Journey through the Psalms 29-35

Psalm 29

42958234_10205259018632792_9189715513482149888_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Praise

Emotions: Abandonment by God

A psalm of David.

Give to the LORD, you sons of God, give to the LORD glory and might;

2

Give to the LORD the glory due his name.

Bow down before the LORD’s holy splendor!

3

The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over the mighty waters.

4

The voice of the LORD is power;

the voice of the LORD is splendor.

5

The voice of the LORD cracks the cedars;

the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon,

6

Makes Lebanon leap like a calf, and Sirion like a young bull.

7

The voice of the LORD strikes with fiery flame;

8

the voice of the LORD shakes the desert;

the LORD shakes the desert of Kadesh.

9

The voice of the LORD makes the deer dance and strips the forests bare. All in his Temple say, “Glory!”

10

The LORD sits enthroned above the flood!The LORD reigns as king forever!

11

May the LORD give might to his people;

may the LORD bless his people with peace!

Notes:

-This psalm is used as part of Jewish ceremonies in the celebration of Pentecost

-Magnifies the sovereignty of God and the power of God in his creation

-Looks at God’s power through a storm over the Mediterranean

-Remembers God’s power in the flood

God’s Characteristics:

  • Glory
  • Strength
  • Splendor of Holiness
  • His voice is over the waters
  • His glory thunders
  • His voice is powerful
  • His voice is full of majesty
  • His voice breaks the cedars
  • His voice flashes forth the flames of fire
  • His voice shakes the wilderness
  • He sits enthroned over the flood
  • He sits enthroned as the King forever
  • He gives strength to his people
  • He blesses his people with peace

Journal:

Yesterday I started to come to the realization that I was finding ways to seek God in the middle of the storm. I was seeing the need to praise God even when the days were tough. I was beginning to seek him and wanting to do even more. Today in Psalm 29 we see that in the midst of the storm the heavenly angels proclaim glory!

As the First Five App states, “As Psalm 29 glorifies the God who rules over creation, we are reminded that when things look bad in the moment, we can trust the view from above is entirely different. Even the angels have a front-row seat in the heavenlies, and they cry, “Glory!”

We find the power of God in his word. David shows God’s power as he describes God’s voice through a storm that comes over the Mediterranean. David saw God’s power and so can we. As the First Five explains, “The Word of God is just as powerful today as it was when David described His voice in Psalm 29. When we submit to God’s Word — to His commands throughout Scripture — we invite God’s power to transform us from the inside out. Because His voice changes everything.”

Warren Wiersbe reminds us, “When we see clouds gathering and know that a storm is about to come into our life, do you think about the glory of God? David did. So often we don’t. We think of escape rather than the glory of God. God often speaks to you in the storm. The next time you find yourself in a storm, listen to his voice. Look for His glory and power and be reminded that He is in control.”

God’s voice is powerful and it is greater than the storms that come through our days. May we remember to follow his voice instead of focusing on the noise of the storm!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

As we affirm and acknowledge what you can do may we bring glory to your name. Your voice is over the waters and it is more powerful than the storms. Thank you for the reminder today that things here on earth look different from your view in Heaven. As our storms rage, the Angels praise your glory. Help us to do the same. I don’t always seek your voice in the middle of the storm. Many times I want to run from trouble. Help me to be like David and seek your glory in the middle of the storms of life. Help us to listen to your voice and to always remember that you are in control. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=J4jWCrk8chc

 

Psalm 30

41408209_10205180281664417_6079291118158086144_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Thanksgiving

Emotions: Mourning turned into Joy

A psalm. A song for the dedication of the Temple. Of David.

2

I praise you, LORD, for you raised me up

and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.

3

O LORD, my God, I cried out to you for help and you healed me.

4

LORD, you brought my soul up from Sheol; you let me live, from going down to the pit.

5

Sing praise to the LORD, you faithful; give thanks to his holy memory.

6

For his anger lasts but a moment; his favor a lifetime. At dusk weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing.

7

Complacent, I once said, “I shall never be shaken.”

8

LORD, you showed me favor, established for me mountains of virtue. But when you hid your face I was struck with terror.

9

To you, LORD, I cried out; with the Lord I pleaded for mercy:

10

“What gain is there from my lifeblood,

from my going down to the grave? Does dust give you thanks or declare your faithfulness?

11

Hear, O LORD, have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper.”

12

You changed my mourning into dancing;

you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.

13

So that my glory may praise you and not be silent. O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.

Notes:

-David exalted the Lord because God brought him up and did not let his enemies rejoice over him.

-David tells others to give thanks to the Lord because his anger is only for a moment but his favor is for a lifetime

-David learned that his own self-assurance is not enough when things go well.  He had to submit all things to the Lord.  He had to stop saying “I shall” or “I shall not” and say “You have…”

-God heals David from sickness

-Comes from 1 Chronicles 21:1-22 and 2 Samuel 24

God’s Character:

  • He draws his people up
  • He does not let our foes rejoice over us
  • He heals
  • He restores
  • His name is Holy
  • His anger is but for a moment
  • His favor is for a lifetime
  • He is our helper
  • He turns our mourning into dancing
  • He loosens our sackcloth and clothes us with gladness

Journal:

Over the past couple of years, I have been moved in ways that I did not understand. I did not want to live in the constant chaos of emotions that guided my actions. I wanted to find out a way to not be moved by my circumstances. I thought I was doing well until the day that it became clear that I was not. Fearing the start of the school year moved me more than I expected. Thinking that if I did certain things I would not be moved eventually left me lost when I was indeed shaken. In my fear, I started to look to distractions and things I could control. I then began to accept that maybe it is okay to just not be okay. This worked for awhile but then I was back into the chaos again, not knowing how to get out. Looking back I can see how I was moving away from the will of God, but it was not until I read Psalms 30 that I really looked at what had happened. We must remember to stay focused on God’s will, his word, and his way or we will indeed be moved, left unstable, and left wondering what has happened. God’s favor can leave us but it is most often in those times that we leave him first. David’s Psalms continues to show us how to remain and what to look for if we are being moved and better yet how to find the face of God when we loose our way.

Psalm 30 describes a time when David has disobeyed God and has seen how God does indeed hide his face from his people. It is assumed that this psalm is from the time of 1 Chronicles 21:1-22 and 2 Samual 24. As Warren Wiersbe explains, “This recounts the national plague David caused when he numbered the people and 70,000 people died. David also purchased a plot of ground from Ornan and dedicated it to be the site for the temple and he began to use the plot as his own personal place of worship.The message of the psalm is clear: “the Lord forgave David and gave him the blessing of a new beginning.”

In order for these blessings to be noted by David he went through a process of realizing that he was wrong in his thinking. David had to realize that it was not his works that was keeping him grounded but the works of the Lord. The First Five App describes how David realizes his pride that was getting in the way of God’s blessings as they explain, “Psalm 30 begins and ends with words of thanksgiving, but right in the middle of this psalm, David confesses a certain heart-attitude. He says: “As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’ By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.” (Psalm 30:6-7) This is a telling admission. Beneath an earlier facade of confidence, David says a heart of pride lurked beneath his prosperity. In other words, when things went well and David prospered, he knew it was because of God’s favor, and he assumed it would last forever. It never occurred to him the Lord might remove His favor.  But sometimes God allows our world to crumble so we won’t misplace our confidence either in ourselves or in any earthly system — like wealth or status or relationships — because none of these things can ultimately sustain us. God wants our total dependence on Him and nothing else. He wants us to know that without Him, nothing is possible.  This leaves us with the question: In whom do we place our confidence?  If we place our confidence in any thing or any person other than the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be like David and experience deep dismay. Psalm 30, then, is a gentle reminder for us to put our hope in God alone, because with Him all things are possible.”

It is pointed out by Warren Wiersbe that the words “You have” is repeated 5 times in Psalms 30. This is important as we see how David goes from focusing on his prosperity to what God has done. Once David sees that he can not stand on his own ways he then must focus on the Lord.

Warren Wiersbe speaks of prosperity as he explains that, “Prosperity means careless ease, a carefree self-assurance because things are going well. When we have prosperity without humility we have adversity. Why? Because we start to be more concerned with things than we are with God. David said in his prosperity, “I shall not be moved.” But then he found out that he could be moved. He found out his prosperity did not guarantee security. So instead of saying, “I shall” or “I shall not,” he began saying “You have.” He submitted his will to God’s will.”

David realized that his pride led him to a deep pit that only God could save him from. David went from focusing on his own ways to looking to what God does. David disobeyed God but as he humbled himself before God he was forgiven and many blessings were given to him by God. Many times our feet can become unplanted. Just when we feel that we have it figured out, God shows us that he can and will shake things up so we remember once again who is in control. When we feel that we are loosing our footing may it be our reminder to turn our face towards this truth and may it be our guide back to his will instead of our own.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Sometimes your words are hard to swallow, but the truth is so important. Just as you hid your face from David, we must know that you can do the same with us. But we must also remember that just like you forgave David, you also forgive us. Your son is our mediation and we must remember that it is never about the strength we have or the things we do, but the things that you have already done for us and what you continue to do. You draw us up when we are lowly. You save us from our enemies, and you are the ultimate healer. Your ways are higher than our ways. Though we may not always understand your ways, you heal in perfect and heavenly ways. We are to give thanks to your holy name. Even if weeping is noted for the night, you provide new joy every morning. Thank you for your word that shows us that there may be weeping but because of you…it does not last forever. There have been times that in my own pride and lack of humility that I have gone astray. In my own ways and under my own terms I tried to deal with my own weeping. Please forgive me Lord. Help me to seek your face with humility and to know that you are the one in control of all things. Help me to remember that your way will always be better than my own. Help me to stand strong in your ways and may I know to seek you when I start to be moved. Turn our mourning into dancing and our weeping into joy. Clothe us with gladness. May we continue to seek your ways and have prosperity that relies on you Lord and not on our own assurances. We pray all these things in your name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ijUPw54kAZM

 

Psalm 31

42884618_10205259016472738_165538914445033472_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Exile, Lament, Thanksgiving

Emotions: Fear turned into Security

1

For the leader. A psalm of David.

2

In you, LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness deliver me;

3

incline your ear to me; make haste to rescue me! Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to save me.

4

For you are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me.

5

Free me from the net they have set for me, for you are my refuge.

6

Into your hands I commend my spirit;

you will redeem me, LORD, God of truth.

7

You hate those who serve worthless idols,

but I trust in the LORD.

8

I will rejoice and be glad in your mercy,

once you have seen my misery, [and] gotten to know the distress of my soul.

9

You will not abandon me into enemy hands, but will set my feet in a free and open space.

10

Be gracious to me, LORD, for I am in distress; affliction is wearing down my eyes, my throat and my insides.

11

My life is worn out by sorrow, and my years by sighing. My strength fails in my affliction; my bones are wearing down.

12

To all my foes I am a thing of scorn, and especially to my neighbors a horror to my friends. When they see me in public, they quickly shy away.

13

I am forgotten, out of mind like the dead;

I am like a worn-out tool.

14

I hear the whispers of the crowd; terrors are all around me. They conspire together against me; they plot to take my life.

15

But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

16

My destiny is in your hands; rescue me from my enemies, from the hands of my pursuers.

17

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your mercy.

18

Do not let me be put to shame, for I have called to you, LORD. Put the wicked to shame; reduce them to silence in Sheol.

19

Strike dumb their lying lips, which speak arrogantly against the righteous in contempt and scorn.

20

How great is your goodness, Lord, stored up for those who fear you. You display it for those who trust you, in the sight of the children of Adam.

21

You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from scheming enemies. You conceal them in your tent, away from the strife of tongues.

22

Blessed be the LORD, marvelously he showed to me his mercy in a fortified city.

23

Though I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your eyes.” Yet you heard my voice, my cry for mercy, when I pleaded with you for help.

24

Love the LORD, all you who are faithful to him. The LORD protects the loyal, but repays the arrogant in full.

25

Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the LORD.

Notes:

-Because God had been faithful, David knows he can trust God.

-Quoted by Jesus when he was on the cross (31:6 is seen in Luke 23:46)

-Speaks of the besieged city, most likely Keilah in 1 Sam 23:5-14 and Saul’s attempt to capture David.

-According to Warren Wiersbe in his commentary of this psalm:

  • David shows that when others do evil, we are to trust God for his strength (vv.1-8)
  • David shows that when others cause you pain, you ask God for mercy (vv.9-18)
  • David shows that when others see victory, you give God Glory (vv. 19-18*
  • David makes sure his life was right before God.
  • David puts his trust in the Lord.
  • Remember that others are going through trial too.

-First Five App states, “Pride is the enemy of rest for our souls.  And while humility is so opposite from almost everything we see in the world around us, Jesus is not asking us to do something He did not model for us.  Our flesh will not produce this humility.  We must daily take up our cross and follow Jesus and boldly approach God’s throne to receive mercy and find grace to help us.”

God’s Character:

  • Refuge
  • Righteous
  • Deliverer
  • Rock
  • Strong fortress
  • Leader
  • Guider
  • Redeemer
  • Faithful
  • Steadfast Love
  • Sees our afflictions
  • Knows the distress of our souls
  • Does not deliver us into the hand of the enemy
  • Sets our feet in a broad place
  • Gracious
  • Trustful
  • Our times are in his hands
  • His goodness is abundant
  • Wonderous
  • Preserves the faithful
  • Abundantly repays the one who acts in pride

Journal:

I don’t do illness well. Unlike my husband who can live with cancer for 8 years and many not even know it, I cringe at sickness. I sit this morning with what seems like a daunting task of 7 more glasses of the worst tasting liquid I have had. My body is cold and empty. I want to be strong but this is the time I must call on the Lord. Last night as glass number 4 of 17 caught me in the throat…I looked up to God and cried for help. A simple procedure has brought me to my knees. As I am tired and worn down, I know I must make it to the bottom of glass 17. I have many diversions to choose from…reading material, my laptop, and endless distractions that good old Apple has brought to my eye! Yet, I know it is God that will get me through this morning. I go to the First Five App and smile as I read,” Don’t struggle to get out; instead, lean into it.” I can’t help but read on as they explain, “Remember those instructions if you ever find yourself in quicksand. Though most of us have never experienced getting stuck in quicksand, I’ve always been fascinated by the method of getting out of it.  Experts say if you’re waist-deep in quicksand, you should actually lean back into it, putting more of your upper body into the quicksand. And while it may seem scary, you’ll actually float instead of sink. But if you try to stand, that’s a sure scenario for sinking in the sand.  When we meet David in Psalm 31, he seems to be in the quicksand of life. He was no stranger to struggle. From his time as a shepherd boy to the time of his death, David faced circumstances that threatened to swallow him. Psalm 31 details David’s response to one of these sandpits of life. When we can’t see how God’s will is being worked out in our lives, we can still trust that His plan is good. When our circumstances take us places we wouldn’t have chosen, we, too, can choose to hope in God’s goodness and love.  Yes, in the midst of our own desperate circumstances, releasing our lives completely to God can feel scary. But, just like quicksand, when we lean back into our faithful God, He will keep us afloat. It’s when we try to stand on our own that we risk sinking.”

With the thought of David in a cave fighting for his life or even worse…Jesus on the cross, a couple of glasses of liquid seem so trivial. God’s word has a way of putting so much into perspective. Yet, daily I forget and must submerge myself in this truth. Not sinking into quicksand, but still not wanting to embrace the next few hours…I go to the Lord in prayer.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

We can take refuge in you. You are our rock of refuge and our strong fortress. You lead us and guide us. As David stated in the cave of Keilah and Jesus stated on the cross, “Into your hand I commit my spirit”, we too are to submit our lives to you. Thank you for being the one thing we can trust. So many times I can let pride get in the way of where my humility should be. I forget that I must come to you as frequently as needed to combat my fleshy desires. I want to do things my way and yet your perfect way waits for me every time. Forgive me for not choosing you first. Be gracious to us when we are in distress. When our eyes are wasted from grief and our soul and body is spent with sorrow, be gracious to us. Help us to find your strength when ours has failed because of our iniquity. May your face shine upon us and may we be saved in your steadfast love. May we be strong and may our hearts take courage as we wait for you Lord. In your great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hTIPRjK7Wpo

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ILehPZNjJfM

 

Psalm 32

42889893_10205259016032727_7082871975613300736_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Penitential/Thanksgiving

Emotions: When we need forgiveness

Of David. A maskil.

Blessed is the one whose fault is removed, whose sin is forgiven.

2

Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no deceit.

3

Because I kept silent, my bones wasted away; I groaned all day long.

4

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength withered as in dry summer heat.

Selah

5

Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, “I confess my transgression to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin.

Selah

6

Therefore every loyal person should pray to you in time of distress. Though flood waters threaten, they will never reach him.

7

You are my shelter; you guard me from distress; with joyful shouts of deliverance you surround me.

Selah

8

I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel with my eye upon you.

9

Do not be like a horse or mule, without understanding; with bit and bridle their temper is curbed, else they will not come to you.

10

Many are the sorrows of the wicked one,

but mercy surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.

11

Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; exult, all you upright of heart.

Notes:

-Discusses the 4 basic facts about sin and forgiveness according to Warren Wiersbe:

  • The Blessing of Forgiveness (vv. 1-2)
  • The folly of Impenitence (The result of sin) (vv. 3-4)
  • The way of Deliverance (vv. 5-7)
  • The Joy of obedience (vv. 8-11)

-Paul quotes Psalm 32 in Romans 4:6-8

-Psalm 32 comes from 2 Samuel 11-12 (After David sinned with Bathsheba)

-It is a song of Wisdom

-The Lord had sent the prophet Nathan to David to confront him and his sins and bring God’s word of forgiveness (2 Samuel 12)

God’s Character:

  • Forgives the iniquity of our sins
  • He is a hiding place
  • He preserves us
  • He surrounds us with shouts of deliverance
  • Steadfast love

Journal:

(The biggest part of me wants to be silent, but I know I must share. These words were not easy to write but I know that humility is the step I must take to reach the joy of forgiveness. I believe we all fight silent battles and today I will share one of mine.)

Humility is a tough subject to speak about. Harder than admitting my weakness when I am sick, admitting my faults to others is harder. As I read through Psalm 32, I feel the pangs of guilt that have held part of me in bondage for sometime. I’ve always wanted to do things the right way. I raised my kids in church. We prayed together daily. I tried to do the best that I knew how. Some how something changed in these past few years. As my oldest became physically anxious in church and unable to go, our family activity of church attendance broke. As I got more into the Bible, my home church teachings did not seem to match what I was learning. As weeks went by…the habit of church attendance was no longer a habit. My family and I no longer attend church. I know I need the fellowship of other believers and yet I choose to no longer make it a priority. I want to sugar-coat it with reasons that are truly just excuses, but I know I must humble myself and admit the truth. I no longer place value in church attendance as God asks me to do. Just as my body was physically weak yesterday, my soul is weaker yet. I want to ask God for forgiveness but next Sunday will most likely be the same. I have to make a choice. Warren Wiersbe discusses how there are three levels on which God can deal with you. “You must decide whether you want Him to treat you as a thing, an animal, or one of His own children.” Warren explains how David went through these levels in Psalm 32. “David was rebelling. So God had to treat David like a thing. God also had to treat David like an animal. David had acted like a horse-impulsively, he rushed ahead and sinned. And then He became stubborn like a mule and would not confess his sin. But God wants to deal with us as children.” We must decide if we are going to walk in rebellion, be stubborn, or allow God to guide us as his children.

Psalm 32 has helped me to see the power behind forgiveness. I want to be forgiven but that also means changing my ways. The first place to start was God’s word and the next place to go is to prayer.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

You bless those that come to you humbly confessing their sins. You will instruct and teach your people on the way to go. You are righteous Lord. You are rightly to be praised. Thank you for being a forgiving God. Thank you for being our hiding place in times of trouble. Thank you for surrounding your people with shouts of deliverance. Your word today finds me in much shame and with much need to be humble. I come before this group of women wanting to share how you have helped me to endure and yet, I do not make going to church a priority. I know I need a church family and I know that you are calling me to greater fellowship, but my flesh is weak and my heart is unsure. My plans of family unity and church attendance is no longer a reality and yet I know that your plans ask for my presence no matter what. Forgive me Lord and may the joy of forgiveness help me to find my way back to you. Help me to no longer be silent. Help me to acknowledge my sin to you. Help me to confess my transgressions and I ask for forgiveness of my iniquities. Help us to offer prayer to you in time when you are found. Help us not to be like stubborn animals but may we come to you as children. Help us to seek your forgiveness Lord. In your Great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=x51LSNzOrlk

 

Psalm 33

42870055_10205259015272708_2506195605710176256_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Praise and Thankfulness

Emotions: Joy

Rejoice, you righteous, in the LORD;

praise from the upright is fitting.

2

Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;

on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise.

3

Sing to him a new song; skillfully play with joyful chant.

4

For the LORD’s word is upright; all his works are trustworthy.

5

He loves justice and right. The earth is full of the mercy of the LORD.

6

By the LORD’s word the heavens were made; by the breath of his mouth all their host.

7

He gathered the waters of the sea as a mound; he sets the deep into storage vaults.

8

Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all who dwell in the world show him reverence.

9

For he spoke, and it came to be, commanded, and it stood in place.

10

The LORD foils the plan of nations, frustrates the designs of peoples.

11

But the plan of the LORD stands forever,

the designs of his heart through all generations.

12

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people chosen as his inheritance.

13

From heaven the LORD looks down and observes the children of Adam,

14

From his dwelling place he surveys

all who dwell on earth.

15

The One who fashioned together their hearts is the One who knows all their works.

16

A king is not saved by a great army, nor a warrior delivered by great strength.

17

Useless is the horse for safety; despite its great strength, it cannot be saved.

18

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon those who fear him, upon those who count on his mercy,

19

To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive through famine.

20

Our soul waits for the LORD, he is our help and shield.

21

For in him our hearts rejoice; in his holy name we trust.

22

May your mercy, LORD, be upon us; as we put our hope in you.

Notes:

-From the Bible Study: “Psalms-Managing Our Emotions by Christian Bible Studies”

  • “We think joy is dependent upon our circumstance, but the Psalms help us to realize that we can find joy in every circumstance.Joy stems from the knowledge of God’s work in our past, his plan for our present, and his power over our future.”
  • Psalm 33 is a song of joy and a call to worship to assemble in celebration
  • In the Hebrew, all pronouns in this psalm are plural, meaning that this joy is something that happens with others
  • We express joy even if we are not joyful by finding our joy in God.
  • God’s voice in this psalm is his actions and events.
  • The secret of joy is to take our focus off of our circumstances and ourselves and put it firmly upon God and his goodness
  • God is able to thwart the plans of the nations
  • God’s plans stand firm forever! He is good and he never has evil plans
  • God sees our hearts and our actions. He is concerned with our concerns.

God’s Character:

  • The word of the Lord is upright
  • All his work is done in faithfulness
  • He loves righteousness and justice
  • The earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord
  • By the word of the Lord the heavens were made
  • By the breath of his mouth all their host were made
  • He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap
  • He puts the deeps in the storehouses
  • He spoke and it came to be
  • He commanded and it stood firm
  • The lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing
  • He frustrates the plans of the peoples
  • The counsel of the Lord stands forever
  • The Lord looks down from heaven and sees all the children of man
  • From where he is enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth
  • He fashions our hearts
  • He observes our deeds
  • His love is steadfast
  • He is our help
  • He is our shield
  • Our heart is glad in him
  • We can trust his Holy name

Journal:

I lay in bed yet one more day. Yet, because of God’s word…I find joy. His truth continues to help me to seek what is higher and what is greater. My circumstances may change but His joy is everlasting!

The book of Psalms covers a variety of emotions. One of the common emotions is Joy. As I did the Bible Study: “Psalms-Managing Our Emotions” by Christian Bible Studies, I want to resonate with their words, “We think joy is dependent upon our circumstances, but the Psalms helps us to realize that we can find joy in every circumstance. Joy stems from the knowledge of God’s work in our past, his plans for our present, and his power over our future.”

Psalm 33 shows how this is done. In verses 1-9, David looks at the past.

  • The word of the Lord is upright.
  • His works are done in faithfulness.
  • He loves justice and righteousness.
  • The earth is full of his steadfast love.
  • The heavens were made by his word.
  • He gathered the waters.
  • He spoke and it came to be.
  • He commanded and it stood firm.

David then explains God’s plans for the present in verses 10-15.

  • The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing.
  • He frustrates the plans of the people’s.
  • His counsel stands forever.
  • He blesses the nation he has chosen as his heritage.
  • He looks down and sees the children of man.
  • He looks on all the inhabitants of the Earth.

David ends the Psalm by looking at God’s power over our future in verse 16-22.

  • The eye of the Lord is on those who fear him.
  • He delivers our soul from death.
  • He will keep us alive in famine.
  • He will be our help and our shield.
  • We can trust in his holy name.
  • His steadfast love will be always upon us.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

We can find joy in all things as we can always find joy in you. Through our past, our present, and our future you are there and you are faithful. Your word is upright and we can stand on its truth to bring us everlasting joy. Thank you for all that you have done in the past, all you are doing in the present, and all you will do in the days to come. Forgive us when we seek to find temporary joy in our circumstances instead of everlasting joy in who you are. Help us to remember what you have done and continue to do. Help us to seek joy in who you are. May your truth always be in our heart and may we profess your joy from our mouths. May we find joy in the knowledge of your work in our past, your plans for our present, and your power over our future in all that we do. In your Great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hbuqv1z3SZA

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0JQWhRiYtfg

 

 

Psalm 34

42939542_10205259014832697_2030329193706815488_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Acrostic/Thanksgiving

Emotions: Praise

Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, who drove him out and he went away.

2

I will bless the LORD at all times;

his praise shall be always in my mouth.

3

My soul will glory in the LORD; let the poor hear and be glad.

4

Magnify the LORD with me; and let us exalt his name together.

5

I sought the LORD, and he answered me,

delivered me from all my fears.

6

Look to him and be radiant, and your faces may not blush for shame.

7

This poor one cried out and the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him.

8

The angel of the LORD encamps

around those who fear him, and he saves them.

9

Taste and see that the LORD is good;

blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.

10

Fear the LORD, you his holy ones; nothing is lacking to those who fear him.

11

The rich grow poor and go hungry,

but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

12

Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you fear of the LORD.

13

Who is the man who delights in life, who loves to see the good days?

14

Keep your tongue from evil, your lips from speaking lies.

15

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

16

The eyes of the LORD are directed toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.

17

The LORD’s face is against evildoers to wipe out their memory from the earth.

18

The righteous cry out, the LORD hears

and he rescues them from all their afflictions.

19

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted,

saves those whose spirit is crushed.

20

Many are the troubles of the righteous,

but the LORD delivers him from them all.

21

He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken.

22

Evil will slay the wicked; those who hate the righteous are condemned.

23

The LORD is the redeemer of the souls of his servants; and none are condemned who take refuge in him.

Notes:

-The title connects the psalm with David’s dangerous experience with the Philistines (1 Samuel 21:10-22:1)

-According to Warren Wiersbe it explains how to live a life pleasing to God:

  • Control your tongue
  • Depart from evil and do good
  • Seek peace and pursue it
  • Trust the Lord because he is watching you

-According to Warran Wiersbe it explains why bad things happen:

  • It is part of human life
  • Satan is against us
  • It is one of God’s tools to help us grow

-According to Warren Wiersbe this psalm shows that we are to entrust 5 burdens to the Lord:

  • Trust the Lord with your frustrations (v.17)
  • Trust the Lord with your feelings (v.18)
  • Trust the Lord with your future (v.20)
  • Trust the Lord with your foes (v.21)
  • Trust the Lord with your failures (v. 22)

-According to Warren Wiersbe we can use this psalm to remember what to do if things are not going well:

  • Remember that god is near-The more we like God the nearer we will be to him.
  • Remember God knows the meaning of a broken heart
  • God give grace to the humble (James 4:6)

-According to Warren Wiersbe this psalm shows that:

  • “Praise sanctifies us, Magnifies the Lord, and unity is created”.
  • “The Lord does the following when we praise him: He answers us, Delivers us, Hears us, Saves us, and Makes us lack nothing.”

God’s Character:

  • He answers us
  • He delivers us from all our fears
  • He hears us
  • He saves us from trouble
  • The Lord is good
  • Those who fear him have no lack
  • Those who seek him lack no good things
  • The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
  • His ears are toward our cry
  • The face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
  • The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
  • He saves the crushed in spirit
  • The lord redeems the life of his servant

Journal:

Warren Wiersbe helps us to break down Psalm 34. He speaks about how David is teaching us how to live each day in a way that will be pleasing to God. (The following are notes based on Warren Wiersbe’s devotions and commentaries on Psalm 34.)

  • We are to Bless the Lord. We bless the Lord because as David states in Psalm 34:1-3, praise will sanctify us at all times, it magnifies the Lord, and unity is created.
  • We are to seek the Lord. In seeking the Lord we learn what he does when we praise him. As David states in Psalm 34:4-8, the Lord answers us, delivers us, hears us, saves us, and makes us lack nothing.
  • We are to fear the Lord. David helps us to know how to have a good day in Psalm 34:11-16. He points out that we are to control our tongue, depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it, and trust the Lord because he is watching you.
  • We are to trust the Lord even if things do not go our way. Warren Wiersbe points out that even if things are not good we are to remember that God is always near, we are to remember that God knows the meaning of a broken heart, and that God gives grace to the humble. Warren also points out that bad things will happen because it is a part of human life, Satan is against us, and affliction is a tool God uses to help us grow.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

You are rightly to be praised. You sanctify, you answer our call, you deliver us, you hear us, you save us, and because of you we lack nothing. Thank you for all that you provide when we are willing to praise you. It is hard at times to fear you as we should. Our flesh gets in the way when we should be controlling our tongue, departing from evil, seeking peace, and trusting you. Forgive us for the times we do not seek you and fear you as we should. Help us to trust you Lord even when things do not go as we would like. Help us to understand that you don’t prevent afflictions but that you deliver us from them. Help us to trust you with our frustrations, our feelings, our future, our foes, and our failures as your word guides us to do. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yOzf0VrDNGU

 

 

Psalm 35

42885040_10205259014192681_5571587384899796992_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Implecatory

Emotions: Revenge

Of David.

Oppose, O LORD, those who oppose me;

war upon those who make war upon me.

2

Take up the shield and buckler; rise up in my defense.

3

Brandish lance and battle-ax against my pursuers. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”

4

Let those who seek my life be put to shame and disgrace. Let those who plot evil against me be turned back and confounded.

5

Make them like chaff before the wind,

with the angel of the LORD driving them on.

6

Make their way slippery and dark, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them.

7

Without cause they set their snare for me;

without cause they dug a pit for me.

8

Let ruin overtake them unawares; let the snare they have set catch them; let them fall into the pit they have dug.

9

Then I will rejoice in the LORD, exult in God’s salvation.

10

My very bones shall say, “O LORD, who is like you, Who rescue the afflicted from the powerful, the afflicted and needy from the despoiler?”

11

Malicious witnesses rise up, accuse me of things I do not know.

12

They repay me evil for good; my soul is desolate.

13

Yet I, when they were ill, put on sackcloth,

afflicted myself with fasting, sobbed my prayers upon my bosom.

14

I went about in grief as for my brother,

bent in mourning as for my mother.

15

Yet when I stumbled they gathered with glee, gathered against me and I did not know it. They slandered me without ceasing;

16

without respect they mocked me, gnashed their teeth against me.

17

O Lord, how long will you look on? Restore my soul from their destruction, my very life from lions!

18

Then I will thank you in the great assembly; I will praise you before the mighty throng.

19

Do not let lying foes rejoice over me, my undeserved enemies wink knowingly.

20

They speak no words of peace, but against the quiet in the land they fashion deceitful speech.

21

They open wide their mouths against me.

They say, “Aha! Good! Our eyes have seen it!”

22

You see this, LORD; do not be silent; Lord, do not withdraw from me.

23

Awake, be vigilant in my defense, in my cause, my God and my Lord.

24

Defend me because you are just, LORD;

my God, do not let them rejoice over me.

25

Do not let them say in their hearts, “Aha! Our soul!” Do not let them say, “We have devoured that one!”

26

Put to shame and confound all who relish my misfortune. Clothe with shame and disgrace those who lord it over me.

27

But let those who favor my just cause

shout for joy and be glad. May they ever say, “Exalted be the LORD who delights in the peace of his loyal servant.”

28

Then my tongue shall recount your justice, declare your praise, all the day long.

Notes:

-This psalm is from 1 Samuel 19-26

-According to Warren Wiersbe:

  • David prays 1stthat when he encounters trouble
  • David then admits his helplessness

-According to Warren Wiersbe David makes 3 requests to God:

  • Protect me (1-10)
  • Reward me (11-18)
  • Vindicate me (19-28)

God’s Character:

  • He delivers the poor
  • Vindicator
  • Great
  • Delights in the welfare of his servant
  • Righteous

Journal:

Psalm 35 is another imprecatory psalm. This is a psalm where the writer is seeking revenge.Warren Wiersbe points out the actions of David. He explains how David first went to God in prayer when he was encountering trouble. Psalm 35:1-6 is David’s call out to God. He makes the request to God to protect him. David then admits his helplessness in verse 35:10, “All my bones shall say, ‘O Lord, who is like you,delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”. The psalms never fail to show us the way. What if we went to God in prayer at all times? What if we were able to admit our helplessness before we tried to fix things ourselves? David shows us a great example that we can learn from. David is upset but instead of seeking revenge on his own, he gives it up to God.

Warren Wiersbe explains how there are different levels of reactions to others when we are hurt. The human level will repay good for good and evil for evil. This is better than the demonic level which returns evil for good. Warren points out that what David does is not the human level or the demonic level as he chooses the divine level. The divine level returns good for evil.

When we are in trouble our human instinct is to take things into our own hands. Our instinct when someone hurts us is to hurt them back. We have other choices though and God’s word shows us what these choices are. Let’s seek God first in prayer, admit our helplessness to him, and seek to return good for evil!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

You are the one we should seek first when trouble comes. You are the one that can help us when we are helpless. You deliver the poor and the weak. Thank you for being a righteous God. Thank you for hearing our troubles and helping us when we are weak. So many times it is hard to come to you first. So many times it is easy to want to seek revenge over your perfect justice. So many times it is hard to admit we are weak. You are the perfect vindicator and yet it takes humility to ask for your vindication. Teach us Lord how to come to you and ask for you to search our heart and soul. Help us to reach out to you first and to admit humbly when we need your help. Help us to not seek revenge on others but to return good for evil. Help us to have a heart like David even when we have been wronged. In your great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=khrTQZiXce4

 

Advertisements

Journey Through The Psalms 22-28

Psalm 22

42945220_10205257760921350_7950437957607882752_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament/Thanks

Emotions: Abandonment

For the leader; according to “The deer of the dawn.” A psalm of David.

2

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?

3

My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief.

4

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;

you are the glory of Israel.

5

In you our fathers trusted; they trusted and you rescued them.

6

To you they cried out and they escaped;

in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

7

But I am a worm, not a man, scorned by men, despised by the people.

8

All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me:

9

“He relied on the LORD—let him deliver him; if he loves him, let him rescue him.”

10

For you drew me forth from the womb,

made me safe at my mother’s breasts.

11

Upon you I was thrust from the womb;

since my mother bore me you are my God.

12

Do not stay far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help.

13

Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.

14

They open their mouths against me, lions that rend and roar.

15

Like water my life drains away; all my bones are disjointed. My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me.

16

As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue cleaves to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death.

17

Dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and my feet

18

I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat;

19

they divide my garments among them;

for my clothing they cast lots.

20

But you, LORD, do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.

21

Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the grip of the dog.

22

Save me from the lion’s mouth, my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.

23

Then I will proclaim your name to my brethren; in the assembly I will praise you:

24

“You who fear the LORD, give praise!

All descendants of Jacob, give honor;

show reverence, all descendants of Israel!

25

For he has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, Did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.

26

I will offer praise in the great assembly;

my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.

27

The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!”

28

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD; All the families of nations will bow low before him.

29

For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations.

30

All who sleep in the earth will bow low before God; All who have gone down into the dust will kneel in homage.

31

And I will live for the LORD; my descendants will serve you.

32

The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.

Notes:

From Commentary by Warren Wiersbe

-The Good Shepard dies for his sheep (John 10:1-8).

-There were 3 burdens that moved David to pray for God’s help and they apply to Jesus as well.

  1. He was abandoned by the Lord (22:1-5).
  2. He was despised by the people (22:6-11).
  3. He was condemned by the Law (22:12-21).

-David realizes that God has never abandoned him.

-God knows what it feels like to be abandoned, because he himself was abandoned.

Abandonment: From the Bible Study “When you Feel Alone-Managing your Emotions”

  • The New Testament alludes to this Psalm 24 times.
  • The 1stverse of Psalm 22 is quoted by Jesus on the cross.
  • Have you ever felt abandoned by a person or God? Why?
  • Did Jesus ever feel abandoned by God? If so When and why? When he took on sin.
  • David remembers how God was faithful.
  • We need to be honest about our feelings so God can meet us where we are. If we don’t admit it and we try to tough it out, we won’t see our need to let him help us.
  • We should not isolate ourselves when we feel abandoned.
  • We should seek strength from others.
  • We can find hope in God’s kingdom to come.

God’s Character:

  • Holy
  • Enthroned on the praises of Israel.
  • Can be trusted
  • Rescues
  • Does not put his people to shame.
  • Delivers
  • Does not hide his face.
  • Hears his people.

Journal:

As we looked at Psalm 21 yesterday in parallelism to Jesus, in Psalm 22…we hear David prophesy about Jesus.  Crucifixion was not something of David’s time.  It was a Roman way of punishment developed many years if not centuries after David’s time.  What is fascinating is that even David knew Jesus!  Psalm 22 foretells of the crucifixion of Jesus through the eyes of David.  We also begin to see the image of the Shepherd.  In Psalm 22, the Shepherd dies for his sheep.  

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Your word today is rich with the story of your son.  As we read the psalms we learn much about you as our Father, but today we are reminded again about your son.  As we think about our spiritual battles, about being overwhelmed or distracted…we are guided back to the reality of what was done for us.  Your son was forsaken so that we would never have to feel truly forsaken.  Your son took on being despised  and condemned so we could be set free.  The plans for your son were planted into the eyes of those that never saw him so we could grow his truth in our hearts.  Your word shouts of praises as we stand in awe of your son.  Thank you for always remembering the afflicted, for not hiding your face or the face of your son from your people, and for reminding us all of your son.  So many times the enemy tries to help us forget about what has been done for us.  The enemy attempts to overwhelm and distract us, but your word is the ultimate reminder.  Forgive us for failing to remember and for allowing ourselves to become distracted and overwhelmed. As David praised the one to come even though he never saw him…we can praise the one we also have not seen!  Help us to always remember your son and what he did for us.  Help us to not forget what all happened the day that your son died for our sins.  Help us to look to your word always.  May we not forget, may we not get distracted, and may your word help us to not be overwhelmed.  In your Great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UaJ-moIjATU

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B-LYkin_wVI

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AmaWHWTR-mI

 

Psalm 23

43007644_10205257760481339_5900715698069438464_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Trust

Emotions: Comfort

A psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.

2

In green pastures he makes me lie down;

to still waters he leads me;

3

He restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name.

4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.

5

You set a table before me in front of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6

Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days.

Notes:

-The Great Shepherd lives for the sheep and cares for them (Hebrews 13:20-21).

God’s Character:

  • He is our Shepherd
  • He leads
  • He restores
  • He is with us
  • He comforts us
  • He prepares a table before us
  • He makes our cup overflow

Journal:

In Psalm 22 we saw how the Shepherd died for his sheep.  In Psalm 23 we continue to learn about the Great Shepherd.  We learn today how the Great Shepherd lives and cares for his sheep.  We learn that we are the sheep and much like how a shepherd physically cares for sheep…God cares for us as well.

Charles Swindoll in his book Living for the Psalms does a great job to explain how we are like sheep and how our Shepherd cares for us. He explains that sheep:

  • Have no direction.  He explains how many times sheep will wonder off and the Shepherd would have to break one of their legs so they were completely dependent on the Shepherd.  We are like sheep in the fact that without God we have no direction as well.  We need him to lead us in our paths.
  • They are Defenseless: A sheep must have a Shepherd or they will die.  We too are defenseless on our own against the world and it’s enemies.
  • They are Easily Frightened:  Sheep will get frightened and so worked up that the Shepherd has to physically make them lie down so they will calm down.  We too need the help of our God to “make us lie down in green pastures.”
  • They are Unclean: A sheep will not clean themselves like other animals.  A sheep will stay unclean until physically washed. We are not clean without our Shepherds work as well.
  • They are Afraid of Rapidly Running Water: Sheep would rather die then drink from water that runs too fast.  They must rely on the Shepherd to “lead them beside still waters.”  We too are dependent on our Shepherd to calm our rapid waters of life.  When fear gets in the way, our Shepherd will lead us.
  • They are dependent on the Shepherd for protection:  Sheep in the ancient times would frequently get bitten by Adder Vipers.  They would get bitten in the face.  Their face would swell up and they would often die. The Shepherd would have to physically place oil around the snake holes to prevent them from being able to come out of the holes.  The Shepherd would also place oil on their heads to further distract the snake from biting them.  This so reminds me of the anointing we receive to keep away the snake that is always lurking about ready to strike us!

Psalm 23 has such symbolism to sheep and their Shepherd.  It amazes me to see the similarities that are seen between sheep and Christians in their faith walk.  It is so true that as explained by Charles Swindoll:

“The Lord is my Shepherd; in him I shall not want…

I do not lack rest as…”he makes me lie down in green pastures.”

I do not lack peace as…”he leads me besides still waters.”

I do not lack encouragement as…”he restores my soul.”

I do not lack guidance and fellowship as…”he leads me in paths of righteousness for his names sake.”

I do not lack courage and companionship because…”even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.”

I do not lack comfort as…”his rod and your staff, comfort me.”

I do not lack protection and honor as…”he prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

I do not lack power as…”he anoints my head with oil.”

I do not lack abundance as…”my cup overflows.”

I do not lack God’s presence as…”surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

I do not lack security as…”I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Prayer:

Psalm 23 is a wonderful prayer all in its own.  Here is one example as found on

https://mercyisnew.com/2014/10/10/praying-psalm-23-family/

“Father, You are my shepherd, I shall not want. You make me lie down in green pastures, You lead me beside quiet waters. You restore my soul; You lead me in paths of righteousness for Your name sake! Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in Your house forever.”

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OoojA0cLPWY

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=s-QxbywIP0g

 

Psalm 24

42956496_10205257782881899_2545650910458019840_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Antiphonal/Hymn

Emotions: Seeking God

A psalm of David.

The earth is the LORD’s and all it holds,

the world and those who dwell in it.

2

For he founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers.

3

Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place?

4

“The clean of hand and pure of heart,

who has not given his soul to useless things, what is vain.

5

He will receive blessings from the LORD,

and justice from his saving God.

6

Such is the generation that seeks him,

that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.”

7

Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

8

Who is this king of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in war.

9

Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

10

Who is this king of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the king of glory.

Notes:

-The Chief Shepherd returns in glory to reward His sheep for their service.  (1 Peter 5:4)

-The one that can ascend the hill of the Lord:

  • Has clean hands
  • Pure heart
  • Does not lift up his soul to what is false
  • Does not swear deceitfully

God’s Character:

  • Founded the earth upon the seas
  • Established the earth upon the rivers
  • He is strong and mighty
  • He is mighty in battle

Journal:

What kind of conversations do we have anymore?  Today’s psalm makes me ponder our conversations.  Psalm 24 is called an antiphonal psalm.  One person or group of people ask a question or sing a phrase, while another answers or responds.  A question that is repeated is, “Who is the King of Glory?”  Though the people are able to proclaim an answer, my question is…Do we even ponder who our King is anymore in conversation?  What is safe to talk about anymore?  Could we have this type of conversation as depicted in Psalm 24 with those that we spend our days with?  As I learn more and more about God, I am excited to share about him…but I get very little in response.  Worse then no response is the response of others that believe the opposite of what God is asking of us.  So how does one not get discouraged with our conversations today?  We do just as Psalm 24 says, “Lift up your heads and be lifted up!”  Let’s not be weary of today’s conversations…let’s be a generation that continues to seek the Lord and may we be expectant on his many blessings!

The First Five App reminds me of the reality of the world we live in but also the answer to what we can do about it:

“We live in a broken and fallen world, so we will always fall short in at least one of those things and become disqualified from standing in God’s presence. But because of God’s love and sovereignty, through Jesus Christ, we are offered grace to be able to stand in the presence of God as holy and acceptable. (Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:24)  This prophetic psalm gives us a picture of a king … King Jesus … entering Jerusalem. And because He entered the Holy City knowing He would be sacrificed for our sins, die and be resurrected, we can enter the presence of God and live with Him forever.  We end Psalm 24 reminded of God’s goodness and power: “Who is this King of glory?

The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!” (Psalm 24:8) Jesus took His rightful place at the right hand of His Father, winning the battle of sin.  Because of God’s glory, we are not only to serve and love Him but also live lives as beacons of light for those who do not know the gospel — a visible manifestation of the presence of God and His glory, in and through us because of Christ Jesus.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, the world and all that it is belongs to you.  You have founded it upon the seas and you established it upon the rivers.  We are not righteous enough in our own selves to ascend your Holy Hill.  We are not righteous enough on our own to stand in your Holy place.  You however sent your son to intercede for us and make us Holy and righteous in your eyes.  In this we all shall praise.  You tell us in your word to lift up our heads.  We are to look up to you and spread your word to all so that your plan is heard to the ends of the earth.  I admit I get discouraged.  I put my head down instead of speaking up.  I cower in conversations where I could speak and where a gate could be opened…I remain afraid.  Help me to speak up.  Help me to lift my head.  Help me to remember what your son did so that we are righteous in your sight.  None of us can be enough on our own.  Remind me of my own failings and your mercy so that I can remember to extend grace on others.  Thank you for who you are and what you have done in bringing your son to earth for us all.  May I be able to speak of who the king of glory is.  May I proclaim the Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.  In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FsOZ3UsUbNA

 

Psalm 25

42892608_10205257759081304_5869070696860090368_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Acrostic/Lament

Emotions: Trust in God

Of David.

I

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,

2

My God, in you I trust; do not let me be disgraced; do not let my enemies gloat over me.

3

No one is disgraced who waits for you, but only those who are treacherous without cause.

4

Make known to me your ways, LORD; teach me your paths.

5

Guide me by your fidelity and teach me,

for you are God my savior, for you I wait all the day long.

6

Remember your compassion and your mercy, O LORD, for they are ages old.

7

Remember no more the sins of my youth; remember me according to your mercy,

because of your goodness, LORD.

8

Good and upright is the LORD, therefore he shows sinners the way,

9

He guides the humble in righteousness,

and teaches the humble his way.

10

All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth toward those who honor his covenant and decrees.

11

For the sake of your name, LORD, pardon my guilt, though it is great.

12

Who is the one who fears the LORD? God shows him the way he should choose.

13

He will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.

14

The counsel of the LORD belongs to those who fear him; and his covenant instructs them.

15

My eyes are ever upon the LORD, who frees my feet from the snare.

16

Look upon me, have pity on me, for I am alone and afflicted.

17

Relieve the troubles of my heart; bring me out of my distress.

18

Look upon my affliction and suffering; take away all my sins.

19

See how many are my enemies, see how fiercely they hate me.

20

Preserve my soul and rescue me; do not let me be disgraced, for in you I seek refuge.

21

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; I wait for you, O LORD.

22

Redeem Israel, O God, from all its distress!

Notes:

-David put his trust in God and he wanted God to show him his ways.

-The word covenant is used for the 1sttime in this Psalm

-David’s soul:

  • Trusts in God
  • Desires that his enemies will not prosper
  • Waits on God
  • Desires to walk with God
  • Desires the truth
  • Needs God’s mercy
  • Looks to the troubles on his mind and shares them.

-The Lord protected David from:

  • Danger
  • Being Lonely
  • A broken heart
  • Regrets
  • Fear
  • Despair

God’s Character:

  • No one who waits for him is put to shame
  • He is our salvation
  • Merciful
  • Steadfast love
  • Good and upright
  • He instructs sinners in the way
  • He leads the humble in what is right
  • He teaches the humble the way
  • His paths are steadfast love and faithfulness
  • Those who fear him find friendship
  • He makes known his covenant
  • He plucks our feet our of the net

Journal:

Psalm 25 came with great timing.  The past two years of school have been tough on my oldest child.  Fear, anxiety, and sickness hit him hard.  As a mom I struggled in how to handle my child whose emotions had become quite fragile.  It seemed like each day was a battle.  As school approached this year, I became anxious and I feared what each day was going to bring.  For at least a month, I dreaded the beginning of the school year. The first day of school came and it was not as I expected.  My son got ready and was more than willing to go to school.  Things were not like I had once feared for so long. I decided I wanted to look intently at the good days and count them versus expecting the bad ones…I began to see how I could trust the Lord to provide for me more truly good things than what my fears were leading me to.  

The First Five explains how this can be our starting point all the time:

“In Psalm 25, we see that trust and waiting are interchangeable to David. The chapter begins with trust: “Oh my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me” (Psalm 25:2). David then follows up this initial plea with a reminder to himself of the truth: “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous” (Psalm 25:3).  That is because David has chosen to accept the goodness and timing of God and therefore God’s sovereignty.  Have you ever had to wait for the Lord to break through in your life? Maybe you’re waiting for something to change, or for someone to change. No matter what you’re waiting for, waiting with trust is a hard and holy thing to do. What’s easier (and often comes more naturally) is to wait with anxiety or fear. That’s because waiting forces us to remember we’re not in control. God is ultimately the only One who can change things.  Trust in God and waiting on God are partnered here in Psalm 25. So take heart! If you are waiting on the Lord, you are also learning to trust in Him — and that is a gift, even if it is a hard one to receive. Like David, you can learn to say what he says at the end of this Psalm: “Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you” (Psalm 25:20b-21).

Unlike many other psalms, which end with victorious shouts or cries of deliverance, this psalm ends with a quiet resolution to continue to wait on the Lord. May we do the same as we trust in Him.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

To you we can lift our soul.  In you we can place our trust.  God you are good and upright.  You teach the humble what is right and what is the way.  Your paths are steadfast love and faithfulness for those that keep your ways.  You are rightly to be praised.  Please pardon our guilt and instruct us in our ways.  May our souls abide in well-being and may our children inherit the many blessings that you promise.  Thank you for the times that you have conquered us from danger, saved us from loneliness, fixed our broken hearts, eased our regrets, lessened our fears, and removed our despair.  I have struggled in the past to remember your goodness.  I have focused only on the challenges of the day.  Today I hope to look at all that you have done and build upon my trust in you instead of my fear.  Help me to always look to you first as I start each morning and continually through my day. You do not promise easy paths but ones filled with your steadfast love and faithfulness.  May I walk with you in trust and may I learn to have integrity and uprightness preserve me…especially during the times I must wait on you.  In these times of waiting may I receive the blessing of greater trust in you. In your Great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HjVoPBuBRj8

 

Psalm 26

42895178_10205257758521290_5095583731511459840_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament/Thanksgiving

Emotions: Righteousness

Of David.

Judge me, LORD! For I have walked in my integrity. In the LORD I trust; I do not falter.

2

Examine me, Lord, and test me; search my heart and mind.

3

Your mercy is before my eyes; I walk guided by your faithfulness.

4

I do not sit with worthless men, nor with hypocrites do I mingle.

5

I hate an evil assembly; with the wicked I do not sit.

6

I will wash my hands in innocence so that I may process around your altar, Lord,

7

To hear the sound of thanksgiving, and recount all your wondrous deeds.

8

Lord, I love the refuge of your house, the site of the dwelling-place of your glory.

9

Do not take me away with sinners, nor my life with the men of blood,

10

In whose hands there is a plot, their right hands full of bribery.

11

But I walk in my integrity; redeem me, be gracious to me!

12

My foot stands on level ground; in assemblies I will bless the LORD.

Notes:

-David speaks of living a life of integrity.

-David asks others not to sin because of what other people do to them.

God’s Character:

  • Steadfast Love
  • Faithful
  • Does wonderous deeds
  • Gracious

Journal:

Psalm 26 teaches us more about integrity.  It reminds us the importance of looking back on all God has done so we can continue to be faithful in the present.  We then build strength to continue on into the future.  The First Five describes how David modeled integrity as they state,

“Three times David mentioned how modeling integrity (completeness, fullness, innocence) was available to him because of God’s faithfulness. First, in reflecting on his past: “I have walked in my integrity” (Psalm 26:1).  Second, in reflecting on his present situation: “I walk in your faithfulness” (Psalm 26:3).  Third, in looking ahead to his future: “I shall walk in my integrity” (Psalm 26:11).  David did not have the foreknowledge to know he would fulfill these statements he made to the Lord. It would not be by David’s might nor power, but by God’s Spirit that would activate integrity on a moment by moment, day by day, decision by decision, assignment by assignment basis in David’s life. And the same is true for us.  God calls us to be people of integrity (Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; 28:6) and loves us enough to allow His one and only Son to walk this earth as the perfect example of a man of integrity. (Hebrews 4:15) So that we might turn to Jesus when moments arrive where our integrity is being challenged or questioned.  Trusting God’s goodness and taking Spirit-empowered steps of obedience toward Him in every situation will help us — like David — walk out a life of integrity.  Keeping those lines of communication open with God — whether it’s offering up a confession, a question, or a song of thanksgiving or adoration — will anchor our hearts and minds so that we, too, can ask God to judge us, test us or prove us, being confident of the outcome.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Your word tells us how we can walk with integrity before you.  Please help us to model our lives as David did as we come before you and ask for you to examine us, try us, and test us.  Help us to continue to obey you and remember your love.  May we not doubt and drift from you.  Protect us from temptation that leads us to want to judge others.  Help us to remain innocent when we are wronged by others.  Help us to remain with others in public worship.  May we always be patient as we wait on you.  Lord, I do not always seek to be a person of integrity.  I don’t want to be tried and tested and I run from trials.  I try to remember what you have done for me, but I don’t always remember to provide grace to others.  You are the ultimate judge.  Please forgive me as I have turned away from public worship due to hurt feelings and complicated situations.  Please help me to seek this path once again.  I am far from patient at times.  Help us to seek lives of integrity.  May The words you gave to David be our guide and may we continue to seek your path.  In your great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0FFkVzNJOLY

 

 

Psalm 27

42899086_10205257759961326_4496997442297790464_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament

Emotions: Fear turned to Confidence

Of David.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;

whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?

2

When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, These my enemies and foes

themselves stumble and fall.

3

Though an army encamp against me,

my heart does not fear; Though war be waged against me, even then do I trust.

4

One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek:

To dwell in the LORD’s house all the days of my life, To gaze on the LORD’s beauty,

to visit his temple.

5

For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble, He will conceal me in the cover of his tent; and set me high upon a rock.

6

Even now my head is held high above my enemies on every side! I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and chant praise to the LORD.

7

Hear my voice, LORD, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me.

8

“Come,” says my heart, “seek his face”; your face, LORD, do I seek!

9

Do not hide your face from me; do not repel your servant in anger. You are my salvation; do not cast me off; do not forsake me, God my savior!

10

Even if my father and mother forsake me,

the LORD will take me in.

11

LORD, show me your way; lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

12

Do not abandon me to the desire of my foes; malicious and lying witnesses have risen against me.

13

I believe I shall see the LORD’s goodness

in the land of the living.

14

Wait for the LORD, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the LORD!

 

Notes:

-David declares that the Lord is his light and his salvation.

-David wants to dwell in God’s house forever.

-David became confident in the Lord despite his afflictions

-God dwelt among the people in a tent, the temple was not constructed yet

God’s Character:

  • Light
  • Salvation
  • Stronghold
  • Hides us in his shelter
  • Conceals us in the cover of his tent
  • He lifts us high on a rock
  • He is gracious
  • He answers us
  • He is goodness

Journal:

I needed the words of Warren Wiersbe this morning. “He is our light, so we need not fear the darkness.”  Twice my oldest son entered the darkness of my room as he could not sleep.  An additional two times my phone went off as he texted that he could not sleep.  Fearing what would happen this morning…I needed the reminder that God is my light. Warren continues, “He is our strength, so we need not fear because of our weakness.”  The stress of emotions and uncertainty of what to do was great.  I felt weak and unable to continue…though I knew that it was what I needed to do.  Warren’s last statement was, “He is our salvation, so the victory is sure.”  The reminder of the greater battle that has been won, helped me to face the day.  Even if I knew that one of my greatest fears was before me…I knew that I do not battle alone.  I had to believe.  I knew that it was in these times that faith is built.  AsWarren Wiersbe states, “We have to walk by faith just as David did. “I would have lost heart, unless I believed.”  The world says that seeing is believing. Jesus says, “believing is seeing.” The evidence of faith are rather obvious.  First, we seek the Lord. Second, we call on the Lord.  That is prayer.  Third, we do the hardest thing of all-wait on the Lord.”

I wanted to rush ahead and see how the morning would turn out. I wanted to put on my armor and fight and yet…I knew that I had to remember the hardest part…the waiting. 

As the First Five App states, “How easy it is for us to run straight into battle, not fully prepared. David’s command to wait and be strong go hand in hand. Isaiah 40:31a says, “they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength.”  Waiting on God makes us strong for battle. Waiting is the acknowledgment that we cannot enter a fight and win on our own. We NEED the Lord. He alone gives us the strength and courage we require. Before we jump into the fight, let’s wait for the Lord. His plans are good and worth waiting for.”

Not forging ahead on my own, I waited for God’s direction on where to go and on what to say.  Fear would creep in and I would remember that God was my light.  I would get weak with uncertainty and I would cry out to God for his strength.  When I didn’t hear a reply, I would slow down and wait.  I allowed God’s truth to settle my soul instead of following the lies that wanted me to believe that nothing was going to change.  When I doubted, I asked God to settle my unbelief.  I desperately wanted to believe so that I would truly see.  I started to seek the Lord and wait on him…and while I waited…I prayed!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

So many times we allow fear to guide us.  Yet, your word provides us with our true direction.  You are our light and our salvation.  With your truth we truly know that we have nothing to fear.  We can be confident in you.  We can dwell in your house all the days of our life and for this we can give you praise!  Thank you for the days you hide us in your shelter.  Thank you for hiding us in days of trouble.  Thank you for the days you conceal us under the cover of your tent as well as those days that you lift us high upon your rock.  I admit that sometimes I want to see before I believe.  I tremble in the fears of my past.  I don’t always walk by faith, but I am trying to.  As I focus on your truth Lord, I am beginning to see your light.  Please continue to hear us when we cry out to you.  Please be gracious to us and answer us.  Help us to continue to seek your face.  Do not hide your face from us.  Help us to know your way and lead us on a level path.  Help us to wait patiently on you.  Help us to remain strong and let our heart take courage as we wait on you.  In your Great name, Amen! 

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ndZsEDuCVAQ

 

Psalm 28

42930615_10205257757001252_7670643038959435776_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Thankfulness/Lament

Emotions: Justice/When God seems Silent

Of David.

To you, LORD, I call; my Rock, do not be deaf to me, Do not be silent toward me,

so that I join those who go down to the pit.

2

Hear the sound of my pleading when I cry to you for help when I lift up my hands toward your holy place.

3

Do not drag me off with the wicked,

with those who do wrong, Who speak peace to their neighbors though evil is in their hearts.

4

Repay them for their deeds, for the evil that they do. For the work of their hands repay them; give them what they deserve.

5

Because they do not understand the LORD’s works, the work of his hands, He will tear them down, never to rebuild them.

6

Blessed be the LORD, who has heard the sound of my pleading.

7

The LORD is my strength and my shield,

in whom my heart trusts. I am helped, so my heart rejoices; with my song I praise him.

8

LORD, you are a strength for your people,

the saving refuge of your anointed.

9

Save your people, bless your inheritance;

pasture and carry them forever!

Notes:

-David depends on God

-David has sinned and does not hear God

-David ends the psalm with songs of praise because he trusts the Lord

-David encourages others about what he has learned from the Lord

-David realizes he is totally dependent on God

-Sometimes we do not hear God because.

  • We have sinned
  • We are seeking a loud voice
  • He has already spoken and we did not hear him

-David leaves judgment up to God

God’s Characteristics:

  • He is our rock
  • He hears the voice of our pleas for mercy
  • He is our strength
  • He is our shield
  • He the is the strength of his people
  • He is the saving refuge of the anointed
  • He is a Shepherd
  • He carries his people

Journal:

In Psalm 28 we see how prayer led David to praise.  David starts the psalm by crying out to God but he remains silent to David.  David does not get frustrated but ends up singing songs of praise to the Lord.

As the First Five App states, “The contrast between the desperate petitions in Psalm 28:1-5 and David’s declarations of praise in Psalm 28:6-9 had me wondering, Is this a prayer or a praise party? How could David, on the heels of his complaint about his enemies, suddenly burst into praise? We find the answer in Psalm 28:7: trust. Because David trusted in God’s character, he confidently declared, “The LORD is my strength and my shield.” He praised God in advance for the outcome of his situation.  So how can we transform our personal time of prayer into a praise party? Paul writes in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” In other words, when trouble comes, don’t let it worry you. Instead, call to God in prayer. Then, praise God for what He’s already done and will do on your behalf.  From a biblical perspective, there’s no need for us to separate prayer and praise. When our prayer gives way to praise, we can lift our downcast hearts with renewed strength and faith.”

Yesterday was a tough day for me.  I feared my son’s anxiety about school would lead us down days of struggle once again.  I tried and tried to rely on God for strength.  My husband told me good-bye and he wished me a good day.  My response startled me and made me realize that doubt had crept in even after my many prayers.  My response was, “I hope I have a good day, but I don’t see it happening.”  I wanted to believe before I saw the ending.  I stopped and prayed desperately to God to help me believe even in my unbelief.  I cried out to him and as I look back, I can see now how to praise in the middle of the storm.  We certainly fear the uncertainty of how things might turn out.  May faith over the past couple of months has grown though and I had changed.  I was now relying on God’s strength…even if at times he seemed silent.  

The First Five App continues to give us great advice for what to do when God seems silent: “Because David trusted God, he was able to praise Him in advance for answered prayer. David knew God would be his advance guard and defensive shield. (Psalm 28:7-9) But how do we trust God or the effectiveness of prayer when our prayers seem to go unanswered? This is the question I asked a prayer-warrior friend. At the time, I was frustrated because after spending years praying for the salvation of a family member, I saw no spiritual progress. Have you ever doubted that God was listening to your prayers?  Below are a few truths my friend encouraged me to consider. This isn’t a complete list of prayer guidelines, but I gently encourage you to consider these truths when you experience doubt.

  • Jesus wants us to believe we will receive what we ask for in prayer. (Mark 11:20-25)

When our requests are within God’s will — that is, according to God’s revealed truth and desires outlined in His Word — we can rest assured He will fulfill them in His timing. (1 John 5:14) This is why Christ encouraged His disciples and believers today to “have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22) When we pray confidently expecting to see God move, He does! (James 1:6-8)

  • Spiritual warfare can delay the answer to our prayer. (Daniel 10:10-14)

In Daniel 10:10-14, we see that the same day Daniel prayed, God sent an angel to deliver the answer. However, a demon engaged in warfare with the angel, delaying the message for 21 days. Sometimes spiritual warfare can delay the answers to our prayer. Of course, worldliness (James 4:2-3) and sin (Psalm 66:18) can also hinder the effectiveness of our prayer. Ultimately, God will punish both the rebellious earthly kingdoms and the evil cosmic powers (Isaiah 24:21-22), but as we wait, it’s wise to pray that spiritual warfare doesn’t delay God’s answers as well.

  • Jesus encourages us to be persistent in prayer. (Luke 18:1-8)

From Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow, we’re reminded to continue in prayer without losing heart. When you’re tempted to give up, remember God’s character and loving attitude toward His children.

My conversation with my friend helped me recognize an attitude of disbelief that I brought to my prayer. I repented, and the following week I prayed believing and thanking God for saving my family member in advance. Miraculously, by the end of that week, the Lord touched the heart of that loved one and he became a Christian.  I hope my testimony and these truths encourage you. Prayer works. God hears and is working on your behalf — even when you can’t see what He’s doing.”

May we seek God’s face and know that he is listening.  May he clear up our unbelief with moments that help us to trust and strengthen our faith.  Yesterday was not the best of days but God saw me through it.  Today will be a better day because of the trust I learned about yesterday and tomorrow doesn’t seem so dark as I know how to seek God even when he seems to be silent.  

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

You are our rock.  You hear our cries for help and you see us as we lift our hands toward your sanctuary.  You are the ultimate judge and you protect us from the wicked.  We are to be totally dependent on you.  Thank you for hearing our voice as we plead for you. Thank you for being our strength and our shield.  Thank you for allowing us to trust you with our hearts.  Forgive us for the times we get impatient while we wait to hear your voice.  Forgive us for the sins that mask your voice.  Forgive us for the noise that covers your still, small voice.  Help us to continue to cry out to you.  Help us in our unbelief.  Help us to believe that you truly hear us and you will answer us as your word tells us you will.  Help us to know the enemy and to come to you to help us fight.  Help us to remember the power and authority you give us over our enemies.  Help us to be persistent in prayer.  Thank you again for all that we are given in your word. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b5fRS3VVoto

 

Journey through the Psalms 15-21

Psalm 15

41264727_10205177520395387_1102331952410656768_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Hymn

Emotions: Being Righteous

1

A psalm of David.

LORD, who may abide in your tent?

Who may dwell on your holy mountain?

2

Whoever walks without blame,doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart;

3

Who does not slander with his tongue,

does no harm to a friend, never defames a neighbor;

4

Who disdains the wicked, but honors those who fear the LORD; Who keeps an oath despite the cost,

5

lends no money at interest, accepts no bribe against the innocent. Whoever acts like this shall never be shaken.

Notes:

-The one that is able to be in the presence of God:

  1. Walks blamelessly and does what is right.
  2. Speaks truth in his heart.
  3. Does not slander with his tongue.
  4. Does no evil to his neighbor.
  5. Does not reproach his friends.
  6. Despises evil.
  7. Honors those that fear the Lord.
  8. Does what he says he will do.
  9. Does not charge others interest.
  10. Does not bribe the innocent.

-These people will never be shaken because they do what is right.

-“Remember your worth is founded in Jesus Christ. It is through faith in him that you are acceptable in the sight of God.”

-David may have written this Psalm after his 2ndand successful attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Mt. Zion (2 Sam 6).

Journal:

Psalm 15 starts by David asking who is the one God will invite and ask to stay in his tent and dwell on his holy hill. A list of qualities are given by David that include walking blameless, does what is right, speaks the truth, does not slander, does no evil to others, and many, many, more. It is an extended list and I know that I may attempt but I do not come close to accomplishing these things. Before I can get too depressed, the First Five App reminds me on the truth we must stand on:

“As I look over the above list of qualities and blameless, right-living examples, I can easily see how much I fall short. Even on my best days, I’m certain to miss a few of these character traits. And, yet, this list reminds me of Someone who perfectly fulfills every single requirement and standard given by God. Someone who is blameless, holy, righteous and overflowing with infinite. integrity. (Hebrews 4:15) Someone who looks at our shortcomings and still invites us in as His guest. Not because of what we’ve done, but because of what He’s done for us. That Someone is Jesus. Friend, this integrity list may seem like a tall order to you, too. But instead of quickly checking off the list to do what’s right and looks good on the outside, let’s first be willing to search our hearts and see what’s happening on the inside. For it is the condition of our hearts that drive our thoughts, emotions, core beliefs, words, actions and reactions.  Others see and measure us by our outward appearance, but only God can look deep into our hearts and examine the core of who we are. (1 Samuel 16:7) Let’s allow Him to heal our heart-wounds and soften those hardened places that have formed because of past hurts and present disappointments. With His help, we will be the kind of people we need to be (in Christ) as we live in the Holy Temple of the Lord as the psalmist suggests.”

As Warren Wiersbe states, “Remember your worth is founded in Jesus Christ. It is through faith in him that you are acceptable in the sight of God.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word includes many things that tell us how we should be. The list is long and we are not able to accomplish it on our own. You sent your son to be our mediator and for that we all have reason to praise you today! Because of your son we are acceptable and as your word states, “He who does these things shall never be moved.” We are firmly planted when we have faith in your son. Thank you for giving us your son so we can be seen as acceptable to you. Thank you for giving us a physical and spiritual way of being able to be seen by you as well as to see your face. Thank you for your son who invites us into your tent and allows us to stay on your holy hill…even if we do not add up to all that you require. Thank you for your son that knows who we are and what we have done…but he invites us anyway. I know that I don’t always do as your word asks. My speech is not always as it should be and I fail at times at making the most of all my relationships. Please forgive me for these times that I don’t measure up. Please help us to be righteous. Help us to speak truth from our heart and not slander others with our tongue, and help us to love others as your word teaches us to do. Help us to seek you always and to follow your path. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc8_sMN3sEw

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VL4RBjBdHug

 

Psalm 16

41350810_10205177521595417_7518317638645186560_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Hymn/Trust

Emotions: Joy

1

A miktam of David.

Keep me safe, O God; in you I take refuge.

2

I say to the LORD, you are my Lord, you are my only good.

3

As for the holy ones who are in the land,

they are noble, in whom is all my delight.

4

They multiply their sorrows who court other gods. Blood libations to them I will not pour out, nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5

LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,

you have made my destiny secure.

6

Pleasant places were measured out for me; fair to me indeed is my inheritance.

7

I bless the LORD who counsels me; even at night my heart exhorts me.

8

I keep the LORD always before me; with him at my right hand, I shall never be shaken.

9

Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure,

10

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,

nor let your devout one see the pit.

11

You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.

Notes:

-David celebrates who God is to him.

  • His Refuge
  • His Inheritance
  • His Counselor
  • His Joy

-David asks God to preserve him.

-David rejoices in the fact that God is all he needs.

-David delights in the Lord, in the Lord’s people, in God’s providence, and in God’s pleasure (Warran Wiersbe).

God’s Character:

  • -Refuge
  • -We have no good apart from him.
  • -He is our chosen portion and our cup.
  • -He holds our lot.
  • -He gives counsel.
  • -He is at our right hand.
  • -He will not abandon.
  • -He sees corruption.
  • -He makes known to us the paths of life.
  • -In his presence there is fullness of joy.
  • -At his right hand are pleasures forever.
  • -He is our joy.
  • -He is our counselor.

Journal:

Yesterday we looked at the person that God invites into his tent and how we can dwell on his holy hill. We were reminded of what Jesus did to mediate for us and how we are invited in no matter who we are. Psalm 15 was an invitation to look into our hearts and ask God for his help in changing our hearts, today Psalm 16 shows us how God can counsel us and indeed change our hearts. The First Five App reminds us how God’s word shows us the promise that God is with us and is ready to counsel us in changing our hearts to match his:

“We can be assured God is always there to counsel us and give our hearts the instruction it needs. (Psalm 16:7) Not only so we make decisions that are right, but so we can experience joy and gladness in doing what’s right. (Psalm 16:9)

You may feel like you’ll never be good enough to be in God’s presence and do life with Him. But through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, (2 Corinthians 13:14) we can walk by faith on the rocky path toward righteous living. We can also trust that God will keep us stable as He not only lives with us but lives inus. (John 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16) God doesn’t invite us into His presence for a short visit. Because of Jesus, God the Father receives us with open arms as His beloved children — chosen, accepted, blameless and holy before Him … to remain permanently with Him. (Ephesians 1:3-10; Hebrews 10:19-23)  In every step of our life’s journey with Jesus, let’s be willing to humble ourselves, confess to the Father when we’ve done wrong and be assured of His unfailing love. As we can continue the process of being transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus, (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18) we see the fulfillment of this psalm as a permanent imprint on our lives. We emerge unshakable in our faith as we live with God — not as temporary guests, but as beloved family. Forever.”

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Warren Wiersbe states that in this Psalm David speaks of how he, “delights in the Lord, in the Lord’s people, in God’s providence, and in God’s pleasures.”

David looks to God in this Psalm and rejoices for God is his Refuge, his Inheritance, his Counselor, and his Joy. David then ends the Psalm by looking at God’s promises for him which include a life of fullness, joy, and eternal pleasures.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father in you we have so much to delight in. You are our refuge, our inheritance, our counselor, and our joy. Your word shows us the many things that we can bring forth in praise. You provide your people with the promise of a life of fullness, joy, and eternal pleasures. So many times I run after things other than you to provide me with joy, but you indeed are the only true joy I should seek. Your word helps me to remember where I shall seek joy and where I will indeed find it. We can praise you for who you are, for your people, for your providence, and for your many pleasures you provide. Thank you for being the Lord of Life. Thank you for conquering death. Thank you for giving us the joy of eternity. Thank you for not making us temporary guests but eternal beings. I struggle to always delight in you alone. Forgive me for seeking other joys beside you. Help me to be like David and delight in all that you are and all that you provide to your people. Help me to seek your counsel and to search my heart for areas that need your presence and teachings. In your great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R8mLTdQQXg4

 

Psalm 17

41344632_10205177528955601_2926841120677691392_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament/Prayer

Emotions: How to stand against your enemies

A prayer of David.

Hear, LORD, my plea for justice; pay heed to my cry; Listen to my prayer from lips without guile.

2

From you let my vindication come; your eyes see what is right.

3

You have tested my heart, searched it in the night. You have tried me by fire, but find no malice in me. My mouth has not transgressed

4

as others often do. As your lips have instructed me, I have kept from the way of the lawless.

5

My steps have kept to your paths; my feet have not faltered.

6

I call upon you; answer me, O God. Turn your ear to me; hear my speech.

7

Show your wonderful mercy, you who deliver with your right arm those who seek refuge from their foes.

8

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings

9

from the wicked who despoil me. My ravenous enemies press upon me;

10

they close their hearts, they fill their mouths with proud roaring.

11

Their steps even now encircle me; they watch closely, keeping low to the ground,

12

Like lions eager for prey, like a young lion lurking in ambush.

13

Rise, O LORD, confront and cast them down; rescue my soul from the wicked.

14

Slay them with your sword; with your hand, LORD, slay them; snatch them from the world in their prime. Their bellies are being filled with your friends; their children are satisfied too, for they share what is left with their young.

15

I am just—let me see your face; when I awake, let me be filled with your presence.

Notes:

-David describes his foes as:

  • People who close their hearts to pity.
  • Speak arrogantly with their mouths.
  • They are like lions eager to tear.
  • Their portions are in this life.

-David wanted to Lord to examine him and vindicate him before his enemies.

-David and Jesus never acted out of revenge.

God’s Characteristics:

  • -Our vindication.
  • -He tries our heart.
  • -He visits us at night.
  • -He tests us.
  • -He answers us.
  • -He inclines his ear and hears our words.
  • -He shows us his steadfast love.
  • -He is a savior to all who seek refuge.
  • -He keeps us as the apple of his eye.
  • -He hides us in the shadow of his wings from our enemies.
  • -We can be satisfied in God’s likeness.

Journal:

King David as well as Jesus never acted out towards others in revenge, instead they look to God for direction and justice. In Psalm 17, David shows us how to stand against those who are trying to harm you. The First Five helps us to put this in perspective as it states, “Is there ever a right way to fight hate? We learned today that neither David nor Jesus acted out in revenge. They left justice in the hands of God. But what they did is quite telling.  In 1 Samuel 24, after David decides not to kill King Saul, he goes out to tell the king his life had been spared. David then “bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage” (1 Samuel 24:8b). What a statement! Saul had been relentlessly pursuing David and attempted to kill David over and over again. And when given the chance, David not only gives up his chance for revenge, but he actually BOWS and pays respect to the man who is trying to kill him. Saul himself was in no way deserving of such honor, but David performs this act because he knew Saul was “the LORD’S anointed” (1 Samuel 24:10). It is out of respect and love for God that David is able to be merciful.  In Luke 23, Jesus is tried before Pilate. He is mocked and nailed to a cross. Not only did He leave His defense to His Father, but He also took it a step further. In Luke 23:34a, it is recorded that Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus forgave the people who killed Him.  I find it interesting that earlier in His life, Jesus said some really difficult things to His followers. He told them, “… Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you (Luke 6:27b-28).  There is no hate or meanness we face that can be worse than what Jesus faced. It’s powerful to know these weren’t just words for Jesus; He went on to live out every single one of these commands.  How do we fight hate? With love. By doing good. With blessing and not cursing. By praying for our offender. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word shows us how we are to come to you when we are in trouble. We don’t need to seek the opinions of others as only your opinion counts. You are the one that can examine us fairly and vindicate us if needed. God you will lead us with love and you will protect your people. You provide salvation and rescue for us in times of need. Thank you Lord for being all we need, especially when trials surround us and we feel like there are enemies in every corner. I don’t always leave justice up to you. I want revenge and I want justice in my own terms. Please forgive me for not leaving justice in your hands. Please help me to be more like David and Jesus when I am dealing with my enemies or those that have done me wrong. Help me to see your eternal perspective and not my own view of justice. Hear me Lord when I call. Uphold me when I am in need, and hide me always under the shadow of your wings. In your great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oNFZg6Nsiqs

 

Psalm 18

41315598_10205177540075879_3418560729416990720_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Royal

Emotions: Deliverance

For the leader. Of David, the servant of the LORD, who sang to the LORD the words of this song after the LORD had rescued him from the clutches of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

2

He said:

I love you, LORD, my strength,

3

LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,

My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold!

4

Praised be the LORD, I exclaim! I have been delivered from my enemies.

5

The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction terrified me.

6

The cords of Sheol encircled me; the snares of death lay in wait for me.

7

In my distress I called out: LORD! I cried out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry to him reached his ears.

8

The earth rocked and shook; the foundations of the mountains trembled;

they shook as his wrath flared up.

9

Smoke rose from his nostrils, a devouring fire from his mouth; it kindled coals into flame.

10

He parted the heavens and came down,

a dark cloud under his feet.

11

Mounted on a cherub he flew, borne along on the wings of the wind.

12

He made darkness his cloak around him;

his canopy, water-darkened stormclouds.

13

From the gleam before him, his clouds passed, hail and coals of fire.

14

The LORD thundered from heaven; the Most High made his voice resounds.

15

He let fly his arrows and scattered them;

shot his lightning bolts and dispersed them.

16

Then the bed of the sea appeared; the world’s foundations lay bare, At your rebuke, O LORD, at the storming breath of your nostrils.

17

He reached down from on high and seized me; drew me out of the deep waters.

18

He rescued me from my mighty enemy, from foes too powerful for me.

19

They attacked me on my day of distress,

but the LORD was my support.

20

He set me free in the open; he rescued me because he loves me.

21

The LORD acknowledged my righteousness, rewarded my clean hands.

22

For I kept the ways of the LORD; I was not disloyal to my God.

23

For his laws were all before me, his decrees I did not cast aside.

24

I was honest toward him; I was on guard against sin.

25

So the LORD rewarded my righteousness,

the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

26

Toward the faithful you are faithful; to the honest man you are honest;

27

Toward the pure, you are pure; but to the perverse you are devious.

28

For humble people you save; haughty eyes you bring low.

29

For you, LORD, give light to my lamp; my God brightens my darkness.

30

With you I can rush an armed band, with my God to help I can leap a wall.

31

God’s way is unerring; the LORD’s promise is refined; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

32

Truly, who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is the rock?

33

This God who girded me with might, kept my way unerring,

34

Who made my feet like a deer’s, and set me on the heights,

35

Who trained my hands for war, my arms to string a bow of bronze.

36

You have given me your saving shield; your right hand has upheld me; your favor made me great.

37

You made room for my steps beneath me;

my ankles never twisted.

38

I pursued my enemies and overtook them;

I did not turn back till I destroyed them.

39

I decimated them; they could not rise; they fell at my feet.

40

You girded me with valor for war,

subjugated my opponents beneath me.

41

You made my foes expose their necks to me; those who hated me I silenced.

42

They cried for help, but no one saved them; cried to the LORD but received no answer.

43

I ground them to dust before the wind; I left them like mud in the streets.

44

You rescued me from the strife of peoples; you made me head over nations.

A people I had not known served me;

45

as soon as they heard of me they obeyed.

Foreigners submitted before me;

46

foreigners cringed; they came cowering from their dungeons.

47

The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock! Exalted be God, my savior!

48

O God who granted me vengeance,

made peoples subject to me,

49

and saved me from my enemies,

Truly you have elevated me above my opponents, from a man of lawlessness you have rescued me.

50

Thus I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.

51

You have given great victories to your king, and shown mercy to his anointed,

to David and his posterity forever.

Notes:

-“David models the importance of giving God the glory of our victories and using our triumphs to point others to Christ. (First Five App)”

-This Psalm comes from 2 Sam. 22 and 2 Sam. 5:8; 10

-According to Warren Wiersbe, David shows that:

  • God delivers when we call on him (vv. 1-18).
  • God rewards when we obey (vv.19-27).
  • When the storm was over, David is made bigger in his trials.
  • David credits God for his strength, security, and combat ability (vv. 31-42).
  • God equips when we submit (vv. 28-45).
  • David glorifies God with his worship (vv. 46-50).

God’s Characteristics:

  • Our strength
  • Our rock
  • Our fortress
  • Our deliverer
  • Our refuge
  • Our shield
  • The horn of our salvation
  • Our stronghold
  • He is worthy to be praised
  • He is the one who hears our voice
  • Our cry reaches his ears
  • He rescues
  • He is our support
  • He delights in us
  • He equips us with strength
  • He deals with us according to our righteousness
  • He rewards us for clean hands
  • He is merciful
  • He is blameless
  • He is pure
  • He is tortuous to the crooked ones
  • He saves humble people
  • The haughty eyes he brings down
  • He lights our lamp
  • He lightens the darkness
  • His way is perfect
  • His word is true
  • He makes those that rise against us sink
  • He makes our enemies turn their backs on us
  • He delivers us from strife with the people
  • He makes his people head of nations
  • He lives
  • He gives his people vengeance
  • He is the rock we stand upon-our secure foundation

Journal:

Though Psalm 18 is long it can be broken down to understandable pieces as well as another roadmap for our own lives.

Warren Wiersbe states, “The focus of the psalm is on the Lord and what he graciously did for His servant, but also tells us what He can do for us today if we will trust and obey.”

David speaks to God about his love, faith, and hope he has for the Lord. He then speaks about his distress. When David calls out to God we see God respond when he brings a storm to aid David. This is a reminder that God delivers us when we call upon him. We are reminded of how David approached God. David had a heart like God’s and he was merciful, obedient, and pure.As Warren Wiersbe states, “God responds to us as we respond to him. We decide how close God will be, how much affection He will be able to show us.”

When the storm was over David states, “You gave me a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. Psalm 18:36.” As Warren Wiersbe states, “God enlarges David’s trials and used them to enlarge David. Circumstances reveal character. People say-‘A man is made by a crisis.’ No, a crisis does not make a person. It reveals what that person is made of. When a crisis came, Saul and his crowd grew smaller and smaller as their true nature was revealed. But David grew bigger and bigger. Are your circumstances making you smaller or bigger? Are you to overcome, or are they overcoming you?”

This is where I have to stop. The gentle conviction of the Lord is heard. Just as David felt God’s right hand supporting him and his gentleness making David greater, I too see an area where David’s words are calling to me for a change. My usual word of the day is “overwhelmed.” It has been the state of my being for sometime now. Whether it was the words…”We are not sure what we will do if this treatment doesn’t work.” Or watching my oldest son go through test after test and not being able to help him make the outcome any different to his ears. At some point it just became too much and at some point the strength in me was gone and I was allowing myself to be overcome by my surroundings.

I felt broken.But as Warren Wiersbe states, “Sometimes God has to break us before He makes us. Sometimes He has to reveal to us what we’re really like before He can make us into what He wants us to be.” I was saying the words that it was all okay, but in the depths of my soul I was crying out…but the words remained only in my soul. I had to make the steps of crying out to the Lord and believing that he would indeed delight in me, and guide me with his gentle hand and make me great again. In the mean time, I had to remember to not ask why in the waiting, but what?

As Warren Wiersbe points out, “God takes time to prepare his servants.” Joseph waited 13 years, Moses and Joshua waited 40 years. God was taking time with David as well as he had much planned for him. We must remember that all is done in God’s perfect timing.

David ends the psalm by speaking to God and glorifying him. The day that David was waiting for had arrived and he glorifies God. We are to do the same.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father your word speaks out to me today that I have allowed my circumstances to overcome me. I have been overwhelmed instead of overcoming. Somewhere between handling things well and allowing all I had to handle to well up…I got lost. Your word however Lord, is always there when we need it. As you gently make us greater and you support us with your right hand, we have much to praise about! You are indeed our strength, our rock, our fortress, you are our refuge, our shield, and our salvation. For these reasons we praise your name. Thank you for hearing us when we call, for delighting in us, for providing us with perfect timing, and changing us through our trials. Forgive me for allowing my circumstances to overwhelm me. Help me to get bigger in my trials. Help me to grow as you continue to provide your steadfast and gentle love in the process. Help me to be more like David and to have a heart that is like yours. Help me to glorify you at all times. In your Great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=I5zY3odoE5E

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9wCTmn2TGjE

 

 

Psalm 19

41319363_10205177547836073_8745687548015149056_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Wisdom

Emotions: How to face the day

For the leader. A psalm of David.

2

The heavens declare the glory of God;

the firmament proclaims the works of his hands.

3

Day unto day pours forth speech; night unto night whispers knowledge.

4

There is no speech, no words; their voice is not heard;

5

A report goes forth through all the earth,

their messages, to the ends of the world.

He has pitched in them a tent for the sun;

6

it comes forth like a bridegroom from his canopy, and like a hero joyfully runs its course.

7

From one end of the heavens it comes forth; its course runs through to the other;

nothing escapes its heat.

8

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.

9

The precepts of the LORD are right,

rejoicing the heart. The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.

10

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The statutes of the LORD are true, all of them just;

11

More desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold, Sweeter also than honey

or drippings from the comb.

12

By them your servant is warned; obeying them brings much reward.

I13

Who can detect trespasses? Cleanse me from my inadvertent sins.

14

Also from arrogant ones restrain your servant; let them never control me. Then shall I be blameless, innocent of grave sin.

15

Let the words of my mouth be acceptable, the thoughts of my heart before you, LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Notes:

-God’s creation tells a story

God’s Character:

  • The heavens declare the glory of God
  • The sky above proclaims his handiwork
  • The law of the Lord is perfect-reviving the soul
  • The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
  • The precepts of the Lord are right-rejoicing the heart
  • The commandment of the Lord is pure-enlightening the eyes
  • The fear of the Lord is clean-enduring forever
  • The rules of the Lord are true and righteous
  • The rules of the lord are more to be desired than gold
  • He is our rock
  • He is our redeemer

Journal:

Some days are just not as good as others. After I realized that I had allowed my circumstances to overwhelm me…I knew I needed to figure out what to do to go forward. I began to first grasp the idea that I was indeed allowing my circumstances to overcome me instead of me overcoming my circumstances. I then allowed the truth to sink in…I wasn’t okay. I then told myself, “Sometimes you just have to be okay…with not being okay.” I began embracing the reality that God was allowing me to break…so all the parts of me could be put back where they were he intended them to be. I began to realize once again and admit to myself, “Life was not meant to be easy.” I had to also swallow the idea that I didn’t have the strength on my own to stand. I had to rely on the truth that it is God that firmly plants our steps and that even Aaron held up the hand of Moses. More than the truth had to be seen, I had to destroy the lies. The enemy wanted me to believe I could do life on my own. I knew I was not the only one that withdraws when life gets painful, I knew that I was not the only one with pain that I hide with a smile as I force tears to stay hidden, and I had to be willing to humble myself to admit my weakness in the hope of receiving God’s strength. I didn’t want to wonder and doubt and most of all I refused to give up. I could no longer isolate my true feelings and I needed to walk towards others and not away. I needed the reassurance that it’s okay to not be okay, that I was not alone, that I was loved for who I was and not what I did or the positions I held. I had to start looking up and I began asking myself, “What do you need today so you can look forward to tomorrow?” I needed to find a different way for facing each day. I knew God’s word would answer me in time of need.

As I read over Psalm 19, I almost missed it…if it would not have been for Warren Wiersbe, I would have. His words jumped out of the page as he states, “David gives us two pictures of facing each day. The first is like a bridegroom coming out to meet his bride with wonderful hope and love and joy. The second is like a strong man running a race. David tells us to live a day at a time and start each day with glory and grace and a goal to be reached.” “In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Psalm 19:5.” I started to take this as my truth and began the race of running with God’s word and desiring to live it as an overcomer and not one that was overcome!

Prayer:

This is not my words today as they cannot be said any better than as stated by Shane Barnard (his song is below):

“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, My God. You’re my Rock and my Redeemer. You’re the reason that I sing. I desire to be a blessing in your eyes. Every hour and every moment, Lord I want to be your servant. I desire to be a blessing in your eyes!”

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OY0FHMME2dU

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VKwA9ejGCws

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OY0FHMME2dU

 

Psalm 20

40161819_10205135053853750_5629027693400948736_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Royal

Emotions: Prayer for victory and dealing with enemies

For the leader. A psalm of David.

2

The LORD answer you in time of distress;

the name of the God of Jacob defend you!

3

May he send you help from the sanctuary,

from Zion be your support.

4

May he remember your every offering,

graciously accept your burnt offering,

5

Grant what is in your heart, fulfill your every plan.

6

May we shout for joy at your victory, raise the banners in the name of our God. The LORD grant your every petition!

7

Now I know the LORD gives victory

to his anointed. He will answer him from the holy heavens with a strong arm that brings victory.

8

Some rely on chariots, others on horses,

but we on the name of the LORD our God.

9

They collapse and fall, but we stand strong and firm.

10

LORD, grant victory to the king; answer when we call upon you.

Notes:

-David prays for 7 things for God to do for him and his people:

  • That God would answer them in the day of trouble.
  • That God would protect them.
  • That God would send help from the sanctuary.
  • That God would remember all of their offerings.
  • That God would grant them their hearts desire.
  • That God would fulfill their plans.
  • That God would fulfill all their petitions.

God’s Character:

  • He answers us in the day of trouble
  • He protects us
  • He sends help from the sanctuary
  • He gives you support from Zion
  • He remembers all of your offerings
  • He grants your heart’s desires
  • He fulfills your plans
  • He fulfills your petitions
  • The Lord saves his anointed
  • He answers from his Holy Heaven
  • He saves from his right hand
  • We can trust in his name
  • He answers when we call

Journal:

Over the past few days I have realized that the enemy had taken hold of my circumstances and allowed me to become overwhelmed. We have many enemies and as described byWarren Wiersbe they include:

  • The World (1 John 2:15)
  • The Flesh and the Devil (Eph. 6)

In Psalm 20, David and his men are getting ready for battle. Though they were going into an actual battle, David’s psalm helps to remind us to get ready for battle as well. Every day we are dealing with spiritual warfare and though we cannot prevent it from happening we can be prepared.

Warren Wiersbe outlines this psalm and how we can prepare each day for battle as he states, “Several factors lead us to triumph in battle.

  • Prayer: This is an essential element in fighting the battle of the Lord because it releases his power.
  • Surrender: Before David and his army fought, they worshipped God.
  • Unity: David and his army had one goal-God’s victory. They had one joy-To serve him and do his will.
  • Faith: They trusted not in the chariots and horses but in God.
  • Obedience: David and his army obeyed God’s will.

The day of trouble can become a day of triumph, which is expressed by prayer, surrender, unity, faith and obedience”

One way to not allow yourself to be overcome is to be prepared. May God’s word prepare us for battle today and may we remember that the enemy is seeking us at all times.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word reminds us today of the need to prepare for battle. Though we may not be going out in physical battle each day, our spiritual battle is real. You are the one that will answer us in our days of trouble. You are the one that will protect us. You send us help from your sanctuary. Thank you for saving your anointed, for rising us, and for helping us to stand upright in battle. So many times I have not done well in battle. I have allowed the enemy to take hold of me and I turn away from you. Please forgive me for the times that I am not prepared for battle, for the times that I do not serve you, and the times I don’t do your will. Help me to turn my days of trouble into days of triumph by always trusting you above all things. Help me to continue each day beginning with prayer, surrender, unity with others, faith, and obedience. In your Great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W5ekcTrLWLw

 

Psalm 21

41342908_10205177517515315_4663365358445395968_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Royal

Emotions: Praise in holding victory and celebration for past victories

For the leader. A psalm of David.

2

LORD, the king finds joy in your power;

in your victory how greatly he rejoices!

3

You have granted him his heart’s desire;

you did not refuse the request of his lips.

4

For you welcomed him with goodly blessings; you placed on his head a crown of pure gold.

5

He asked life of you; you gave it to him,

length of days forever.

6

Great is his glory in your victory;

majesty and splendor you confer upon him.

7

You make him the pattern of blessings forever, you gladden him with the joy of your face.

8

For the king trusts in the LORD, stands firm through the mercy of the Most High.

9

Your hand will find all your enemies; your right hand will find your foes!

10

At the time of your coming you will make them a fiery furnace. Then the LORD in his anger will consume them, devour them with fire.

11

Even their descendants you will wipe out from the earth, their offspring from the human race.

12

Though they intend evil against you, devising plots, they will not succeed,

13

For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bow.

14

Arise, LORD, in your power! We will sing and chant the praise of your might.

Notes:

-We can learn how to fight our enemies with this Psalm

  • We can celebrate our past victories.
  • We can let God’s hand do the work.
  • We can leg God shoot his arrows and not try to take it in our own hands.
  • We can look up to the Lord.

-God’s Character:

  • In his strength others can rejoice
  • People are exalted in the Lord’s salvation
  • He grants our heart’s desires
  • He is rich with blessings
  • He gives life
  • He has splendor
  • He has majesty
  • He gives blessings
  • He makes his people glad
  • There is joy in his presence
  • God gives stability in his steadfast love

Journal:

As psalm 20 was a prayer of winning over victory, Psalm 21 is the praise that was provided for holding victory. David praises God for giving him strength, salvation, satisfaction, and stability. David then used these praises to remind himself that God would give him victories in the future as well. David realized that his victory was won by God’s strength and not on his own. This is a reminder for us to know that during our spiritual battles, we do not fight in our own strength.

Psalm 21 points us to our redeemer Jesus and the First Five App shows the parallels that is seen between Psalm 21 and the foretelling of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 21:3: speaks of A king’s crown-

John 1:49 states, “Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

Hebrews 2:9 states, “but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death, he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

Revelation 17:14 states, “They will fight with the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and king of kings, and those with him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

 

Psalm 21:5 speaks of Glory, splendor and majesty-

Hebrews 2:9 states, “but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death, he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

James 2:1 states, “My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Psalm 21:6 states, “He is blessed forever.”-

Exodus 15:18 states, “May the LORD reign forever and ever!”

1 Peter 4:11 states, “Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,f to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

2 Peter 3:18 states, “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. [Amen.]”

 

Psalm 21:8-9: speaks about “Ultimate victory”-

Matthew 12:20 states, “A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 states, “And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about:

“Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

 

Psalm 21:11: speaks of how the “Plans of evil against Him will not succeed.”-

Job 5:12 states, “He frustrates the plans of the cunning,

so that their hands achieve no success.”

We will battle enemies every day, but we do not have to battle in our own strength. Jesus Christ is at our side if we are willing to praise him for our victories and not rely on our own strength.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we are reminded today of your son. Our redeemer is present and willing to see us through our victories. All we have to do is call upon him. Just as you provided to David strength, salvation, his heart’s desires, and he was not moved…your son will do the same for us. Jesus has become our King, he has glory, splendor, and majesty, he is blessed forever, he will achieve ultimate victory, and the plans of evil will not succeed next to him. Thank you for the reminder of who you are today as well as the Savior we have in your son. I don’t always remember the spiritual battle I must prepare for each morning when I rise. Please help me to always come to your word, to remember that my strength is found in you, and that we can praise you for our victories and know that many more victories are to come. Help me to look to you and your son and not on my own strength. I pray this in your great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RjNMJBY3APU

 

Journey through the Psalms 8-14

The story of Israel was one of constant oppression. “The book of Exodus opens with this very theme. God’s people had grown numerous—so numerous that they threatened the established powers and economic balance. So the empire enslaved them, and they cried out to God for help. Exodus 2 says their cries drifted up to God like the smoke of a fragrant offering reaching every one of his senses. God saw their plight, heard their cries, and remembered his covenant with them. And then he acted. We are invited to join David in not only offering our praise to the God of the oppressed but also offering our prayers to him. Just like Israel did. (Passionate Life Bible Study The Psalms 1–41: POETRY ON FIRE BOOK 1 12-WEEK STUDY GUIDE).”

Psalm 8

40194740_10205134187312087_1116120438108323840_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm:Praise, Nature, Messianic, Celebration/Triumph

Emotions: Our Value

For the leader; “upon the gittith.” A psalm of David.

2

O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! I will sing of your majesty above the heavens

3

with the mouths of babes and infants.

You have established a bulwark against your foes, to silence enemy and avenger.

4

When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place—

5

What is man that you are mindful of him,

and a son of man that you care for him?

6

Yet you have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honor.

7

You have given him rule over the works of your hands, put all things at his feet:

8

All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field,

9

The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,

and whatever swims the paths of the seas.

10

O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!

Notes:

-God used creation to show his image.  He shows that despite our ability we have power through his son.

-God has “crowned us with glory and honor.”

-Everyone on the planet is immensely important and valuable to God.

God’s Character:

  • We are valuable and important to him
  • We are known by God
  • We are crowned by God in glory and honor
  • His name is majestic
  • He set his glory above the Heavens
  • He has established strength because of our enemies
  • He stills the enemy and the avenger
  • He set the moon and stars in place
  • He is mindful of man
  • He cares for the Son of man
  • He made man a little lower than heavenly beings
  • He gave man dominion
  • He put all things under their feet

Journal:

So many things seem to get in the way of what I really want to do. My mind gets full and the time gets short. As I looked to my devotions this morning, the words of the First Five App catches my attention as I feel myself in their words:

“Sometimes it feels like each day brings a new onslaught of chaos inside my thoughts. My responsibilities, my people, my decisions, my fears — they fall one on top of another, weaving a web of frustration and leaving me overwhelmed and confused.  As a Christian, I’ve heard sayings like, let go and let God, and I know the Scriptures that say don’t be anxious (Philippians 4:6) and be still (Psalm 46:10), but quietly I’ve questioned: If I don’t think about and take care of these things, who will?  Psalm 8 answers my question: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”  While the psalmist David poses this thought in wonderment of who God is and why He chooses to consider the human race at all, he also notes two truths: God thinks about us, and God cares for us. I can take myself off my mind, because God has me on His mind.  Not only can I take all of my things off my mind, but Psalm 8 also gives me something to replace those thoughts with … my Lord.  God’s glory is the very thing that leads David to shake his head at the way God regards mankind. After spending three verses pondering the vastness of God’s power and majesty, the psalmist leads us to orient ourselves around who God is and His rightful position in the universe. (Psalm 8:1-3) And when we put God in His proper place, the things in our lives also fall into place.  But note the necessary process of placing and keeping God as ruler over our lives, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place” (Psalm 8:3).  David does not just glance at God. He doesn’t even pause to simply acknowledge God. The Hebrew word for “look” is often translated “consider.” Other definitions for this word are “inspect” or “look intently at.”  Because God has me on His mind, I am free to give my attention to who He is.  Our nature steers us to believe we couldn’t possibly trade our worldly demands for moments to sit and think about God. But as we read further into Psalm 8, we’re reminded God made us and crowned us with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:5) And God put us in charge of the works of His hands. (Psalm 8:6)  These verses point us back to the beginning, when God created man in His own image. (Genesis 1:26-27) But they also point us forward to the coming Son of Man, Jesus. (Hebrews 2:9).”

God had a plan in mind and this was to make man in his own image. Because of the sin of man, God had to also send his son to do what man was not able to do. Jesus had to come and become what was lost by the the sin of man. Because of what happened in the Garden of Eden we lost the dominion over the Earth that was given to Adam. But, because of what happened on the cross, we have gained a spiritual dominion that can not be taken away. We are reminded today of this dominion.

The words of Warren Wiersbe tell us that, “When God saved you, he made you King. You may not look like one or act like one, but you are. We discover in this psalm that God gave Adam and Eve the first crowns. They handed their crowns and scepters to Satan, because they wanted to be like God, to be sovereign.”

God did not give up on man, he sent his son to give us back what was lost. Adam and Eve focused on themselves and we as humans continue to do the same. This psalm helps us to remember that God thinks about us and cares for us. We just need to keep our focus on him!

So many days I get overwhelmed because I forget what submitting to God really means.  I forget how much he cares for me. Let us attempt to give God all that keeps us from remembering who he is and how much he thinks about us and cares for us.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father there are many days that the ways of the world and the busyness of life get in the way of what I really should be thinking about. I wrestle between what is mine to handle and what I should be giving up to you. There are also days that I forget about how much you care about me. My worth gets tied up in what I must accomplish or the titles that I hold. Your word continues to help me to put this all in perspective. You think and care about us always and I must remember this no matter what is going on or how I feel. Your name is indeed majestic and you are the Lord Jehovah who keeps his promises to all as well as the Lord who is sovereign. You hold all ability as well as authority over the world and your people. You are rightly to be praised as your name is majestic in all the earth. You have established strength in even the weakest of people and have set the moon and stars in place. When man sinned and handed over his dominion to Satan, you brought your son to die for us so we would once again hold a spiritual dominion over evil. Thank you for thinking of us and caring for us. Thank you for always being mindful of us even if we have rebelled against your ways. Please forgive me for the times I submit to you but then take it back. Forgive me for not always remembering who you are and who I am in you. Help me to remember what is your job to do and what is mine. Help me to remember to submit to you always. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zumk_5uemkI

 

Psalm 9

40139951_10205134186632070_1362367130984513536_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Thanksgiving, Victory, Praise, Lament

Emotions: Thankfulness to God.

For the leader; according to Muth Labben. A psalm of David.

2

I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;

I will declare all your wondrous deeds.

3

I will delight and rejoice in you; I will sing hymns to your name, Most High.

4

When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before you.

5

For you upheld my right and my cause,

seated on your throne, judging justly.

6

You rebuked the nations, you destroyed the wicked; their name you blotted out for all time.

7

The enemies have been ruined forever;

you destroyed their cities; their memory has perished.

8

The LORD rules forever, has set up his throne for judgment.

9

It is he who judges the world with justice, who judges the peoples with fairness.

10

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

11

Those who know your name trust in you;

you never forsake those who seek you, LORD.

12

Sing hymns to the LORD enthroned on Zion; proclaim his deeds among the nations!

13

For the avenger of bloodshed remembers,

does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

14

Be gracious to me, LORD; see how my foes afflict me! You alone can raise me from the gates of death.

15

Then I will declare all your praises, sing joyously of your salvation in the gates of daughter Zion.

16

The nations fall into the pit they dig; in the snare they hide, their own foot is caught.

17

The LORD is revealed in making judgments: by the deeds they do the wicked are trapped.

18

To Sheol the wicked will depart, all the nations that forget God.

19

For the needy will never be forgotten,

nor will the hope of the afflicted ever fade.

20

Arise, LORD, let no mortal prevail; let the nations be judged in your presence.

21

Strike them with terror, LORD; show the nations they are only human.

Notes:

-All who are oppressed will find refuge in God. Psalm 9:8-9 states, “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed.”

-We are called to give thanks to God with our whole hearts and sing praises to his name.

God’s Character:

  • He is our judge
  • The needy shall not be forgotten by God
  • The hope of the poor will not perish forever
  • He maintains our just cause
  • He rebukes the nations
  • He makes the wicked perish
  • He gives righteous judgment
  • He sits enthroned forever
  • He established his throne for justice
  • He judges with uprightness
  • He is a stronghold for the oppressed
  • He does not forget the cry of the afflicted

Journal:

Warren Wiersbe sums up Psalm 9 very well as he states, “Maybe you can’t rejoice in your circumstances or in the way you feel. Maybe you can’t even rejoice in the plans that are made for you today, but you can always rejoice in the Lord.”

At first glance of Psalm 9, which is a Thanksgiving Psalm of David, the focus is all on the Lord. When one really looks deeper though…when we praise the Lord it also comes back on all that we have been given by the Lord. When we look to rejoicing in the Lord we will always find reasons for why we too can rejoice. The Lord presence and character involves many blessings that are indeed a part of who God is. Rejoicing in God’s character helps us to remember the strength we are given, the victories that he provides, the refuge he brings to us, and how he has conquered all that we are unable to do on our own. So even if nothing seems to be going right…rejoicing in the Lord will lead us to the one thing that is unchanging and in this we will be able to count our blessings!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father after looking at your psalm, I can see that so many times when I praise you…I forget that who you are gives me reasons to count my own blessings. Focusing on you Lord helps remind me of all that is right in the world. To bring you praise and Thanksgiving first in prayer is indeed what we are called to do. In psalm 9 in particular we learn that David gave thanks to you with his whole heart. We are to do the same. David speaks of how you maintained a just cause for him and that you provide righteous judgment, and you make sure that the wicked perish. In being who you are, you gave David victory over his enemies. As he praises you…he is reminded of what you have done for him. You are a stronghold, you do not forsake those that seek you, and you hear the cry of the afflicted. Because of who you are…David is reminded that you are his refuge and the avenger of his enemies. We are to praise you with our whole heart and there is much that we can find to praise. Thank you for being the one whose character can be trusted, who is faithful and good, the one that provides us victory, refuge, and takes care of our enemies. Many times I bring my complaints before I start to rejoice. Many times my focus in on my needs and not on my blessings. Your word teaches us how to see our many blessings through your unchanging character. Thank you that as we bring forth your praise, you remind us of our blessings!  Help us to seek to praise you with our whole hearts. May we learn who you are so we can sing the unchanging Praises of your character. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ppl0VwdMtYc

 

Psalm 10

40136617_10205134186192059_5106934183318519808_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament

Emotions: When you feel like God has left you.  Abandonment.

1

Why, LORD, do you stand afar and pay no heed in times of trouble?

2

Arrogant scoundrels pursue the poor;

they trap them by their cunning schemes.

3

The wicked even boast of their greed; these robbers curse and scorn the LORD.

4

In their insolence the wicked boast:

“God does not care; there is no God.”

5

Yet their affairs always succeed; they ignore your judgment on high; they sneer at all who oppose them.

6

They say in their hearts, “We will never fall; never will we see misfortune.”

7

Their mouths are full of oaths, violence, and lies; discord and evil are under their tongues.

8

They wait in ambush near towns; their eyes watch for the helpless to murder the innocent in secret.

9

They lurk in ambush like lions in a thicket,

hide there to trap the poor, snare them and close the net.

10

The helpless are crushed, laid low; they fall into the power of the wicked,

11

Who say in their hearts, “God has forgotten, shows no concern, never bothers to look.”

12

Rise up, LORD! God, lift up your hand!

Do not forget the poor!

13

Why should the wicked scorn God, say in their hearts, “God does not care”?

14

But you do see; you take note of misery and sorrow; you take the matter in hand.

To you the helpless can entrust their cause; you are the defender of orphans.

15

Break the arm of the wicked and depraved; make them account for their crimes; let none of them survive.

16

The LORD is king forever; the nations have vanished from his land.

17

You listen, LORD, to the needs of the poor; you strengthen their heart and incline your ear.

18

You win justice for the orphaned and oppressed; no one on earth will cause terror again.

Notes:

-David feels like God is far away but truth says he is with us always.

-David turns his attention from the wicked to God and is once again confident that God hears.

-The wicked pursue the poor and boast of the desires of their soul.

David asks God to rise up and not to forget the afflicted.

God’s Character:

  • God does not forget the afflicted
  • God sees mischief and vexation and takes it in his hands
  • God is the helper of the fatherless
  • God is King forever
  • God hears the desires of the afflicted
  • God strengthens the heart of the afflicted
  • God inclines his ear to do justice

Journal:

The day had been long and my emotions were high and my defenses where low. I knew my feelings were playing high priority in my head and we had just talked in this group about how feelings lie the week before. It did not stop me from getting a little upset a little too early and before I know it I was retreating in anger from how I felt I was treated. I wanted to believe that my feelings were lying but additional feelings kept telling me I was justified. Psalm 10 shows how David went through this same process and how we can turn our doubt into meditation of God’s truth.

In the beginning of the psalm David asks God why he is so far away. As Warren Wiersbe points out, “David only feels that God is far away.” Warren goes on to state, “Don’t base your judgements only on your feelings. Build your life on faith. Faith says, I am going to trust God no matter what I see, no matter what I think and no matter how I feel. Faith does not mean we are ignorant. It means we are walking in the will of God because we know the Word of God. When it seems as if God is far away, remind yourself that he is near. Nearness is not a matter of geography. God is everywhere. Nearness is likeness. The more we become like the Lord, the nearer he is to us.” Warren explains how David first goes through the emotion of being concerned. He then turns his attention from the wicked to God. Warren speaks of how David begins to loose control. This is a familiar feeling of us all. Instead of trying to regain control of his circumstances, David sees the need for him to look to God. Warren explains, “we have little control over the circumstances of life. We can’t control the weather or the economy, and we can’t control what other people say about or do to us. There is only one area where we have control-we can rule the kingdom inside. The heart of every problem is the problem of the heart. Once we get to the throne room inside us and let God take over, we don’t have to worry about others.” Warren then explains how David is able to be confident that God hears him and is able to declare his faithfulness.

We must be willing to look beyond our feelings and seek the truth. God seems far away in this psalm but the truth is stated as well. Psalm 10:14 states, “You do see and you may take it in your hands.” Psalm 10:15 states, “you call his wickedness to account”. Psalm 10:16 states, “The Lord is King forever!”. Psalm 10:17 states, “you hear the desire of the afflicted”. We are to get closer to God and know him in his word. When we know his word we can respond to him in prayer and be consoled.

The First Five App teaches us how Psalm 10 can be an outline of how to pray when we ask ourselves, “God, where are you?” They show us how David first asks in Psalm 10:1, “Why, O, Lord, do you stand far away?” But by Psalm 10:12 David asks God to take action, “Arise, O Lord; O God; lift up your head.” They then speak about how we can pray for God to act. They state something that I too try to remind myself so many times as well when I am unsure on how to act, “God show me what only You can do, and show me what only I can do. Perhaps we are God’s answer to someone facing evil. Speaking up. Defending. Giving. Supporting.” They continue with the next thing we should pray for as they state, “When our souls feel troubled, and our prayers seem unheard, it’s a good time to look around and see we’re not the only ones.  In Psalm 10:14-15, David begins a plea for those who feel overlooked by others and by God.” We are to pray for those who also feel forgotten by God. Lastly they describe how David declares the faithfulness of God in Psalm 10:17-18. We are to pray for God’s promises to be fulfilled.They end their devotion with the reminder,“No matter what evil we see unfolding, God is not silent or still. He is sovereign — despite anything our current perception shouts at us. Even when our words fail us, there is always something to pray.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, there are times when we ask out loud, “where are you?“ In these times our feelings can make you feel so far away. However your truth tells us that you are with us always. Your word today teaches us how to come to you with our emotions, but to remain in your truth. We again have a choice to rely on you and your word, or be like the wicked ones and state, “there is no God.“ “I shall not be moved.“ “God has forgotten.“ “You will not call to account.” Instead we can rely on the truth of who you are knowing that you see what we are going through and you take it into your hands. You are God and you are our king forever. You hear the desire of the afflicted and you strengthen our heart. You will incline your ear to do justice for your people. When we are concerned Lord, we have the right to ask, “where are you?” But then, when we ask this question, we should be inclined to turn to you and pray. Like David we are to turn our attention from the wicked, the unknown, our many questions, and come to you God. We are to turn our concern into the act of being committed and once we do this we are then able to declare your faithfulness. God even when we do not feel that you are near you are rightly to be praised as we know that you see us, you take us in your hands, you call the wicked into account for us, you remain our God forever, you hear our desires and you strengthen our heart. You indeed incline your ear to do justice for your people. Thank you for the way that you are able to turn our concern into commitment and our commitment into the declaration of your faithfulness. Thank you for seeing us, helping us, calling out the wicked for us, hearing us, strengthening our heart, and always inclining your ear to do justice for us. Forgive me Lord for the times I have asked where you were, and instead of coming towards you, I walked away. Please forgive me for the times that I allowed my emotions to guide me instead of your truth. Please help us to continue to come to your word, to learn about you, to choose prayer as our guide and your word as our path. Help us to be guided by you and not by our emotions. When we begin to lose control may we know that we need you and use this as a way to ask you to take action so that we may know what is yours and, in turn know what is ours. We pray all of this in your great name, amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aetuJESCpII

 

 

 

Psalm 11

40158422_10205134185552043_3284577798689128448_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Trust

Emotions: In need of Refuge, Tired, Beaten down

For the leader. Of David.

I

In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to me, “Flee like a bird to the mountains!

2

See how the wicked string their bows, fit their arrows to the string to shoot from the shadows at the upright of heart.

3

If foundations are destroyed, what can the just one do?”

4

The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven. God’s eyes keep careful watch; they test the children of Adam.

5

The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, hates those who love violence,

6

And rains upon the wicked fiery coals and brimstone, a scorching wind their allotted cup.

7

The LORD is just and loves just deeds; the upright will see his face.

Notes:

-Though many tell David to flee, he puts his faith in the Lord.  Psalm 11:1, “In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain.”

God’s Character:

  • God’s eye see
  • God tests the children of man and the righteous
  • God is our refuge
  • God’s throne is in Heaven
  • God is righteous

Journal:

(Thanking God much for the dictation abilities of technology, despite being unable to use my right hand, I continue to praise the Lord.)

Psalm 11 comes with great timing. As I sit unable to use my right hand, unable to work, and unable to do most of the things that were once second nature, I wonder what the next couple days will hold. I try not to think beyond that. The future is uncertain, though the pain is most likely temporary…I began to fear. Looking back, I could see where I ignored the signs that my body was getting weak, that the pressure was a little too much, and that I was not taking care of myself. After a diagnosis of tendinitis of my hands, with the strong recommendation to rest, I found myself with time to do the soul-searching that I had been neglecting. Refusing to enter into panic mode, I continued to come to God. In the meantime, I got a deeper understanding of the character of those that I love, who daily deal with pain and suffering. For the moment, when I too was suffering from intense pain and fatigue, I didn’t quite understand the testing that was occurring. I wanted to flee from the overwhelming sadness that was in my heart, as well as the pain that was too much for me to handle. Yet, the words of Psalm 11 reminded me that I had the choice to choose between fear and walk by only what I was seeing, or trust and walk by faith. I did not allow the pain to get me down but knew that I needed to rest. I did not let the sadness overwhelm me, but I allowed myself to feel and to understand what another person‘s shoes feel like and how graciously they were taking their walk. I again refused to ask God “Why?” and began to use this test as a way to again ask “What?” I had no choice that I needed to rest, but what I was going to choose to do while I was resting was up to me. I did not want to look around and continue to focus on my problems, I chose that I was going to look up to God and see the answer to my problems.

In Psalm 11 David is encouraged to flee from his concerns and problems but instead he puts his faith in the Lord. As Warren Wiersbe states, “We must choose between fear (walking by sight) or trust (walking by faith), listening to human council or obeying the wisdom that comes from the Lord – James 1:5. Remember you can’t run away from your troubles and you can’t run away from yourself. The solution is not running away; it’s running too. It’s running to the throne of grace and find grace to help in time of need. When you look around, you see problems, but when you look up to the Lord by faith, you see the answer to problems.”

In Psalm 11, David shows that the answer is not to flee from our problems but to run to the Lord. David explained the differences between the wicked and the righteous and what the Lord does to both the wicked and to the righteous in times of trial. David mentioned that the Lord test the children of men and the righteous but as Warren Wiersbe states this is also for our benefit, “The Lord will test the righteous to bring out the best in them, but Satan test them to bring out the worst. When we trust the Lord in the difficulties of our life, our trials work for us and not against us.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word today shows how we again have choices. We have the choice to fear or we have the choice to trust. As David was recommended by others to flee, he refused and continued to look toward you. We have the choice to look around at our problems or to look up to you for the answers. As I look at this psalm I know that many times I did not take refuge in you. I know that there continues to be times where I don’t take refuge in you. I know the times that I have acted out of fear and how the testing of my faith did not work for my benefit. I am beginning to learn Lord, that we do have tests that you give to us in our times of trial and we can use them to our advantage if we look up to you instead of allowing our trials to add up and lead us to running away. As your word came at a moment when I too wanted to flee from my problems, it was a great reminder that I had a different choice. You are indeed the Lord that sits in his holy temple. Your eyes see our hearts and our minds. You test the righteous and in this you bring out the best in us. You allow our trials to work for us and not against us when we are willing to look up to you. Thank you for providing your word and for your wonderful timing that helps us to learn how you are once again our refuge. I must admit that without your word there would be many more times that I would give up and run, instead of putting my faith in you Lord. My pattern has always been one of giving up when I am overwhelmed, however your word and it’s perfect timing has helped me to see the better of two choices. Please continue to help us to come to you, especially when we’re tired, afraid, beat down, and facing crisis. Help us to come to you in our trials and to look to you for answers instead of looking around at our problems. Help us to continue to know that we have a choice between walking by sight and allowing fear to guide us or to walk by faith and be guided by the trust we have in you. I ask for prayers for those that deal with chronic pain and suffering, as this test has shown me how difficult it is to think beyond pain and suffering. Provide rest and times of comfort for those that also need to be able to look up to you Lord instead of around at all that is occurring. In times of pain it is difficult to see or feel anything more than the raging sensations that tear through ones body, but for those that look to you…you’re testing is guaranteed to bring out the best in us and our trials are made to work for us and not against us when we come to you. Help those that deal with pain and suffering look to you in their times of trials and help these times work for them…just as your word promises. Help us to continue to run to your throne of grace and may we find the grace that helps us in our time of need. Help us to always run to you Lord, instead of running away from our problems. May you always be the answer and the grace that we need. We pray this in your great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wF0GdhAxX2k

 

Psalm 12

40137682_10205134185232035_1402063280318447616_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament, Imprecatory

Emotions: Discouraged, Wanting what is right

For the leader; “upon the eighth.” A psalm of David.

2

Help, LORD, for no one loyal remains;

the faithful have vanished from the children of men.

3

They tell lies to one another, speak with deceiving lips and a double heart.

4

May the LORD cut off all deceiving lips,

and every boastful tongue,

5

Those who say, “By our tongues we prevail; when our lips speak, who can lord it over us?”

6

“Because they rob the weak, and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will grant safety to whoever longs for it.”

7

The promises of the LORD are sure,

silver refined in a crucible, silver purified seven times.

8

You, O LORD, protect us always; preserve us from this generation.

9

On every side the wicked roam; the shameless are extolled by the children of men.

Notes:

-The culture of wickedness was becoming more prevalent and David states, “Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.”

God’s Character:

  • The words of the Lord are pure
  • He cuts off the flattering lips of others
  • He places his people in safety
  • He keeps his people
  • He guards his people from “this generation”

Journal:

Warren Wiersbe sums up Psalm 12 well in saying, “On some university campuses, what once was called “Home Economics” is now “The College of Applied Life Studies.” In Tucson, Arizona, potholes are no more, because they’re now known as “pavement deficiencies.” In politics, new taxes are “revenue enhancements,” and in military jargon, “retreat” is “backloading of augmentation personnel.” If, while you’re “backloading,” you get shot, the bullet hole is “a ballistically induced aperture in the subcutaneous environment.” This kind of artificial evasive language is known as “doublespeak,” and its popularity in almost every area of human life is evidence that language and communication are in serious trouble. Our ability to speak and write words is a precious gift of God, and this psalm deals with the right and wrong use of that gift.”

What we say and what we listen to matters. We must chose our words wisely and decide if we will speak as of those of the world or speak the truth that God has given us. We must choose if we are going to listen to the words of the world, or follow the word of God. We must be like David in this psalm and be able to pick out the liars of our society and see the culture of wickedness that prevails in our nation. We then must go to God and ask for help and seek our direction in God‘s word as it is his word that can be trusted.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word teaches us today of the importance of what we say and what we listen to. David was able to see that the evil of man was not just a problem with a few people but it had become an issue with most. David felt as if there were no good people left. Though this was not the actual case, David was able to see the culture of wickedness that was surrounding him. David could pick out the liars and the deceitful around him. David then once again goes to you for help. God you can once again be praised as you rise up for those that call to you, you provide safety for those that are in need, you guard your people from evil, and your words are pure. Thank you for providing us a different path than the culture of wickedness that surrounds us. Thank you for having words that can be trusted. Thank you for your Word which is truth above all. Forgive me Lord, as I don’t always choose what I say wisely and worse yet, I struggle to not listen to the flattery and double speak of the world. Help us to always base our truth on your Word. Help us to seek your Word as the path we base our own speech on. Help us to come to you and not others so we are hearing what is true and pure. Help us to see the liars and deceitful people around us that choose flattery and double speak over your truth. Help our speech to be pure and the words we hear to be your truth. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6rHAWdC39eg

 

 

Psalm 13

40143966_10205134184552018_9043267526804373504_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Thankfulness, Lament

Emotions: Waiting, Depression turned to Delight

For the leader. A psalm of David.

2

How long, LORD? Will you utterly forget me? How long will you hide your face from me?

3

How long must I carry sorrow in my soul,

grief in my heart day after day? How long will my enemy triumph over me?

4

Look upon me, answer me, LORD, my God! Give light to my eyes lest I sleep in death,

5

Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed,”

lest my foes rejoice at my downfall.

6

But I trust in your mercy. Grant my heart joy in your salvation, I will sing to the LORD, for he has dealt bountifully with me!

Notes:

-David asks God to see him and answer him.

-David trusts in God and rejoices in him by the end of the Psalm.

-David even asked God, “How long?”

God’s Character:

  • Steadfast love
  • Provides salvation
  • Deals bountifully with his people

Journal:

A terror spread through my body awakening me from my sleep. The ideas of my mind had become a reality of feelings that became physical. No longer a dream but an actual sensation of fear…I awake in darkness, unable to close my eyes once again. I am panicking slightly but wake up enough to know it was indeed just a dream. Do I reach for my cell phone and keep myself distracted? Do I reach for the remote and hope the TV will put me back to sleep? How could I pass the next few hours until the darkness no longer surrounded me. Hoping for the light of morning…I remember that I had a movie about the Apostle Paul I had been wanting to watch. I settle for the movie thinking I was reaching towards God, but am disappointed that much of what I was running from was right in front of me. The opening scene is much like a nightmare as Luke is hiding in the streets of Rome in an attempt to find Paul, who is in prison. The streets are lit with the torches of what were once Christians. I ask myself, “God, how could this have happened to your people?” Knowing persecution took all but one of the 12 disciples and that many more Christians followed suite, this image was not helpful in this moment of terror. However, the hour that was spent searching for God’s word about persecution was. As I read about Luke and his words in the book of Acts, I no longer felt the fear of a dream that felt so far behind me. As I read about Jesus dying for my sins, it no longer seemed wrong that Christians died for him. No longer asking God “Why?”, I rested in knowing God had me covered in his perfect plan for me. My feelings of fear were covered in the truth of his promise of peace…even amongst the darkness.

As I wake up to the light of the morning…I remember my recent moment of terror. I remember my moments of wondering why God would do what he does. I remember my overwhelming feelings of fear and how God’s word changed me despite the darkness that surrounded me. I remember the peace that allowed me to close my eyes when moments before I could not do so. The reality of the nightmares that have truly been lived and sent the righteous to death remained and yet God still was able to change me. Remaining in the dark of the night…not yet reaching the light of morning…the darkness no longer mattered as I had found a greater light!

I returned to the opened pages of a Psalm I read the day before and I smile as I knew it was the teachings I found here that provided much truth that were proven to me once again. I was beginning to let my feelings of fear take over, I then wondered where God was, and wanting to be distracted I took things in my own hands. The First Five App describes this notion we tend to have:

“When we are suspicious of God’s absence, we begin to reach for things that will bring us temporary fulfillment and peace. We become overwhelmed with the things of the world and don’t call out to God, but rely on ourselves. When we decide to say yes to God out of trust and obedience, we experience the joy of knowing God and being near to Him. Our human nature is bent on being in control, and when things don’t go our way, we assume the lordship of our lives. But God is the one who deserves and has rights to our hearts and lives. The ultimate question to ask is: Who is sitting on the throne of our hearts?  If control is sitting on the throne, by default, we will be led by our need for it. However, only God is our ever-present source of help, and when we give Him His rightful place in our hearts, we can live from a place of love and not control or fear. God loves us — we can trust and rest in Him.”

It was only God’s true words that gave me the ability to rest in him. My untrue feelings of fear had to be replaced with the truth of my faith in God.Warren Wiersbe again talks about the difference between our feelings and faith, “Faith is living without scheming; it means not leaning on our own experiences and skills and trying to plot our own schedule (Prov. 3: 5–6). There were storm clouds in the sky, hiding the sun, but the sun was still shining. It’s a dangerous thing to give in to our feelings, because feelings are deceptive and undependable (Jer. 17: 9). We must not deny our feelings and pretend that everything is going well, and there is no sin in asking, “How long?” But at the same time, we must realize how deceptive our feelings are and that God is greater than our hearts (1 John 3: 20) and can lift us above the emotional storms of life. David eventually learned to replace the question “How long, O Lord?” with the affirmation “My times are in thy hand” (31: 15).”

I smile once more at the irony of me wanting to see the light of morning. As the light of the sun should be seen, the sky pours with rain. The clouds hid the light I was desperately seeking and yet I knew the Son was with me!

Psalm 13 speaks of David’s experience of being first on his face in fear, then turning to God, and finally turning to praise as he once again is changed by the presence of God. His feelings were seen at the beginning of the Psalm but by the end, it was his faith that he stood on.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, you are a God that is always present. Even when our circumstances or feelings tell us otherwise, you do not leave your children. You have perfect timing and you use even our trials to our benefit. As your word shows how David cries out to you as he feels abandoned and overwhelmed, we learn that as he spent time in your presence he is changed. I continue to attempt to come to you in my moments of despair and when I truly seek your truth, I find peace! Your ability to change is despite our circumstances is something that deserves much praise. Thank you for always being present, even when we don’t “feel” like you are there. Thank you for the moments that you enter us into the classroom of patience and teach us about how to be changed in our trials. I don’t always come to you in my trials. I try to control my situation and forget to submit to you. I prefer distractions and the way of the world as it is easier when times get tough and darkness surrounds me. I know what I should do, but in times of trial it gets difficult and my feelings win over your truth.  Please show us how to get from falling on our face to getting on our knees without the distractions of the world so we can be changed by your ways instead of wanting our surroundings to change first. Help us to walk by faith first and not be guided by our feelings. Help us to slow down, be patient in our waiting for your perfect time, and allow us to make the most of our time. Help our grief and despair to be turned into acceptance and your everlasting joy! We pray all this in your great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aMy9CoDkxDA

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EAhsVoJjF9E

 

Psalm 14

40318555_10205134183071981_1574148291858268160_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament

Emotions: The Immoral

For the leader. Of David.

I

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Their deeds are loathsome and corrupt; not one does what is good.

2

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if even one is wise, if even one seeks God.

3

All have gone astray; all alike are perverse. Not one does what is good,

not even one.

4

Will these evildoers never learn? They devour my people as they devour bread;

they do not call upon the LORD.

5

They have good reason, then, to fear; God is with the company of the just.

6

They would crush the hopes of the poor,

but the poor have the LORD as their refuge.

7

Oh, that from Zion might come the salvation of Israel! Jacob would rejoice, and Israel be glad when the LORD restores his people!

Notes:

-The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

-God looks down on us and sees that no one understands.

God’s Character:

  • He looks down from heaven on the children of man
  • He is with the generation of the righteous
  • He is the refuge for the poor
  • He restores the fortunes of his people

Journal:

In Psalm 10 David explores the thinking of the ungodly, then in Psalm 12 he looks at the speech of the ungodly, and in Psalm 14, he now looks at the actions of the ungodly. As Warren Wiersbe states,“All that the ungodly are, say, and do is because they believe-There is no God.” Warren continues to state that, “Most of the world today lives by the philosophy that says-There may be a God, but I’m not going to think about him. God is not in their thoughts, and consequently, He is not in their lives.”

In Psalm 14 we see how the ungodly ignore God. Then when they meet God in verses 4-6, it brings nothing but terror. Finally we see that the future they will hold is joyless as they indeed have no God.

As the First Five App states, “In Psalm 14 we are reminded that when we deny Him and His presence in our lives, we are believing the enemy’s lies instead of living from the truth that God is always present and never leaves his children.”

“God is with the generation of the righteous. Psalm 14:5.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word shows us once more the choices we have as well as the erosion of thought that is seen in the evil ones. When we begin to think things we eventually say them. When we say things we eventually believe them and it becomes what we do. This is the path of the wicked and we have a much better path to choose. Those who follow you can rightly praise you as you are there for the righteous. You provide us a joyous future. We can rejoice and be glad. Those that do not follow you will live in terror and they have a joyless future. Thank you for placing in my heart the desire for your ways. Thank you for being there for me and showing me that I want to follow you. Though, I have stumbled…your grace has always been sufficient for me and your strength has always been there to get me back up. Please forgive me for the times I stumble. Please help us to always follow your ways. Help us to seek you and your word so we will continue to be strengthened by your truths. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fZU8ptV4uL8

 

Journey through the Psalms (1-7)

Psalm 1

31218580_10204697680239683_6197204016431104000_n

Writer: Unknown

Type of Psalm: Wisdom or Praise Psalm

Emotions: Delight of the Law

Psalm 1:1-6

Psalm 1:1-2
Blessed is the man who does not walk
in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers. Rather, the law of the LORD is his joy; and on his law he meditates day and night.

“We can be blessed as long as we do not conform to sin. Sin is a gradual decline from walking, standing, to sitting. We must separate ourselves from the world and saturate ourselves in his word.” (Warren Wiersbe)

Psalms 1:3-6
He is like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever he does prospers. But not so are the wicked, not so! They are like chaff driven by the wind. Therefore the wicked will not arise at the judgment, nor will sinners in the assembly of the just. Because the LORD knows the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

“To grow our roots we have to be situated by the water. To be situated by the water we must be separated from the world and saturated in God’s word.” (Warren Wiersbe)

Notes:

We must choose which path we are going to take. We can obey God’s word and meditate on his word and find blessings or we can rebel and receive judgement.  The Pathway of choosing to obey God’s word leads to blessings, flowering and fruit bearing, good pleasure, being planted, and not withering.  The Pathway of rebellion or of “man” leads to being like dust or chaff, will not lead to prosperity, will lead to God laughing at you, leads to destruction, will not stand, and ends up in erosive behavior as one walks away from God…stands in the way of sinners…and then eventually sits in the seat of scoffers.

Journal:

The psalms are both songs and prayers. I want to start focusing on them as both. Here is a song and a prayer based on Psalms 1.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father your word helps me to learn about myself so that I can come to you in prayer. As I study Psalm 1, I see that I don’t always delight in your law. I delight in your word but sometimes fall short with delighting in your law. I learn however that you watch over those that delight in your law and your word. I want this protection. As I see in Psalm 1, we have two choices. We can choose the path that leads to be firmly planted in you or the one that leads to us sitting with sinners. I want to choose the path that leads to being firmly planted in you. You are willing to bless us with intense happiness if we follow your ways. You ask that we meditate in your word day and night and I seek to do just that. I sense your calling to this. I learn in your word to say that we should meditate on your word and through prayer and praise, I hope to do just this. We should praise you as you offer us happiness and you watch over your people. I thank you for your word and your protection. I look to finding your blessings. I know that I don’t always delight in your word as I should, but I truly as for your help to seek the right path, to delight and meditate on your word, and to be firmly planted in you. In your Great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4MNj3N9F3F4

 

 

Psalm 2

31283689_10204704223283255_3952192381377314816_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Royal or Praise

Emotions: Rebelling against God 

Psalm 2:1-6
Why do the nations protest and the peoples conspire in vain? Kings on earth rise up and princes plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one:
“Let us break their shackles and cast off their chains from us!” The one enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord derides them,
Then he speaks to them in his anger, in his wrath he terrifies them: “I myself have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”

There are four voices described in Psalms 2. We must be able to distinguish these voices. We will look at two today. “1. The voice of defiance-the nations of the world. The nations rebel to seek freedom without God. When we rebel against God we rebel against ourselves. 2. The voice of derision-the voice of God. God laughs as he knows the kingdom is secure. What voice are you listening to?” (Warren Wiersbe)

Psalm 2:7-12

I will proclaim the decree of the LORD, he said to me, “You are my son; today I have begotten you. Ask it of me, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, and, as your possession, the ends of the earth. With an iron rod you will shepherd them, like a potter’s vessel you will shatter them.” And now, kings, give heed; take warning, judges on earth. Serve the LORD with fear; exult with trembling, Accept correction lest he become angry and you perish along the way when his anger suddenly blazes up. Blessed are all who take refuge in him!

As we finish up with the last two voices in Psalms 2, Warren Wiersbe describes these voices as: “3. The voice of declaration: God the son runs the universe by decree not democracy. He already knows everything, is everywhere, and can do anything. 4. The voice of decision: This voice is the Holy Spirit in which we are to learn the truth about God.”

Notes:

This psalm focuses on prophecy.  The people in this psalm defy the Law as they want to break free from God’s bonds.  They plot against God in vain.

This psalm is quoted often in the New Testament.

This psalm is assigned to David in Acts 4:25

Psalm 2:7-9, Describe Christ and his return of righteous rule.

  • You are my son
  • I have begotten you
  • The Nations will be your heritage, the earth you possession
  • You will break them with a rod of iron and dash them like a potter’s vessel.

The call is for the nations to return to God and serve him with fear and trembling.

We can see the Heart of God in this Psalm as it states:

  • His wrath is quickly kindled
  • He holds the wicked in derision
  • He is a refuge for the righteous

Journal:

We can listen to the World or we can hear God’s decrees. We can learn from the World or we can learn from the Holy Spirit. Again we have to ask ourselves, what voices are we listening to?

I wake up today looking forward to praise. Psalms 2 is quoted at least 17 times in the Bible. It is as relevant today as it

 was when it was written. The world and the nation has fought submitting to God since the Garden. Jesus was not the King that the people were looking for and today our pride and vanity continue to get in the way…but it doesn’t have to be this way!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father as I continue to search my soul in your word, I learn that defying your law has been a topic of many. In Psalms 2 we learn of nations raging against you. The people want to break the bonds that they feel you have created. So many times in my walk, I too felt bound but now I know that I find freedom in your word and your ways. You will always have the power and control and through submission to you, we will have true freedom. I reply to your word today in knowing that though I may feel that I have trouble delighting in your law at all times, I do not attempt to defy it. I praise you Lord for your word says that your wrath can be quickly kindled. I thank you for the reminder once again that you give blessings to those that take refuge in you. I continue to admit that my pride and vanity get in the way of your will and your law. Help me to continue to grow in my delight of your law and your ways. In your Great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zgKOyJNuhqc

 

 

Psalm 3

31523271_10204715380922189_3364386803673989120_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament, Hymn, Morning

Emotions: In need of Refuge, Overwhelmed, Troubled

Psalms 3
A psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom. How many are my foes, LORD! How many rise against me! How many say of me, “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah. But you, LORD, are a shield around me; my glory, you keep my head high. With my own voice I will call out to the LORD, and he will answer me from his holy mountain. Selah. I lie down and I fall asleep, and I will wake up, for the LORD sustains me. I do not fear, then, thousands of people arrayed against me on every side. Arise, LORD! Save me, my God! For you strike the cheekbone of all my foes; you break the teeth of the wicked. Salvation is from the LORD! May your blessing be upon your people!

“The heart of every problem is really the problem in the heart. David knew that it was not the army on the outside that would keep him awake but the agony on the inside.” Warren Wiersbe.

Notes:

This Psalm is the first prayer of the Psalms

This Psalm asks, “Who are you going to run to in times of trouble?”

  • David always cried out to the Lord
  • David’s Faith helped him to look to God despite his circumstances

We can see what David knew about God’s heart in this Psalm:

  • He is a shield
  • He is his glory
  • He lifts his head
  • He answers him
  • He sustains him
  • He strikes all his enemies

Journal:

Psalms 3 is a Personal Lament. This song was written when David was fleeing from his son Absalom. It was also known as the first prayer. The story behind this psalm can be found in 2 Samuel 15-18.  May we remember to search our hearts and ask God to work on us instead of what is going on around us. 

Prayer:

Heavenly father as I look over Psalms 3, I remember that many times I have been overwhelmed with trouble. As we hear David’s lament to you saying, “Oh Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me, many are saying of my soul-there is no salvation for him in God,” I too remember many times in which I have felt this way. 2 Samuel 15:25-26 speaks of how David questions if you were even there for him. Despite the trouble that is going on, David affirms his trust in you. There are so many times I get overwhelmed, there are so many times I want to run away. There are so many times I actually retreat. As I read this psalm, your word Lord, I Learn how David doesn’t ignore his problems he takes them to you Lord. I want to be able to do this. In this psalm I learned that you are my shield, my glory, the lifter of my head, that you do indeed answer us, and you sustain us. I hear you as you prompt me to not be overwhelmed but to be like David and look to you. I ask today that you help me to have this be my response always. Lord you are our shield, you are our glory, you will lift our head in times of trouble, you will sustain us, and most of all you answer us. Thank you Lord for being our shield, our glory, the lifter of our heads, our sustainer, and the one that answers us. There are times where we are overwhelmed. There are times when we do not seek you in time of trouble. There are times Lord, that just like David, we question if you’re even there for us. Please help us today to know that in times of trouble even though it feels like we are all alone, you are indeed the lifter of our head. May we continue to look to you in our times of trouble and may we always remember that you answer us when we call. In your great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=C279gOt6tHs

 

 

 

Psalm 4

31564167_10204720141881210_5563301233344643072_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament, Hymn, Evening

Emotions: Despair, Anger, Response in Times of Trouble, When we need peace

Psalm 4

For the leader; with stringed instruments. A psalm of David. Answer me when I call, my saving God. When troubles hem me in, set me free; take pity on me, hear my prayer. How long, O people, will you be hard of heart? Why do you love what is worthless, chase after lies? Know that the LORD works wonders for his faithful one; the LORD hears when I call out to him. Tremble and sin no more; weep bitterly within your hearts, wail upon your beds, Offer fitting sacrifices and trust in the LORD. Many say, “May we see better times! LORD, show us the light of your face!” But you have given my heart more joy than they have when grain and wine abound. In peace I will lie down and fall asleep, for you alone, LORD, make me secure. 

“David discovered that what was important was not the circumstance around him but the attitude within him. Let God enlarge you when you are going through distress. He can do it. You can’t do it, and others can’t do it for you. In fact, others may want to make things even tighter and narrower for you. But when you turn to the Lord and trust Him, He will enlarge you on the inside.” (Warren Wiersbe)

Additional discussion on Psalms 4 by Warren Wiersbe:

“In Psalms 4 we are encouraged by the many blessings we are shown in our trials.

  1. Verse 1 talks about the blessing of enlargement. “Answer me when I call, my saving God. When troubles hem me in, set me free; take pity on me, hear my prayer.” When God enlarges our problems he enlarges us. We grow through our trials. God has more for us to do but first we must grow.
  2. Verses 2-3 talks about the blessing of encouragement. “How long, O people, will you be hard of heart? Why do you love what is worthless, chase after lies? Know that the LORD works wonders for his faithful one; the LORD hears when I call out to him.” All of earthly causes will fail but the plan of God will succeed. This is our blessing of encouragement.
  3. Verses 4-5 talks about the blessing of enablement. “Tremble and sin no more; weep bitterly within your hearts, wail upon your beds, Offer fitting sacrifices and trust in the LORD.” Difficulties will bring us face-to-face with trusting versus temptation. We have the right to be angry and we can use this for righteousness or for sin. We can brood over our problems while we lie in our beds but God will give us peace when we go to him.
  4. Verses 6-8 talk about the blessings of enlightenment and enjoyment. “Many say, “May we see better times! LORD, show us the light of your face!” But you have given my heart more joy than they have when grain and wine abound. In peace I will lie down and fall asleep, for you alone, LORD, make me secure.” We can look towards the enemy during our trials and be discouraged or we can look towards God and be encouraged by the smile of God upon us. This brings about gladness and joy in the Lord. God will also bring us the blessing of peace and sleep. Temptation is great during trials but we are to trust in the Lord during difficulties as he will give us peace and joy.”

Notes:

David demands an answer from God in this Psalm.

David knows he has been delivered before from God and he trusts that he will be delivered again.

God is our champion defender against our enemies and we see this in this Psalm

God’s heart and character is seen in this Psalm as:

  • Righteous
  • Relief
  • Gracious
  • Hearer of our prayers
  • He sets apart the Godly for himself
  • He puts joy in our hearts

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your book of psalms shows so many emotions. Overwhelmingness, despair, fear, and anger are seen but no matter what we feel your truth remains unchanging. As David refuses to give up on you despite his circumstances, we are to do the same. As a person filled with much emotions, I have often struggled to not get caught up with how I feel and I struggle even more to not allow my feelings to control my day. Your word shows us that we can seek your truth first and allow it to guide us. We learn in your word today that you are our righteousness, our relief from distress, our security. You hear us, you set us apart, and you give us joy. Your word acknowledges our feelings but tells us to not sin in our emotions but to ponder what is in our hearts and take time for silence. Only you can change our hearts Lord. We are to offer right sacrifices to you and place our trust in you alone. We have a better response in times of trouble than being guided by our emotions as we continue to look to you. You are indeed our righteousness, our relief, and our security and in this we give you praise. Thank you for giving us your word that provides us perfect responses for our time of trouble and trials. Thank you for changing our despair into peace. Thank you for the peace you also provide that we are indeed secure and safe in your presence. I don’t always look to you first amidst my circumstances, I allow my feelings to guide me at times, and in my emotions I have sinned. Please forgive me for these times. Help me to remember as David did, the times that you have delivered me in the past and your faithfulness. Help me to look to you always in time of trouble and allow your word to be my guide instead of my circumstances or my feelings. Help me to remember the peace that only you can provide. Change my heart Lord so it will be in line with yours! In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KTJcnuGMyr0

 

 

 

 

Psalm 5

31773025_10204729970646923_1259825388087934976_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament, Hymn, Imprecatory

Emotions: Discouragement, When we need Guidance

Psalm 5
Give ear to my words, O LORD; understand my sighing. Attend to the sound of my cry, my king and my God! For to you I will pray, LORD; in the morning you will hear my voice; in the morning I will plead before you and wait. You are not a God who delights in evil; no wicked person finds refuge with you, the arrogant cannot stand before your eyes. You hate all who do evil; you destroy those who speak falsely. A bloody and fraudulent man the LORD abhors. But I, through the abundance of your mercy, will enter into your house. I will bow down toward your holy sanctuary out of fear of you. LORD, guide me in your justice because of my foes; make straight your way before me. For there is no sincerity in their mouth; their heart is corrupt. Their throat is an open grave; on their tongue are subtle lies. Declare them guilty, God; make them fall by their own devices. Drive them out for their many sins; for they have rebelled against you. Then all who trust in you will be glad and forever shout for joy. You will protect them and those will rejoice in you who love your name. For you, LORD, bless the just one; you surround him with favor like a shield.

“It’s imperative for us to meet God in the morning if we want to have a good day. Jesus got up early in the morning to pray, according to Mark 1:35. Here we find the psalmist saying, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up” (v. 3). Meeting with God is not an appointment on a clock but an appointment in your heart. The psalms were written during times of difficulty and trials. There are two sequences seen about trial in Psalms 5 and then David’s response.

  1. In verses 1-7: “Give ear to my words, O LORD; understand my sighing. Attend to the sound of my cry, my king and my God! For to you I will pray, LORD; in the morning you will hear my voice; in the morning I will plead before you and wait. You are not a God who delights in evil; no wicked person finds refuge with you, the arrogant cannot stand before your eyes. You hate all who do evil; you destroy those who speak falsely. A bloody and fraudulent man the LORD abhors. But I, through the abundance of your mercy, will enter into your house. I will bow down toward your holy sanctuary out of fear of you.”

The request is for God to hear him. The Spirit hears our groaning and intercedes for us. David’s request was based on the holiness of God and how he will stand against the wicked and the principalities strayed against us.

  1. In verse 8: “LORD, guide me in your justice because of my foes; make straight your way before me.”

David asks for God to lead him. He wants God’s way, the righteous way. In the midst of difficulty, what we need most is wisdom to know the will of God (James 1:5).

  1. In verses 11-12: “Then all who trust in you will be glad and forever shout for joy. You will protect them and those will rejoice in you who love your name. For you, LORD, bless the just one; you surround him with favor like a shield. David’s response is rejoicing in faith, love, and hope. Joy comes from trusting in and loving the Lord. This kind of joy comes from God’s work on the inside, not from circumstances on the outside.” (Warren Wiersbe)

The First Five App has great insight on Psalm 5 as well, “In Psalm 5, David laments over the hostility of his enemies, prays for God’s deliverance and declares his confidence in God’s just character. The psalm encourages believers to be glad and sing for joy — not panic — when the wicked attack and intimidate. (Psalm 5:11) But how is it David can keep calm in the midst of his hostile situation?  Notice that the bulk of David’s prayer doesn’t mention his enemies. When I’m afraid, I have a tendency to obsess over what threatens me. But what does David do? Instead of worrying about his enemies’ evil intentions, David focuses on God’s just and righteous character. David prays, “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you” (Psalm 5:4). Since David knew God’s nature was to protect those who fear Him and to punish evildoers, he didn’t panic in the face of his enemies’ threats.  (Psalm 5:12; 97:10) He kept calm and remembered God’s character.  Like David, when trouble strikes we must comfort ourselves with truths about who God is, rather than obsess over the threats and insults of our enemies. Placing our confidence in God’s just character helps us maintain our composure even when evil appears to have the advantage.  When despair threatens your faith, remember that God hears your prayers. Wait eagerly for Him to move on your behalf. (Psalm 5:3) When injustice threatens your hope, remember that God will punish the wicked. (Psalm 5:4-6)  Regardless of what harasses us, nothing will ever be able to overcome the reality of who God is. So when you’re threatened by an enemy, don’t panic. Keep calm and remember God’s character.”

Notes:

This Psalm focuses on the Wicked:

  • God does not delight in the wicked.
  • The wicked cannot stand before God.
  • God will destroy the wicked.
  • There is no truth in the wicked.
  • The wicked are destructive
  • The wicked will fall
  • The wicked rebel

The righteous:

  • Will have a path that is made straight.
  • Will rejoice and sing for joy.
  • Will be protected by the Lord.

The heart of God in this Psalm is described as:

  • Steadfast Love
  • Righteous
  • Refuge
  • Protection
  • A Shield
  • Will cover his people with kindness and joy.

Journal:

After looking over Psalm 5, I found that one thing I don’t do routinely is seek to please the Lord. Warren Wiersbe quotes C.S. Lewis as he points out, “We don’t hate sin enough to get upset at the wickedness and Godlessness around us. Bombarded as we are by so much media evil and violence, we’ve gotten accustomed to the darkness.” It was this quote that makes me want to learn to seek to please the Lord. I don’t want to be accustomed to the darkness, but so many times I give in a little and a little more. The warm water that surrounds me can become boiling before I feel the heat. King David was able to resist the heat and he saw trouble surrounding him. May we learn to prepare for the Lord, cry out to him and also seek and submit to his ways!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father your word today instructs us to begin our day with you. My days start off so much better in your presence. In your word today I continue to learn that I have difficulty seeking to please you as well as submitting to you Lord. You are a God that does not delight in wickedness, you resist the boastful, you hate evildoers, you destroy liars, and you reject the deceitful man. We are to seek to please you if we want to not take the path that will lead away from your ways. Your word speaks of how we can prepare ourselves to meet with you and in this preparation we can cry out to you and know that even in our groaning and crying , you will hear us. We are to submit to you as we focus on your steadfast love. It is then that you will show us the way. In you we find many reasons to praise as all who take refuge in you will rejoice and sing for joy. You continue to protect your people and bless them for their righteousness. You cover your people like a shield. Thank you Lord for all that you do for us when we are willing to prepare to meet you, when we take the time and have the faith to cry out to you, when we go further in our preparation and we seek to please you, and then when we submit and let you guide us. I come each morning and ask for you to hear my groaning, but I am not always prepared. I struggle to please you at times Lord, and submitting to you is sometimes hard…please forgive me for these things and I ask that you change my heart so I remember to prepare and be willing to do the work of seeking to please you as well as submitting to you Lord. Help me in my time with you Lord so I can receive your protection, be filled with your joy, and be covered with your favor always. Help me to focus on who you are and not on my troubles. In your great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1y_R7DnMc2I

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=j1LydAphCC4

 

Psalm 6

31895428_10204734064709272_4851408471297359872_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Penitential, Hymn

Emotions: In search of Mercy, Need of healing, Overwhelmed with Sin

Psalm 6
Do not reprove me in your anger, LORD, nor punish me in your wrath. Have pity on me, LORD, for I am weak; heal me, LORD, for my bones are shuddering. My soul too is shuddering greatly—and you, LORD, how long. Turn back, LORD, rescue my soul; save me because of your mercy. For in death there is no remembrance of you. Who praises you in Sheol? I am wearied with sighing; all night long I drench my bed with tears; I soak my couch with weeping. My eyes are dimmed with sorrow, worn out because of all my foes. Away from me, all who do evil! The LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD will receive my prayer. My foes will all be disgraced and will shudder greatly; they will turn back in sudden disgrace. 

Warren Wiersbe: “Psalm 6 is the first of the seven penitential psalms. Occasionally God has to remind us to confess our sins. In verses 1–5 David pleads for God not to rebuke him or to chasten him. God’s chastening is not punishment. It builds our Christian character. Hebrews 12 talks about chastening, and the word used means “child training.” It’s the picture of a child learning how to be a good athlete. God chastens us, but He does so in love. David was afraid that God was going to chasten him in His hot displeasure (v. 1). But our God is a God of mercy and grace.”

Notes:

David is worn out by his enemies in this Psalm.

David’s sin has separated him from God.

David is reminded that God is helpful but has his own timing.  We see this as David asks God, “How long?”

God’s character as seen in this Psalm:

  • Gracious
  • Steadfast Love
  • Merciful
  • Does not chasten his children out of anger.
  • Hears our weeping
  • Hears our pleas.
  • Accepts our prayers.

Journal:

So many times we can miss things if God’s word. Looking over Psalm 6, I was surprised that things I did not see the first time through. David was appealing to God for healing. He was physically, emotionally, and spiritually affected by his sin and because of this he was not able to see God in his true form. This is a part that I missed. David comes to God thinking that in his anger he was going to reprimand him for his sin. God however is not a God that teaches his children out of anger…he teaches out of mercy and love. David also goes from much despair in the first 7 verses to finding hope by the end of the Psalm. Nothing had changed in his circumstances and yet he found hope by coming to God. We can find mercy, love, and hope when we come to God…even as we confess our sins.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I don’t see you as an angry God…but sometimes the vision of others being angry in my short-comings has affected the way I come to you when I feel as if I have failed. You are not this kind of God nor am I this kind of failure. Your ways are so different from the ways of the world and without your word…we would not have the truth that we can stand tall in. You are a God to be praised for you are our deliverer, you have steadfast love for us, you hear our cries and you accept our shame. Thank you for the reminder today that you are not a God of anger and in you we can find hope in a moment when we come to you. You give us a turning point from despair that will immediately find hope. I admit to you that most days, even though you are not an angry God, I struggle to bring forth my sins.  I get weary like David and I too allow the world to beat me down and leave me unable to see your truth at times. Please continue to show me the loving Father that you are. Help me to see with eyes of truth and not the weary eyes that have been wasted away from grief. Help me to find your everlasting turning point from despair to hope as you can change my heart to see as you do. We praise you and thank you in our prayer knowing you will hear us. We come bringing our confessions and asking you to make us whole again. We do all these things in your great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0PrcQagLq9s

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aSNbe3dvhR4

 

 

Psalm 7

33599864_10204807257539047_6967357095020593152_n

Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Thankful, Lament, Imprecatory

Emotions: When we are wronged, In need of Protection or Defense

Psalms 7:1-9
LORD my God, in you I trusted; save me; rescue me from all who pursue me, Lest someone maul me like a lion, tear my soul apart with no one to deliver. LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is guilt on my hands, If I have maltreated someone treating me equitably— or even despoiled my oppressor without cause—Then let my enemy pursue and overtake my soul, trample my life to the ground, and lay my honor in the dust. Rise up, LORD, in your anger; be aroused against the outrages of my oppressors. Stir up the justice, my God, you have commanded. Have the assembly of the peoples gather about you; and return on high above them, the LORD will pass judgment on the peoples. Judge me, LORD, according to my righteousness, and my integrity. Let the malice of the wicked end. Uphold the just one, O just God, who tries hearts and minds.

31944375_10204737345071279_7982018963804520448_n

Psalms 7:10-18
God is a shield above me saving the upright of heart. God is a just judge, powerful and patient, not exercising anger every day. If one does not repent, God sharpens his sword, strings and readies the bow, prepares his deadly shafts, makes arrows blazing thunderbolts. Consider how one conceives iniquity; is pregnant with mischief, and gives birth to deception. He digs a hole and bores it deep, but he falls into the pit he has made. His malice turns back upon his head; his violence falls on his own skull. I will thank the LORD in accordance with his justice; I will sing the name of the LORD Most High.

Notes:

David gives thanks to God because of his righteousness in this Psalm.

David thanks God for who he is not what he does.

Character of God in this Psalm:

  • Our refuge
  • Our deliverer
  • Our judge
  • The tester of our mind and hearts
  • Our shield
  • The savior of the upright of heart
  • The Righteous Judge
  • He feels indignation every day.

Journal:

This Psalm and the devotion presented by Warren Wiersbe, as well as many verses in the Bible, presents the idea of God testing us through our trials. In this Psalm, David was opposed by one of the people and it shows how he turns to God. He doesn’t just ask God to save him but David looks into the state of his own heart and guilt. Through my many trials I have tried to make sense of what to do with what is happening instead of asking God why it is happening. As a young Christian I asked why a lot, now it is what. So many times now, I have felt that it has to be something to do with my own heart and I attempt to make changes. This creates a very “me” focused experience when trials come for extended periods of time. I then have to balance my heart with the heart of God and what Jesus has done to change the Old Testament ways to my New Testament promises. God is unchanging so I believe it is safe to assume he still tests us through our trials right? James 1:2-4 and Romans 5:3-4 speak of similar testing and trials. It has never hurt for me to look internally at my own heart during trials but how do you think the Old Testament truth has changed since Jesus was born? Just something to ponder. Do you believe God still tests us through our trials?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father your word speaks today of how we can deal with others that have wronged us.  David shows us the correct way of dealing with others.  In a world where blaming seems to be the first reaction of most people, David shows how he examines his own heart first.  David seeks the counsel of God to see what he can do differently.  David then allows you to be the judge.  This is the way that you ask us to be towards others.  David has very strong emotions in this psalm and yet he is able to do what is right.  I am not that strong.  Hearing the emotions behind David’s feelings and yet also seeing David be able to totally submit to you, shows me how I want to become.  You are a God who knows the human heart and you sent your son to die for the sins of all so that you could continue to be the “just” God that you are but also give us mercy and grace.  David had a heart like yours and this is what I also seek.  Your word shows us reason to praise you as you are our refuge, our deliverer, you are the righteous Judge with perfect timing, you will test our minds and hearts but provide us with mercy and grace, you save the upright of heart, and you feel anger for those that are not treated justly.  Thank you for all that you do for us and most of all for your word that shows us the way.  Thank you for giving your son to die for the sins of the world and giving us mercy and grace instead of the justice we deserve. I don’t always search my heart and leave the judging to you.  I seek to see what is wrong in others as it is the easier road.  I want to have a heart like David when I have been wronged by others.  I want to seek a heart like yours in my relationship with others as it is a pure and righteous heart.  Please help us to seek first our own hearts when the world gives us trouble and then go to you to do the judging.  Change our hearts today so we can love others as you do.  In your Great name, Amen! 

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=49fAd3E2Ncs

 

 

 

 

 

Journey through Malachi

 

We again return to the people of Israel as they are waiting for the promises of God to be fulfilled.  They have obediently rebuilt the temple, with much direction and grace from God.  They are now in the period of waiting.  I remember my long period of waiting.  From November, 2017 to May, 2018 my family waited.  In November, 2017 we were told that my husband would need treatment for his cancer. Through a battle of FDA approval, guidelines, new computer programs, insurance issues, several new processes, illness, forgotten scans, and labs, we waited for 6 long months.  The day finally came and then the day was over.  I had spent so much time focused on what was to come that I had forgotten what else to do but wait.  We find the people presented in the book of Malachi also waiting.

According to David Guzik in Malachi Chapter 1, the temple is rebuilt but the promises of God are not yet fulfilled. The chapter begins with the reminder of God’s love for his people. Before he corrects them he will remind them of his love, “I love you, says the LORD; but you say, “How do you love us?” (Malachi 1:2). This is the first of seven questions that are asked in the book of Malachi. God speaks about how he had chosen his people and they remain that way. We see how God choose his people in Malachi 1:3, “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?—oracle of the LORD. I loved Jacob, but rejected Esau; I made his mountains a waste, his heritage a desert for jackals.” God chooses his people out of love for them.  No matter what we do or have done, we must remember God’s love for us.  The people however had spent so much time waiting that they had forgotten some very important things that they were once taught. In Malachi 1:6-7 God tells the people how they have defiled him. “A son honors his father, and a servant fears his master; If, then, I am a father, where is the honor due to me? And if I am a master, where is the fear due to me? So says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who disdain my name. But you ask, “How have we disdained your name?” By offering defiled food on my altar! You ask, “How have we defiled it?” By saying that the table of the LORD may be disdained!”  It is noted that the imperfect sacrifices offered by the people of Judah are displeasing to the Lord. In contrast, the Lord is pleased with the sacrifices offered by other peoples in other places. Since the people of other nations could not be expected to know the Lord’s name as did the people of Judah, the rhetorical purpose of this statement is to shame the latter. (New American Bible).  The people were failing to treat God as the Great king that he was.  The people were waiting and in the period of waiting they became lax on how they treated God.

My husband finally was able to get his treatment and I woke up the next day with a weird feeling in my heart.  I was not sure what to do next.  I had realized that my focus was so much on one thing that I didn’t know what to do when the waiting was over.  In focusing so much on something that was very important, I lost sought of other standards that God had for me.  In Malachi Chapter 2 we see how God speaks to the people when they had lowered their standards as well.

According to First Five: “As we turn our Bibles to Malachi 2, we see God rebuke Israel’s priests for lowering His holy standards in their lifestyles, worship and teaching. (Malachi 2:8-9) These priests were charged with ensuring that the Israelites gave God their best worship so that Israel would receive life and peace.  However, the priests fail to take this responsibility to heart (Malachi 2:2), and instead of creating a culture of giving God their best, they:

  1. Disregard God’s law and lower God’s standards.
  2. Live lives contrary to what the law taught.
  3. Cause others to stumble with their watered-down teaching and break the covenant God made with the Levites. (Malachi 2:8)
  4. The priests make the poorest sacrifices to God and permit the Israelites to do the same. (Malachi 1:8)
  5. These ministers turn a blind eye when men abandon their Israelite wives to marry foreign women and adapt the women’s idol worship. (Malachi 2:11)
  6. The priests’ idolatry lead them to cut corners spiritually, so God responds by cursing them and warning that more wrath will come if they refuse to repent. (Malachi 2:1-4).”

God told the people what it was that they did wrong and in Malachi 2:5-7, it explains how the priests are to be when it states, “My covenant with him was the life and peace which I gave him, and the fear he had for me, standing in awe of my name. Reliable instruction was in his mouth, no perversity was found upon his lips; He walked with me in integrity and uprightness, and turned many away from evil. For a priest’s lips preserve knowledge, and instruction is to be sought from his mouth, because he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.”

When we have extended periods of waiting we need to make sure that we continue to look at all the standards God has for us and not cut corners in our spiritual life.  I had realized after my period of waiting that I needed to make sure not to focus on my waiting to the extent that I forget all the other things God is asking of me.  I cannot loose sight of the bigger picture.  The book of Malachi helps us to see this bigger picture.

Malachi Chapter 3 begins with the story of John the Baptist. “Now I am sending my messenger—he will prepare the way before me; (Malachi 3:1a) as well as the story of the coming of Christ, “And the lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple; The messenger of the covenant whom you desire—see, he is coming! says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1b). According to David Guzik, Malachi also speaks of the second coming of Christ when he states, “But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand firm when he appears?  For he will be like a refiner’s fire, like fullers’ lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the Levites, Refining them like gold or silver, that they may bring offerings to the LORD in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:3-4).  God sent a messenger to proclaim the coming of his son and his word tells us that he will indeed return again.  The Lord helps his people by refining them.  God is into changing us and refining us into what he knows we are to be.  David Guzik explains this refining process well as he states, “The beauty of this picture is that the refiner looks into the open furnace, or pot, and knows that the process of purifying is complete, and the dross all burnt away, when he can see his image plainly reflected in the molten metal.”  God wants to be able to see his reflection in us and he will do whatever it takes to refine us into his image.  When we get lost he will nudge us to return to him.

In Malachi 3:6 it states, “For I, the LORD, do not change, and you, sons of Jacob, do not cease to be.” We however have to decide if we will indeed return to him. Since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, that I may return to you, says the LORD of hosts.”  God is aware that his people continue to wander.  He asks them to return to him and he even tells his people how.

In Malachi 3:10 it states,  “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, and see if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you, and pour down upon you blessing without measure!”  As David Guzik explains, God provides us 100% of what we have.  We are asked to give him 10% back and to manage the other 90%.  The people however did not give all that they were asked to.  As stated by David Guzik, “according to the New Testament we are also asked to give.” God also speaks of the need to serve God.

The people of Israel had come to a point where they felt that it was useless to serve God.  Malachi 3:14 states, “You have said-It is useless to serve God; what do we gain by observing God’s requirements, and by going about as mourners before the Lord of hosts?”  God speaks about how he will care for those that love him and he will have compassion on them.  Malachi 3:16-17 states, “Then those who fear the Lord spoke with one another, and the Lord listened attentively; a record book was written before him of those who fear the Lord and esteem his name.  They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my own special possession, on the day when I take action.  And I will have compassion on them, as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.”

We are also to fear the name of the Lord.  Malachi 3:20-21 states, “For you who fear my name, the sun of justice will arise with healing on its wings; and you will go out leaping like calves from the stall and tread down the wicked; they will become dust under the soles of your feet, on the day when I take action says the Lord of hosts.”

When we are stretched in our waiting we sometimes can forget what God has called us to do.  God calls us to return to him and shows us how we can do this in his word. Though we have many questions, God will give us the most important answers in his word.  Let us continue to learn more about his word so we will not forget all the things that God is asking us to remember.  We will start our way through the book of Psalms next.

Journey through Zachariah 12-14

Continuing to make my way through the book of Zachariah, I begin where we left off.  God is speaking through Zachariah to discuss the burdens that will occur to the people of the Old Testament times due to them turning away from God.  Mixed in-between burdens and judgment, we are reminded about the joy and hope that God has also promised to his people.

In Zachariah 12, we see what God is going to do to his people, “I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling for all peoples round about. Judah will be besieged, even Jerusalem. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all peoples. All who attempt to lift it will injure themselves badly, though all the nations of the earth will gather against it. On that day—oracle of the LORD—I will strike every horse with fright, and its rider with madness. But over the house of Judah I will keep watch, while I strike blind all the horses of the peoples.” (Zachariah 12:3-4). David Guzik speaks of how these verses have already come true when he speaks of the Muslims belief of what is special with the Rock Shrine in Jerusalem and why Jerusalem so important to them.  It appears to be related to their religion and spiritual beliefs, but in actuality there is no spiritual proof that Jerusalem is a major place for the Islam nation other than for political gain. This creates a “drunken-like” appearance to their fascination with this city. Jerusalem is however spoken of over 800 times in the Bible and it must catch our attention. Jerusalem will therefore become a burden to all as seen in Zachariah 12:3.  As we were reminded that our mourning will be turned to joy in previous chapters, we see how Jerusalem will go through much suffering before God’s plan is carried out.

God speaks about how he will defend the city of Jerusalem once again during the last days. This is noted in Zachariah 12:8-9, “On that day the LORD will shield the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the weakest among them will be like David on that day; and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them. On that day I will seek the destruction of all nations that come against Jerusalem.” The people will then turn to the one that they turned against as stated in Zachariah 12:10, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of mercy and supplication, so that when they look on him whom they have thrust through, they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and they will grieve for him as one grieves over a firstborn.” As the people will find great peace and mercy from looking to Jesus, we can do the same today.  Even though Jerusalem and his people will endure much, God promises restoration and unity of all to come.

The surrender of the people to the Messiah Jesus Christ is described in chapter 12.  Though we know that there will be mourning, the joy will come after the mourning as cleansing is promised. Israel will return to the Lord through the embrace of Jesus in Chapter 12 and cleansing will be provided from the Lord. Chapter 13 now speaks of the cleansing.

According to the First Five App, “In Zechariah 13, the Lord says He will remove all the idols from the land, and all the false prophets too. A deep, spiritual cleansing is coming. That’s why the prophet begins this section with the image of a fountain. “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1). Throughout the Old Testament, the priests in Israel were required to cleanse themselves with water before performing the temple sacrifices. This was a major part of Jewish life under the old covenant, but this kind of cleansing was always temporary. And it could never cleanse their hearts.

When Zechariah speaks of a fountain, he’s referring to a future fountain — the blood of Christ —which has the power to cleanse us completely, from the inside out for all eternity. This is also why the prophet repeatedly says, “On that day …” (Zechariah 13:1, 2, 4). A day is coming when a crimson fountain will flow.”

The cleansing that will come will be seen through Jesus.  In looking forward to what Jesus will do, Zachariah now reminds us what he went through to get us this cleansing. The chapter then recalls the striking down of Jesus in Zachariah 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the one who is my associate—oracle of the LORD of hosts. Strike the shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones.”

The end of Zachariah Chapter 13 is explained well by the First Five App, “Zachariah ends Chapter 13 by proclaiming that a season is coming when a believer’s heart will be refined, likely through suffering. “And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God'” (Zechariah 13:9).”

The book of Zachariah finishes off by once again looking at the second coming of Christ.  14: 1-3 states, “A day is coming for the LORD when the spoils taken from you will be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: The city will be taken, houses will be plundered, women raped; half the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be removed from the city. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, fighting as on a day of battle.”        As David Guzik explains the great Tribulation is described here. There will be a battle but the Lord will fight for the people. Jesus will then return to the Earth as stated in Zachariah 14:4, “On that day God’s feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is opposite Jerusalem to the east. The Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west by a very deep valley, and half of the mountain will move to the north and half of it to the south.”

In order for the return of Christ to happen he had to be rejected as seen at his death. He will indeed return though and his reign is described in Zachariah 14:6-11, “On that day there will no longer be cold or frost. There will be one continuous day—it is known to the LORD—not day and night, for in the evening there will be light. On that day, fresh water will flow from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea, and half to the western sea. This will be so in summer and in winter.

The LORD will be king over the whole earth; on that day the LORD will be the only one, and the LORD’s name the only one. All the land will turn into a plain, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, which will stand exalted in its place—from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the first gate, to the Corner Gate and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. The city will be inhabited; never again will it be doomed. Jerusalem will dwell securely.”

Another difficult book of the Bible has been observed.  We see mourning and joy.  We see judgment and restoration.  We see the people being warned of what is to come and yet they turned away.  What Zachariah was told by God has come true and we can only rely on this truth to know that the details shared about the second coming are also true.  There is much to rest our minds and hearts on as we learn more about God and what he has ready for his people.  We are again left with unanswered questions of when and how, but we are provided with hope of what is to come.  God will not leave his people alone and he is willing to fight a battle for our freedom.  I once again cannot help but want to continue on to learn about what God has prepared for us. We will end out the books of the prophets as we study the book of Malachi next.