May 18, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 9

Security is found in God’s character!!

This chapter, although it goes in a few different directions, has an overarching theme: thanks and praise. Specifically, this Psalm praises God for the success of the Davidic king in defending Israel from its Gentile enemies.

It begins with worship and thanks. In verses 1 and 2, we see the worshiper thank God for His wonderful deeds! Verses 3 through 6 recount the specific ways in which God has protected His people (the Israelites) from the power of their enemies. When we see the word “just cause” in verse 4, it is not simply referring to God allowing them to live a good life and not die. It is referring to the call of Israel to be a light to the Gentiles by living faithfully in the covenant with God. That is their cause…don’t miss that. In verses 7 through 10, there is celebration for the security that comes with God’s righteous rule! In verses 13 through 14, he begins to pray for relief and deliverance from affliction. Moving to verses 15 through 18, the psalmist again celebrates how God defends the poor and needy, among the Israelites. And lastly, in verses 19 and 20, he prays for God to judge the nations.

Today’s “Walk-Away”

For today’s walk-away, I want to camp out in verses 7 through 10. More specifically, I want to look at verse 10.

What do we see in verses 7 through 10? Security in the Lord. Having this security does not mean that everything in life will go your way and you will be without trial, but it is saying that the Lord is in control. It speaks first of His position and cause (verses 7-8)! He is enthroned…. He is KING! And His cause is JUSTICE!

Secondly, it speaks of His strength (verse 9). He vindicates the poor and needy. He upholds His people in their time of distress! Can you relate?

Lastly, it speaks of His character (verse 10). Think about this for a second… “All those who know God’s name put their trust in Him!” Why? Because He has not forsaken those who seek Him! What does this mean? It means that all those who know God and know that He is faithful, steadfast, righteous, unchanging, good, pure, holy, trustworthy, all-knowing, all-powerful, committed, just, loving, gracious, merciful (the list could go on for an eternity) have only one response: trust. There is no other option! What is there not to trust in Him?! His very character demands it.

So what about you? Do you know God? Do you know His names? Do you know His character?
If so, what is your response? Does that make you trust Him? It should. What areas of your life do you not trust Him with? Maybe the answer is that you
are not focusing on Him, but on yourself. The Psalmist says that all those who know His name trust in Him.

Do you know His character? Are you focusing on that or are you focusing on yourself? The solution is to stop. Stop thinking about those things and start thinking about His character. Start thinking about His names, it will cause you to trust.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

May 17, 2011

Today you will read: Psalm 8

God is ruler, sovereign, almighty God! All of these attributes are true, but, to focus on these attributes by themselves leaves one feeling distant. Many of us view God as a distant ruler in the sky who is waiting with a lightning bolt to strike us down every time we mess up. This leads you to always feel like you need to perform. Maybe someone who is reading this is feeling insignificant and even depressed. With God feeling so distant you say to yourself, “there is no way God even knows I exist” or “God must hate me because my life is so terrible.” David addresses this in Psalm 8.

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens….. what is man that you are mindful of him? (Psalm 8:1, 8:4a). David is praising the Lord as our Creator. The word our is significant because David is saying that there is something significant about us. When you read all of Psalm 8 David is speaking about the creation story (Genesis 1-2) and how God put His creation under our rule. We are the pinnacle of God’s creation being made in His image.

When David says, “what is man that you are mindful of him”, he is showing us that God is an intimately loving God. He is invested in us as His image bearers and He cares for us. God is not distant from us and our situation. He knows every inch of our hearts and understands our hurts.

David understood that God was mindful of man and had a plan to proper him but I have to believe he had no idea of the magnitude of his Psalm. The author of Hebrews picks up the language of Psalm 8 when describing Jesus:

Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:5-9

God is so mindful of us that He sent His only son to die in our place and satisfy the punishment for us. God’s plan has always been for us to walk in intimate union with Him. Although sin came into the world (Genesis 3) God did not give up on us. His love is so great that he sent Jesus so that we may be reconciled back into an intimate relationship with Him.

My prayer is that we will be like David and reflect on the question, “what is man that you are mindful of him?”

Posted by: Chad Wiles

May 16, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 7

Have you ever been unfairly criticized? Has someone pronounced you guilty when you were truly innocent? Have you ever done good for the Lord and His Kingdom, yet you were persecuted because of your stand for the gospel?

Then Psalm 7 is for you.

In this Psalm, David cries out to God because he had been slandered by Cush, a fellow Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin. We don’t know about this encounter because it isn’t mentioned anywhere else in scripture. But what we do know is that it was a hurt so profound that it caused David to write about it. It’s broken down into 5 distinct sections.

Section 1: A lament (Psalm 7:1-2)

David cries out in his anguish. Cush’s words and accusations seriously troubled David. He has no where to turn but to the Lord, which is the wise thing to do. We must go directly to the Lord when others hurt us. Gossip and “pleading our case” to friends will only lead to more pain.

Section 2: An oath of innocence (Psalm 7:3-5)

David is sure of his innocence. He goes to the “Just and the Justifier” (Romans 3:26) because He is the only one who can pronounce us innocent. I find this especially helpful simply for the fact that when I plead my innocence before the Lord, it helps me realize that I’m usually not innocent. It thrusts me into a time of introspection and confession, which is what David talks about in verse 8-9.

Section 3: An appeal to God’s justice (Psalm 7:6-9)

Whenever we’re faced with opposition, we must always seek the Lord for his perfect justice. The Lord tells us in Romans 12:19 that vengeance is His. Seeking His justice helps us avoid the mistakes we would make if we took it upon ourselves to bring others to justice. While the Lord may use us to do so, we must always seek His will and counsel first.

Section 4: An affirmation of God’s power and authority (Psalm 7:10-16)

David takes a step back in this part of his Psalm to simply acknowledge the power and authority of God. He is our Shield and our righteous Judge. He is the good King. He is sovereign, and no matter how the situation turns out, His purposes will be accomplished. The wicked will not prevail.

Section 5: A closing hymn (Psalm 7:17)

We can learn something from David here. Whenever we go through conflict or distress of any sort, it is VITAL to our spiritual health to praise God… even (especially) when we struggle or question what is going on. His last words of this Psalm are beautiful:

“I will thank the Lord because he is just;
I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.”

Church, may we echo this closing hymn in our lives today. Blessings to you all.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

May 14, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 6

Welcome to Psalms for the summer! We will only get through part 1 this summer, but it’s going to be a great journey. Do your best to keep up -– you’ll enjoy this great book!

Psalm 6 is a prayer from David, a prayer for mercy in times of great distress. Many people believe this to be a prayer of repentance after his sin with Bathsheba. No one really knows for sure, but what we do know is that David is struggling. His grief is overwhelming! Ever been there? Maybe you’re there now. Depression is very real and it hurts. It’s an uphill struggle that you feel like you can’t overcome.

In verse 1, David is praying for God’s mercy for his sin. Sin is the cause of much of our suffering. The more we yield to God and His Word, the better our lives will go.

In verse 2, the mental pain has become physical. Has your heart ever ached so bad that it made you sick physically? David is asking the Lord to heal him.

In verses 3-5, David is asking God to return to him. He feels distance from his Creator and he’s broken by it. Sounds a bit like the prayer in Psalm 51…

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, 
And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence 
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation 
And sustain me with a willing spirit.”

In verse 6-7, David describes a condition we’ve all experienced a time or two: he’s cried till he can’t cry anymore. Now he can’t sleep.

But in verse 8-10, you see the victory. “The Lord has heard my prayer.” There is where the victory is found. Remember what Peter tells us – “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) and Jesus promises in Matthew 11:28-30 – “come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Posted by: Tim Parsons