June 23, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 39

This is a very real Psalm. One of my favorite things about this book of the Bible is that it joins together theology, real life situations, and emotions. We see several Psalms where the writer is dealing with a deep struggle, feeling abandoned by God, or life is unfair to them and yet… they turn back to God and connect what they are going through to the truth of God’s character. This Psalm in particular is dealing with David as he lays sick and depressed. He tells God that he has tried to watch his words while everything goes on around him. Finally he blurts out and begs God to just take him. Do you ever feel like life gets so bad that you just want to throw your hands up and quit? David is at that point… probably more than any of us have ever been. He proclaims the vanity of life…the building up of wealth and security.. and then he seems to make a drastic turn in verse 7 as he cries to God…”but now, Lord, what do I look for?” My hope is in you!” Does this resonate with you? You beg and plead with God, maybe even argue with Him and then surrender occurs. You realize in your spirit that your hope is Him! The very thing you need is found in Him. David’s demeanor now changes. He goes from arguing and complaining to pleading and begging. He goes from pride and anger to humility.

Now, he begins to ask God to change Him. He asks God to save him from his sin, his sickness, and his situation. He asks God to take away his sin and, basically, let up on the discipline he was receiving for it. Part of that discipline was his sickness. He asks God to make him better and give him life back. Then he asks God to restore their relationship. He feels distant and estranged, like a “foreigner” or “stranger” to God. How often do we sin and mess up our relationship with God and begin to feel this way? If this describes you, beg God to help you deal with your sin and restore your relationship with Him.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

June 22, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 38

Hope in Hopelessness…

More of a serious tone here… this Psalm is a lament. The psalmist is laying his troubles before God, and these are troubles that have resulted from his own sin. In verses 1-14, he knows that the troubles he is experiencing are because of his own sin…and here’s something interesting…he also knows that his troubles are FROM GOD. We see this by the words “your anger,” “your wrath,” “your arrows,” and “your indignation.” But, he also says in verse 3, that he knows it is because of his sin. Ponder on those truths for a while.

He continues his anguish-filled cry through verse 14. But in verses 15-22, he acknowledges his hope…

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

“You alone are my hope.” “For you, O Lord, do I wait.” “It is you, O God, who will answer me.” These are the words from the same man who is in anguish. He is drowning in pain, sorrow, loneliness, guilt, and heaviness, yet he finds hope in the hopelessness. Now, he is still hurting, as evidenced in verse 17, but he remembers truth and finds hope. The first step: He ACKNOWLEDGES God (verse 15).

As he goes on, he genuinely confesses and apologizes for his sins. The second step: He CONFESSES his sins (verse 18).

Furthermore, he cries for help in verses 21-22. He cries, “Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!” The third step: He ASKS for God’s HELP!

So how about you? Are you in pain? Are you guilty because of your sin? Are you lonely? Are you sorrowful and heavy? Does it feel like your own sin as well as God’s “arrows” have brought some pain? Follow these steps with a genuine heart. Take heed to the psalmist’s example. 1. Acknowledge that IT IS GOD who will restore you. 2. Confess your sins and genuinely apologize. Lastly, 3. Ask for God’s HELP!

He’s greater than your sin. Do you believe that?

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

June 21, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 37

Have you ever taken a defensive driving class? I took one at Eastern Kentucky University as an elective because all of the advanced chemistry courses were full.. or something like that. Anyway, in that class we drove a car that was equipped with special wheels to simulate difficult driving conditions such as wet or icy roads. The main thing that our instructor taught us was to look ahead to where we wanted the car to go and not directly in front of us. There was a really deep theology behind his philosophy which was “you can’t go where you are not looking.” 

David gives us the directional beacon to focus our hope in Psalm 37:34: “Hope in the Lord and keep His way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.”

There are so many distractions in our lives that can easily deter us from fully following the Lord. The main distraction that David points out in this Psalm is the “wicked” who are all around us. For some of us this looks like a friend who is cheating on his wife but never seems to get caught. For others this is the lazy co-worker who just got a promotion. Unfortunately for many it may be the abuse that you have endured or some other unspeakable oppression at the hands of someone else. These are all tragic things but the answer is not to envy, hate, or even seek revenge on the wicked. These things will only cause us to do or become the very thing that we are focused on. (v.8)

So, if we become what we focus on then let our focus be on Christ. He is our example of how to love our enemies. Remember, before you knew Him, you were one. (Romans 5:8).

Today as you encounter sin may you meditate on Psalm 37:39-40:

“The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him. 

Posted by: Chad Wiles

June 20, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 36

After a healthy handful of Psalms, it’s pretty clear that David laments a lot. His life doesn’t seem easy, and he writes a lot of songs about his hardships. If you didn’t know the context of the psalms, you would probably think he’s a whiner.

That’s not the case at all.

As the king of Israel, David has had to endure many battles and racked up many enemies up until this point. His position and his country’s safety were constantly in danger. Wickedness, both from within Israel and from the neighboring regions, was always crouching at his door.

When we arrive at Psalm 36, David is faced with both the reality of his current context and the sovereignty of his immutable God. Verses 1-4 point to the sin and wickedness of the world. He exposes the sinner’s deceit, pride, lack of wisdom, and pure evil. There is a stern warning to be found here: we must avoid this kind of lifestyle at all costs. If not,”he who plots trouble from his own bed” will be done in by that very trouble.

Verse 5 & 6 contrast this kind of wickedness with the unfailing love, faithfulness, and righteousness of God. The Lord is just and upright – the exact opposite of the description found in verses 1-4. The Lord also protects His children, a promise found in verses 7-9. This reminds us that following the Lord brings everlasting satisfaction, not temporary self-gratification that the person described in verses 1-4 would seek.

At the end of the psalm in typical fashion, David sings a plea to the Lord. He begs God to unceasingly love and protect him. Today, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, pray this fitting prayer with me and with David:

Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
(Psalm 36:10-11 ESV)

If you have a moment, check out the song by Third Day that was inspired by this Psalm below:

Posted by: Todd Thomas