Scripture reading for June 19th: 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.
Asaph, the worship leader who served David, began with a plea for his people to hear his teaching. 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 to walk by faith.
Asaph emphasized that the children were not to do as the fathers had done. They heard and experienced the stories, yet many forgot God. (Psalm 78:8) They were a stubborn and rebellious generation that did not keep God’s commands or stay loyal to Him. They saw the miracles but still sinned against God and He judged them. These stories were to be repeated each generation. They were given to instruct those with ears to hear and open hearts!
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 by obeying God and living by faith? We 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
The Aaronic blessing begins Psalm 67 as a prayer. God’s 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. But this psalm states another reason for the blessing. God wants to use a blessed people to share the knowledge of His ways among all peoples. (Psalm 67:2) God desires the worship of all who are made in His image! He is their guide, ruler and judge! We are blessed to be a blessing! Nothing really belongs to us. We must keep His 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 tithes and offerings 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 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 David’s prayer and praise life. David had many fears and many enemies who sought his life, and he shared his thoughts with the Lord. As ruler of God’s people he had the burden of many responsibilities. He asked God to hear his petitions. 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 and you in this respect!
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 that David was 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) He is the God who makes His enemies cringe before Him and all the earth will bow down to Him in praise and adoration! (Psalm 66:2-4)
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 our personal God of Hope and 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 farthest seas, . .” Psalm 65:5
Scripture reading for June 14th: 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!
King David was deeply troubled and in anguish over a betrayal. We are not told for sure who this close friend was that betrayed him, but some commentators think it might have been Ahithophel who sided with Absalom against David. (2nd Samuel 15:12) 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.
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) In a sense, all the disciples betrayed Jesus by denying that they knew Him and running away. In this psalm we get a glimpse into the heart of our Savior and friend of how he might feel when we betray his love.
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, David decided to try to frame his friend. When this didn’t work, he had his friend murdered!
Murder and adultery required that the perpetrators be stoned to death under God’s law. (Leviticus 20:10)(Leviticus 24:17) In King David’s confession of these sins, he considered them to be against God alone. God granted David forgiveness 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 or blame. (Psalm 51:3-5) David recognized that he was sinful from birth. He was born in sin because of Adam’s sin!
Repentant hearts also recognize the importance of truth. (Psalm 51:6) Jeremiah stated that the heart was deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9-11) God alone can search the hearts of men 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. Only the sprinkled blood of Jesus, God’s final sacrifice can cleanse sinful hearts and protect us from the angel of death.
Broken hearts desire the joy and salvation that comes from God’s grace of forgiveness. (Psalm 51:9-12) 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
“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. 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 was found within the Holy Place in the temple of the Most High God! God’s presence was likened to a river of refreshing and life-giving water. All who belonged to God would have this source of water available to them. In the midst of confusion of the nations, God’s voice melted the earth, causing kingdoms to fall. He Himself was 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
God will ultimately bring peace to this troubled world. We must silence our lips from fretting and fear and unbelief! God now lives within us and His Holy temple is our body! The Spirit is the river of Living Water that will refresh us and take us into the ultimate victory–life eternal! (John 4:14, 7:38)
Scripture reading for June 11th: Psalm 36-41
Sometimes life’s circumstances overwhelm us. Our situation and the battles we face dominate our thinking and depression takes us into a slimy pit. I have been there myself! Someone once told me, “sober up–you are drunk on the circumstances!” The psalmist recorded a personal battle where he was in a slimy pit!
King David was sick in body with festering wounds because of 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. His enemies hated him without reason and slandered him for his good works! (Psalm 38:19-20) He asked God not to forsake him and come quickly and help! (vs 21-22) (This sounds like Jesus!)
David stated in Psalm 40 that after patiently waiting on the Lord, God heard his cry and lifted 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 God! But this psalm ends with another humble prayer for help! God’s help to David was an attitude change, not necessarily a change in circumstances!
When we are in the ‘slimy pit’, like David, we should tell the Lord how we feel. Honest evaluation and casting our cares on Him is a good thing to do. We should also confess our trust in the Lord. (Psalm 38:22. 40:17) 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) David sang a new song of praise before the rescue. Praise and testimony of God’s goodness always blesses the Lord and then us! Faith brings us courage to trust God for victory! Action on the word of God begins our journey out of the slimy pits of life! If necessary, give yourself a little slap to remember not to be drunk on your circumstances!
Scripture reading for June 10th: Psalms 31-35
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, 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. The word of the Lord is right and true! God can be depended on to do what He has said. He made the heavens by His own word. When he spoke, 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 appear! What power and amazing understanding is on display daily! His word holds the universe together! (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! 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) His unfailing love moves Him to bless and give His people what they need and desire!
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 His 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! I want God watching out for me to save and deliver me! What about you?
“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
Scripture reading for June 9th: Psalms 25-30
Psalm 29 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 was the King David the psalmist caught up in this idea of the flood?
This psalm began 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 him. 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! His holiness makes him awesome to behold and to think upon.
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 spoke of the voice of the Lord in the thunders. It was majestic and broke in on his consciousness. Perhaps a bolt of lightning struck one of the cedars of Lebanon and splintered it, reducing it to a smoldering pile of sticks right before his sight. These cedars often grew over 100 feet tall and over thirty feet around. The power released to break the tree would make a real impression and cause anyone to worship or fear! David saw the violent thunderstorm as a manifestation of God’s mighty power and experienced God’s power to shake the earth. David realized that he was small and God was almighty and that all in God’s temple are crying “Glory”!
It is at this point that David spoke of the Lord as enthroned over the flood. This violent storm brought the great flood of Genesis to his remembrance. He realized that God was judge and in control over wind and storm! This same King promised to never destroy the world with water again. (Genesis 9:15-16) What a God and King!
“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