reward His sheep. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd who will one day return in glory and give each faithful servant a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:1-4). Remember this chapter was written by David to welcome the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. In the Old Testament, Jehovah is seated between the two cherubim on the mercy seat which is the lid that covers the ark of the covenant. In a literal sense, Jehovah, the King of Glory was coming back to His dwelling place in the midst of His people after a great victory over His enemies. “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors”. The gates of Jerusalem opened outward, so what is meant by "be lifted up"? Certainly there would be plenty of headroom for the Levites to carry in the ark, and it wouldn't be required to raise the lintels of the gates. Martin Luther translated it, "Open wide the portals," that is, "Give a hearty welcome to the Lord!" Bringing in the ark may have reminded David of what Moses and the leaders of Israel sang when the ark was carried in the wilderness (Num. 10:33-35; Ps. 68:1-3; 132:8). The administration of an ancient city was transacted at the city gates, so the gates were to those people what the city hall is to citizens in the western world today. David was commanding the whole city to welcome the Lord and give honor to Him. The King of Glory is also "the Lord of Hosts," a title used nearly three hundred times in the Old Testament. "Hosts" means "armies," and this can mean the stars (Isa. 40:26), the angels (Ps. 103:20-21), the nation of Israel (Ex. 12:41), or all believers who belong to the army of Christ (2 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Cor. 10:3-6; Eph. 6:10). But why were the gates of Jerusalem addressed twice (vv. 7 and 9)? The King of Glory is Jesus Christ. When He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the whole city didn't receive Him and praise Him. This psalm had been sung that morning at the temple, but it wasn't applied to Jesus of Nazareth. Instead of accepting Him and honoring Him, the leaders rejected Him and sent Him to Golgotha to be crucified. However, in His death and resurrection, Jesus won the battle against Satan and sin, and when He ascended back to heaven and entered the heavenly Zion (Hebrews 12:18-24), He was received as the victorious Lord of Hosts and the King of Glory. However, Jesus will return to the earth and fight a battle against the armies of the world and be victorious (Revelation 19:11-16; Isaiah 63:1-3). He will deliver Jerusalem from her enemies (Zechariah 12-14) and establish His kingdom on earth. Then His people will receive Him in Jerusalem, the Lord of Hosts, the King of Glory; and "the Lord shall be king over all the earth" (Zech. 14:9). Meanwhile, we can triumph in life through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 2:14) and be "more than conquerors" through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:31-39). As children of God, we belong to three worlds: the world of creation around us, the world of the new creation within us (2 Cor. 5:17), and "the world to come" of the wonderful final creation that will be our home for eternity (Rev. 21-22). God bless!
Psalm 24 is a great worship chapter. Remember that Psalm 22 tells us of the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who gives His life for the sheep. The suffering and crucifixion of Christ is described in great detail as He died in our place for our sins! If we have trusted Jesus to be our Savior, we can then enjoy Him as our Great Shepherd in Psalm 23. He will lead us, provide for us, protect us and always be with us! Now in Psalm 24, we see Jesus as our Chief Shepherd, Who is coming again for us and is worthy of our worship! The chapter begins reminding us that Jehovah is the creator of all things. I'm amazed as I go through the Scriptures how many times the world being created by God is connected to the prayers and worship of God's people. Before God gave Moses the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20, He told him in Exodus 19:5-6. “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” In other words, God was saying, “I have a right to tell you what is best for you because I am the Creator and I want you to be a holy nation of worshippers!” After the disciples of Jesus were told that they could not speak in the name of Jesus in Acts 4, they went back and told the other believers what they had been commanded. Immediately they began to pray! Notice how they began their prayer. “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them…” (v. 24). They reminded themselves that the God who made everything is a great God who would take care of them. The great worship scene in heaven in Revelation 5 begins with the last verse in chapter 4. "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created"(v. 11). After acknowledging that God is creator, every creature in heaven and earth proclaims that He alone is worthy to be worshiped (Revelation 5)! Who is allowed to worship and enter the Holy Place? Only those who have “clean hands and a pure heart”. In Revelation 5 there was only One Person Who was worthy to open the seven-sealed book and that was the “Lamb who had been slain”. He alone had clean hands and a pure heart, was without sin, and could enter the Holy Place with His own blood. Jesus can then give us “righteousness from the God of his salvation” and give us access to the Holy Place and worship! We are of the generation of “Jacob”, who was a deceiver, a cheater, and a liar. But when he humbled himself and sought to see the face of God as he wrestled with the Angel all night and when he finally submitted to God's authority, his name was changed to Israel, which means “A Prince with God” (Genesis 32:24-30). That is exactly what the Lord does for us when we humble ourselves and repent and seek the Lord with all of our heart! The Lord completely changes us into true worshippers of God instead of worshipping the idols of this world, and the vain, empty things of life that are so temporal. It is then that we “shall receive blessing from the LORD, and His righteousness…”. My friend, this is definitely the better way to live, fulfilling the purpose we were created for! To worship our Lord, our God and our Creator! God bless!
This is a Psalm of David that was written to commemorate the return of the ark of the covenant to the City of Jerusalem. There was reason to rejoice because Jehovah was returning as the King of Glory to sit on His throne which was on the mercy seat on top of the ark of the covenant. All of Israel was present to worship and sing praises to the LORD! The Levitical choir was prepared to lead them in this worship. Just picture the Levitical priest carrying the ark and as they near the city, the crowds of people and the choir are there to meet them. David their earthly king is right in the middle of this great celebration, leaping, dancing and singing (2 Samuel 6). This is probably how it happened as they approached the city gates: The choir and the crowd would sing these first two verses in unison: “The earth is the LORD'S, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters.” Then the choir leader would loudly shout out this question in verse 3: “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?” The choir and the people would answer in song verses 4-7: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Selah - Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.” Again, the choir director would ask: “Who is this King of glory? (v. 8a) And the crowds would answer: The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. (vv. 8b-9) One last time the leader would ask: “Who is this King of glory? (v. 10a) The people would finish the song with a loud shout: “The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah (v. 10b) I get the idea they would go through this song over and over until the ark of the covenant was placed in its resting place in the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle. Wow! Wouldn't you have liked to be there that day! What excitement and what joy as they acknowledged that their real King, Jehovah-Sabaoth was back to rule and reign over them! Hallelujah! Praise the LORD!” The song begins with the people acknowledging that Jehovah created the earth! And of all the heavenly bodies created by the Lord, the earth is the one He has chosen to be His own special sphere of activity. Clarence Benson called the earth "the theater of the universe," for on it the Lord demonstrated His love in what Dorothy Sayers called "the greatest drama ever staged." God chose a planet, a people and a land, and there He sent His Son to live, to minister, to die, and to be raised from the dead, that lost sinners might be saved. The earth is God's, everything on it and in it is God's, and all the people on the earth are God's, made in His image and accountable to Him. The divine name "LORD" is used six times in this psalm. "All the earth is mine" (Ex. 19:5), says the Creator, but in His goodness, He has shared it with us. He is "possessor of heaven and earth"(Gen. 14:19, 22), and we are guests on His planet, stewards of all that He gives us to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17) and to employ. This stewardship is the basis for the way we treat planet earth and protect the treasures God has shared with us. Anything we give to Him, He has first given to us (50:10-12; 1 Chron. 29:14). Today, would you allow the Lord to sit on the throne of your heart and rule over your life? God bless!
“The earth is the LORD'S, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters. Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? Several weeks ago, we mentioned in one of our chats how Psalms 22, 23, and 24 form a trilogy on Christ the Shepherd. These three Psalms give us a clear picture of how the Lord Jesus Christ is the Shepherd of our Souls. In Psalm 22, we saw how Jesus is the Good Shepherd Who suffers and dies for the sheep He loves. The companion New Testament passage is John 10:1-18. In John 10:11-15 Jesus is speaking and He says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep…” In Psalm 23, we saw how Jesus is the Great Shepherd who lives for the sheep and cares for them. The companion New Testament passage is found in Hebrews 13:20-21. “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Now in Psalm 24, the Jehovah, the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Chief Shepherd returns in glory to reward His sheep for their service. The companion New Testament passage is found in 1 Peter 5:1-4. Peter reminded the elders that he had “witnessed the suffering of Christ” and was instructing them to “shepherd the flock of God” as good examples. Because one day, “When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (v. 4). My friend, the Lord Jesus Christ is our Good Shepherd Who died for us. He is our Great Shepherd Who lives and intercedes for us, and one day Jesus will come back for us as the Chief Shepherd. Most commentators connect this psalm with David's bringing the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6; 1 Chron. 15:1-16:3), and it may well be that David wrote it for that occasion. You might remember that the Philistines had captured it when Samuel was just a boy (1 Samuel 4-5). Thy kept it until diseases and death begin plague them and they finally returned it to Israel. The ark had resided at Kirjath-jearim on the western border of Benjamin in the rugged wooded highlands during the days of Samuel and Saul. David himself had made one disastrous attempt to bring it to Jerusalem after he had wrested the fortress of Zion from the Jebusites, and he began to set up his capital in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:1-11). Three months later David properly prepared the Levites to carry the ark and bring it home to the tabernacle in the city of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:12-19). Historians and Bible scholars tell us of the music and dancing, of the shouting and sacrifices which marked the triumphal entry of the ark into Jerusalem. Psalm 24 gives us the anthem which heralded the ark along the way. The people (or a Levitical chorus or choir) opened with verses 1-2. Then a choir leader asked the questions in verses found in verses 3, 8a, and 10a. The Levitical choir or the people would answer by singing verses 4-6, 8b and 10b. Later in history, it was sung in Herod's temple each Sunday, and some connect the psalm with our Lord's entrance into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday. For years, the church has assigned this psalm to be read on Ascension Day, the fortieth day after Easter. Christians see Jesus Christ as "the Lord of Glory," first of all returning to heaven after His passion (Eph. 4:8; Col. 2:15), and then returning in glory to establish His kingdom (Matt. 25:31). This explains the repetition of "Lift up your heads" in verses 7 and 9. My friend, today we should “lift up our heads”! Our King of Glory is coming very soon for us! God bless!
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” I thought we were going to finish up Psalm 23 yesterday but feel impressed today to take “one last look at the 23rd Psalm”. We divided this Psalm up into three sections: The secret of a happy life, the secret of a happy death, and the secret of a happy future. We believe David wrote this Psalm probably later in life and he is remembering how his Great Shepherd took care of him in both the good and the bad times. Maybe David knows that he doesn't have much more time in his earthly life and death is just around the corner for him. As he meditates on Who his Shepherd is and how He has always taken care of him, David finds great assurance and comfort and knows he can face eternity with confidence! First, David looked up and saw the LORD, Jehovah, the Great I AM, as the Shepherd of his life. David could say with complete assurance, “The LORD is my Shepherd” because of his relationship with him. He knew his Shepherd spoke the world and all of creation into existence. David had no doubt read the Books of Moses many times and committed much of it to memory. David knew that despite his sins and shortcomings that God loved him and had a plan of redemption for his sins. He had read how Jehovah took care of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob despite their shortcomings and sins. He remembered the story of Joseph and saw Jehovah's providential hand protecting and promoting him to one day providing for his family. Second, David looked back and saw how his Shepherd had marvelously guided his steps and protected and cared for him. Then David looked around and saw the reality of life and death before him and he knew that the LORD would continue to be with him through whatever he faced. David was convinced that his Jehovah was always good! If there is one lie the devil loves to tell us when we are facing difficult things in our life it is: “God doesn't really love you and if God is so good why are these bad things happening to you.” But my friend we always need to remember that God is always good. James 1:17 teaches us that: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” Everything good in this world comes from God. If it did not come from God, it is not good. If it comes from God, it must be good, even if we do not see the goodness in it immediately. God will never change, and He will always be good and do good for us. The clouds might separate us from the light of the sun, but it is still shining on the other side of them. Our God is the Father of lights and He is always, continuously giving His goodness! As an old man, David looked back over his long life and came to the same conclusion. In spite of his sins and failures, he had been followed by the goodness and mercy of God, which is the Old Testament equivalent of Romans 8:28. "Surely" means "only." Finally as David looked ahead, he knew one day he would be in heaven, “the house of the LORD”, the Father's house—forever. This isn't a reference to the temple, because the king didn't live in the temple. Furthermore, nobody could live there or anywhere else forever. Jesus used this vocabulary to speak about heaven (John 14:1-6). The things that perplex and disturb us today will all be clear when we get to heaven. We will look back and see "only goodness and mercy." Under the old covenant, the sheep died for the shepherd, but under the new covenant, the Shepherd died for the sheep—and we shall meet our Shepherd in heaven! "For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes" (Rev. 7:17). God bless!