Psalm 92

Psalm 92

IMG_0154
1 It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High,
2 to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,
3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.
4 For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.
5 How great are your works, O LORD, how profound your thoughts!
6 The senseless man does not know, fools do not understand,
7 that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be forever destroyed.
8 But you, O LORD, are exalted forever.
9 For surely your enemies, O LORD, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered.
10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured upon me.
11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

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 year that has passed since my son’s death I reflected 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 again. When these times come, I try to reflect upon songs from the past. As I reflected 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 man 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 that have made these our 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.

Psalm 91

Psalm 91

IMG_0476
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling even the LORD, who is my refuge
10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

As I read this psalm, I have a note in my Bible to also read Matthew chapter four where Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. It is amazing how much I have discovered of the way Christ led his life here on this earth by my daily reading of the Psalms. As one reads the psalm above the reader could refer both to the believer who is trusting completely in God or Christ himself when he dwelled on this earth. Note also in Matthew 4:11 “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” are the same angels found here in this psalm in verses eleven and twelve. These were the verses that the devil tried to misinterpret in Matthew 4:6. As we go about on journey on this earth the key to this journey is found in verse fourteen. Because I love God, God will rescue and protect me and because of my love I will acknowledge God before others. The love of God is much greater than that of a father or mother toward her their own child. And the love of the believer picture here is much greater than the love a son or daughter can have for their own parent. Just as the devil tried to misinterpret these verses to Christ in the desert; the sinful nature that is found in the world around us also tries to blinds us to these verses that reveals to us the truth about how close a relationship we can have with God.
The opening statement of this psalm ” he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High” sets the stage for all believers. One of the most precious teachings of Christianity is that of the priesthood of the believer. As Peter writes in his first epistle, we are not only priest, but a people of God’s own possession for the purpose to show forth the excellencies of God who call us out of darkness into his marvelous light. When we make God our refuge, our hiding place we place ourselves in his care and our faith grows. As this relationship of trusting in the Lord grew, we learn to love him more. We come to the realized of how important the first law of the Ten Commandments in our relationship with God. Having no other Gods before him truly means dwelling in his presence. This relationship with God is very important. By resting in the Lord, we become as a young chick who stays near the wings of the caring hen. We will not fear what will happen to us as we perform the daily routines that are in our lives and careers. For in the moment of danger we know we have the protection on the mother’s wings. The secret to living this type of life is giving up the pride we have in being able to do things my way instead of God’s way. Surrender to God’s shelter and his peace will be upon you with the long satisfy life he gives those who walk in his way.
Verse fourteen states “Because he loves me, says the Lord” is the focus point of our relationship with God. My relationship with God is not based upon the way I live my life, but with whom I chose to have fellowship and companionship. I might not force God on others; however, I will not deny him for as my God I will acknowledge him to all who inquires.
As I studied Luke 2:41-52 this morning I realized that this is the only glimpse of the boyhood of Christ in the scripture. We can see from these verses that there was a purpose that Jesus had in his life and that was to be about his Father’s business. As I read this Psalm, I can picture Christ in his early age as a boy, just as David was a boy that spent his time mediating on God’s Word. In this Psalm I can picture Christ reading this Psalm and seeing David as the subject of this Psalm placing himself as a lamb under the care of his shepherd. It is not how great and powerful the shepherd makes the lamb, but how the shepherd protects him. David realized that God was in control no matter had difficult the situation seems to be around him. This Psalm just as Christ’s life points to the secret of living a blameless life and that secret is a simple trust in the Most High. In Luke chapter two verse fifty-two the simple statement “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”, is an example of how we a believer must grow in our life. So instead of focusing on the glorification of self as Satan wanted Christ to do in Matthew chapter four, we need to be focusing on dwelling in the shelter of the Most High and growing in our love for Him.

Psalm 90

Psalm 90

IMG_0119
1A prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”
4 for a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
5 You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning
6 though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.
7 We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
10 The length of our days is seventy years or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Relent, O LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us yes, establish the work of our hands.

This psalm was written by Moses and reveals several truths for us to consider. Remember that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch the first five books of the Bible. These first five books of the Old Testament set the framework that education should be based. As the first verse of Genesis state “In the beginning God” sets the stage for the Pentateuch so must we include God as the foundation for all of our sciences in every aspect of our studies. You are God is a truth that we must grasp and believe. And not even question. And yet when we question the events that happen in our life, we seem to forget about Romans 8:28 and how ALL things work together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose. Yes, God is God and he does as he pleases.
In this psalm Moses reveals to us the creator of the Universe. As I reflect on the teaching of science, history, math, and language arts in schools today I see how much we have left God out. Moses speaks of men’s short life on this earth and how God controls mankind’s future. It is interesting that in these verses he does not speak of the glory of man and the great achievements of mankind, but of their iniquities and secret sins. Moses and Israel were leaving all of this behind when they leave Egypt. Moses witness how much the Egyptians valued the glorification of themselves and their achievements, but he also witnesses their death. In fact, Moses himself was educated in all the wisdom of Egypt and was a man who probably value the glorification of his works and his achievements in his early days as one of the rulers of Egypt. However, it was probably in the second forty years of life in the quietness of the wilderness as a shepherd that he learned that God is God. This is a lesson that most people learn late in life. Solomon warned of this danger in the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes was probably written by him in the later years of his life after he had forsaken God and served the gods of his wives. He writes in chapter twelve: “Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them”. His final words in Ecclesiastes are:
Vanity of vanities said the Preacher; all is vanity. And further, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he pondered, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words, and that which was written uprightly, even words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads; and as nails well fastened are the words of the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
So, as we live our lives on this earth let us remember the words of the son of David and remember our Creator in the days of our youth and carry this remembrance of Him on to our old age.
For a thousand years are like a day to you. Time is in God’s hand and yet we seem to worry about the shortness of life that we have on this earth. But Moses let us know we only have seventy or maybe eighty years on this earth and that these are full of trouble and sorrow. Moses knew God, I am afraid that our leaders today do not know God. When I refer to the leaders today, I am not only referring to the political leaders, but also to the religious leader, educational leaders and business leaders. It seems that the church is focused more on issues that would make this world a better place instead of spreading the message of the gospel of salvation. Today, we as the Egyptians want to glorify man and his achievements and leave God out. It is our kingdom that we seek to achieve and not the kingdom of our Lord’s. Verse seventeen is key to walking with God and that is understanding that it is his desire and not ours for the events that happens in our life. As one looks at the Lord’s prayer it starts out as Our Father who art in heaven holy is your name. Your kingdom come that will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Mediate upon Moses’ life of one hundred and twenty years and the trials that he went through as you read this psalm. Let verse twelve take places in your heart. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ” His first forty years were spent in the courts of Pharaoh learning the wisdom of Egypt and how to be a royal administrator. His second forty years were spent in the wilderness tending sheep. The last forty years he became the prophet who lead Israel to the Promise Land. Charles Swindoll reflected upon this truth of gaining a heart of wisdom in his book Wisdom for the Way. He wrote “Aging isn’t a choice. But our response to it is. In so many ways we ourselves determine how we shall grow old.” One of the greatest features that an elderly Christian shows the world is the gracefulness of growing old in the Lord. They have learned the secret of living and that is to quietly look to the Lord to meet their daily needs.

Psalm 89

Psalm 89

IMG_0112

A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
1 I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant,
4 ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’ Selah
5 The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings?
7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.
8 O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
9 You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.
10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain; with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.
11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it.
12 You created the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name.
13 Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness.
17 For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn.
18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Once you spoke in a vision, to your faithful people you said: “I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have exalted a young man from among the people.
20 I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him.
21 My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him.
22 No enemy will subject him to tribute; no wicked man will oppress him.
23 I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries.
24 My faithful love will be with him, and through my name his horn will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand over the sea, his right hand over the rivers.
26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’
27 I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
28 I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail.
29 I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure.
30 “If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes,
31 if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands,
32 I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging;
33 but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.
34 I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.
35 Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness and I will not lie to David
36 that his line will continue forever and his throne endures before me like the sun;
37 it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah
38 But you have rejected, you have spurned, you have been very angry with your anointed one.
39 You have renounced the covenant with your servant and have defiled his crown in the dust.
40 You have broken through all his walls and reduced his strongholds to ruins.
41 All who pass by have plundered him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice.
43 You have turned back the edge of his sword and have not supported him in battle.
44 You have put an end to his splendor and cast his throne to the ground.
45 You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with a mantle of shame. Selah
46 How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all men!
48 What man can live and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave? Selah
49 O Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David?
50 Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations,
51 the taunts with which your enemies have mocked, O LORD , with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.
52 Praise be to the LORD forever!
Amen and Amen.

Psalm 88

Psalm 88

cherry grove pier

A maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.

1O LORD, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you.
2 May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.
3 For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength.
5 I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care.
6 You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. Selah
8 You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape;
9 my eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, O LORD , every day; I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you? Selah
11 Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction?
12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?
13 But I cry to you for help, O LORD ; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 Why, O LORD , do you reject me and hide your face from me?
15 From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death; I have suffered your terrors and am in despair.
16 Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me.
17 All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me.
18 You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend.

This is probably one of the hardest psalms to understand. Marshall H. Lewis wrote about this psalm “Psalm 88 is like no other psalm. There is nothing like it in the Psalter, nothing like it in the rest of the Bible, nothing like it among Israelite and Judean noncanonical psalms, nothing like it among Babylonian and Egyptian psalms. It is unique in its utter hopelessness, its complete lack of praise, its unmitigated blame of God. Brueggemann goes so far as to call it “an embarrassment to conventional faith.” Not even the Book of Job is as dark. At least God responds to Job; here, the cry of the psalmist disappears into the void. God is invoked, but remains absent. This is the challenge in interpreting Psalm 88.” I believe that this psalm can be understood best as a psalm for those that rejects God’s provisional way of salvation. Read this psalm after you have read Luke 16:19-27. Put the rich man of Luke 16 in the subject role of this psalm. Notice that this psalm does not mention anything about repentance. Now read Romans chapter one, then reread Luke 16:19-27 and then reread this psalm. Unless you seek God and the righteousness found in the work of His son this will become your psalm after your death.
As I was reading this psalm I realized how much this gift of salvation really means to me. Now for the hard question, does my life reflect how important it is in my life to share God’s Word and his message of salvation from the pit, the grave, the place of darkness, the land of oblivion with others? In Luke 16:26 where Abraham tells the rich man that there is a great gulf fixed between us and that none can pass either way makes me realize how important God’s Word is in this world. When the rich man ask Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers Abraham stated “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rise from the dead”. It is not my lifestyle that leads other to Christ, but my lifestyle that can leads them to the source of my salvation which is Christ. Christ became the living Word. The song Let the Lower Lights Be Burning by Philip P Bless was written to encourage believers of their responsibilities to be the light on this earth to point others to the greater light so that they to might make it safely into the harbor.
1. Brightly beams our Father’s mercy,
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
o Refrain:
Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
2. Dark the night of sin has settled,
Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.
3. Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.
As you read verse eighteen “You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend” remember David’s words from Psalm 51:10-13:
• Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
Remember it is your relationship with God that makes you shine, not the relationship you have with others. Strive to renew your relationship with God and he will make your light shine and hopefully your light will point them to the greater light.
I was presented another view of this psalm the other day that I believe opens up another side of looking at these verses that I have not considered. As I study the ministry of Christ I realize that during his ministry he knew it would end not only with his death on the cross, but also a separation from God. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:8-16:
Wherefore he said, When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, And gave gifts unto men. (Now this, He ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in due measure of each several part, make the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.
The portion of these verses “Now this, He ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.” refers to Christ fulfilling all things. So could this Psalm represent a prayer that the Lord prayed during his earthly ministry? If so we may never truly realized the price that Christ had to pay for our salvation. If your do a quick search of the word suffer in the Bible you will find one hundred and forty-five reference the the word suffer in the New International Version: http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=suffer&searchtype=all&version1=31&spanbegin=1&spanend=73
and ninety-six reference to the word suffer in the New American Standard Version: http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=suffer&searchtype=all&version1=49&spanbegin=1&spanend=73
I Peter alone has nineteen references to the word suffer or suffering:
1. 1 Peter 1:6
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
2. 1 Peter 1:11
trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
3. 1 Peter 2:19
For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.
4. 1 Peter 2:20
But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.
5. 1 Peter 2:21
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
6. 1 Peter 2:23
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
7. 1 Peter 3:14
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear ; do not be frightened.”
8. 1 Peter 3:17
It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
9. 1 Peter 4:1
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.
10. 1 Peter 4:12
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
11. 1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
12. 1 Peter 4:15
If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.
13. 1 Peter 4:16
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
14. 1 Peter 4:19
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
15. 1 Peter 5:1
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
16. 1 Peter 5:9
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
17. 1 Peter 5:10
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Committing yourself to suffering according to God’s will (as Christ suffered for our sins) is a difficult task for the believer. It is only by dying daily to His will and not ours that we can live the life that is found in the writings of Peter and the other apostles.

Psalm 87

Psalm 87

IMG_0067

Of the Sons of Korah..

1 He has set his foundation on the holy mountain;
2 the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
3 Glorious things are said of you, O city of God: Selah
4 “I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.'”
5 Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.”
6 The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” Selah
7 As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.”
As I read the psalms there are some, I seem to read over to jump to the next and Psalm eighty-seven is one of these Psalms. As I read this Psalm, I reflect upon the verses found in Revelation chapter twenty-one.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
The phrase “those who acknowledge me” means more than just stating that there is a possibility that god could existed. The meaning of the word acknowledge is “to admit being real or true; recognize the existence, truth, or fact of” which is more than recognizing God, it is accepting Him. Not only is it accepting Him, but it is also accepting His way. Knowing God is more just becoming religious. Oswald Chambers stated in his devotional The Mystery of Believing “Many people begin coming to God once they stop being religious, because there is only one master of the human heart— Jesus Christ, not religion.” To truly acknowledge God, we must make Him the master of our heart.

Psalm 86

Psalm 86

IMG_0822[1]

A prayer of David.

1 Hear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you.
3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy.
7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.
9 All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD , and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
14 The arrogant are attacking me, O God; a band of ruthless men seeks my life men without regard for you.
15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.
There is an old hymn of the faith called “Tell Me the Story of Jesus” written by Frances J. Cosby that I am reminded of when I read verse eleven. The refrain of this song:
Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard
reminds me of the way of God that David wrote about in all his psalms. David look forwarded to the Savior, but we are so much more richer since we now have the story of Jesus in your life. David’s desire was to walk in God’s way and to walk in his truth. We should have the same love in sharing the story of Jesus that David had for studying God’s way. By sharing the story of Jesus to those around us, we will be more inclined to live this type of a blameless walk that David wrote about in Psalm 15. Paul’s writings also encouraged us to make our walk blameless before others:
1. 1 Corinthians 1:8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
3. Ephesians 5:27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
4. Philippians 1:10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
5. Philippians 2:15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
6. 1 Thessalonians 2:10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.
7. 1 Thessalonians 3:13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
8. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In this psalm David also refers to himself as your servant. To truly be devoted to God we must become a servant to God just as David refers to in verse two. To gain a better understanding of the concept of this type of servant see my comments to Psalm 40. By being a servant of God two things will occur, God’s presence will be in your life and the wicked will stand against you.
In the daily reading of the Psalms today we start the devotional time with this Psalm and end with Psalm 90. In Psalm 86 David wrote “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” These words bring to life the key to living a Christian life which is found in Psalms one. This fact is also found in Psalms 90:12 as Moses wrote “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”. Teach me God is a prayer that we need to pray more in our daily walk.

Psalm 85

Psalm 85

IMG_0471

1 You showed favor to your land, O LORD; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. Selah
3 You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.
4 Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints but let them not return to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps

Love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. As I read these two verses, I see a beautiful picture of the gospel. God in his righteousness looked down from heaven and send his son into the world to give us hope. Now with hope we look to heaven with faithfulness knowing that Christ will come again and restore all things to him. This hope gives us peace. We no longer need to worry about today or tomorrow for the Lord will indeed give what is good to us.
Yet, this is not the hope of those you know not the Lord. Those who know not the Lord look to this hope as foolishness and a weakness to those who believe in this hope. I realized that their eyes are indeed blinded to this hope. Why this blindness? Is it because of the desires for the things of this life (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life) that is ever portrait before them by Satan? As I look back on my walk with the Lord, I realize the hardships that were part of my path, the many failures I had; however, I realize also that through it all God was there with me. The more I travel down this path with the Lord the more I realized I do not deserve these blessings from the Lord, and yet I come to a peace about the relationship because I realize that His nature is slowly be reflected by me to others.
As I started today’s journey in the psalms, I started it off this morning by sharing with a friend the first verse of Psalm 81 as a song of joy. Verse one of Psalm 81 states “Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!” In this psalm the psalmist writes “The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest”. As I read these Psalms 81 through 85, I see a picture of the believer’s journey in this world.

Psalm 84

Psalm 84

IMG_0595

1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Selah
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty; listen to me, O God of Jacob. Selah
9 Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
12 O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.

This psalm can picture the walk of the believer on their pilgrimage to heaven. As you read this psalm ask yourself this one question “Am I living my daily walk for gaining thing for this world or enjoying the things in this world as I make my way to heaven?”. As I pray that God will use me in his service verse eleven makes me realize how useless for me to search for God’s purpose in my life. The more I study God’s Word the more I realize that to walk in God’s way is to have a walk that is blameless. The word blameless can be found fifteen times in the Psalms, fourteen times referring to the type of walk we should have:
Psalm 15:2 He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart
Psalm 18:23 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.
Psalm 18:25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
Psalm 19:13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
Psalm 26:1 Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Psalm 26:11 But I lead a blameless life; redeem me and be merciful to me.
Psalm 37:18 The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever.
Psalm 37:37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace.
Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
Psalm 101:2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life— when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart.
Psalm 101:6 My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.
Psalm 119:1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.
Psalm 119:80 May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.
My purpose then should be to stay in God’s Word, look for God to reveal himself in my relationships with others and to keep myself unspotted by the world. As Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 2:20, 21 ” Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some unto honor, and some unto dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, meet for the master’s use, prepared unto every good work.”.

Psalm 83

Psalm 83

abstract

This is the last of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph
1 O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.
2 See how your enemies are astir, how your foes rear their heads.
3 With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish.
4 “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.”
5 With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you-
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot. Selah
9 Do to them as you did to Midian, as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who perished at Endor and became like refuse on the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God.”
13 Make them like tumbleweed, O my God, like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm.
16 Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O LORD.
17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace.
18 Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
Charles Spurgeon in his work The Treasury of David writes about the historical background on this psalm. One of the interesting points in his commentary about this historical background was his comment on why the Lord keeps silent. He gives three examples from scripture on this subject. The first example was from Matthew chapter eight, Mark chapter four and Luke eight. This was the incident when the Lord was asleep during the storm. This silent was one that test our faith. The next example was from Isaiah fifty-nine were God is silent in the times when his people are experiencing trouble times. This type of silent test the uprightness of men’s heart. The third example he gives is a type of silent that we usually do not consider and is found in this Psalm. We seem to focus most of our attention on God and his relationship with the righteous. In this psalm God seems be silent in dealing with the wicked. This is a time of silent in which God gives the wicked a chance to turn from their wicked way. However, in Matthew 25:31-46 our Lord gives an example when this silent will end. In verse forty-one his judgment is this: depart from me accursed ones into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels. This is when verses seventeen and eighteen of this psalm will come to pass.
As I examine this Psalm considering the third example of God’s silent and consider the direction in which the societies of the whole are drifting, I cannot help but consider the words from II Peter chapter three. In this chapter Peter states his purpose of writing to them was to give them a reminder to stimulate them to wholesome thinking. He reminds them that this wholesome thinking starts with an understanding of God’s Word. The failure of wholesome thinking starts with a denial of the Lord’s return and the denial of the Flood. With this denial comes a denial of God’s Word. But God is patient. Why? Here in II Peter chapter three we are told that it is because the Lord does not want anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance. So how do we as believers pursue a lifestyle during these times when the wickedness of the world seems to surround us on every side? The answer is simple but is hard to understand. Peter writes that we should look forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. As we wait, we should make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and have the peace of God within us. However, in verse sixteen Peter describes the state in which Christians are in today. They find the scriptures hard to understand and distort them to fit their lifestyles. This description of the church is also found in Revelation chapter three of the church of Laodicea where Christ is pictured outside of the church. So, as we watch the direction in which the world is drifting read II Peter chapter three, grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and look for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ to usher in the home of the righteousness.
As I read the last psalm ascribed to Asaph, I am remained again of the seven thousand that God let Elijah know that had not bowed knees to Baal (I Kings 19:18). These seven thousand lived during the reign of Ahab and his wife Jezebel at a time in which the world around them worshiped other Gods. Not only did the nations around them worship other gods, but Jezebel even cut off the prophets of Jehovah and tried to silent their voice. During this time, we see Elijah as the only one taking an active stand for God. Not even the incident of Elijah calling fire down on the burnt-offering on Mt Carmel and the power of God being magnified could turn the nation back to God. Soon after this show of God’s might and power Elijah was running with fear from Jezebel. I Kings 18 gives us the example of people like Obadiah who feared God and remained faithful to God, in the quietness of doing his assigned work assigned to him as head of Ahab’s household. In this position he was able to protect and take care of a hundred of the Lord’s prophets. Here we see two examples of how Godly men react to the events in a troubling time. As we too are living in times when the movement of our sociality is moving against the ways of God, we have the examples found in I Kings chapters eighteen and nineteen. Yes, God will raise up powerful evangelists such as Elijah to stand in the way, yet at the same time he will reserve a remnant that will not be a part of this world. Therefore, do not be discourage when it seems like the enemies of God have the upward hand. God did not seem present during the time of Elijah, but he was. God might not seem present now, but he is and is just silent for a while.