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.