Psalms

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“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7 NKJV).

August 19, 2017

The word “lovingkindness” is the English translation of the Hebrew word “chesed.” It might be translated variously as “covenant love, steadfast love, loyal love, unfailing love,” etc. It is essentially the equivalent of the New Testament Greek word, “agape.” And as the psalmist wrote, God’s love is “precious.” It is this amazing character trait of God that moved Him to send His son, Jesus to die in our place. As Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” (John 3:16). God “so loved.” It is this love of God that moves us to put our trust in Him. Like chicks under the wings of a mother hen, we hide in the shadow of His loving salvation. Listen to the heart cry of Jesus over the city of His people who would not respond to His love, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! (Luke 13:34).

Are you willing to put your trust in the lovingkindness of God?

“Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me.” (Psalm 35:1 NKJV).

August 17, 2017

David cried out to the Lord to be both his advocate and avenger. He prayed that the Lord would “plead” his case as a defense attorney would one falsely accused, and “fight” for him as a warrior defending his own.

Yet, what David brought before the Lord as a prayer, those in Christ can depend on as a promise. The Lord Jesus is our Advocate. As the apostle John wrote, “… if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). And the Lord Jesus is our Avenger. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

David’s prayer has become our promise. Jesus is our Advocate and Avenger.

“Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You” (Psalm 33:22 NKJV).

August 14, 2017

The psalmist asks the Lord to be merciful towards His people according to the proportion of their hope in Him. This is not a request for God’s mercy according to their works, not according to righteousness, nor lack thereof, but according to the measure of the hope they have placed in God. The psalmist’s scale is for the Lord to give them mercy in proportion to their hope. Yet, I would ask for more. I would ask that the Lord show mercy even when (and especially when) my hope is weak. And I ask that His mercy would “be upon us” for others when their hope needs encouragement too.

“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15 NKJV).

July 21, 2017

David’s psalm anticipated the reality of going to sleep in this world and awaking to the righteous face of the Lord in the next. The Spirit inspired him with expectation of a day when he would be fully “satisfied” to be found in the Lord’s “likeness,” made righteous and fit for living in His presence.

This “face” and this “likeness” belongs to none other than the Lord Jesus. For as the apostle Paul wrote, “Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12). And as the apostle John revealed, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Can you join with David in saying, “As for me…”?

“The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God” (Psalm 14:2 NKJV).

July 18, 2017

The Lord looks. The Lord sees. The psalmist uses anthropomorphic language to describe the Lord’s intense interest in humanity. Some men may doubt God’s existence, but the Lord knows all things about man. He looks at the heart. He searches for those that search for Him.

As God has said, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

“Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, But establish the just; For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.” (Psalm 7:9 NKJV).

July 9, 2017

David wrote this psalm while hiding from Saul’s pursuit. During this time he was being falsely accused by a certain man from Saul’s tribe named, Cush, whom David feared would “tear him like a lion.” In this psalm, David invited the Lord to be both his judge and deliverer. He called on the Lord to defend him. David’s dire condition caused him to pray not only for his situation, but that all wickedness in the world would come to an end.

Have you ever looked around at the world we live in, and prayed that the Lord would bring the “wickedness of the wicked” to an end? Have you ever prayed that the Lord would “establish the just?” Of course, we tend to put others in the first category and ourselves in the “just” one. That’s why God is the only one capable of such a judgment, for He alone can “test the hearts and minds.”

One day, David’s prayer will be answered. The wicked will be judged and their time brought to an end. And the Lord Jesus Christ will establish the just, those who have been made so by believing in His Name. Until then, we can pray as David did, depending on the Lord to be our Savior and Defender.

“I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears.” (Psalm 6:6 NKJV).

July 8, 2017

David wrote of a time when he was so distressed in his soul that his nights were filled with groaning and his bed drenched with tears. Whether the occasion was because of his enemies without or of his own sense of guilt within, he described the torment he felt as he cried out for the Lord’s help, yet for a time, heard no response.

Some have described such a time as the “dark night of the soul.” Anyone who has been a believer for any length of time has probably experienced such a “night.” Which is really an indefinite period that can last for days or weeks, or longer, as one’s soul cries out for the Lord’s response. Such a state is intensified, in that night, which was meant for rest, has instead become a time of weariness and groaning. And the bed, which is meant for comfort and relaxation, becomes a place of torture and tears.

David experienced such a time. And certainly, so did Christ, as He cried out to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane. Yet, the Father is not far away. He never leaves, nor forsakes us. David’s sixth psalm closes with confidence that the Lord has heard him in his distress. And we too, can have that confidence. For ultimately, the dark night ends, and a new day dawns, and the Lord answers us in our distress.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1 NKJV).

June 15, 2017

Not uniformity, as some would see it, but unity. The first demands outward conformity, but the second is oneness of heart that allows for diversity. For “there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:4). This “good and pleasant” unity cannot be accomplished by human means, but is the work of the Holy Spirit. As the apostle Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). This unity comes from having a new spiritual identity in Christ.