July 14, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 57

The setting and background of this Psalm really makes it come alive. David is running away from Saul. Saul is chasing him down, trying to kill him though David has done nothing wrong to him. David is now hiding in a cave, waiting for Saul to pass by. It is in this distress that David writes.

He asks God for mercy. He pleads that God would take care of him in this dark hour and protect him from his enemies. David declares to God that he will take “refuge in the shadow of His wings.” Even while he is hiding in a cave he knows his true hiding place is in God. When we face hard times and dangerous situations what is our refuge? Is it our strength? Our home? Our family? Our church? Or, is it the wings of our heavenly Father? We cannot count on “caves” in our lives to shield us from hard things. The only real, lasting refuge is God.

David then seems to go back and forth about his circumstance and lifting up praise to God. He cries out and tells God his situation. He pleads his case before God. There is nothing wrong with telling God what is going on in your life and how it makes you feel. In fact, we are told to do this in Psalm 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:7. He is surrounded by those who want to kill him and yet he continues to praise God, to “exalt Him above the heavens.”

David ends this Psalm by making a conscious decision to praise God. He says “I will sing and make music, I will awaken the dawn, I will praise you, O Lord, I will sing of you among the nations.”

We can learn a great lesson here. We are not naturally inclined to worship God in the storms of life. We must follow David’s example in this Psalm. He cried for God’s help, he pleaded his case before Him, remembered God’s faithfulness and decided to trust in Him and praise Him, even in the storm.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

July13, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 56

Preach truth to yourself . . . and choose to believe it

In the ESV, the title of today’s Psalm is, “In God I Trust.” I think that this title is more than fitting, but what is interesting about this psalm is that this is not a “feeling” of trust. It is far more; it is a choice.

At first glance, this psalm has a flavor of distress and hopelessness. But look deeper, because hope is all throughout this thing. It comes from conscious truth, not subjective and circumstantial feelings.

Behind the scenes: This psalm is said to be of David in his distress of the Philistines. Verses 1-4 describe the circumstances that are surrounding him, yet in 3 and 4 he sets his mind on the right response. In verse 4 he is talking. Who is he talking to? He is talking to God and to himself, he tells himself truth.

In verses 5-7, he goes on to describe his situation. David’s opponents seem to be not only the Philistines but all who oppose good.

Verses 8-11 are big-time; this is where the truth really sets in. Why isn’t David overcome with anxiety, fear, hopelessness, and irrational thoughts? The answer is because of these verses. He knows the truth regardless of subjective feelings. This is where I want to land today.

Today’s “Walk-Away”

“Have you realized,” preacher David Martyn Lloyd-Jones once observed, “that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?” These are the opening words of chapter 5 in C.J. Mahaney’s, “The Cross Centered Life.” The chapter is titled, What You Feel vs. What Is Real. C.J. goes on to explain what a typical day looks like, and from the moment you wake up, someone is talking: your mind. The problem is that most of your thoughts are not coming from objective truth. Can you relate? Is most of your unhappiness and fear due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Let me explain what I mean.

This is what is being done here in Psalm 56. Yes, this psalm is to God, but it’s also to us and to himself. He is in a bad predicament; death is chasing him, but look at his words in verses 9 -11: “this I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Can you see it? He is speaking truth in the midst of his troubles.

Are you in Christ, covered with His righteousness? Then God is for you; you are not His enemy. He will take care of you. God’s commitment to you is not based on your good works or your circumstances; it is based on the merit of Christ’s work on the cross. So it is finished! No matter your circumstance, preach this truth to yourself. It could look like this, “Yes, this is a tough situation and I am fearful because of it, but I am a child of God. Christ died for my sins. God is for me. I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? What can any situation do to me? The gospel exists independently of me, therefore I will believe it and cling to it.” Believe truth,church, and live by it.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

July 12, 2011

Today you should read: Psalms 55

Have you ever been betrayed by a close friend or family member? Has your safety ever been put in jeopardy by someone you love? Many of you reading this have had the misfortune of understanding this very idea. It is one of the scariest and hardest things to ever have to deal with.

In Psalm 55 we see a lament (defined as to mourn for or over ~ Dictionary.com) concerning oppression from an enemy. However, the psalmist is very clear that this is no ordinary enemy. In fact, this is someone who was a very close friend (Psalms 55:12-15). This person has caused the psalmist to lash out in his emotional distress and wish evil on his friend. There is a deep anger toward the oppressor. If you have ever been hurt by someone close I am sure you can relate to this part of the psalm. There have been times in my life when my thoughts toward friends and family have been that of revenge due to the pain that I felt from their actions. Is this ok? The answer is yes and no. It is ok when you get hurt to feel anger. It is not ok to dwell on it and harbor hatred toward them. The question to ask yourself when you are hurt is how should I respond?

Verses (22-23) show us the correct response. We must cast our burdens upon the Lord for the judgment of others is His. The commentary from the ESV Study Bible states: “cast your burden on the Lord.” The singer addresses each of his fellow singers in v.22-23. The reason the faithful can cast their burdens on the Lord is that He can be trusted to bring judgment upon the evildoers. The psalms do not say when God will cast them down; the faithful will wait for God’s own good timing.

In other words, it is God’s job to judge and it is our job to share the gospel. My challenge to you when you are going through these kinds of struggles is to run hard to the Lord and pray for the strength to love your enemy. Ask for God to save your enemy through the blood of His son Jesus, because that is exactly what He did for you when you were His enemy (Romans 5:8).

Posted by: Chad Wiles

July 11, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 54

The first verse says it all, doesn’t it? “O God, save me by Your name…” (Psalm 54:1a ESV).

David begins his lament psalm knowing that his hope for salvation and vindication comes from God. What’s happening in this psalm is that Saul — who once supported David — was now jealous and was willing to kill him. David was on the run from Saul. Here is the correlating passage in 1 Samuel:

Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of Jeshimon? Now come down, O king, according to all your heart’s desire to come down, and our part shall be to surrender him into the king’s hand.” 1 Samuel 23:19-20 ESV

A bunch of rats! The Ziphites ratted David out. Thus, Psalm 54 comes at a moment of great vulnerability for David. He is fearing for his life and has nowhere else to turn. The Lord, whose name is I AM, is the only one he trusts. That’s why it’s fitting that David begins with a plea to God’s name. There is refuge in His name.

This Old Testament verse has a direct correlation to a New Testament truth. See, for us as believers in Christ, there is refuge in the name of Jesus. In fact, Jesus’ name in Hebrew literally means “deliverance” or “salvation”. For David, I AM was all he needed. For us who are in Christ, YESHUA is all we need.

Verse 4 continues this theme:

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them.
Psalm 54:4-5 ESV

Are you going through any major trials right now? Do you feel like your back is against the wall in some way or another? Remember that the name of the Lord is a fortress for those who trust in it. Wherever you are, whatever you are going through, the Lord is capable of seeing you through. He did it for David. He can do it for you too.

Blessings to you today, CPC!

Posted by: Todd Thomas