Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Psalm 65 - 67

written Nov. 21, 2008

Psalm 65 & 66 are Psalms of praise... each talk of the greatness of God and tell of things He has done.

65:3 When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions

65:5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas

Verses 6 -11 of Psalm 65 paint a picture of Creator God and show how He is still seen in His creation.

65:6 formed the mountains by Your power

65:8 when morning darns and evening fades, You call forth songs of joy

65:11 You crown the year with Your bounty 

66:1-2 Shout with joy to God all the earth, sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious!

66:4 All the earth bows down to You, they sing praise to you, they sing praise to Your name

66:6 He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the water on foot

66:7 He rules forever by His power

66:9 He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping

66:12 we went through the fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance

Psalm 66 ends with an important truth:

v. 18-20 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayers or withheld His love from me!

Sin get in the way.. it is like a wall between us and God.. it hinders our prayers and, therefore, our relationship with Him.  We must confess our sins and repent... not cherish our sins and hold on to them... live in them.  God hears our prayers of repentance and He forgive.. He wants to keep sin from straining our relationship with Him.

Psalm 67 begins with a blessing for us and goes into our blessing God and then returns to God blessing us.  It is a short, but powerful Psalm... a great one to pray.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Psalm 60 - 64

When I started reading Psalm 60, I thought here is another whiny Psalm where the author feels God has rejected him… and in a way that is true… but then I saw how timely and pertinent this Psalm is. 

So many feel God rejected our nation with election of Barak Obama.  They fail to acknowledge that God establishes authority (Rom. 13:1) or that he has a plan in all this (Hab. 1) 

This Psalm sounds like the “cries” I’ve heard recently. 

Verses 1- 3 “You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us; You have been angry – now restore us!  You have shaken the land and torn it open… you have shown your people desperate times…” 

Certainly we are seeing desperate times and our land has been shaken and I personally feel more is to come. 

Verse 4 proclaims hope and truth “But for those who fear You, You have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow.” 

Jesus is our banner – our faith in Him – we must cling to Him … walk in faith no matter our circumstances. 

God is at work. We need to seek Him and trust Him always… for “the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory.” (v. 11 & 12) 

Psalm 61 follows as a prayer crying out to God in time of need. 

“… lead me the rock that is higher than I .  For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”  (v. 2 & 3) 

Jesus is the Rock and He is most definitely higher. 

Psalm 62 is a familiar friend. 

“My sould finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”  (v. 1 & 2) 

What verses to pray and promises to stand on! 

And the Psalmist reminds us again of who God is… 

“Find rest, O my soul,. In God alone; my hope comes from Him.  He alone is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.”  (v. 5-8) 

Psalm 63 is another familiar friend... one of the most wonderful Psalms David wrote. 

“I God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my body longs for You in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (v. 1) 

How I want to always long for and seek God in this way. 

“Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.  I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.  My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You.”  (v. 3-5) 

This should be my heart… my life… each day… to praise God because He is good.. He is better than life! 

And for David it is 24 / 7… in Verse 1, earnestly can also be translated early… so early will I seek you. 

Then in verse 6 He says “on my bed I remember You; I think of You throughout the watches of the night.” 

For David, seeking God … praising Him… worshipping… was all day and night… every moment. 

Psalm 64 again finds the Psalmist crying out to God, but not in a whiny way… it is more of an “OK, God, here are the problem in my life.. take care of them.”  In a way the Psalmist is doing what Ps. 55:22 says to do. “Cast your cares on the Lord…” and he knows God will take care of Him.  Verse 10 “Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him; let all the upright in heart praise Him.” 

Psalm 56 - 59

Written November 18, 2008 

In all four of these Psalms, the Psalmist is crying out to God for or about something. 

In Psalm 56 he is under attack and seeks God’s mercy and deliverance.  I love the choice laid out in verse 3 & 4… “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me? 

In Psalm 57 once again the Psalmist seeks mercy n the face of his enemies’ pursuits.  He cries out to “God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me.” (v. 2) 

I love this reminder in the midst of turmoil that God is God Most High and that he has a plan… a purpose for each of us.  Verse 2 here reminds me of Phil. 1:6 “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” 

Psalm 58 is yet again crying out to the Lord… it has, to me, an angry tone at times and while I know all scripture is God-breathed and useful, this passage seems, to me, to have little value.  I think, for me, it is God showing where to take our anger… to Him instead of pouring it out on others. 

Psalm 59 once again finds the Psalmist seeking God’s deliverance.  In verse 12 he says of his enemies “For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride.” 

This actually is a verse worth praying for ourselves and our children.  Pride is so deep rooted and leads to a multitude of sins.  I pray God would let me be caught in it, so that I might recognize it and repent … I pray the same for my family… for my children.  No doubt the process isn’t pleasant, but the result is a heart more like His.

Psalm 55

Written November 17, 2008 

Psalm 55 has a good bit of despair in it, but there is also hope. 

Verse 2 says, “my thoughts trouble me and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy.” 

Isn’t that where satan hits hardest – in our thoughts?  Satan is the father of lies and he whispers them constantly to us.  He knows all the right buttons to push. 

This verse reminds me of the Casting Crowns’ song “Voice of Truth” which talks abouot these lies and the dear they bring.  They can paralyze us if we choose to listen to them.  But 2 Tim. 1:7 tells us that” God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind” and we are to make the choice to listen to the voice of truth – God’s voice – and not these lies the enemy bombards us with.  We must take these lies captive and give them to Jesus (2 Cor. 10:15) and renew our mind (Rom. 12:2) by being in the Word.  If we keep our minds filled with truth, there will be no room for lies and the battle will be tougher for satan. 

Despite the despair found in this Psalm, the Psalmist knows where to find help…. 

v. 16 “But I call to God and the Lord saves me” 

v. 18 “He ransoms me unharmed” 

It is a choice …. To wallow in lies or to believe and trust God. 

v. 22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” 

v. 23b “But as for me, I trust in You (Lord).”

Psalms 50 - 54

Written November 3, 2008 

Psalm 50 explodes with the power of God – His might – His majesty. 

Verse 1 goes great with Psalm 113:3 (a favorite of mine)…

 Ps. 50:1 “The Mighty One, god, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it set.” Ps. 113:3 “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” 

We see in Psalm 50 that God is perfect in beauty and shines forth (v. 2)… He will not be silent (v. 3)….fire devours before Him and around Him tempest rages (v. 3)… He summons the earth (v.4)… the heavens proclaim His righteousness (v. 6)… He is judge (v. 6)… He is our God (v. 7)… every animal of the forest is His (v. 10)… the cattle on 1000 hills belongs to Him (v. 10)… He knows every bird in the mountains and every creature of the field is His (v. 11)…. The world is His and Hall that is in it (v. 12)… He is the Most High (v. 14)… He hears our cries and delivers us (v. 15)… He is nothing like us (v. 21)…. He is our salvation (v. 23) 

We see the might of God in Psalm 50 and then in Psalm 51 we see David bow before this mighty, all powerful God.

Psalm 51 us a well known Psalm – it is David’s plea to God after Nathan confronts him with his sin concerning Bathsheba. 

All of us sin (Rom. 3:23)... even believers continue to sin in their lives.  Ps, 51 is a great place to go when there is unconfessed sin in your life… pray it… earnestly… back to God.  He will honor your prayer and you will be forgiven (1 John (9:10). 

I love that David asks for more than just forgiveness – he asks to be washed clean (v. 7) and to be restored in his relationship with God (v. 12). 

Sin hinders our relationship with God.  It is what blocks us from God before we are saved and even after we become believers, sin can slip in and strains our relationship with God.  As believers, our salvation is secure – we are headed to heaven (2 Cor. 1:21), but we cannot live the abundant life Christ has for us (John 10:10) if there is unconfessed sin in our life. 

Ps. 50:16-17 “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not take pleasure in burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite hear, O God, You will not despise.” 

Psalm 52 is a comparison of the evil man to the righteous man.  David describes the evil man as one who boasts all day and is a disgrace in the eyes of God (v. 1)… his tongue plots destruction… he practices deceit (v. 2)… loves evil... loves falsehood (v. 3)… loves harmful words (v. 4)… and David warns that God will “snatch” him up … uproot him from the land of the living (v. 5)… in contrast the righteous man has God as his stronghold (v. 7)… flourishes (v. 8)… trusts in God’s unfailing love (v. 8)… praises God (v. 9)… places hope in God (v. 9) 

Psalm 53 begins with averse I’ve heard many time… “The fools says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’” 

I honestly don’t see how anyone can look at nature… at the human body… stars… newborn babies… and think there is no God.  To me, that person is surrounded by a wall of deceit that will lead to destruction if not removed. 

Verse 3 is a very convincing verse:  “Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good.” 

Is that what God sees today? I fear it is. 

But Ps. 53 ends with the promise of restoration for Israel… a promise which still stands today. 

Psalm 54 is a cry for help… there are a number of Psalms which are cries for help.  I believe God is telling us there will be difficult times and we need to cry out to Him for deliverance. 

Verses 1 & 2 “Save me, O God, by Your name; vindicate me by Your might.  Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.” 

Verse 4 “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” 

Verse 7 “For He has delivered me from all my troubles.” 


Psalm 49

Written October 30, 2008

Psalm 49 seems to be written for today.  Much of it deals with earthly blessings versus heavenly ones.  Verses 16-19 are powerful and sobering…. 

            Do not be over awed when a man grows rich,

            When the splendor of his house increases;

            For he will take nothing with him when he dies,

            His splendor will not descend with him.

            Though while he lived he counted himself blessed—

            And men praise you when you prosper –

            He will join the generation of his fathers who will never see the light of life.

A strong reminder of where our true treasure lies.

It reminds me of Mark 8:6 “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

Psalm 44 - 48

Written October 28, 2008

Psalm 44 is interesting.  The Psalmist starts out talking of knowing all God has don in the past for his forefathers.  And he talks of trusting in the Lord and even of boasting in God… v. 8 “In God we make our boast all day long.”

This reminds me of 1 Cor. 1:31 “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” And Gal. 6:14 “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”

But this loving tone changes in verse 9.  The Psalmist is in distress and he feels God has let all this come upon them for no valid reason.  He ends the Psalm with a cry for help… v. 26 “Rise up and help us; redeem us because of Your unfailing love.”

Now I know God had a plan during that part of the Psalmist’s life… just as I know He has a plan for all of my life.  He does not desert us, but there are times we feel that way and times we feel unjustly treated.  This Psalm shows us those times will come and it reminds us where to go when they do.

My Bible notes say that Psalm 45 is a wedding song.  It is most definitely a song which praises a king… I assume the groom.

Psalm 46 is wonderful!

Verse 1 “God is our refuge and strength on ever present help in trouble.”

What a promise!

Verse 2 follows with “therefore we will not fear though….”

That is, for me, a full in the blank verse.  I can remind myself that God is my refuge and strength – He is my ever-present help in times of trouble and I will not fear even though ___________..... even though the diagnosis is grim.. even though the money is tight… even though the task is hard…. Etc.  This verse covers it all!

And we are reminded in verse 7 “the Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Ps. 46:10 is a well known verse, but one we seldom put into practice – “Be still and know that I am God.”

I think it ties in beautifully with verses 1 & 2… God, You are my refuge and strength… You are my ever-present help in times of trouble!  I will not fear even though __________, but instead I choose to be still and know You are God.

I found a song lyric in Psalm 47 in verses 1 & 2 “Clap your hands all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.  How awesome is the Lord Most High.”

Psalm 48 is a psalm of praise.  Verse 1 “Great s the Lord and most worthy of praise” and it ends with a wonderful promise… verse 14 “For this God is our God forever and ever, he will be our guide even to the end.”

"I am God..."

Written October 27, 2008

As I prayed for a word, God led me to read Isaiah 46 this morning….

Verse 4 is a wonderful promise to all of us, especially to the elderly who might feel forgotten…

“Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He. I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

What God emphasized for me is from verse 9 “I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me.”

I was drawn back to chapter 45 and saw this point made there several times…

v. 3 “… so that you know that I am the Lord.”

v. 5 “I am the Lord and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.”

v. 6 “… I am the Lord and there is no other.”

v. 8 “… I am the Lord and there is no other.”

v. 21 “… there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.”

v. 22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God and there is no other.”

Now this is a Truth – really the Truth… and it is one I know.  So I wondered a bit as to why God led me here – what He is teaching me.  I think part of it is to remind me that He is God and I need to be careful not to make things in my life my god… to keep Him in the right place in my life.

I will be curious to see how this week plays out and how this verse (these verses actually) is a part of it.

One more passage from Chapter 46 that seems relevant to me … verses 9-13 “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say, ‘My purpose will stand and I will do what I please.’ … What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.  Listen to me you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness, I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed.  I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.”

WOW!  What a promise!


Psalm 41, 42, & 43

Written October 24, 2008 

In Psalm 41 David is surrounded by enemies – everyone, it seems, is against him, but he chooses to trust in the Lord…

v. 10 – 12 “But You, O Lord, have mercy on me, rouse me up …. My enemy does not triumph over me.  In my integrity You uphold me and set me in Your presence forever.”

To be in His presence forever – WOW! – what more could we want or need!

Psalm 42 begins with familiar verses often quoted and even found in songs.  I pray that I could say these words and mean them with all my heart…

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (v.1)

I want to long for God… for time with Him… that way.

The remainder of Ps. 2 and even Ps. 43 basically show that the Psalmist is going through a time of difficulty and he reminds himself over and over to put his hope in the Lord and to praise Him.

Ps. 42:5-6 “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.  My soul is downcast within me; therefore, I will remember You from the lands of Jordan, the heights of Hermon – from Mt. Mizar.”

Isn’t that what we need to do when our soul is downcast?  We need to remember God…. focus on who He is and what He has done (and is doing)… take our eyes off our circumstances and put them on Him.

Ps. 42:11 and Ps. 43:5 repeat this encouragement…this reminder to hope in the Lord.

“Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”