Psalms

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“For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:9 NKJV).

November 9, 2017

Why is there such a longing in the human soul? Why this emptiness that no physical thing, nor human relationship can fill? We hunger and thirst, so we attempt to satisfy our craving, but to no avail. Since nothing of this world satisfies the soul, isn’t this evidence that it was made for something or someone beyond it?

Surely, the hole within our soul is a residual echo of the fallen image of God within us. And it can only be filled by Jesus Christ. Of whom the apostle Paul wrote, “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God… Everything was created through him and for him” (Col. 1:15-16).

We were made by Christ and “for” Christ. The longing of the human soul will never be satisfied with anything or anyone other than Christ!

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel From everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 106:48 NKJV).

November 9, 2017

The psalmist concluded with an admonition that all people should shout “Amen,” when they hear the Lord being praised. “Amen” is more than the word we teach children to say at the end of their prayers. Some use it casually as a word of affirmation, or to say, “I agree.” It literally means, “So be it!” Yet for the Christ-follower, it takes on the further meaning of, “Let it be so in me!”

After the reading of God’s Word on Sundays, I usually say, “This is God’s Word.” To which the congregation responds, “Amen!” By doing so, they are affirming the statement’s truth, while also opening up their hearts and minds to receive it.

“I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being” (Psalm 104:33 NKJV).

November 2, 2017

The psalmist made a determined promise to himself that he would always sing praises to the Lord. As long has he had breath, he had decided in advance that he would worship God.

When I would visit my grandmother in the nursing home, she no longer remembered my name. Old age had stolen much of her mind. Yet, when my mother and I would begin to sing a hymn, her face would immediately light up, and she would join in, remembering every word. She and my mother had been in a gospel quartet for many years, so she automatically took the alto part, while my mother took the soprano and me the bass. She didn’t remember her daughter or grandson, but she still knew her Lord. And she sang His praises as long as she lived.

I desire to follow her example.

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:11-12 NKJV).

October 31, 2017

David attempted to describe the size of God’s mercy by comparing it to the heavens and earth. He imagined the height of God’s mercy as rising as high as the heavens, and the breadth of His mercy being as wide as the “east is from the west.” Yet, in Jesus Christ, such comparisons are no longer needed. For in Him we have God’s mercy on display. What is the height of God’s loving mercy? Isn’t it the height of the cross on Calvary’s hill where Jesus was hung between heaven and earth? What is the breadth of God’s forgiving mercy? Isn’t it seen in Christ’s outstretched arms on the cross with His hands nailed to its cruel beam. The height and breadth of God’s mercy is most clearly revealed in the cross of Christ. Look at the cross. That’s how much God loves us. That’s how far He has gone to forgive us.

“You answered them, O LORD our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgives, Though You took vengeance on their deeds” (Psalm 99:8 NKJV).

October 28, 2017

The psalmist used three names for God in this verse:
– “LORD” – The Hebrew is “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.” This is the name God revealed to Moses at the burning bush.
– “God” – “Elohim.” This is the first name used for God as found in Gen. 1:1.
– “God-Who-Forgives” – “El Nasah.” The Hebrew “El” means “God” and “nasah” means “to forgive,” or “to bear.”

The LORD answered those who prayed to Him on behalf of the people of God. In this case, the psalmist referred to Moses, Aaron and Samuel (v.6), who were priests. God answered and God forgave the people when these three men acted as mediators. He forgave the people, yet He still punished their sinful deeds.

Today, God has sent His Son to be our “El Nasah.” In Him, God has answered, forgiven, and even judged our sins. For Christ received the punishment that was ours, that we might receive the acceptance that is His.

“The LORD has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations” (Psalm 98:2 NKJV).

October 26, 2017

The psalmist praised the “LORD.” When English translations use all caps for this word, it shows that the revealed name, “Yahweh,” is being translated. Because the Jews considered the name too holy to say, they substituted the word “Adonai,” or Lord in its place when reading it aloud. Yahweh was the name that God had “made known” to Moses at the burning bush. It was the LORD who brought little Israel out of Egypt and established them as a nation in Canaan, so that all the nations knew He had delivered them. Yet, this was only a foreshadowing of the salvation God would “make known” through Christ Jesus. Now, Jesus has commanded His disciples to “go” and “make known” the good news of His salvation to the “nations” (Matt. 28:19-20).

“Lord, how long will the wicked, How long will the wicked triumph?” (Psalm 94:3 NKJV).

October 24, 2017

Certainly, this is a question posed by every generation. We look around at the violence and depravity in the world and wonder how much longer it can go on like this. Yet, God is not unaware. Nor is He sitting idle. His clock is not our clock, but it is ticking. Time is not circular, but linear. It may seem long to us, but as someone has said, there will be a “payday someday.” On that Day, only those who have received forgiveness of their sins through faith in Christ will be able to stand. So, we preach the gospel that those who hear it might believe. For no man “knoweth the hour” (Matt. 24:36), but the hour is coming nonetheless.

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face” (Psalm 89:14 NKJV).

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).

“I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: ‘Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.’” (Psalm 89:3-4)

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.

“O Lord, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You. Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry.” (Psalm 88:1-2 NKJV).

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.