Scripture reading for June 22nd: Psalm 90-97
Psalms 95-97 are focused on the glory of God and on worship with very little else! I enjoy these psalms because of their joy and rejoicing in God, Himself. They seem to call all of mankind and nature as well into the chorus of worship that belongs to God who is worthy of all praise! There are many avenues of praise mentioned in these psalms and it is helpful to our worship to explore them and put them into practice.
Singing for joy and shouting out loud is mentioned in Psalm 95:1. Coming before Him with thanksgiving is always a good idea for God’s people, because they have so much to be thankful for and God is the source of all their blessings! (Psalm 95:2) God’s people are urged to bow down in worship and kneel before their maker. (Psalm 95:6) We must decrease and He must increase. Our posture, as well as our voices, instruments, and songs, indicates humility and honor. He is the great King above all gods, creator of heaven and earth, and man as well!
Psalm 96 opens with an exhortation to sing a ‘new song’ to the Lord. It might be a song of praise and thanksgiving, or a song of proclamation concerning His salvation and mighty works. His people are to declare His glory among the nations and peoples of the earth. All other nations and peoples have gods that are idols, but Israel alone knew the one true God who was worthy of praise! (Psalm 96:8) God was so arrayed in glory and majesty that a new song would come to those who contemplated His beauty and strength! Songs have a way of coming out of the heart of man and expressing the deepest worship and longing of the soul.
The Holy Spirit’s infilling often brings a new level of worship to the believer. From the Holy Spirit comes ‘spiritual songs’ given for worship of this awesome and majestic Lord! From the Spirit comes a new song bringing praise to the King! (Ephesians 5:18-20) At times in different corporate worship settings, I have experienced the Spirit bringing forth a ‘new song’ from the congregation that took us into the heavenly realm and put us in harmony with those worshiping around the throne! This is a special and blessed experience!
In Psalms 96 and 97, even all of creation joins in the worship chorus! The heavens rejoice and the earth is glad, the sea resounds and all the creatures in it at the glory of the Lord. The fields are jubilant and the trees sing in harmony as the Lord comes. The clouds surround Him. Fire goes before Him and lightning lights up the world! Mountains melt like wax in His presence and the earth sees Him and trembles! All the peoples see His Glory and His people rejoice and are glad. Those worshiping idols are put to shame! For God comes to judge the earth and the peoples in righteousness and truth!
Take time today to offer heartfelt worship to the Lord! He is truly worthy of our praise! Do a self-evaluation of your readinesss to see Him as Savior and Judge!
Greetings on this another day to rest and worship! God’s praises have been sung throughout eternity by those whom He has created. Our God is worthy of praise for many reasons! He is creator, redeemer, sustainer, lover of men, life-giver, all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere present, full of compassion for the hurting and weak, protector of widows and orphans, and ultimately the judge of all men and angels!
The oldest psalm in the psalter comes from the pen of Moses, the man of God, who lived about 1500 years before Christ. Indications are that Moses wrote this psalm during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Moses proclaimed God as man’s dwelling place from generations past, back to the very first man! (Psalm 90:1) Moses knew and worshiped God as creator and the everlasting God who sits above time and history. (Psalm 90:2-4) God is in control of all life and ultimately judges all sin because He knows about all sin. Man’s time on earth is short and full of trouble because of this sin and death ends our stay here as a result of sin. (Psalm 90:4-10)
Moses petitioned God for an understanding of our short time here on earth that we might have a heart of wisdom. We need God’s mercy and compassion in our lives in order to understand life. We need God’s love to know how to love and live effectively. Moses asks for God’s blessing and favor on His people, particularly the children. Passing the torch of faith is important to Moses. This is important work that needs to be established! We all long for lasting significance and fulfilled purpose. Moses was no different.
As you rest this Lord’s day, thank Him for eternal life and the promises of God we have in Jesus Christ. Moses was wandering in the wilderness experiencing God’s wrath and walking by faith. We now have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God and are blessed and favored people. Moses’ psalm gives us food for thought and reason for thanks! Have a great week in the Lord! In His Love, Pastor John
Scripture reading for June 20th: Psalms 84-89
“Love and faithfulness meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.” Psalms 85:10-13
Psalm 85 is a prayer by the sons of Korah for revival after a time of judgment. God’s people had gotten into trouble because of sins and God had shown his displeasure towards them in some obvious manner. The psalmist began by reminding God of His past restoration of His people. (Psalm85:1-3) God had restored Israel before and one thing known about God was that He was not a respecter of persons. If God’s people met the requirements of repentance and faith, God would act again to bring the desired revival!
The psalmist asked God boldly to restore and revive the people of God again! We must ask the Lord for what we want and need. The psalmist asks God if He plans on staying angry forever, through all generations. What a bold question from an elder who desires restoration for his children and grandchildren! He asked that God show His unfailing love and salvation to them, reminding God of His covenant love that was never to fail.
The psalmist then states his patience to wait and listen for God’s answer. He again remembers God’s promises of peace to His people. (Psalm 85:8) He prays that God’s people would not return to their folly that brought the judgment and wrath of their God. True repentance is a turning away from sin and facing God and His ways. When we truly repent, we draw near to God and He promises to draw near to us! A broken and contrite heart He will not despise! (Psalm 51:17)
This psalm concludes with a beautiful picture of God’s character traits kissing each other! Love and faithfulness go together. True lovers never abandon one another! Righteousness and peace kiss each other! True peace can only come through righteousness. There is no peace for the wicked! On a different level, these traits did spring forth from the earth in the person of the Son of God, Jesus Christ! God’s love and covenant faithfulness caused Him to send forth His only son to demonstrate that love to a lost world! Righteousness and peace kissed each other in the Son of God! He was and is the prince of peace because of His truly righteous life! We can find peace like the world cannot give and righteousness with God through Him alone!
God did give us what was good for us in Jesus Christ! He is our “kissing” brother! May you enjoy the full harvest from your land as you walk in faithfulness and love, enjoying righteousness and peace!
Scripture reading for June 19th: Psalms 73-77
We live in a land where democracy and the rule of the people have clouded our understanding of authority and how it is obtained. We tend to think that we work our way into positions of authority. We campaign hard and make a case and the votes place us in office. In the church, we elect a pastor and then elect board members and deacons to fill positions of authority. We think that the power is given to the church body to place someone in position. In our world, promotion comes with political power and influence. It’s who you know that can get you where you want to be. It might be your education or degree that opens doors for position and power.
The psalmist gives us insight into the true source of authority in Psalm 75. God is the one who rules all the earth and mankind. (Psalm 75:2-3) He sets the appointed time for judgment and is the one who holds all the earth together. He will shake the pillars of the earth at the time He sets! Arrogant man boasts of his own power and achievements. The wicked are warned not to “lift up your horns”. Horns in the Bible refer to power or authority. Wicked people think that they have all power over heaven and deny God’s power and authority. They will be sadly shocked when God arises to shake things up!
The psalmist states that no man can really exalt another man. God alone is in charge and is the judge of all. He places those He wants in power and authority and can remove them at any time He desires! He raises up one and brings down another. (Psalm 75:6-7) He is able to judge the wicked and make them drink a cup full of foaming wine, representing His wrath against sin. The psalmist states that this truth will be declared by him forever as praise to the Lord who is all powerful!
God is truly in charge! Even when it appears that the wicked are prospering and have no cares, God will judge them in His appointed time. (Psalm 73:15-20) We are to fear God and serve Him alone. Declaring God’s power and authority to our generation is a duty and priviledge of the righteous! Share these truths with someone in your life today! Make it a practice to view life and promotion from God’s perspective! Look to Him alone for the position that you desire!
Scripture reading for June 18th: Psalms 78-83
Oh how I long to see the next generations know the Lord! I am burdened for my children and grandchildren! They are living in a world that is growing increasingly cold and hostile to faith in God. Humanistic ideas and thinking permeates the school systems. Families are fragmented and many church people are luke warm or cold in their understanding and knowledge of God and His Word. Families are so busy that they often neglect their spiritual growth to pursue work, sports, entertainment or success. Priorities are out of order and problems in our culture spiral out of control. We need a revival of spiritual life! We need to pass the torch of faith!
Asaph, the worship leader who served David, wrote about this desire in Psalm 78. He began with a plea for his people to hear his teaching and the words of his mouth. He spoke in parables and uttered hidden things, things from of old. These were things that were taught by the fathers in an age past but were not then being taught. God often used stories. Jesus, himself, taught in parables. Parables are stories from common life that help us to understand spiritual truths if we have open hearts. Ears that hear do not just mean ears that function. They must also hear and comprehend.
Asaph gave the plan of passing on these teachings. The key was to teach the children by telling the parables and stories to the next generation. The next generation would then, in turn, tell them to their children and repeat this process from generation to generation. (Psalm 78:4-6) The purpose of telling the stories was to encourage each generation to put their trust in the Lord. They would remember the works that the Lord had performed and would learn God’s commands in order to obey them and walk by faith.
Asaph stated that the children were not to do as the fathers had done. They heard and even experienced the stories, yet forgot God. (Psalm 78:8) They were a stubborn and rebellious generation. They did not keep God’s commands or stay loyal to Him. They saw the miracles but still sinned against God. God judged them for their rebellion. These were the stories that were to be repeated each generation. They were given to instruct those with ears to hear!
Where are we failing today in passing the torch? Could it be that we do not teach the stories to our children? Have we as parents learned the stories and applied them to our lives? Have we set a good example as parents by obeying and living by faith? We ourselves must do what the Word of God declares if it is to have the desired effect! God promises to work through the parables to bring wisdom and understanding for life and godliness!
“We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.” Psalm 78:4
Scripture reading for June 17th: Psalms 67-72
God delights in blessing his people! The Aaronic blessing begins Psalm 67 as a prayer. God blessing means that he lavishes his best gifts and presence on those He loves and calls to be His children. His face is shining or beaming with a smile of love and joy as He beholds His own people. This smile means abundant provisions of food and water. It means health to our bodies and protection from enemies. It means love and fruitfulness in our relationships and homes and a sense of knowing God and walking in His will. The Hebrew word “selah” follows this first verse and is a term meaning to pause and ponder the thought that has been presented.
Why does God love to bless His people? Surely it is because he loves and delights in His people. This is a good reason and part of God’s revealed truth. But this psalm states another reason for the blessing. God wants to use a blessed people to share the knowledge of His ways on the earth among all peoples. (Psalm 67:2) God desires the worship of all who are made in His image and likeness! He is their guide, ruler and judge! We are blessed to be a blessing! Nothing really belongs to us. We are blessed in order to share and bless others. We must keep the blessing moving and not hoard it to ourselves and our own use!
The result of being a blessing is that the earth will yield its harvest. The harvest ultimately is souls that will come to know and worship the Lord through the witness of God’s people. God wants all the ends of the earth to fear Him! (Psalm 67:6-7) We set up a cycle of blessing when we give to the Lord of our blessings so that others may hear and learn! As we give, we become like God who is the ultimate giver of everything. As we give, God is praised and worshiped and He moves upon the lost and draws them to salvation. As we give, we are blessed by God again with more abundance so that we can give even more to Him. The cycle goes on and multiplies!
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2nd Corinthians 9:10-11
Scripture reading for June 16th: Psalms 60-66
King David was honest with his feelings and heart thoughts as he prayed to the Lord. This series of psalms has a great emphasis on prayer and praise. David has many fears and many enemies who seek his life, and he shares his thoughts with the Lord. As ruler of God’s people he had the burden of many responsibilities. He asked God to hear his pleas. Sometimes he was confident that God did hear, and at other times seemed to wonder if God would hear him. (Psalm 60:1; Psalm 61:1; Psalm 63:1; Psalm 64:1) He was a lot like me in this respect! I am sure you never had these feelings!
The last two psalms in this set are praise songs to the God who is the “hope of the ends of the the earth”! (Psalm 65:5) It is amazing to me that David is so in tune with the revealed heart of God! God’s heart has always been for all men to know and love Him. He desires close fellowship for every individual and will eventually have all nations worshiping Him! (Psalm 66:4) God is the creator, founder of the mountains and roaring seas. He has shown his wonders to all mankind through the daily provisions of man’s needs. He waters the land and brings forth grain in abundance for all peoples, just or unjust! God decorates the hills and valleys and brings joy to His people! (Psalm 65:13-14)
Psalm 66 ends with a declaration of praise to the Lord for answered prayer! David’s doubts and petitions have ended with God bringing an answer! God’s faithfulness and love have produced new praise and thanksgiving from David and from God’s people! He truly answers prayer and is worthy of praise! He is the hope of the ends of the earth!
“”You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the fartherest seas, . .” Psalm 65:5
Scripture reading for June 15th: Psalms 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!
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 that he shares with us today in Psalm 55. He was deeply troubled and in anguish over a betrayal. 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 and intervention in this very troubling time.
This psalm is interesting in light of Psalm 32 and 51 which describe David’s trial of faith where he ended up betraying his friend Uriah the Hittite! When this psalm was written and about whom we are not certain. It may have been concerning Ahiphohel, his close adviser who sided with Absolom in his rebellion. (2nd Samuel 15:12) It is interesting that David probably reaped what he himself sowed. Betrayal is not enjoyable and brings deep hurt and anguish of soul.
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 even at the last. (John 13:19-26) In a sense, all the disciples betrayed Jesus by denying that they knew Him and running away. We can get a glimpse into the heart of our Savior and friend of how he might feel when we betray his love. It is amazing how we can enjoy sweet fellowship with the Lord, and then do things that betray Him and cause him anguish!
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 you special friend who will stick closer than a brother! Enjoy sweet fellowship with one who will never betray you!
Scripture reading for June 13th: 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 instead of an abortion, David decided to try to frame his friend. When this didn’t work, he had his friend aborted! There is nothing new under the sun! The human heart away from God is desperately sick and full of sin!
Today’s reading contains 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, is 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! How we need this kind of heart today! Jesus Christ is forgiving sins today for those with 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 even recognized that he was sinful from birth. We are born in sin because of Adam’s sin! We come by it naturally! We can only be delivered supernaturally by God’s mercy through Jesus Christ!
Repentant hearts also recognize the importance of truth in them. (Psalm 51:6) Jeremiah states that the heart by human nature is 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 asks 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. David asks God for a clean heart and a hiding of his sins from God’s face!
Broken hearts desire the joy and salvation that comes from God’s grace of forgiveness. (Psalm 51:9-12) God gives a pure heart and a right spirit. This right spirit is a spirit of brokenness and dependence on God’s grace. All pride in human effort and ability is set aside and humility comes in it’s place. There is joy and rejoicing and a willing spirit to follow the Lord and be taught of Him.
All of this brokenness leads to a life of humble service and witness! 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
Scripture reading for June 12th: Psalms 42-49
Many nations have armies and air forces armed with weapons that help to protect them. 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 recorded in today’s reading!
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3
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 was able to deliver an entire nation from slavery in Egypt and then to protect 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 a refuge and strength! Fear not!
“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
The source of strength is found within the Holy Place in the temple of the Most High God! 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. God’ s presence makes all the difference! In the midst of confusion of the nations, God’s voice melts the earth, causing kingdoms to fall. God is in charge and with His people. He Himself is their fortress and protection 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
The final verses of this psalm tell of God’s final victory over all opposition. 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 to be worshipped and honored! He alone is a refuge and strength to depend on!