July 30, 2016

Today you should read: Psalm 47

As you read this today, I want to ask you to pause. Whatever it is you’re doing, or planning to do next, for a moment, just pause. As followers of Christ, we have the supreme privilege to acknowledge the King of all creation. We can clap our hands and shout joyful praises,

For the Lord Most High is awesome.
    He is the great King of all the earth. NLT

David recognized that God was worthy of honor and praise, and he wanted to remind the Israelites of the good things God had done, and the victories that He had granted them. God had a high place in David’s life; he was a man after God’s own heart! What David recognized is the very thing we need to recognize today: God is worthy of honor and praise in our lives. We can lean totally on God’s sovereignty in the world around us and in our own lives. Even in what seems like chaos to us, God is at work. In the continually shifting political landscape, God is at work. When confusion and frustrations seem to blind, and our lives are a mess, God is at work in the mess. Look again at verses 7-9:

For God is the King over all the earth.
    Praise him with a psalm.
God reigns above the nations,
    sitting on his holy throne.
The rulers of the world have gathered together
    with the people of the God of Abraham.
For all the kings of the earth belong to God.
    He is highly honored everywhere.

God is the King over all the earth, God reigns above the nations, and the kings of earth belong to Him. We don’t have to be afraid of what might happen tomorrow, because God is already there!

So today, pause.

I’ll leave you with the words and mediations of Charles Spurgeon:

“Muse awhile, obedient thought,
Lo, the theme’s with rapture fraught;
See thy King, whose realm extends
Even to earth’s remotest ends.
Gladly shall the nations own
Him their God and Lord alone;
Clap their hands with holy mirth,

Come, my soul, before him bow,
Gladdest of his subjects thou;
Leave thy portion to his choice,
In his sovereign will rejoice,
This thy purest, deepest bliss,
He is thine and thou art his.”

By: Alex Boswell

July 29, 2016

Today you should read: Psalm 46

Psalm 46 is an amazing psalm, inspiring the classic hymn by Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress is Our God. This Psalm breaks down according to the threefold confession we see in verses 1, 7, and 11. Refuge and strength are two sides of the same coin. Obviously, for a refuge to provide safety it must be able to withstand an attack, it must be strong. And not only is God a strong refuge, he is close enough to help in troubled times.

Verses 7 & 11 echo this sentiment. God is the Lord of Hosts (Sabaoth); meaning, God is the commander of heaven’s armies, all reflecting God’s glory, majesty, and undisputed power over creation. However, God is not only over creation, he is Immanuel—God with us. Not only that, but God is the God of Jacob (later renamed Israel, father of the 12 nations of Israel), the covenant keeping God, He is faithful. And if that wasn’t enough, God is OUR stronghold, OUR Mighty Fortress. That’s the God we worship or as Lockridge put it, “That’s my King!”

In addition to the threefold confession, are three stanzas separated by the word Selah. Selah is a musical term that may mean a pause, crescendo, musical interlude, or repetition. In any case, Selah should draw our attention to what we just read, it inspires reflection and pause. You don’t read this kind of Psalm; you marinate in it.

Creations Close Confederate

Verses 2–3 describe a world in turmoil. From our perspective, the Earth is steady, unmoved… usually. Natural disaster has a way of devastating our senses; what can I trust if not the ground beneath my feet? The world as it’s described in verses 2 & 3 would not inspire confidence, but God is God over Creation. “That’s my King!”

Not only is God the God of Creation, verses 4–6 describe a God who is close. When the psalm was written, God dwelled in the Temple in the city of Jerusalem, “the city of God.”  God’s closeness provides security for the city of his dwelling. As we read this psalm in our day, we understand that the dwelling place of God is in the heart of the believer. God is no longer a few doors down at the Temple, He indwells us! “That’s my King!”

God is Creator, He is close, but also, He is our confederate—our ally, the one in whom we have confidence. God’s provision of security is not only in his dwelling place, but in every nation. Those who rebel against the Lord, rebel in vain; to these God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Notice also the future tense when God speaks, “I will…” Those who war against God are frantically fighting, God’s barely warmed up. “That’s My King!”

Do You Know Him?

This psalm, in case you can’t tell, reminds me of S.M. Lockridge’s famous monologue “That’s my King!” Both get me fired up! Both declare a God worthy of exaltation! Both beg the question, “Do you know Him?”

Watch this video and tell us in the comments what sticks out.

By: Tyler Short

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