December 28, 2017
What was the psalmist’s resolution? To “praise the Lord!” The psalmist directed both his own “soul” and that of his audience to “praise the Lord!” This was a matter of firm resolve. He recognized the tendency of his soul to droop into discouragement and to focus on worldly things. Yet, he was determined that as long as he lived, he would live a life of worship.
In this season of making new year’s resolutions, perhaps we can join the psalmist. Let us resolve that while we “live” and have “being,” we will praise the Lord!
December 24, 2017
David asked the Lord for revival and rescue. He did not try and make the case that he had earned or deserved it. But rather, that the Lord should do it for the sake of His own name and righteousness. In other words, he prayed, “Lord revive me because I call on Your name. Rescue me because it shows Your righteousness.”
You may feel unworthy and beyond redemption. You may feel you must put things in order before coming to the Lord. But you couldn’t be more wrong. Stop focusing on your own shortcomings and inadequacies, instead focus on the character and adequacy of God. Your revival and rescue come out of God’s name and righteousness, not your own. Pray according to the character of the Lord.
Upon whose name shall we call? The name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). And upon whose righteousness shall we depend? Christ’s righteousness (Rom. 3:22).
December 19, 2017
Though the Lord God is transcendent, high and holy above all creation, He draws near to the humble of heart. He “regards the lowly,” leaning in to “lift them up” (James 4:10). But the Lord “resists the proud” (James 4:6), fully aware of them, yet aloof.
Does God seem near or far from you today? If the distance seems great, God has not moved. Perhaps your pride has taken you afar. Turn and draw near. Repent of pride and self-effort. Humble yourself before the Lord in Jesus’ name. For our God is high and holy, but He is also humble, willing to stoop down and save sinners that call on His name.
December 9, 2017
“Blessed.” One experiencing a condition of total joy and contentment under God’s umbrella of care.
“Fears the Lord.” One who has such awe and reverence for the Lord that they seek His pleasure and approval above all others including themselves.
However, by implication, the one who does not fear the Lord, but fears man instead, will not experience the blessing of God. For they will live as people-pleasers, always enslaved by the opinions of others.
As Christ-followers, we do not fear the Father’s wrath, for Christ has taken our punishment. But we are motivated by His great love that moves us to desire pleasing Him above all others. Fearing the Lord, we experience His blessing.
December 8, 2017
Those who are obedient to “go forth” in sowing even while shedding tears of hardship, will one day “rejoice” in the day of harvest. As the apostle Paul wrote, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9).
Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted by faith. Keep sowing!
November 28, 2017
There is a right way and a wrong way to approach the Bible. The psalmist approached it in the right way. He first declared his position as a servant of the Lord before requesting understanding and knowledge of God’s Word. He came saying, “I have already decided to obey You, O Lord, only help me understand what I read, so I know how to apply it rightly to my life. The psalmist came empty, asking to be filled. He came thirsty, asking for the living water to quench his thirst.
There is also a wrong way to approach the Bible. The requests may be the same, but the attitude is opposite of the psalmist’s. The one who approaches wrongly will come full of their own knowledge, asking only to add to it. They come without thirst, only wishing to spit it out at others to prove their own superiority. They come not as a “servant,” but as a self-appointed master, thinking to use the Bible according to their own design.
How do you approach God’s Word? May we join the psalmist in saying, “Lord, I am your servant. Give me understanding of Your Word.”
November 24, 2017
The psalmist spoke not of the Lord, but directly to Him. Not, “He is my portion,” but “O Lord, You are my portion!” He had already made the determined choice to “keep” the Lord’s words. Now he recognized that his “portion,” his inheritance, for such a Word-committed-life was the Lord Himself. As Jesus told His disciples, “If you love Me, you will keep My Words” (John 14:15). Following the Lord’s Word, we are able to say, “I am the Lord’s and He is mine!” This is not seeking the Lord’s hands, but rather seeking His face. We obey not out of fear, nor from a motivation of profit, but out of sincere love. As the lyrics to the old spiritual song declare, “Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, but give me Jesus.”
November 22, 2017
Psalm 119 is an acrostic based on the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It’s theme is appropriately the Word of God. Every verse is an ode to the Scriptures. In verse 24, the psalmist described the Word as God’s “testimonies” and as his own “counselors.” This is a wonderful insight. For the Bible is first of all a book about God. It contains His “testimonies,” progressively revealing His character and purposes. The psalmist found “delight” in this. Secondly, the Bible is a book of instruction, offering counsel to those who would follow it. The psalmist considered the Bible the most reliable and trusted source for wisdom and direction. Each book, chapter and verse of Scripture were as personal “counselors” to him.
How do you read the Bible? Do you look to see what new insight it reveals about God? Do you prayerfully consider how to apply it to a particular area of your life? Do you delight in the Lord’s testimonies and counsel?
November 12, 2017
David wrote Psalm 110 as an announcement of the Messiah’s coming reign. In Hebrew, this verse is: “Yahweh” said to my “Adonai.” The name that God revealed to Moses, “Yahweh” (or “Jehovah”) was the One talking to the Messiah, whom David referred to as “my Lord” (“Adonai”). The title “Adonai” was also used for God. David had already been told by God that the Messiah would be from his lineage (2 Sam. 7:16). Yet, here the Spirit revealed to David that the Messiah would be greater than him, so that he would call him “Adonai,” a title usually reserved for God.
The Spirit revealed to David a conversation between the Father and the Son from eternity past. Yet, it described the present time. For the Lord Jesus, having already accomplished our salvation as Suffering Servant, now sits at the right hand of the Father awaiting His appearance as Victorious King (Mark 14:62).
However, the most profound revelation may be that David called Him, “my Lord.” For that is the key. Not that He is “the” Lord, but that He is “my” Lord. Have you made Jesus your Lord today?
November 11, 2017
David began his psalm with a prayer that the Lord would no longer “keep silent.” No doubt he had read the book of Job and knew how the Lord’s voice silenced Job’s accusers. David was being attacked by false accusers, yet the Lord remained seemingly silent.
When we try to defend ourselves against false accusation it usually has the opposite effect. People love the lie more than the truth. And when we sound defensive, we sound guilty. But when God speaks, the accusations are silenced because the false accusers are silenced.
Ask the Lord to speak on your behalf. Pray as the first century church did, “Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word” (Acts 4:29). In other words, “Lord, you speak to those who falsely accuse us, while we continue to speak Your Word and praise Your name!”