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.
September 3, 2017
Five times the psalmist calls for praises to be sung to God. Four times, perhaps to move us to passionate intensity. But with the fifth, to “understanding.” The Hebrew word translated “understanding,” is the word “maskil,” which could also be translated “with skill,” or “with a didactic psalm.” The psalmist encouraged praise that engaged both heart and head. Worship, like love, is to be offered to God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.
September 1, 2017
This passage is considered a prophetic description of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. As the author of Hebrews wrote when quoting this psalm, “But to the Son He says: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever… Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You” (Heb. 1:8-9). Understanding it as a Messianic writing helps to explain the confusing pronoun use referring to both God and the King with divine attributes. This passage hints at the Father/Son relationship between Jesus as the Son of God, and God the Father, which the book of Hebrews confirms. Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy and every Old Testament prophecy. He is the “anointed” One that came and is coming again.
August 27, 2017
The one who is considerate of the poor and helps, will be delivered by the Lord when trouble comes upon them. The one who helps the poor has come under the Lord’s blessing. This blessing is happiness with contentment. For the giver understands that the Lord is the Supplier and that they are merely the channel of His blessing. With this in mind the apostle Paul quoted the Lord Jesus, saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).