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

July 2, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 47

Psalms 46, 47, and 48 go together. We don’t know for sure who wrote them – some think it might have been Isaiah. We also don’t know exactly when they were written. What we do know is that something happened that saved the city of Jerusalem – The City of God.

Some people believe that these Psalms were written in reference to the attack of Assyria on Jerusalem in 701 BC. God protected the city that night! History tells us that even though Assyria was a strong country and an enemy of Jerusalem, when they attacked in 701 BC, in one night 185,000 Assyrian soldiers died. The story of this is recorded in 2 Kings 19:34-36:

34 For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, 
I will defend this city and protect it. 35 That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrianst woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. 36 Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.

Even though we don’t know for sure what these Psalms are referring to, what we do know is that God can protect His people… and we are His people! Find peace in that!!

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, 
and rescues them. Psalm 34:7

Psalm 47 is all about PRAISE for God! The Hebrew word for this is zamar – from where we get the word “psalm”. Psalm means PRAISE!

How are we instructed to PRAISE God?

Through clapping to Him (v. 1a) … many people see this as irreverent – God sees it as an act of worship!
Through shouting to Him (v. 1b) … like you would at a UK basketball game!!
Through playing instruments to Him (v. 5) … God gave us instruments to PRAISE Him with. The word trumpet here is shofar or ram’s horn. It was symbol of God’s power and used for God’s PRAISE.
Through singing to Him (v. 6) … many church attenders can just stand through a worship song and never move their mouths. I can promise you that this is a reflection of their heart and knowledge of God! God tells us to sing to Him in many places in scripture. God gave us the gift of music to worship Him. Satan has certainly hijacked it – but never the less – music’s purpose is to PRAISE our God.

Take some time today and PRAISE God… you can use any of the methods we discussed. Some might seem a little strange – but it’s not the action that really praises God anyway, it’s the heart.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

July 1, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 46

Psalm 46 is a psalm of refuge. In Spurgeon’s commentary, The Treasury of David, he calls this psalm “The song of Holy Confidence.” The very first verse really gives us the theme of the whole psalm: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” This is a promise that we can bank on. This is especially appropriate when thinking about last week’s message about the persecuted church. American Christians, for the most part, don’t really understand this idea of needing a refuge, of needing a place to hide away. Hopefully, this reminds us to continue to pray for and support our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted all over the world.

The remainder of the psalm is a declaration that, because of the truth in verse one, we will not fear or fail, no matter what the circumstances are or what troubles await us around the corner. Twice, this psalm calls God “our fortress.” A fortress is not some dinky little building where you can run and hide in fear, but rather a grand building that is strong, that gives courage to those who are in it and puts fear into those who are not. We are not supposed to walk alone outside of God’s protection but we are also not supposed to hide in our church buildings and cower at the world (2 Timothy 1:7). We are to stand out in the world as a beacon of strength, stability, and hope. God has told us that He “will be exalted among the nations”, and “exalted in the earth” so what do we have to fear? “The Lord almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” so let him be your holy confidence today as you go and proclaim His Son, Jesus.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd