Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come. When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple. You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations. Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy. You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing. (NIV)
In my daily studies I try to start the day out by reading five psalms a day and one chapter of Proverbs. The psalms helps me grow in my understanding of the greatness of God and helps develops a closer relationship with Him. The Book of Proverbs helps me understand God’s way in dealing with the issues of life that involves my relationship with those around me. During the rest of the day I try to meditate of God’s word. This involves studying some of the great works of other authors. One such author is Oswald Chambers. His insight into God’s Word reveals a great desire to become more Christ-like in all aspects of live. An example of this can be found in today’s reading from My Utmost to His Highest May 13 “I should be living in such perfect harmony with God’s Son that the spirit of my mind is being renewed through every circumstance of life, and that I may be able to quickly prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Chambers’ devotional is great book that can give great insight on how to develop a daily walk with Christ. However, as I read this psalm I am reminded of God’s courts, his house and his holy temple and those he has chosen to bring near to live there. This makes me think of the church and the role it plays in today’s society.
This week I started reading Charles Colson’s and Harold Fickett’s book The Faith. The subtitle of this book What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters is a message that should challenge the church today. In the introduction he brings to light how most (yes most not just some) believers really do not have a grasp of the great doctrines of the Christian faith. One of the questions he would ask was plainly “What is Christianity anyway?” One of the trends that I have seem myself within the church over the last fifty years has been a move from it desire to preach the gospel to a lost and dying world, to a defender of Christian values and the family unit. In this process the Bible has taken a back seat to all the self-help, how to have purpose in life, and guides to family living books. This is supported by the statement in the book’s Introduction “Of the twelve critical doctrines that I have identified in this book, most of my friends, admittedly unprepared, could only name four, at the best five”.
As I reflected on this last statement I ask myself if I could identified twelve critical doctrines if I was asked this this question. This is why the psalms are so important to me. I can find and grow in my understanding of the great doctrines of the faith on a daily bases. In this psalm I realize that the most important doctrine to your faith is answer “Who is God”. Here is some of the facts we can gleam from this psalm about who God is:
He is worthy of praise.
He hears our prayers.
All men will come to you.
God forgive sins.
God choose the ones who live in your court.
God are a righteous judge.
God created the world.
God cares for the world.
These are simple yet profound truths about God that we can grasp just by daily studying God’s Word. Another of the critical doctrines is answer in this psalm “Who is man”. He is overwhelmed by sins, yet our sins can be forgiven. It is God who chooses to bring us into his courts.