July 28, 2016

Today you should read: Psalm 45

Did this chapter initially strike you as odd? “A love song… for a wedding… in the middle of the Psalms? Isn’t this Song-of-Solomon-type-of -stuff?” If that’s what you were thinking, you were in good company because I was, too (that is, if you consider me good company). The psalm does make sense when you get into the prophetic side of it. While it may be a song for those from David’s family (As God’s representative, the king carried the responsibility of dispensing justice and maintaining order in God’s world… NLT Study Bible), it really points to Yahweh, the true King of Israel.

This is lengthy commentary, but since the psalm is a bit different in nature than what we have been reading, it may be helpful:

This is a hymn celebrating a royal wedding; as the title says, it is a “love song.” It is impossible to be sure for which king in David’s line the song was first composed, but it does not matter; after 2 Sam. 7:11–16, the line of David was the appointed channel through which God would bless his people and carry out his mission to the whole world. The psalm has sometimes been taken as directly messianic, because Heb. 1:8–9 cites Ps. 45:6–7, applying the verses to Christ.

Whether these words are to be sung by the congregation or by a choir, they are addressed to the king. As a psalm, used in Jerusalem, this would refer to a king in David’s line. A ready scribe was probably one who wrote quickly and neatly.

These words speak to the king, praising him for his appearance and gracious speech (v. 2), military power (v. 3), and commitment to promoting justice for his subjects (vv. 4–7a). These words focus the attention of a young king on the ideals he should hold for his reign and character. These are what lead to God’s blessing for his people’s king, and to the king’s own respected position in the world (vv. 7b–9).

Many have supposed that these words must address the Davidic king, either as foretelling Christ or as a type that Christ would eventually fulfill. Although the OT does foretell a divine Messiah (e.g., Isa. 9:6), this kind of interpretation does not easily fit this context. It seems better to think that the song speaks to God about his throne (“your throne, O God”), namely, the one that the heir of David occupies, and then goes on to describe the divine ideals for a king’s reign (scepter of uprightness). Hebrews 1:8–9 cites these verses in Greek from the Septuagint as part of the author’s argument that the “Son” is superior to the angels. Hebrews 1 applies the term “Son” to Jesus, probably in his role as the heir of David. Thus Heb. 1:5 puts Ps. 2:7 with 2 Sam. 7:14, where “Son of God” is a title for the Davidic king (see note on Ps. 2:7). This also accounts for the use of the messianic 110:1 in Heb. 1:3, 13. Hebrews does go on, like the rest of the NT, to apply to Jesus an OT passage about Yahweh… (ESV Study Bible)

What did you glean from Psalm 45? How did it speak to you today? What questions do you have about it? Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

By: Todd Thomas

July 27, 2016

Today you should read: Psalm 44

“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

You have probably heard this above passage of Scripture from many preachers and politicians about our progressive secular society in an effort for Americans to rise up and make this country “Christian” again because God is leaving it, the more evil it gets. The problem with this interpretation and use of this scripture is Psalm 44. In today’s Psalm we see God’s people cry out to God to hear them from heaven and to heal their land, similar to the above Chronicles passage. They feel rejected and disgraced (v. 9). They are running away from their enemies as their enemies keep their spoil (v. 10). They have been scattered and some have even been turned into slaves (v. 11-12). They are ridiculed and mocked by all other surrounding people and nations (v. 13-16).

According to 2 Chronicles 7:14 they probably didn’t humble themselves and pray, seek God’s face and turn from their ways, right?

Yet we read in verse 17 that this trial and tribulation has came upon them when they were faithful in their covenant with God (v. 17). Their hearts have remained steadfast for the Lord and they have not forgotten the name of God, nor worship false idols before Him (v. 18-19). They even say if they had done anything deceitful before God or had turned to their sin, God would know because He sees all, including the innermost parts of our heart. The last 4 verses of this Psalm is a final plea before God to deliver them from their enemies and redeem them for the sake of His steadfast love.

I don’t bring this up to not mock the revivalist sermons and  “God and country” type attitudes that come with this sermon but to instead show that sometimes our sovereign God truly does “give and take away”, in spite of His peoples actions. We will suffer national consequences for our sins but we can also have a true revival for Jesus as a whole for our nation and still be persecuted and suffer in that season. 2 Chronicles 7:14 was about the specific covenant God promised with Abraham and “my people” and should not be interpreted to be Americans but instead Israel at that time and this verse is not a magic rub of the genie lamp where if we start practicing humility, praying, seeking God’s face and turning from sin, we won’t be delivered nationalistic revival. In fact, like God’s people in this passage, we could (and should) do all of these things and still suffer at the hands of our enemies. But that doesn’t mean that we give up. We continue to trust in God’s sovereignty like God’s people did (v. 1-3) and not in our efforts (v. 6). Jesus is still king (v. 4), savior (v. 4, 7) and let us boast continually in His name whether or not we see our nation healed (v. 8). Again, this doesn’t mean that we discontinue praying, seeking God’s face, repenting and practicing humility. It means doing it while trusting in our good, sovereign King who can give and take away while we still shout out “blessed be the name of the Lord.”

By: Erik K0liser

July 26, 2016

Today you should read: Psalm 43

It is interesting how often we as believers will allow circumstances to dictate things like our joy, or our trust or even our faith and belief in God. It is something that plagues us as people living in a broken sinful world.

The psalmist is crying out to God for deliverance from ungodly people who are unjust and deceitful. There are people and circumstances in all of our lives that are less than ideal or hard and even sorrowful. How often in those times do you have the same initial reaction as the psalmist? He questions God; he makes a judgment that God has rejected him. His focus is completely on himself and his situation. Our God is above our circumstances and never has nor will He abandon us. To accuse God of this is to bring him to the same level as man.

Are you more focused on yourself and your circumstance or are you focused on the Father?

Following the initial accusation of abandonment, the psalmist comes back to the view that God is not against Him. Anger towards God will get us nowhere, He is for us and wants the best for us, we just need to turn to Him. Instead of focusing on a hard situation or people who are against him, he recognized and turn to God who will bring him out to His holy hill. The conclusion of this is wondering why we would ever question God or get so caught up in a fleeting circumstance rather than holding fast to an unwavering Father.

Is your focus today on your circumstances or on the Father?

If you are in tough times in your life, God is there for you and has not abandoned you. Will you take the time to be embraced and guided by Him?

By: Dakota Gragg

July 25, 2016

Today you should read: Psalm 42

Dehydration is a terrible thing to experience. When you’re dehydrated you experience all kinds of unpleasant symptoms: headache, fatigue, muscle cramps and spasms, lightheadedness, etc. The average person can only go without water for approximately 3-10 days before their body will shut down and they will die (according to the world wide web). When we experience extreme thirst we will stop at nothing to get our thirst quenched and our bodies hydrated again.

There’s certainly a great spiritual parallel to make here. As we read through this Psalm we see a person who is panting for, longing for, and really in desperation to be close to God. However, God seems distant and even absent. We read the war that is raging within the Psalmist as he attempts to deal with his desire to experience God and be close to Him once again. Notice the symptoms of this person who is spiritually “dehydrated”: sorrow and tears, inner turmoil, mourning, and depression. However, this person is not lost, they know God, and are consistently reminding themselves of their hope in Him.

This is so applicable for us. Today’s Psalm provides such great imagery and description of how we should thirst for God. As a deer longs to find flowing streams of fresh water, so our souls should long to be quenched by the life giving presence of our almighty God and Savior. More specifically, we need the Living Water of Jesus Christ which satisfies our eternal thirst and meets our deepest sin need.

John 4:10 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Just as physical life ends quickly when we lack water to hydrate our bodies, a spiritual life void of living water will wither away and die. Today is a great day to do some introspection. Are you experiencing spiritual dehydration? The remedy for your thirst only comes through the living water found in Jesus. Remind yourself today of the hope you have in the gospel, get close to The Lord in His Word and in prayer, and drink deeply from Him. One of my favorite passages of scripture is Revelation 22:17 and I’ll leave you with it today:

Revelation 22:17  The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

By: Matt Mofield