Category: Psalms-BibleTrekToday

Anguish of betrayal

Scripture reading for June 13: Psalm 55-59

Friendship is a precious thing.  A friend is someone you can trust and confide in.  They know you for who you really are and often love you in spite of what they see.  They stick with you through thick and thin.  They are there for you when you need them and you can count on them to be honest with you.  Friendships take time to develop and close friends are rare and precious!

“Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; . .” Psalm 55:5-6

One of the most painful experiences is to have a close friend betray you and turn against you.  This causes deep soul searching and deep hurts.  David had such an experience.  He wanted to take the wings of a dove and fly away to a secluded place to rest from the storm that he was experiencing.  (Psalm 55:6)  It would have been more understandable if it was an enemy who had insulted him and turned against him, but it was his close friend.  It was a man with whom he had enjoyed sweet fellowship in the presence of God at the temple. (Psalm 55:13-14)   He called on the Lord for help.

Psalm 55 can be contrasted in light of Psalm 32 and 51 which describe David’s trial of faith where he ended up betraying his friend Uriah the Hittite!  We cannot be certain when this psalm was written and about whom.  It may have been concerning Ahithophel, David’s close adviser, who sided with Absalom in his rebellion. (2 Samuel 15:12)  It showed how David reaped what he himself sowed. 

Jesus Christ also went through betrayal.  Judas betrayed his own Teacher, Rabbi, and Friend.  He enjoyed sweet fellowship with Jesus, even at the last supper.  Jesus reached out to this one who would betray him and sought to win him over.  (John 13:19-26) His love for sinners is amazing.

The good news today is that our Savior did not take flight with the wings of a dove! He could have called on legions of angels to rescue Him.   (Matthew 26:53)  Instead, He bore our betrayals, sin, and rebellion and loved us so much as to die in our place!  Take time today to ask for His mercy and forgiveness of your betrayals.  Invite Him to be your special Friend Who will stick closer than a brother!  Enjoy sweet fellowship with One who will never betray you!

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A broken and contrite heart!

Scripture reading for June 12: Psalms 50-54

David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of his friend, Uriah, is recorded in scripture in 2nd Samuel 11-12.  This was a dark blot on the life of a man that had walked closely with God for about 50 years.  King David had decided to stay home from the war with Israel’s enemies to rest and relax.  He let his eyes wander as his heart grew cold and ended up in bed with his neighbor’s wife.  She became pregnant and David decided to try to frame his friend.  When this didn’t work, he had his friend murdered! 

Psalm 51 is the record of David’s confession and repentance from these sins.  Both of these sins required that the perpetrators be stoned to death under God’s law.  (Leviticus 20:10)(Leviticus 24:17)  What is remarkable about King David’s confession of these sins, was that he considered them to be against God alone.  God granted David forgiveness and grace under the law because of a broken and contrite heart! 

A broken and contrite heart takes responsibility for sin.  It admits to breaking God’s law instead of denial and blame of someone else or even God.  (Psalm 51:3-5)  David recognized that he was sinful from birth.  We are born in sin because of Adam’s sin!  We can only be delivered supernaturally by God’s mercy through Jesus Christ!

Jeremiah stated that the heart by human nature was deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.  (Jeremiah 17:9-11)  God searches the hearts of men and knows the truth about what is in them.  God wants to wash our hearts and cleanse them.  David asked to be cleansed with hyssop.  While in Egypt, the Israelites used hyssop branches to sprinkle the blood of the sacrificial lambs on the doorposts of their houses to keep the death angel from striking the first-born. 

Broken hearts long for the joy and salvation that comes from God’s grace of forgiveness. (Psalm 51:9-12)  All pride in human effort and ability is set aside and humility comes in it’s place.  There is joy and a willing spirit to follow the Lord and be taught of Him. True brokenness leads to a life of humble service and witness for those who are forgiven much, love much.  Out of this love they want to do God’s will and praise His Name! (Psalm 51:13-15)

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart , Oh God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

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There is a River!

Scripture reading for June 11: Psalms 42-49

America has one of the finest and best equipped  armies in the entire world.  We have a great air force which has a wide variety of weapons to strike the enemy from afar and soften the opposition before ground troops go into harms way.  We have a military intelligence system that gathers information about the enemy and battlefield for the air force and ground forces.  But in spite of our great army and ability to protect our nation and people, there is yet a much more fearful and powerful force of protection!

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

God’s ability to protect His people and help them in trouble is well documented.  He delivered David as a shepherd boy from the lion and the bear and then from the giant, Goliath.  He delivered an entire nation from slavery in Egypt and then saved them from the most powerful army on earth as they were being pursued.  He caused the Red Sea to close over the enemy army after His people walked through this sea on a dry bed!  Bring on those powerful armies!   Our God is our refuge and strength! 

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall’ God will help her at the break of day.  Nations are in an uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts.  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah Psalm 46:4-7

God’s presence is likened to a river of refreshing and life-giving water.  All who were inside the city and belonged to God would have this source of water and life available to them.  In the midst of confusion of the nations, God’s voice melts the earth, causing kingdoms to fall. God is in charge and present with His people.  He Himself is their Fortress during judgment and war!

“He makes wars to cease to the ends of the earth, He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, He burns the shields with fire.  Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:9-10

God will ultimately bring peace to this troubled world.  We must silence our lips from fretting and fear and unbelief!  God is in control!  He alone is our refuge and strength!

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Drunk on the circumstances?

Scripture reading for June 10: Psalm 36-41

Many people battle depression. A heaviness and a cloud of negativism hangs on their life and their conversations.  They can’t seem to move into a positive attitude.  They seem to live in a pit that holds them in spiritual bondage. When I talk to someone with depression, I sometimes tell them to take their open hand and slap their face and say to themselves, “sober up–you are drunk on the circumstances!”

Psalm 38 recorded David’s battle with depression and desperate circumstances.  David was sick in body with festering wounds because he had sin and guilt in his life.  He had back pain that penetrated his being. (Psalm 38:5-7)  He was feeble and crushed in anguish of heart.  People avoided him because of his wounds and there were those plotting his ruin and destruction.  He had trouble hearing and speaking in response to those who hated him!  He called upon God to help, and quickly!  (Psalm 38:22)

In Psalm 40, David stated that after patiently waiting on the Lord, God heard his cry and responded by lifting him out of the slimy pit that held him.  He set David’s feet on a firm rock and put a new song in his mouth, a song of praise to our God!  The man who trusts in the Lord will never be put to shame!

Some practical advice for dealing with depression comes from these psalms.  First, David told the Lord exactly how he felt in body and soul.  Honest evaluation and casting on the Lord all our cares is a good thing to do.  Notice how the psalmist always comes back to faith and belief in the Lord. (Psalm 38:22. 40:17)  Second, patience is necessary in trials.  The psalmist could not help himself–he had to wait on the Lord patiently! (Psalm 38:15) (Psalm 40:1)  Even though he asked that the Lord come quickly, God’s time is not always the same as ours. (Psalm 38:22)  Last, David sang a new song of praise after the rescue.  Praise and testimony of God’s goodness and deliverance always blesses the one who does it and then blesses the Lord Who came through and encourages those who hear!

Even before the answer came, the psalmist was praising God!  Why not apply these truths today if you are in a pit?  God loves to save and deliver!  If necessary, give yourself a little slap to remember not to be drunk on your circumstances!

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The star-breathing God!

Scripture reading for June 8: Psalms 31-35

Psalm 33:6,8 “By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. . . .Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him!

The Psalms reveal a lot about the character, power and majesty of the God we worship.  God is the subject and object of these writings quite often, and Psalm 33 is especially rich in revelation!  It is one of my personal favorites!  It begins with music–singing, shouting, and instruments played skillfully!  It is fitting to begin with praise and worship when we contemplate the majesty of God!

God is first commended for His Word.  God can be depended on to do what He has said.  He made the heavens by His own Word.  When He spoke, the psalmist states, God breathed out the starry host!  When we think of the vast universe with it’s countless stars, galaxies, and star clusters, stretching out for billions of light-years, we can only worship in awe and holy fear!  He speaks and out of nothing, stars and galaxies appear!  His Word holds the universe together and is the agent that brings faith to those who will hear Him!  (Romans 10:17)  (Colossians 1:17)

God is in total control of the earth and all it’s peoples!  He knows how to stop nations and people from interfering with His plans.  His plans and purposes are established firmly forever!  The nation that serves the Lord will be blessed because that is His plan!  God is watching over mankind and knows everything that is happening.  He knows the hearts of all men and is looking for those whose hearts are sold out to Him.  He will show Himself strong for them! (Psalm 33:18-19)  He will save them and preserve them!

As we contemplate the truths of this psalm, we gain an understanding of the magnitude of the God we worship!  Faith begins to grow that He is truly in control!  No purpose of God can be stopped!  He knows how to stop nations that are going against Him.  He knows how to bless people who are sold out to Him! 

We wait in hope for the Lord’ He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.  May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22

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King of the flood!

Scripture reading for June 7:  Psalms 25-30

“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood, The Lord is enthroned as King forever.  The Lord gives strength to His people, the Lord blesses His people with peace.” Psalm 29:10-11

This psalm contains an unusual phrase about the Lord.  He is pictured as ‘enthroned over the flood’.  The word used here for “flood” is “mabbul” which is used exclusively of the world-wide flood described in Genesis 6-9. Why is the psalmist caught up in this idea of the flood?  What is David thinking about in this psalm that he would see God as enthroned as King forever in connection with this flood?

This psalm begins with David exhorting the ‘mighty ones’ to ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.  In the previous psalm David had cried to the Lord to save him from wicked men and God had answered.  We are not sure if these mighty ones are his “mighty men” or the mighty angels that attend to the Lord and cry “Holy, Holy, Holy” before His throne.  We do know that all creatures owe worship to the Lord of glory! 

We don’t know if David was near some body of water, but possibly a thunderstorm broke loose as he was writing this psalm.  David heard the majestic voice of the Lord in the thunders.  Perhaps a bolt of lightning struck one of the cedars of Lebanon, splintered it, reducing it to a smoldering pile of sticks right before his sight.  These cedars often grew over 100 feet tall and the power released to break the tree would cause anyone to worship or fear!  David saw the violent thunderstorm with thousands of lightning strikes as a manifestation of God’s mighty power to shake the earth.  David realized that he was small and God was mighty and that all in God’s temple are crying “Glory”!

It is at this point that David speaks of the Lord as enthroned over the flood.  This violent storm had brought the great flood of Genesis to his remembrance.  He realized that God was judge and in control over wind and storm!  Our lives are truly in His hands and our King gives peace to His people in the floods.   This same King promised to never destroy the world with water again.  (Genesis 9:15-16) 

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God speaks all languages!

Scripture reading for June 6: Psalms 19-24

Psalm 19:1-4 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.  There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world.”

God speaks to all mankind through nature. In addition to nature, God also gave man His Law or Word.  (Psalm 19:7-11) The Law of the Lord is perfect and reveals God’s holiness and glory.  Those who will be instructed by it and warned by it will find revival of true life.  Light will enter their souls and wisdom for right living will bring joy to each heart.  It is truly more precious than pure gold and sweeter to the soul than honey.  It is able to discern hidden errors and keep man from willful sins that would cause him to be forever lost.  God truly has spoken our language and provides for our deepest needs.

Psalm 20 and 21 remind those who trust in the Lord that He will defend and protect them and that they will ultimately triumph over their enemies.  Life here on earth has warfare.  It often appears that the wicked and our enemies have power and equipment stronger than ours.  They trust in ‘chariots and horses’!  We, however, trust in the name of the Lord our God!  When we do, we enjoy victory!  (Psalm 20:7-8)  God is our strength and the source of all victory and blessing!  We can only praise Him Who will defeat our enemies! (Psalm 21:8-13) 

Psalm 23 tells of a Great Shepherd, the Lord, who will lead and protect his people.  This Shepherd will provide safety and green pastures to His people.  They will not need to fear, even when the ‘valley of death’ is ahead of them.  God our Shepherd is with us and leads us forward to a table of eternal blessing! 

Psalm 24 tells of God’s ownership and rulership over all the earth and universe.  He is the King of Glory!  This King wants all who come to Him to have clean hands and a pure heart! (Psalm 24:3-5)  When we go humbly to the Lord and ask for forgiveness, He shows us mercy.  He has provided the sacrifice for our sins in His Son, Jesus Christ!    The doors of heaven open for the King of Glory!  Will you open your heart’s door for this amazing King to come in?  (Revelation 3:20)

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What is a ‘fool’?

Scripture reading for June 5: Psalms 13-18

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”  They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” Psalm 14:1

The fool in Scripture is the one who denies the existence of God.  Why would anyone want to deny that God exists?  Hasn’t God placed eternity in the hearts of all men? (Ecclesiastes 3:11)  Isn’t God evident to all through creation?  (Psalm 19:2-4)   The reason this kind of fool exists isn’t because of an intellectual problem.  It is something much deeper than that!

According to Psalm 14, the reason the fool says that there is no God is because of corruption of character.  These people are vile and do not do anything that would be considered ‘good’ in God’s sight.  These people avoid seeking God so that they do not have to answer for their wicked deeds.  They prefer their corruption and want no ‘God’ to interfere with their evil ways and thoughts.  It is convenient to do away with God or any knowledge of Him, thinking this liberates them from responsibility and judgment.

The Apostle Paul describes the fool’s way of thinking in Romans 1:18-23.  These people have known about God and His ways but have suppressed this truth in unrighteousness.  Having suppressed truth, the lie of their own ‘godhood’ based on their own futile thinking darkens their hearts and souls.   God allows them to follow their darkened understanding and worship creatures and creation rather than the creator. 

The next step is sexual perversion.  (Romans 1:24-27)  When a person rejects God because of their wickedness, God allows that person to be deluded and go deeply into perversion and further depravity in the breaking of God’s laws.  This results in all kinds of sexual sin, lying, greed, envy, malice, strife,  and idolatry.  This is where every ‘fool’ in Scripture ends up without the grace of God.

There is no excuse for staying a fool however, for God is always ready to save, heal and forgive.  We must humble ourselves and admit that He exists and that He will reward and forgive those who seek him.  (Hebrews 11:6)  If you have been foolish in your words or attitudes about God, take time today and repent.  God is faithful and just and will forgive you!  (1st John 1:7-9)

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What is man that You care?

Scripture reading for June 4: Psalms 7-12

“When  I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care about him? Yet You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have give him dominion over the works of Your hands. . “ Psalm 8:3-6

As David worshiped the majestic Lord who was “our Lord”, he began to contemplate creation.  God’s glory is displayed majestically in the heavenly bodies.  The sun, moon and stars all speak of the wonder of a God who breathed out the stars. (Psalm 8:1,3)  In Psalm 33:6, David actually says that God made the starry host by the breath of his mouth!  When looking at those heavenly hosts, David began to think about man and how insignificant man seemed compared to the vast glory of creation.

What is man?  Man has been made or created just a little lower than the heavenly beings.  God has crowned him with glory and honor.  Man is made in God’s likeness and image. (Genesis 1:26)  He has been given dominion and authority to rule over the fish of the sea, birds of the air, and over the livestock and over all the earth!   God has entrusted man with His creation!  That alone is enough to make us worship this amazing God!  He breaths out the stars but cares enough about us to crown us with honor and glory too!

A proper understanding of Who God is and who we are in relation to Him is a great aid to true worship.  We are blessed by God to be formed in His image and given authority to rule over His creation.   We are mere specks of dust in comparison to the vastness of space and the heavens!  Such understanding draws us to worship and adoration!  Take time today to note the glorious creation and the majesty of God displayed there!  Thank Him for crowning you with glory and honor!  Worship His majestic name!

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The blessed man!

Scripture reading for June 3: Psalms 1-6

The Book of Psalms was the hymnbook of the Hebrew people and was used in worship and prayer.  The word “psalm” denotes a “song sung to the accompaniment of a plucked instrument.”  These psalms had at least seven different authors and were written over nearly a thousand years, from the time of Moses to the return from exile in Babylon.  David was one of the primary authors of the psalms, and many reflect his own prayers, worship, fears, and desires as he experienced life in all it’s emotional ups and downs! 

The first psalm was about a man who is blessed by God.  The blessed person doesn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked.  He also doesn’t stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  How does the blessed man know what wickedness is? Who is a sinner and what is a mocker? This man knows because he delights in the law of the Lord!  He meditated on that law day and night.  From that law he clearly understood good and evil, righteousness and wickedness. 

The blessed man was described as a tree planted by streams of water.  This tree was always bearing fruit and leafy and green because it’s roots were well-supplied with moisture and nutrients.  Even when it was dry and hot, water from underground brought productivity.  God abundantly supplied this man because of the Word he meditated on.  What an encouraging picture to begin worship with!

This blessed man was contrasted with the wicked man.  The wicked man was pictured as the chaff off of the wheat, that the wind blows away.  It was only good for burning.  Just like the chaff that was separated from the wheat by the wind, so the sinner and wicked man will not stand in the time of God’s judgment!  They will be separated from the assembly of the righteous and blessed!  God watches over the righteous to protect and reward them.  God will also make sure the wicked perish.

How does this psalm point us to Jesus Christ? In what way or ways does this psalm help you in worship and joyful living? What doctrines are being taught in this first worship psalm? Does worship have a place in teaching doctrine?

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