July 7, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 51

This psalm has so much meaning and so much packed in it that it is hard to even know where to begin. David has just been confronted by the prophet Nathan about his sin. David now looks to the Lord and pours out his heart in true repentance. If you ever wonder what true repentance looks like, this is it…Psalm 51. He asks for God’s mercy from the very beginning. We often times think that God has to take us back and we assume God’s mercy. Shame on us for being so proud! Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve.

We just throw up a “my bad dog” to God and think it is all okay. God is not obligated to show us mercy. David knows this and begs for it like the tax collector in Luke 18:13-14. David understands and confesses that he has sinned and needs God to wash his sin away. He confesses that his sin is against God and that he is a sinner by nature. We can never forget this. God hasn’t (Psalm 103:13-14). We need to understand that we are going to make mistakes, we are not perfect. In A.W. Tozer’s book, The Pursuit of God, he says about such men as David, Abraham, Jacob, and others, “the man of God set his heart to exalt God above all; God accepted his intention as fact and acted accordingly. Not perfection, but holy intention made the difference.” God is not looking for perfection; He is looking for the one who will allow themselves to be used.

David continues by asking God to restore him. David wants his relationship with his God back; his joy to return. David doesn’t ask God to give him back his possessions, his family, or to even take away the punishment for his sins. David only wants to be restored to God. Is that our cry to God when we fail? Do we ask God to restore our relationship with Him or to take away the pain of discipline and consequence of sin?

David ends with what I feel is the strongest part of all. He points out that God does not want sacrifice of stuff but of self. So many times in our lives when we fail we tell God we will do better next time, we will serve more, give more, or try harder. God does not want that. That is not true repentance. God wants you to cry out and tell Him that you need Him because you are broken and can’t fix yourself. God wants someone who is sorry for their sin because it hurts Him and it disrupts their relationship with Him. God does not want someone who has all the answers. So, when we are before our Father and we have messed up, ask for His mercy, don’t assume it. Understand that God knows we are weak. Check your motives for why you are coming to God and be ready to say as John did, “He must increase and I must decrease.”

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

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July 6, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 50

The Gospel doesn’t excuse how you live… you should obey….

WOW. God means business. This psalm is convicting and sobering. It can probably be summed up as a psalm that pronounces how people should live as a part of His covenant people. Now this is Old Testament, but this has AMAZING PARALLELS to our lives. Don’t miss this.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

These people were being warned. Their excuses were found in their sacrifice. You see, their sacrifices are what allowed God to forgive them of their sin. But these people presumed privileges of the sacrificial system, thinking that it was a way to “buy God off,” or “excuse their sin,” or that it was doing God a favor.

Don’t you see the parallel? Our excuse is found in our sacrifice. Because we are “saved” or because God’s love is only conditional upon Jesus (which is true) or because God is patient, it gives us excuses to sin. We think that we can do it because God will forgive us (which He will).

Then God summons the earth to judgment (v1-6). He then speaks of worship from the HEART (v7-15). And finally rebukes the “wicked” (v16-23). “What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips? For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you,” (v16 -17). These are strong words.

So what about you? What is there in your life that you are excusing because of Christ’s sacrifice? You see, Christ’s sacrifice is supposed to bring about change, not give us a license to sin. The gospel is sweetest because it TAKES AWAY SIN, not because it allows more.

God sums this psalm up with a statement about worship from the heart in verse 23. He shows interest in what membership as God’s favored people should mean: joyfully to delight in God’s presence (thanksgiving as his sacrifice), and an obedient life (orders his way rightly).

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

July 5, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 49

Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Mickey Mantle all have something in common. They are legends in the sport of baseball and hall of famers. To this day, when you watch a baseball game there is a chance that one of the announcers will reference one of these guys and talk about how they were one of the greats of all time. As a child I wanted so badly to be a major league baseball player but not just any player, I wanted to be a legend just like these guys. There is also something else that these guys have in common. They are all three dead. They may be legends to us but that doesn’t matter to them. I wonder what they lived for. Did they only live for the sport of baseball or did they know Christ? The one thing that I do know is that they no longer have the sport of baseball.

Psalm 49 is wisdom in the form of a hymn. This type of wisdom literature is normally found in books such as Proverbs. This psalm addresses those who put their hope in their wealth. Psalm 49:5-12 is very clear about the emptiness that wealth brings to those who put their faith in wealth instead of the Lord.

This psalm is very cut and dry. We see two groups: those who trust in their wealth and those who trust in the Lord. Those who trust in their wealth are “like sheep headed to Sheol”…in other words they have no hope and are destined for hell. When we put our faith in the things of this world we can conclude that our best life is now because when we die nothing will save us from being separated from God in hell. However, for those who put their trust in the Lord and make Christ the Lord of their life have hope now and for all of eternity!

“Jesus replied, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6

My challenge for you today is to ask yourself where you place your hope. Be honest with yourself because the psalmist wasn’t just talking to those who were not “religious.”

Posted by: Chad Wiles

July 4, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 48

Happy Independence Day! Today is an ideal day for us to pause and offer significant thanksgiving to our God.

To start, we must thank the Lord for the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. The Declaration of Independence may have been signed with ink on paper, but it was also signed with blood. The blood of sacrificial American soldiers. Our country is free, at least for now. We get to enjoy this liberty because of their shed blood. Praise the Lord for those who made our freedom possible.

Most of all, we should be rejoicing in Christ Jesus. Any celebration of freedom here on earth pales in comparison to the spiritual freedom He offered us. Our salvation declaration wasn’t signed with ink. It was signed with the body and blood of Jesus. It was stamped with Christ’s resurrection. And it’s forever ours! No one can ever take it from us. Glory to God in the highest!

As we pick up with Psalm 48, let me encourage you to read yesterday’s post that Tim Parsons wrote. He highlights some great background material on Psalm 46 & 47. Today, the psalmist sings once again about Zion – the mountain of God. Here’s a quick study note on this from an NLT commentary:

This song of Zion (see also Psalm 46, 76, 87, 122) explicitly views Jerusalem (Zion) as the city of the Great King where the godly find protection (48:1-3). God rules from Zion in faithfulness, righteousness, and justice, and he inspires his subjects with confidence and joy (48:9-11). They commit themselves to seeing the glory of Zion for themselves so that they can tell the next generation about it (48:8, 12-14).

While Zion is the theme, the praise is never meant for the location. Praise goes out to the One who protects Zion. Praise belongs to the One who created this holy mountain. Verse 11 is a key verse to remind us of this. Zion and Judah aren’t glad simply because of their geography. They are glad because of the justice of the Lord.

The question that the Lord brought to my mind today was this:

“Are you more concerned with where I take you and what I give you rather than the simple fact that I am with you?”

Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. Psalm 48:1-2

Posted by: Todd Thomas