Psalm 150

CharlestonPraise the LORD.  Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.  Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.  Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.   Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.   Praise the LORD.  (NIV)

As you read this psalm I hope you will stop and realized that everything in your world is not “All about Me”.   However, as you look at this psalm you will see that we are to praise the Lord.  As you look at these verses you will get the picture of a modern church service:

  • Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet
  • praise him with the harp and lyre
  • praise him with tambourine and dancing
  • praise him with the strings and flute
  • praise him with the clash of cymbals
  • praise him with resounding cymbals
  • Let everything that has breath praise the LORD

Why Praise God?

For his acts of power

For his surpassing greatness

What is this surpassing greatness?  Paul answers this in Ephesians 1:3-14.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved: in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him unto a dispensation of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, I say, in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worked all things after the counsel of his will; to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,– in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory.

As I finish another reading of the Psalms and Proverbs today I realize that this month is almost over another month is almost upon me.  This month I seasoned my daily readings with the daily devotional by Charles Swindoll title Wisdom for the Way.  I found this devotional at the Goodwill store where I buy some of my books.  On the inside cover I discovered these words “For Lindsey from the Craigs May 2001”.   The subtitle of this devotional is Wise Words for Busy People.  How this book came from the Craigs to Lindsey and then to me is a mystery, but as I look to the surpassing greatness of God I realize how God can use a book to influence a person.

On page 62 of this devotional Charles Swindoll starts off the reading by writing “The only way we can come to terms with reality-is by trusting God, regardless.”  As I continue read this devotional I noticed there were only two paragraphs.  The first paragraph centered the words I and me.  It is a matter of if I am trusting him, or if I do or don’t allow God in my world as I face each and every issue in my daily routine.  The second paragraph centers on the word we.  We can’t wait for conditions to be perfect, instead we must go on trusting.  This gift of the Craigs to give Lindsey a treasure to help her along the way is an example of their trusting God to work in her life.  Sometimes it might appear that we have fail, however because of the surpassing greatness of God their gift might produce fruit elsewhere.  As this simple devotional starts with an individual, the end result because of the surpassing greatness of God will be a group result.

Verse six “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.” forces the reader to one conclusion and that is we are to praise the Lord.  The journey that begins with the first breath that a child takes at birth to the last breathe we take before we pass from this life to eternity must include the process of praising the Lord.

As I reflect on the name of this website I realized that my5dailypsalms is a reflection of my life.  As David writes the Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want I realize that he is also my Shepherd.  I realize that it is the Lord that opens and closes doors.  The Words of the Psalms and the entire Bible must be made real to me through the work of the Holy Spirit leading me into a greater understanding of God.  So the invitation of Christ “Come unto me” does change a person’s life.  It has mine.  So the words of David and the other writers of the Psalms have became the words that I meditate on day and night.

Psalm 149

IMG_4046Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.  For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.  Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.  May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them? This is the glory of all his saints.  Praise the LORD. (NIV)

As we study God’s Word some concepts are hard for us to understand.  As I study the attributes of God and focus on His goodness and kindness as well as His great mercies that He has impart not only on my behalf but on to all who call on his name, it sometimes becomes difficult for me to picture God as One who will inflict vengeance and carry out the punishment of the sentence that is written against the those that have not called upon his name.   Thankfully for me the message I must give to the world is not this message of the future judgment of God against the wicked of this world, but a new song a message of a way of salvation to all who will believe.  As I study these verses I must realize that there will be a time of judgment ahead, but until then there is hope for anyone that still wants to come to Him.  In Jude’s book (the second to the last bible of the Bible) in verses twenty-one through twenty-four we are told to keep ourselves in the love of God and have mercy on those who doubt.  So when I am confronted by others to explain how a loving God could be such a God of vengeance I will explain to them that I am only beginning to understand the workings of God and that some concept about God is still beyond my understanding.  I can compare my understanding of the complete nature of God to that of a 3rd grader’s understanding of calculus.  Some things are just beyond my understanding.  However, by reading Psalm ten I get a picture of how wicked the evil man truly can be.

This psalm ends with a plea for God to arise and take action against the wicked and evil man and call him into account for what he has done.  Then this happens to the evil it will become the glory of all his saints.  This day will come when the Lord returns.  Why the delay?  Peter answers this in II Peter chapter three “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.    How then should we live “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for these things, give diligence that ye may be found in peace, without spot and blameless in his sight.  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you”.

But why don’t the wicked see their coming judgment?  The answer can be found in Psalm fourteen, Psalm fifty-three, and Romans chapter three.

Psalm 143

Shark teethHear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.  And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.  Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.  I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.  I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah. Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.  Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.  Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.  Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.  And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.  (KJV)

When I look at the very essence of life the bottom line is that life is a gift from God.  I also believe that living life without God can very difficult, and is the reason why people can seem to live a life that seems wonderful, yet they are really left with an unfulfilling emptiness.  As I study this Psalm I must reflect upon I Samuel 27:1 “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me any more in all the borders of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.”  After seven years of running from Saul and waiting on God to intervene; David had reached a point in his life where he decided that living the life he desired was no longer available.  So he decided with his men and their families to start over.  One of the interesting facts I see in this verse is that David is leaving behind his family, his friends, and his past way of life to live with his former enemy.

This psalm probably was a representation of the type of prayers that David made before coming to this decision in Samuel 27:1.   It has been stated that you must walk in someone’s shoes before you can feel and understand the pain that they experience when they go through rough times in their life.  As I look at Samuel 27:1, after one of the most difficult times in my life I have a greater understanding of David’s feelings and the true sense of his prayers.  To lose the daily relationship of your family, as well as your close friends and then to be treated as their enemy can break a person’s will to go on.  I can still recall the very day, the very trip that I too make the decision that David made in I Samuel 27:1.

This psalm then represents a prayer of one who knows God, but seems to have no understanding of the events around him.  This is a prayer from someone who has dreams that are in God’s way, but not in God’s plan.  Sometimes it is difficult to understand why when we try to follow God’s way our life seems to be falling apart.

The Prayer Request

Hear my prayer

Listen to my cry for mercy

Come to my relief

Bring me not in judgment

My issues with my enemy

My present state of being and my desire for you.

Answer me quickly

Do not hid your face from me

I do not desire to be like those who go down to the pit

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love.

Show me the way I should go

Lift up my soul

Rescue me from my enemies

Teach me to do your will

May your Spirit lead me on level ground

Preserve my life for your name sake

Bring me out of trouble in your rightness

Silence my enemies

Destroy all my foes

Psalm 131

DSC03632This is the 12th psalm of the fifteen Song of Ascents Psalms

Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.  Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.  Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and forever. (KJV)

It is amazing how a short psalm like Psalm 131 can ease our mind.  The beauty of God’s Word is how the truth found in each verse can touch the heart of those who are not proud, who have quieted themselves so that the Spirit of God can renew that individual relationship between them and God.

How often do we try to put ourselves or others on a pedestal only to see how easy it is to fall off that pedestal?  How often do we seem to have all the answers and then realize that the path we have charted is taking us in the wrong direction?  How often do we let our thought become express words without going though the filtering system that we have developed during our experiences on this earth?  Yet the opening verse of this Psalm gives us the advise that we need to avoid all these issues.  The definition of pride found in the dictionary is: a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.  Synonyms for being proud include: pride, conceit, self-esteem, egotism, and vanity can imply an elevated idea of the way we appear to others.  The advantages, achievements, as well as the position that we attain in this life, often lead us to develop characteristics that creates an environment in which self-admiration takes over in our life.  I recall one of my favorite saying in the days of my youth as “when you are good you are good, but when you are great you are like me!”.  However, age can sometimes have a way of adjusting our attitudes, and where pride exist a fall is close behind.

Psalm 126

sc pier1This is the 7th psalm of the fifteen Song of Ascents psalms When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed.  Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”  The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.  Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev.  Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.  (NIV)

As one reads this verse look at your captivity as the bondage that sin had passed upon us and the freedom we have because of Christ.  When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden God did not leave them without hope since he promised a seed to woman who would someday bruise Satan’s head.  He did the same with Judah when they were carried away by the Nebuchadnezzar’s army to Babylon.  He promised that a remnant would return.  This is also true of us as believers today.  We are free from the penalty of death because of Christ and have the gift to walk in freeness of life from this sinful nature by the power of the Holy Spirit.   This walk is outlined for the believer in Galatians chapter Five.

The fruit of the Spirit       The works of the flesh (sinful nature)

Love                                                  Fornication

Joy                                                   Uncleanness

Peace                                                 Lasciviousness

Longsuffering                                     Idolatry

Kindness                                             Sorcery

Goodness                                            Enmities

Faithfulness                                        Strife

Meekness                                           Jealousies

Self-Control                                         Wrath

Factions

Divisions

Parties

Envying

Drunkenness

Reveling

As I read the second half of verse two “Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” I have to go to the prophecy found in Ezekiel 37:28 “Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.”  This is probably one of the prophecy that the writer of this Psalm was thinking of when he wrote this Psalm.  We also as believers have this hope and promise of a new heaven and a new earth found in Revelation chapter twenty-one.  The beauty of this new heaven and new earth is that God dwelling is with man and he will live with us.  The old order of things will be passed away.  Who will make up this new environment?  The answer is found in verse twenty-seven.  “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  So until then, live a blameless life so that people around you can see that your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life and that the peace this gives you in your daily walk will also become the peace that they desire to have in their life.

Psalm 107

IMG_4046O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; and gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: Therefore he brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder. Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhorred all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saves them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. They that go down to the sea in ships that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commanded, and raises the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he brings them out of their distresses. He makes the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he brings them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. He turns rivers into a wilderness, and the water springs into dry ground; a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. He turns the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into water springs.  And there he makes the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; and sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. He blesses them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffers not their cattle to decrease. Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow. He pours contempt upon princes, and causes them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. Yet sets he the poor on high from affliction, and makes him families like a flock. The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth. Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.

This Psalm reminds me of what Mart De Hann wrote in his book Been Thinking About  “The Scriptures offer no hope to those who refuse to believe Christ suffered for them.  The Bible offers a whole new life, however to those who believe that Christ lived and died as their substitute.”   However, as I consider the words that he wrote I realized that his entire statement is based upon his belief that the Scriptures are the foundation of his philosophy system.  This Psalm reflect the simply theme of man’s helplessness outside of God’s intervention.  Life is good because of God’s unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.  However, just as the statement that Mart De Hann made was based upon the belief that Scripture are the foundation of his philosophy system so must we base the truth of this Psalm upon this same foundation.   Are the scriptures the foundation of your philosophy system?

Psalm 138

Tallapossa 4I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.  In the day when I cried thou answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul.  All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord, when they hear the words of thy mouth.  Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord: for great is the glory of the Lord.  Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.  The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.  (KJV)

We are living in the age where people are seeking for a purpose in life, a reason for their being here on this earth.  However, as I read this psalm I realize that it is not me that must fulfill my purpose for God, but God fulfilling his purpose in me.  As I study the Pauline epistles as well as the other general epistles I realize that my purpose to God is to present myself to Him as a holy living sacrifice that has been transformed from the old man to the new man (Romans 12:1,2Colossians 3I John 3Philippians 2; and II Timothy 2:21). In I Corinthians 2:2 Paul states “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”.  If we follow Paul’s example we can become a vessel of honor, holy and acceptable for the Lord’s use.  My prayer is the same then as David’s “Your love O Lord endures forever do not abandon (me) the works of your hand.   In his daily devotional for January 26 Oswald Chambers writes the simplicity of this process of God fulfilling his purpose in me.  He writes “By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of His Word, life become amazingly simple.”

As I read and study verse seven of this psalm I realize that the reality of living a quiet life without problems and issues in this world does not exist.  This psalms likes many of David’s psalms brings out the importance of praising God.  Even in the midst of trouble we are to praise God.  How do I make discussions of how to react to the issues in my life and at the same time let God fulfill his purpose for me?  One way that I have realized is to look at the examples that God has given us of David’s life as well as the life of Christ found in the scriptures.  When looking at finding purpose in my life I must always go back and reflect on the experience that Christ faced at Gethsemane.  His prayer found in Luke 22: 41-44:

And he was parted from them about a stone’s cast; and he kneeled down and prayed,  saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but your will, be done.  And there appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.

This too must be our prayer.  As I have been studying the Bible for over forty years the question that I have not been able to fully comprehend is “What was the true purpose of the Cross and why did it have to be this cruel death”.  Yes, I know his death was the price for the sins of this world.  But why this type of death?”   It was truly the only way to provide salvation to a lost and dying world.  But again why this type of death?  And yet as I have face Gethsemane moments in my life I have grown to realize that even the ones close to me, just as the Lord’s disciples were close to him, cannot truly know the reason behind the purpose of praying “nevertheless not my will, but your will, be done”.  The secret in being able to say this prayer is one’s knowledge that God is truly God.  I have realized that getting to the place in your life were you can really have the trust and obey relationship with God is not easy.  This relationship only comes when you arrive at the place in your life that you can truly pray “nevertheless not my will, but your will, be done”.   This relationship is your commitment to be total dependence upon God for everything.  This relationship can only come by walking daily with Him and knowing that you are the work of his hands.

Verse six states that God looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.  Success has a way of putting distant between us and God.  It seems that the more successful we become the more likely we are to forget about the way of God.  That is why the Lord stated to his disciples “that he that is the greatest among you, let him be the servant to all”.   Instead of being the bottom man on the totem pole, the lowly is really the rock on that supports the low man on the totem pole.  To cover the roughness of the rock they place rich dirt and manure on top of this rock to plant flowers.  In other words the lowly are usually completely unseen, yet supports entire totem pole. Unseen, perhaps by most except for the Lord.

Psalm 102

DSC03632Hear my prayer, O Jehovah, and let my cry come unto thee.  Hide not thy face from me in the day of my distress: Incline thine ear unto me; In the day when I call answer me speedily  For my days consume away like smoke, And my bones are burned as a firebrand.  My heart is smitten like grass, and withered; for I forget to eat my bread.  By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my flesh.  I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am become as an owl of the waste places.  I watch, and am become like a sparrow that is alone upon the house-top.  Mine enemies reproach me all the day; they that are mad against me do curse by me.  For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping,  Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: For thou hast taken me up, and cast me away.  My days are like a shadow that declineth; And I am withered like grass but thou, O Jehovah, wilt abide forever; And thy memorial name unto all generations.  Thou wilt arise, and have mercy upon Zion; For it is time to have pity upon her, Yea, the set time is come.  For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and have pity upon her dust.  So the nations shall fear the name of Jehovah, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.  For Jehovah hath built up Zion; He hath appeared in his glory.  He hath regarded the prayer of the destitute, and hath not despised their prayer.  This shall be written for the generation to come; And a people who shall be created shall praise Jehovah.  For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; From heaven did Jehovah behold the earth;  To hear the sighing of the prisoner; To loose those that are appointed to death;  That men may declare the name of Jehovah in Zion, And his praise in Jerusalem;  When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve Jehovah.  He weakened my strength in the way; He shortened my days. I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: Thy years are throughout all generations.  Of old didst thou lay the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands.  They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:  But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.  The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee. (ASV)

When I read verses 1-11 I am reminded of the opening verses of Job.  These could have been the words of Job after Satan put forth his hand against him.   When these events happened Job’s wife said to him “Then said his wife unto him, dost thou still hold fast your integrity? Renounce God, and die.”  His answer to her was similar to verses 12-28 of this psalm “Thou speak as one of the foolish women speak. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”  Job’s view of God was solid which caused him to be blameless in the eyes of the Lord “In all this did not Job sin with his lips”.

How does a person measure their relationship with God?  The answer to this question varies on your beliefs about the character and attributes of God.   Over the past several years that I start my journey of reading five psalms a day to help my prayer life I have seem that both my beliefs about God’s character and his attributes change.  This is because my relationship with Him has changed.  God is now not someone who I turn to in my time of need, but is now someone who I desire to fellowship with daily.  The events in my life are not always characterized by the first opening verses of this psalm; however, I have learned that God’s character is unchanging.  Verse twelve states that the Lord sit enthroned forever, his renown endures through all generations.  God will always be God.  By staying daily in the psalms I have realized that my knowledge of God grows daily and with this my relationship with him becomes deeper.  To those who state that you cannot know God, fail to heed Christ’s words found in Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”.

Verses 25 through 27 are used by the author of the opening chapter of the book of Hebrews in verses 10-12.   Verse eighteen “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD” points to the coming salvation from God that is available through work of Christ.

Psalm 97

IMG_4046The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.  A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory  Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods. Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O Lord. For thou, Lord, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. (KJV)

As I researched the phase “righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne” this morning I realized that righteousness and justice have very different meanings to a wide vary of people.  The more I researched the more complicated the definitions of righteousness and justice became.  Righteousness is simply defined as an attribute that implies one’s actions are justified.   It is a term in theology that is used to describe a person who is in a right relationship with God.  Justice is simply defined as the concept of moral rightness.   However, in my research I quickly came to the realization that the definition of moral rightness is really based upon the person’s view in which you are having a conversation with at the time.  Of course the definition of moral righteousness would change with every conversation.  However, the book of the Psalms makes it clear who defines righteousness and that is the LORD.

As we go about the process of living in this world we seem to have a misunderstanding of the order in which we place your priorities.   It is His righteousness that should be the main priority that we seek and not our daily needs.  In Matthew 6:33 the Lord states “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you”.  As we consider our daily conversations with friends and family the topic of the problems in the daily events in our live usually rise to the surface and can become the major part of the conversation.    Yet we must realize that this topic should not really be a concern for the believer.  If we seek God’s righteous and justice then all the things we need will be provided to us.  Therefore our priority in life should be living a blameless life seeking the kingdom of God, and not worrying about tomorrow.

As I look at the opening statement of this psalm it reads “The Lord reigns” I am reminded of the song I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day and recall some of the words of this song that Henry Longfellow wrote during the time of the Civil War:

And in despair I bowed my head “There is no peace on earth,” I said, “For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth, good will to men.”

As I look around me with all the wars and evils in this world today I can see why people can ask “with so much evil how could God be in control?”  Yet one hundred and forty-five years ago Henry Longfellow had the answer.  His answer “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail”.  The foundation of God’s throne is righteousness and justice.  Paul declares this righteousness of God as a righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  We need never to forget this important fact of God’s righteousness.  He did not just forgive our sins because he felt sorry for us; our sins were forgive because they were atoned by the cross.  Oswald Chambers writes about this forgiveness of God in his November 20 devotional:

“Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace. The cost to God was the Cross of Christ. To forgive sin, while remaining a holy God, this price had to be paid. Never accept a view of the fatherhood of God if it blots out the atonement. The revealed truth of God is that without the atonement He cannot forgive— He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God through the atonement of the Cross. God’s forgiveness is possible only in the supernatural realm.”

We must not forget that even though the foundation of God’s throne is righteousness that justice had to be satisfied.  It took the cross to make our unrighteousness right before God.  This cost of this price to God can never be fully understood by us, but we can delight in it and I believe that this delight brings pleasure to God.

Psalm 92

CrabIt is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:  To shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.  For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.  O Lord, how great are thy works! And thy thoughts are very deep.   A brutish man knows not; neither doth a fool understand this.  When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed forever:  But thou, Lord, art most high for evermore.  For, lo, thine enemies, O Lord, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.  But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of a unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.  Mine eye also shall see my desire on mine enemies, and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me.  The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.  They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.  (KJV)

As I was studying the last week of Christ’s ministry on this earth this week the phase from Matthew 27:46 stood out “My God, my God why have you forsaken me”.  Why did God forsake him?  I believe because of the sin of the human race was upon Christ at this time.  Paul wrote of this in Philippians 2:5-8 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!”   And yet as Christ took on the form of human likeness we can now take on the form of a son of God in this world.  This should be the purpose of all believers today.  In I John 3:2-3 “now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”

In the years that has passed since my son’s death I reflected back to the voids that his death has left in my life.  Yet as all the voids in one’s life (especially those that comes about because of the death of a love one) usually start to be filled over time by the demands placed upon us by life itself, there does comes moments when these voids open up again.  When these times come I try to reflect upon songs from the past.   As I reflected back on my experiences at church as a young person, I realize how much music was a big part of these experiences.  The songs that I memorized and placed in my heart as a young men has help me get through some of the most difficult times in my life.  The opening statement of this psalm “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name” reveals the type of relationship a person needs to have with the Lord.  Verse four “For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands” enlightens us on the themes the songs.  The song It is Well With My Soul is one such song.  However, it is the history behind the story that help gives the peace to the one that sings it.