Psalm 94

22 05 2007

The LORD disciplines those whom are in His family. He disciplines like a father to his son. God disciplines us because He loves us. His discipline is a blessing to us and teaches us, moreover reinforces with us, His law. He has done this since the beginning of time and He continues to do this today. He is the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

God will not forsake His people. He has made a covenant with them and He will honor that covenant. Our God keeps His promises. He does not say one thing and then do another (like man). He will not leave His chosen family — the believers and saved souls. God provides blessings for those whom He disciplines.


Psalm 91

19 05 2007

God is my refuge, my fortress and my rock. He will deliver me (v3), He will cover me (v4) and I will not fear (v5). He does this because of His deep love for me. I don’t deserve this. I have done nothing in my life that would warrant God being my protect and yet He does so willingly. What does that tell me about my God? He loves me even though I have done nothing to deserve it. Certainly, I can relate that to my wife and my kids. It doesn’t matter what they do, what they say, or how they act — I will always love them. Pride gets in the way with man and that is when the actions of our loved ones start to affect our relationship. Unless we have a deep rooted belief that God will leave us because we have done something wrong, we are lying to ourselves. We are made in the image (characteristics) of God. He forgives us time and time again no matter what we do or say (save perhaps sinning against the Spirit). Yet, we consistently find it difficult to forgive. We find it easier (and more comfortable) to find ways out of a situation instead of forgiving and returning to that person. To take an extreme example, if one of my kid’s murdered someone, would I forgive them and still love them? Absolutely. Would I be terribly saddened by the loss and the sin? Of course! I know this is an extreme example but it is relevant to how God forgives us. I don’t think many would argue that if a person was on death row but truly repented of their sins and asked Christ into their heart, God would forgive them and accept them into His family. Why should it be different for us? Are we more advanced, more knowledgeable, more just than He? Of course not! We must listen to our Father and be obedient to Him more than anything else. That means that we follow His example of forgiving, His example of providing though not worthy. I am not worthy of my wife but God has a different plan in place. I am blessed just to have her in my life.

Verses 11 through 13 are incredibly interesting to ponder…

For He will command His angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

God loves me so much that He has put me a step above the angels. He has them working to protect me. He will work on their hands to protect me and provide for me. That is an extremely humbling thought. Angels are the heavenly hosts and yet they working for the Lord to provide for me. God is so gracious and forgiving. He does all of this even though I sin against Him countless times every single day. I am amazed by His grace and His love. I have so much to learn and so much growing to do in order to truly serve the Lord with all of my heart, with all of your mind and with all of my soul.

The end of this Psalm is the part that really peaks my interest, however… “Because He holds fast to me in love…”

  1. He will deliver me.
  2. He will protect me.
  3. He will answer me when I call.
  4. He will be with me.
  5. He will rescue me.
  6. He will honor me.
  7. He will satisfy me.
  8. He will show me His salvation.

Thank you, Father God, for doing all of this for me when I have done nothing to deserve you. Thank you for your great love and compassion. I pray that I can live my life every single day in a way that is closer and closer to the way You call me to live. I pray that the light I can shine into people’s lives would be Your light instead of a worldly light. I thank you, Father, for Your great Word that motivates and inspires me beyond my imagination. You are amazing! Thank you, Father.

Psalm 84

11 05 2007

The immediate thing that stands out is LORD of Hosts. What is interesting is that just tonight my mother-in-law was praying about this name of the LORD — Jehovah Sabaoth. I could spend the entire time meditating on this name of God but I am choosing to continue meditating on the Psalm itself.

“My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD…” This is a very powerful image. As I think about what it means to long for something so bad that it would almost drive me to faint. Love is a lot like that. We long so much to be with someone — sometimes so much that it almost hurts! To long for the LORD can be so overwhelming that it will cause someone to faint. Do I desire God that much? Does my life show that or is it the exact opposite? If God is my greatest desire, just to be in His courts would be supremely better than anything else. As the Scripture says at the end of this Psalm: “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” A single day versus a thousand days. One day versus 3 years. I would rather spend one day with God than three years in the most beautiful place on the entire earth. That really makes me think about my desires.

What does it mean for my heart and flesh to sing for joy? We all know what it means for our flesh to crave something. We know what it means when our flesh sings for joy — as from an intimate moment with a loved one. I think of how it feels when you first kiss the person that you love for your entire life — your heart simply sings a song of joy. David is saying that he feels this way all of the time for God. His heart and his flesh are singing to God. Of course, it isn’t just any god — it is the living God. Our God is, was and always will be. David knew that. He lived his life in a way that demonstrated that. Again, do I live my life in a way that shows that my greatest desire is God?

Psalm 83

9 05 2007

The first few verses of this Psalm remind me of the story of Esther.  Haman wanted to kill off all of the Jews.  He thought them a blight on the face of the earth.  Haman plotted to kill the Jews and rid the world of all Israelites.  However, God had another plan.  Likewise with me and with everyone else, God has a plan for us.  We need to be in tune with that plan.  God is not silent — He speaks.  We have to listen and be willing to obey.  Obedience, I believe, is key in hearing God.  I think that is part of why I struggle to hear Him.  I lack the obedience necessary on any given day to draw close to Him.  I hear Him when He wants me to hear Him, but am I really centering my whole life around Him so that I act only on the things given to me from Him?  I don’t know the line here, honestly.  I am sure that some hear Him much clearer than others.  Some have to act on faith that what they think they are hearing is in fact God’s will.  I can say that I have experienced both of these situations and God has been more gracious to me than I deserve.

There are quite a few places mentioned in these Psalm.  In order to clearly communicate what all of these locations and people mean, I want to take a moment and research each of them…

  • Edom – name of Esau (Isaac’s son); refused passage to Israelites during the Exodus; constant war with Israelites; conquered by David; partnered with the Chaldean’s to capture Jerusalem
  • Ishmaelites – Abraham’s oldest son by Hagar (concubine) was Ishmael; tribes of Ishmael forever against everyone
  • Moab – eldest son of Lot (incestuous birth); hostile relations with the Israelites
  • Hagrites – tribes from Hagar but independent and different from the Ishmaelites; bitter and warred with Israelites
  • Gebal – tract in the land of Edom
  • Ammon – aka Ben-ammi; son of Lot; closely associated with Moabites; despised Israelites
  • Amalek – son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau; fought against Israelites
  • Philistia – perpetual war between Philistines and Israelites
  • Tyre – city known for wickedness and idolatry
  • Asshur – second son of Shem; built Nineveh; gave name to Assyria
  • Lot – lived in Sodom; slept with his daughters
  • Midian -rules of Arab; battled against Israelites
  • Sisera -commander of Jabin’s army; killed by wife who drove a tent peg into his temple
  • Jabin – fought against Israel; lost decisive battle against Joshua
  • En-dor -location where Sisera was killed
  • Oreb – killed by Gideon and his army; leader of Midian army
    – killed by Gideon and his army; leader of Midian army
  • Zebah – king of Midianites; lost great battle and killed by Gideon
  • Zalmunna – king of Midianites; lost great battle and killed by Gideon

Obviously, all of these places and people are used as references to show the hatred for God’s chosen people but then the victories that God was able to give them.  The historical relevancy of the people and location adds to the impact as the reader would read the verses.

Please, LORD, help me to remember what You have done for Your people!

Psalm 82

6 05 2007

God is the only true judge.  There are men who have been appointed to be judges, or rules, over the lands.  Often times, the power and the position go to their head and they become corrupt.   They do not rule with a just heart.  The author says that they “walk about in darkness”.  The LORD Most High knows how to rule perfectly.  He never makes a mistake.

The first verse strikes me as curious — “God has taken His place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods He holds judgment…”  God is with the men whom have been appointed to the role of ruler.  He is watching over them closely.  They will be held accountable for their actions.  God will judge them for their judgments.  This is a sobering thought.  If they ruled because of politics instead of what was just and fair, there was a price to be paid for that sin.  God knows every decision made and the reason for that decision.  Again, it is humbling and at the same time frightening to know that God knows my every thought and underlying reason.

Impact Verse:

Arise, O God, judge the earth;
for you shall inherit all the nations!

There is certainly foreshadowing in this concluding verse.  All the nations.  Would the author have any reason to believe that God would want to save anyone besides the Jews?  Why would he think that God would want to bring all the nations into His home?  Jesus Christ fulfilled this prophecy.  There is no question in my mind.

Psalm 81

5 05 2007

I wonder how often God talks to people today like He talks to the people of Israel in this Psalm?  I am sure that there are those who hear God clearly.  I know of many who appear to be saved but don’t seem to hear God very well.  Is it because of our priorities?  Is it because of our heart?  Is it because we aren’t in His family?

God can be heard by whomever He desires, when He desires.  Do we want to hear Him?  Do I really want to listen to what He would say to me?  The obvious “Sunday answer” would be of course!  However, is that what my actions state?

God has a clear message for the Israelites in this Psalm.  He reminds them that He is the one true God.  He reminds them that He is enough for everyone and will provide for them.  He reminds them that He alone delivered them from their oppression.  Why would we believe that God wouldn’t have a similar message for us today?  I think He does, we just don’t know how to listen.  I would argue that our hearts are hardened and our priorities are so mixed up that we don’t even know when to listen.  Stop and think about your typical day — how much of your day is centered around Christ?  Are you like most people (and myself) who carve out time and “allot” Christ some portion of your day or are you living your entire day for Christ?  We shouldn’t focus on how much time we are giving to the Lord — it should be all of the time!  When we spend our time worrying about other things or centered on ourselves, that is when we can’t hear Him even when He is talking.

God admonishes the Israelites for their “stubborn hearts.”  We are so similar today.  Our hearts keep us from following Him and being obedient to Him.  This causes separation from the Holy One.

I need to strive to live my entire day for Him — not just a portion.  I heard a friend once say that I should think about how I glorify God when I eat dinner and when I brush my teeth.  I can barely comprehend such a thing but I think this is exactly the path I need to be going down.  God is too huge for me not to want to be with Him all of the time, not just when it is convenient for me.

Psalm 78

30 04 2007

God’s word has been passed down from generation to generation. Luckily, we now have a Bible (or many bibles) to read God’s Word. The compilation has God’s Word before and after Jesus Christ. The author of this Psalm didn’t have all of this information — he may have had some Old Testament writings. However, the stories (books) were passed on through the generations. God’s Word cannot be contained.

God performed many miraculous signs for the people but they did not follow Him.  They might have believed for a period of time, but they didn’t stay obedient.  The Israelites experienced God parting the Red Sea, raining manna from heaven, etc. and yet they complained about their comfort (travels, desert, etc.)  People today are no different.  We take everything for granted.  We think we deserve more than what we have.  When things aren’t perfect, we don’t thank God for what we do have, we are bitter that someone else has more.  Our inability to worship the Lord and have Him be at the center of our greatest desire results in our lack of focus and prioritization.  Instead of putting Him first in our life, we spend time watching TV, drinking, playing games, etc.

Impact verses:

32 In spite of all this, they still sinned;
despite his wonders, they did not believe.
33 So he made their days vanish like a breath,
and their years in terror.
34 When he killed them, they sought him;
they repented and sought God earnestly.
35 They remembered that God was their rock,
the Most High God their redeemer.
36 But they flattered him with their mouths;
they lied to him with their tongues.
37 Their heart was not steadfast toward him;
they were not faithful to his covenant.
38 Yet he, being compassionate,
atoned for their iniquity
and did not destroy them;
he restrained his anger often
and did not stir up all his wrath.

We stumble and fall.  We get back up.  We stumble again.  We are persistent if nothing else.  Our God, who gave us wonders and might, mercy and love, continues to love us and provide for us even though we do nothing to deserve it.  Quite often, it is only when we are hurting or struggling that we call out to God.  We call out looking for help.  We call out looking for a quick remedy because we suddenly have the faith in the Lord and His powers.  If He can heal wounds, if He can mend the broken hearted, why aren’t we calling out to Him when things aren’t tough?  Comfort.  When things aren’t tough, we are comfortable.  We are “appeased”.  We are pleased with our own success and capabilities.  We don’t need Him.  We have it all under control.  Right?