October 20, 2017
The throne of a human king or judge is elevated by wood or stone and often ornamented by images and symbols to suggest their authority and judgment. But the foundation of the Lord’s throne is “righteousness and justice.” His throne is elevated by His character, which is pure and unchanging. He looks upon us with a face that is the perfect balance of “mercy and truth,” so that neither grace is diminished, but both fully demonstrated in word and deed. So, God sent His Son to go “before” His “face,” as the perfect embodiment of His “mercy and truth” and to fully satisfy both in His death on the cross. As a result, those who have placed their faith in Christ are now able to approach the Lord as “face to face,” to know Him and to be fully known by Him (1 Cor. 13:12).
October 19, 2017
Who is this promised “seed?” Isn’t this seed which the Lord promised to David, also the same seed promised to Abraham? Surely, it must be. The apostle Paul identified it as Jesus, saying, “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). As today’s Jeremiah reading (Jer. 33:19-22) reminded us, this was an unconditional promise, a covenantal promise. And it was fulfilled in Christ Jesus, whose throne is established forever.
October 18, 2017
The Lord is the God of salvation. And now, because of Jesus, we can truly call Him the God of “my” salvation. In Christ, we that were far away, have now been brought near. Although we may feel at times as the psalmist did, that our prayers go unheard and our tears unnoticed, we can be confident of our access to the Father through the Son. For all the rights and privileges of sonship are ours in Christ Jesus. Therefore, press on in prayer. The Lord hears. The Lord sees. He may be teaching us to desire Him more by allowing us to grow in persistent prayer.
October 12, 2017
Instructions to the people of God for the poor, the fatherless, the afflicted and the needy:
1. Defend them. They are among the least powerful in society. They need your defense. Stand with them when more powerful people and power centers mistreat them.
2. Do justice towards them. Treat them fairly and with dignity. Don’t join those who look down on them.
3. Deliver them. Give them the message of deliverance, which is the gospel. And with it, help deliver them from their physical needs for food, clothing and shelter.
4. Free them. Many of them are enslaved by addictions. Be involved in ministry to them that would break their changes.
Jesus taught that when we care for the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick and the prisoner, then we have cared for Him. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matt. 25:40).
How will we involve ourselves in this ministry to the “least of these?”
October 11, 2017
Here we have worship instructions for God’s people. Six ways to get your praise on:
1) “Sing aloud.” Come on! Let loose. Really sing out to God for He is our strength.
2) “Make a joyful shout.” Shout it out. Not just any kind of shout, but a joyful shout. And this to the Lord.
3) “Raise a song.” Get others singing with you. Sing until others join in and raise the roof.
4) “Strike the timbrel.” Now we’re breaking out the percussion. The timbrel was either a tambourine or finger cymbals.
5) “…the harp. Today’s piano.
6) “… the lute.” Today’s guitar.
Worship the Lord. You were made for it. And He is worthy of it.
October 5, 2017
The psalmist wrote of a troubled and sleepless night when even his prayers were difficult to speak. Yet, he began to remember the mighty works of the Lord in days past and was determined to sing and meditate on them. He took advantage of his sleepless and troubled night to focus on God.
The 15th century writer, St. John of the Cross, referred to such times as a “Dark Night of the Soul.” He saw such a time as both a God-given trial and an opportunity to grow closer to the Lord.
The modern response to depression and sleeplessness is medication. We focus on alleviating the symptoms. I wonder, are we missing an appointment with God at such times? Perhaps it is as the psalmist surmised and it is the Lord Himself who is “holding our eyelids open.” What if God wants us to get out of the bed and talk with Him? Perhaps we should respond as Eli taught young Samuel, “Speak, for your servant hears” (1 Sam. 3:10).
October 2, 2017
The psalmist prayed that the Lord would “arise,” that He would make Himself known. Certainly, the Lord has answered this prayer over and over again, especially and ultimately in the revelation of His Son, Jesus Christ. Yet, the prayer implies that the psalmist has been pleading the Lord’s cause without result and would have the Lord’s help in it. Surely, the foolish ones who have rejected the gospel and rebelled against God’s name would be corrected, if the Lord would only intervene. And so, the psalmist prayed for a clear manifestation of God’s presence and power.
Let us join the psalmist in prayer. “Father, arise in me today. Show me where You are already at work that I might join You there. Accomplish Your own purpose in me and through me. Lord, arise in those around me today. Persuade those far from You to come near. Arise, O God, that we might see Your hand at work in our world. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
September 28, 2017
David wrote this psalm as a prayer, asking the Lord to deliver him from his enemies. He expressed not only his request for a “deliverer,” but also his own personal state of poverty and need. His prayer was both dire and urgent. He cried out to the Lord to “make haste” and “not delay.” He did not ask for better weapons or a larger army. He did not ask for provisions, nor wealth. He asked for the Lord Himself. He declared, “You are my help.” You are “my deliverer.” David wanted no substitute, he wanted the Lord!
May David’s prayer guide our own today. May we ask for the Lord Himself!
September 7, 2017
David wrote this psalm in repentance after committing adultery with Bathsheba. Although he surely recognized he had sinned against her and her husband, and against his own conscience, he felt more grieved that he had sinned against God, saying, “Against You, You only, have I sinned.” This is the mark of true repentance. Not that we admit that we have broken the law, but that we recognize the magnitude of having sinned against the Lawgiver. David was grieved that he had sinned against God. He further recognized that God was just and blameless when it came to David’s sin. He did not blame God, nor anyone else. As the apostle Paul wrote concerning this, “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4). David took full responsibility. He recognized that God would be blameless in whatever justice He dispensed upon him. He recognized God’s righteousness, but he also knew God’s mercy. So, he cried out that God would “have mercy” upon him, not according to his sin, but according to God’s own “lovingkindness.” It was this same “love” (John 3:16) that moved God to answer David’s prayer, not only for him, but for all who would call out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:38).
September 6, 2017
Zion, a synonym for Jerusalem, was the location of Solomon’s beautiful Temple. Yet, the “perfection of beauty” must surely point to the coming Messiah whom God would send to “shine forth” out of Zion! He is Jesus the Christ, who now shines forth from the heavenly Zion (Heb. 12:22-24), having accomplished all that was necessary for our salvation.