Psalms

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“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.

“Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4 NKJV).

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?”

“Sing aloud to God our strength; Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. Raise a song and strike the timbrel, The pleasant harp with the lute” (Psalm 81:1-2 NKJV).

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.

“You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak” (Psalm 77:4 NKJV).

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).

“Arise, O God, plead Your own cause” (Psalm 74:22 NKJV).

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.”

“But I am poor and needy; Make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.” (Psalm 70:5 NKJV).

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!