Look Up! (Psalm 123 Devotion)


A Song of Ascents. Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants [look] to the hand of their masters, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes [look] to the LORD our God, Until He has mercy on us. 3 Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. 4 Our soul is exceedingly filled With the scorn of those who are at ease, With the contempt of the proud.

PSALM 123:1-4


Where do we go when we are being persecuted? How do we handle the pressure of living a godly life in an ungodly world? What do we do when we have been singled out, made fun of, mocked, or ridiculed by those in power? What does faith look like when I am oppressed?

This psalm is a picture of a prayer, not necessarily a guide on how to pray. We can take some principles away from this psalm, but it wasn’t written as a guide to prayer, it’s a demonstration of prayer when I am being held in contempt by others.

We look up to God. Notice the posture. We don’t look down on him. We don’t look at him. We look UP to Him.

Do we get on our knees to pray? So much is said of our body language in business and social interactions. What does our body language betray about our thoughts about God? 

It is said that Michelangelo had such a habit of looking up at the ceilings of these marvelous buildings that he painted that it affected his posture. People would catch him about Rome as he was out and about and would find him looking up. 

That needs to be our posture. We need to be so used to looking to God in the midst of the trials and tribulations of life, that even when it comes to the ordinary moments of life we just naturally look to God. We look to God. 

To walk the Christian life you will be persecuted. 20 years ago I was sharing the gospel in downtown Mobile. I was talking with those who had gone to the bars. I was spit on for trying to plead with someone about their soul. 

I have been told that I should never have kids. I’ve been called a hillbilly hick. I’ve been called a mouth breather. I’ve been called all sorts of names. I’ve been dismissed. Where should I look? LOOK TO UP TO GOD! LOOK UP TO GOD! LOOK UP TO GOD!

My Children need to hear it and see it in me. When adversity happens. When we encounter problems. When we face persecution… LOOK UP TO GOD! Like a servant looks to the master’s hand for directions we need to look to God for his will in our lives!


Father, How quickly I am reminded to humble myself in my posture to you. Too often I confess my eyes are on the headlines or on the news coming from this individual or that one that it is hard to see you unless I humble myself, get on my knees, and ask for your direction in my life. It is easy sometimes to imagine what should happen or how things should unfold. It is easy to be hurt when feeling persecuted, but I am grateful that I can look to you, the author and finisher of the faith. I look to you Lord, I look to you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

A Traveler’s Song (Psalm 121 Devotion)


A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the hills–From whence comes my help? 2 My help [comes] from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD [is] your keeper; The LORD [is] your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

PSALM 121:1-8


David Livingstone, the famous missionary to the African Continent, chose to read Psalm 121 along with Psalm 135 with his father and sister before embarking on his missionary journey. His mother-in-law, Mrs. Moffat also wrote to him and said that Psalm 121 was always on her mind when she prayed for him. 

In Psalm 121 the pilgrims were leaving behind pagan lands to come and to worship in the temple of God in Jerusalem. We took note that they were distinct from the people around them because they worshiped the LORD. There was a prayer that they wouldn’t believe all the lies around them. That they wouldn’t buy into the false god’s and pagan deities. We can pray that for us as well to pray with confidence that this place is not our home and to ask God for grace in the midst of everything. 

Where does our help come from? Why were the travelers here looking at the hills? The hills and high places were places of false worship. There were a variety of false god’s that would be worshiped in a variety of wicked ways on the hills. Worshipers of these false god’s would offer children as a sacrifice to Moloch, Baal was a harvest god but was also in charge of the weather, Ashtoroth was fertility her altars were giant phallic symbols and she had a cult of prostitutes that would meet you up at the high places. There were also smaller regional deities. Demons that liked to cause mischief like a stone under your foot to twist your ankle, etc… unless they were appeased by some sort of offering.  When these folks traveled they would see all of these places of worship to these false God’s on the hills.  Even in Israel these places were set up at different times by kings. Solomon had erected a temple on the mount of olives that overlooked the temple mount! People going in to worship the one true God would see their king and his wives going to worship a false god!!!

Listen to some of these verses about worshiping on the hills, also called high places, and under green tree’s. 

[Deu 12:1-5 NKJV] 1 “These [are] the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. 2 “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 “And you shall destroy their altars, break their [sacred] pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. 4 “You shall not worship the LORD your God [with] such [things]. 5 “But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.

[1Ki 3:3 NKJV] 3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.

[Psa 78:58 NKJV] 58 For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images.

[Isa 65:7 NKJV] 7 Your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together,” Says the LORD, “Who have burned incense on the mountains And blasphemed Me on the hills; Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.”

[Jer 3:22-23 NKJV] 22 “Return, you backsliding children, [And] I will heal your backslidings.” “Indeed we do come to You, For You are the LORD our God. 23 Truly, in vain [is salvation hoped for] from the hills, [And from] the multitude of mountains; Truly, in the LORD our God [Is] the salvation of Israel.

[Jer 7:31 NKJV] 31 “And they have built the high places of Tophet, which [is] in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart.

As we travel through this life we will face hazards. The question that the Psalmist raises is where will you look for your help to come from? Will you look to God the maker of heaven and earth? Or will you look somewhere else (the hills high places) for your solution? 

The Psalmist declares he doesn’t trust in high places when his world falls apart or he is anxious about traveling. His hope is in the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.


Father, You are the maker of heaven and earth! I will look to you for my help and salvation. I will not seek false gods and idols that do not satisfy. It’s you who guards my steps and it’s you in whom I trust. Watch over my steps today. Lead me in the way everlasting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

I Am Homesick For A Country (Psalm 120 Devotion)


A Song of Ascents. In my distress I cried to the LORD, And He heard me. 2 Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips [And] from a deceitful tongue. 3 What shall be given to you, Or what shall be done to you, You false tongue? 4 Sharp arrows of the warrior, With coals of the broom tree! 5 Woe is me, that I dwell in Meshech, [That] I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 My soul has dwelt too long With one who hates peace. 7 I [am for] peace; But when I speak, they [are] for war.

PSALM 120:1-7


This Psalm begins a run of 15 Psalms that are called the Psalms of Ascent. Jewish people had lived and settled outside of Israel for a variety of reasons. One of the key reasons was a forced relocation by invading armies. Over time these families lived in these far off places and would travel back to Jerusalem on three key holidays (Passover, Pentecost, and the Day of Atonement). 

Along the way they would sing these particular songs. If you read through them they take you on a journey from the far country all the way back to the altar in the temple of God. 

They were songs of celebration, hope, remembrance, and most importantly songs of confidence in God. They were discipleship oriented. To sing these songs were meant to instill the right ideas or thoughts into the minds of those who are traveling. Especially the children. 

We live in a microwave society. We want things to happen our way, right away. It may be a good recipe for customer service when offering a burger, but it’s not great when it comes to developing a life long commitment to God. 

Our society is filled with shallow Christians who haven’t put in the time to really experience the power of God in their lives. We used to have to work hard for our food. We used to have to keep the cow milked to get our milk. We had to plant our garden, wait for rain, get rid of the weeds, protect against bugs, be patient for it all to ripen and then harvest within a narrow window. This long process is what it took to produce fruit or for a plant to come to maturity. Similarly true, gospel discipleship takes time. It takes consistency in the same direction. 

Often look for discipleship to happen in a matter of a few minutes. We give it one or two Sundays a month and hope that something turns up. We expect as all things to happen in a matter of a few minutes and we wonder when our children are heathens. 

We live in a place filled with lies… Lies about who we are. Lies about God. Lies about what our purpose is. Lies about our humanity. Lies about our gender/ sexuality. Lies about what constitutes a life.  Lies about marriage. Lies about creation. Lies about the seriousness of sin. Lies about how our sin impacts others. 

God hears our prayers. Our prayers will be answered (v4), but patience is required. 

As they march up to Zion they are claiming, “we are not like the people around us who live by lies. We live by the truth of God’s word. We are set apart not for destruction, but for the Lord. We are his people. We bear a responsibility to tell the truth even when we are surrounded by those who live by lies. We must share the good news with others. We want them to know! “


Father, Thank you for your word today! I am reminded that we live in a fallen world. A world filled with sin and lies. It is difficult to know who is telling the truth anymore and it is easy to become sinical. Keep me rooted in your truth. Refresh me again with the reminder that there will come a day and I will be in a place where there are no more lies. Where truth abounds and good news isn’t debated but loudly shouted everywhere. Give me grace to live as a foreigner in this world. Let me live as a citizen of that country in this country. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

A Song of Salvation (Psalm 118:15-29 Devotion)


The voice of rejoicing and salvation [Is] in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. 16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. 17 I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the LORD. 18 The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death. 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, [And] I will praise the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD, Through which the righteous shall enter. 21 I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation. 22 The stone [which] the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This was the LORD’s doing; It [is] marvelous in our eyes. 24 This [is] the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed [is] he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD. 27 God [is] the LORD, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. 28 You [are] my God, and I will praise You; [You are] my God, I will exalt You. 29 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for [He is] good! For His mercy [endures] forever.

PSALM 118:15-29


The voice of rejoicing here means that we need to be shouting loud! This is not a quiet simple melody. This has the boom of large bass drums and trumpets blaring! This is a joyful exuberance. The psalmist doesn’t want us to miss this!

I was watching my daughter the other day when she had to stay home from school. she was sitting in my lap talking to me and I was checking my messages on my phone, not paying as much attention to here as she deserved. What she has to say was really important to her and so she grabbed me by the cheeks and put her face in mine and in a dramatic way told me everything she had to say… 

That is what the psalmist is saying and doing here! Pay attention. What he has to say is important!

The Psalmist says it three times here, but he wants us to know that he was saved by the Lord’s hand. This is personal. He wasn’t saved by his word or decree, but the Lord Himself intervened. He intervene with his right hand. His dominant hand. His stronger hand. His most skilled hand. His favored hand. Don’t miss this, the Psalmist says. This is how we know God loves us, because he has moved on our behalf!

Verse 17 really jumped out at me today as I read prayed over it. John Wycliff the bible translator was on his death bed and a few men who had persecuted him gathered to offer him a chance to recant his position. They prayed for his health, then they prayed for his soul as it looked like he was getting sicker and sicker… Then finally he sat upright in the bed and grabbed the nearest one and quoted this verse. “I shall not die, but live.” And a few days later he recovered and went about the work of bible translating! 

Martin Luther was a German monk who had begun translating the bible into German and he had a lot of people who were looking to kill him. He was protected and kept in hiding by a wealthy prince who had befriended him. He was one who was familiar with persecution as he became perhaps the loudest voice of the protestant reformation. One of his biographers said that this verse 17 hung in his study.  

Charles Spurgeon wrote in his commentary, “No bullet will find it’s billet in our hearts until we have finished our allotted period of activity.” 

The song that came to mind today as I read over the second half of Psalm 118 is “Soverign Ruler of the Sky.” I’ve got it on a playlist of hymns that play over and over. Part of the song goes like this:

“Plagues and deaths around me fly, 

Till he please I cannot die;

Not a single shaft can hit,

Till the God of love sees fit.”


Father, You are my salvation! There is no other name by which men are saved! I thank you for your grace in my life today! I praise you for you are worthy of praise! Thank you for grabbing my attention with your word today and causing me to focus on the marvelous benefits of trusting in you! You are a God who delights to save his people. I recognize in my own life how I have been through many valleys and faced various hardships, but it was your hand that delivered me from even my own sin. I celebrate your goodness and rejoice in your salvation and am blessed with a grateful heart this day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Give Thanks To The LORD (Psalm 118:1-14 Devotion)


Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for [He is] good! For His mercy [endures] forever. 2 Let Israel now say, “His mercy [endures] forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron now say, “His mercy [endures] forever.” 4 Let those who fear the LORD now say, “His mercy [endures] forever.” 5 I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me [and set me] in a broad place. 6 The LORD [is] on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see [my desire] on those who hate me. 8 [It is] better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. 9 [It is] better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes. 10 All nations surrounded me, But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 11 They surrounded me, Yes, they surrounded me; But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 12 They surrounded me like bees; They were quenched like a fire of thorns; For in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall, But the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD [is] my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.

PSALM 118:1-14


When I was growing up my parents believed in torture. Before we had prayer and ate a family meal together, we would sit down and each one of us would go around the table and share about something we were thankful for. There were six of us in the family. As a hungry youngster with all those delicious smells coming to my nostrils about the only thing I could find to be thankful for sometimes was that we were just a family of six and not seven or eight. I always felt the food got colder than it should… at least that’s the way I felt back then. Now I cherish those memories of a loving family sharing the blessings in our lives and we seek to do something similar at our table for family meals.

But as a youngster I was covered up in blessing and didn’t know it. There were moments were we struggled to come up with something we truly felt grateful for. Perhaps it was because, other than this moment, gratitude hadn’t become a real part of our lives yet. We took a lot of things for granted because all we knew of the world was the blessings of our home life.

Since then I’ve sought to create habits and patterns of gratitude in my own life. I seek to write thankyou notes whenever I can. I have a Sunday practice of sharing my gratitude for the day’s services on facebook and other various ways that seek to cultivate a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving in my life.

This Psalm begins and ends with giving thanks to the LORD, reminding us that no matter what else this Psalm is, it is a prayer and a song of thanksgiving. The Psalmist has no problem sharing what we should be thankful for? The answer is simply that we are thankful for the unique relationship that the nation of Israel, her people, and all people who come to the LORD have with the one true God.

We gather in praise first because the LORD is good. He is not mean. He is patient. He is not unloving, but indeed loves well beyond the limits that we expect love to go. He is full of grace and mercy. He makes Himself easy to find. He doesn’t hide. He isn’t far off. He offers forgiveness and hope to all who come to him. He is a God who saves and delivers! He is trustworthy and reliable. His grace has been taken advantage of, but he isn’t damaged by it. He gives us better than we deserve. HE IS GOOD!

His love/ mercy endures forever. The translators had to add that word, “endure,” to help us grasp the full meaning of this. His love is never exhausted! It never reaches the point where it can’t go on! You are worn out and tired before the love of God has even gotten winded. It runs deeper than you can imagine. It is wider than you can fathom. It is higher than anything your mind can comprehend. 

It never runs out on you. It never gives up. It never quits. You have quit on God’s love before he has ever quit on you.  


Father, Thank you for your unending love and mercy poured out in my life. I don’t deserve it. I cannot earn it. Yet you choose to show your grace to me. Time and time again I think that perhaps this time I have exhausted your patience or that I have gone to far, but your love never fails. It never cedes. It never loses it’s traction and faulters. You’re mercy lasts and lasts far longer than I am able to fathom. For that I am grateful. For how many times have I imagined to pull myself up from my own bootstraps only to fall on my face or note as I look back that it was really your kind hand of providence at work in my life. So today and everyday I give thanks to you O LORD! For you are worthy of all gratitude, honor, and praise! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

SPECIAL NOTE: Psalm 119 is a very long Psalm. I will post a reflection on the second part of Psalm 118 tomorrow and then jump right into Psalm 120. Once we have completed the Psalms I hope to come back and take a little more time going through Psalm 119, maybe section by section.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

He Does Whatever He Pleases (Psalm 115 Devotion)


Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth. 2 Why should the Gentiles say, “So where [is] their God?” 3 But our God [is] in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. 4 Their idols [are] silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. 5 They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; 6 They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; 7 They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. 8 Those who make them are like them; [So is] everyone who trusts in them. 9 O Israel, trust in the LORD; He [is] their help and their shield.

PSALM 115:1-9


I never had an imaginary friend growing up, but I had a friend who had one. When ever we were deciding to play something he would say that his imaginary friend voted with him to play whatever he wanted to play. Even as a kid, I knew something was fishy. I was stuck with a conundrum, either I had to acknowledge his imaginary friend and give him double voting power or refuse to recognize his friend was real. Sometimes his imaginary friend made him go on quests. I feel like the whole thing ended up as either a power play or a sad process to avoid reality.

I imagine having a false god or idol is like having an imaginary friend. They are made in your image and so they think like you do at best, or at worst they are a sad delusion that keeps you from experiencing reality. The psalmist recognizes that false gods have no real power. The nations around Israel celebrated idols and attributed all sorts of power to them, but in the end, they were just stones carved by a mans hand.

The one true God of Israel was different. He couldn’t be reduced to an idol. He doesn’t think like we think. He made us, we didn’t make Him and because of that He has the right to expect us to fulfill our God-given purpose! He doesn’t give us glory, we give him glory! He doesn’t have to love His people, but He has chosen to love His people which really defines covenantal love.

As I reflect on these verses this morning I am grateful that the God of scripture is real. He moves as He chooses throughout history, including my own life. He is not bound by me or propped up by me but He holds us up by his mercy and goodness. This God who can’t be reduced to an idol can hear because he made the ear, he can speak because he made the tongue, he can hold because he made hands.


Father, All glory, honor, and power belong to you! You are truly great in all that you do. There is no one like you. You are not an idol fashioned by the minds of men to manipulate other, but we are indeed created after you and in your image. You are worthy of all of our worship and praise! I rejoice in your sovereignty. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

The Presence Of The Lord (Psalm 114 Devotion)


When Israel went out of Egypt, The house of Jacob from a people of strange language, 2 Judah became His sanctuary, [And] Israel His dominion. 3 The sea saw [it] and fled; Jordan turned back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, The little hills like lambs. 5 What ails you, O sea, that you fled? O Jordan, [that] you turned back? 6 O mountains, [that] you skipped like rams? O little hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 Who turned the rock [into] a pool of water, The flint into a fountain of waters.

PSALM 114:1-8


When we were little I used to dread saying goodbye to my grandmother. She always cried when we said goodbye. It might help to know that she lived in Alabama and we lived in Montana. It took four days by car or bus to make the trip. My sister and I made the trip every summer to live with her and my grandpa for several weeks, but when it came to saying goodbye the waterworks would start. She just had a hard time knowing that we would be so far away. She knew all about Montana (she grew up there too) but she couldn’t stand to know that we would be so far away from her. She wanted to be more present in our lives and while we talked regularly on the phone and got and sent cards in the mail, all that geography got in the way of her really being there for us.

This Psalm is a reflection and celebration of how the Lord was present with His people through the Exodus. It capitalizes on the geographical miracles, not just the timing and events, but how they became a metaphor for how even geography couldn’t separate God from His people. The Red Sea and the Jordan River were divided so the people could flee the Egyptians and enter into the promised land. The mountains shook when the ten commandments were delivered. The rock that Moses struck (he was supposed to just speak to it) provided fresh water for God’s people. In all of this it was God’s presence that was most celebrated!

It reminds me of what we will behold when Revelation 21 is fulfilled and we see a New Heaven and a New Earth. The geography will be different because there will be nothing to separate us from the presence of God ever again. God will dwell with his people, no sin and no separation of any kind.

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them [and be] their God. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:1-4

Having just spoken yesterday on the command to love one another as Christ has loved us it reminds me also of what Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I am resting confidently today that nothing can separate me from the Love of God.


Father, What can separate us from your love? Nothing! Indeed I am so grateful for your presence in my life. you have placed your Holy Spirit inside each and every believer and we have a seal, a guarantee of our eternal inheritance which includes your eternal presence! I confess that I cannot fathom the depth, the height, or the magnitude of your love for me, I only know that you love me and in that I rest as a confident son. Thank you for you grace in my life. The more I hear of that celestial city, the more I long for a country to which I belong, but have never been before. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Volunteers (Psalm 110 Devotion)


A Psalm of David. The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” 2 The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! 3 Your people [shall be] volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth. 4 The LORD has sworn And will not relent, “You [are] a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord [is] at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. 6 He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill [the places] with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries. 7 He shall drink of the brook by the wayside; Therefore He shall lift up the head.

PSALM 110:1-7


I am reminded again about how prophetic the Psalms often are. This Psalm is quoted in both Matthew 22:44 and Acts 2:34-35 as referring to Jesus. We can safely place this Psalm in the category of being a Messianic Psalm. Indeed verse 4 is quoted throughout Hebrews 5-7 highlighting Jesus’ unique high priestly role and ability to intercede for us because of his humanity and his deity. There is also an aspect of this Psalm that appears to be still ahead of us when all the world will recognize Jesus as king.

So what do we do with such as psalm? How do we draw application?

I think part of our application today comes from the fact that God is in control. We are reminded that he has inspired words and events thousands of years ago that spoke both to the present situation and were in a sense prophecy about Jesus. I believe we can take the yet to be fulfilled aspects of this Psalm in the same way. We can trust that God is in control and he is working all of history to it’s rightful conclusion with Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I think we can also take verse three to heart. Have we volunteered for the Lord’s service. Are we part of the body of Christ? Do we take our calling to be a part of His church seriously? Do we use our gifts for His kingdom and His glory. Do we understand what it is to belong to something bigger than ourselves in this sense. The sin of the American culture is selfishness. We plan according to our own personal wants and desires with little regard for the needs of others to whom the Lord has placed us in proximity. Volunteering for the Lord’s service requires a commitment to the Lord and to each other. Do we take that commitment seriously?


Father, I am humbled to realize again just how in control you are. You are able to speak across thousands of years with clarity and intention. We rejoice in Jesus our high priest and we are confident in your love for your people. We look forward to the return of Christ and the ushering in of a new heavens and a new earth. Help us to take seriously this day our calling to be a part of the body of Christ. Let us not forsake gathering together with your people, in your name, but let us encourage and strengthen one another all the more as the day draws near. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

I Give Myself To Prayer (Psalm 109 Devotion)


To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Do not keep silent, O God of my praise! 2 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful Have opened against me; They have spoken against me with a lying tongue. 3 They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, And fought against me without a cause. 4 In return for my love they are my accusers, But I [give myself to] prayer. 5 Thus they have rewarded me evil for good, And hatred for my love.

PSALM 109:1-5


I was taught a lie when I was younger. Someone taught me to say, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But sometimes words do hurt and to be honest the impact of words can last longer than mere physical bruises or even broken bones. As a pastor I’ve dealt with many folks who faced challenges in life precisely because of something that someone else said to them or about them. Words like gossip and insults can do real damage.

James reminds us that, “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6).

So where do we go when someone uses their tongue against us? What do we do when we receive insults or others gossip about us? Sometimes our reaction can be to hurl back insults or to gossip about the gossipers. We want some sort of retribution. We want them to feel what we feel… but that’s not what David does. David talks to God about those who are talking about him. Like Nehemiah he turns insults into intercession. Indeed this is what Jesus commands us to do in the gospel of Matthew, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44).

What grace and comfort there is to talk to the Lord about those who have been talking about us. He knows what we endure. To confess to our Lord the feelings we have and ask for grace to minister to those who have been so mean to us is a healing balm for our soul. Words do hurt, and there are few things that can render their intended poison ineffective. Prayer and forgiveness for our enemies go a long way towards doing that.

There was a church who really hurt my family growing up. They said things about my dad in ignorance that lead to his resignation as their pastor. I hated church and church people for a long time and I knew they were all hypocrites. But when I took seriously the word of God about forgiveness and Matthew 5:44 God did something wonderful in my life and the life of that church. You can read a bit about that story here.


Father, Thank you for hearing my prayers. I am reminded that while I was still your enemy Christ died for me. Sometimes it seems like people make themselves our enemies by the words they say. Gossip and insults surely don’t win us friends. You know how I’ve been hurt by words of others. I thank you for the grace of taking my hurts to you. I thank you for the privilege of praying for others. I thank you that by merely praying my perspective on those who offer slander and malicious gossip changes from a position of defense to a posture of grace. I want everyone to experience the same grace that I have experienced from you. I know that while there are times I’ve been abused by others words, certainly there were times where I abused others with my words as well. I thank you for your grace and forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Recycled Praise (Psalm 108 Devotion)


1 A Song. A Psalm of David. O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory. 2 Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn. 3 I will praise You, O LORD, among the peoples, And I will sing praises to You among the nations. 4 For Your mercy [is] great above the heavens, And Your truth [reaches] to the clouds. 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, And Your glory above all the earth; 6 That Your beloved may be delivered, Save [with] Your right hand, and hear me. 7 God has spoken in His holiness: “I will rejoice; I will divide Shechem And measure out the Valley of Succoth. 8 Gilead [is] Mine; Manasseh [is] Mine; Ephraim also [is] the helmet for My head; Judah [is] My lawgiver. 9 Moab [is] My washpot; Over Edom I will cast My shoe; Over Philistia I will triumph.” 10 Who will bring me [into] the strong city? Who will lead me to Edom? 11 [Is it] not [You], O God, [who] cast us off? And [You], O God, [who] did not go out with our armies? 12 Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless. 13 Through God we will do valiantly, For [it is] He [who] shall tread down our enemies.

PSALM 108:1-13


We have seen this Psalm before or at least we have seen pieces of it in two other places (Psalm 57:7-11 and Psalm 60:5-12). In a sense this is a recycled Psalm. David has taken pieces of other Psalms and put them together in a new context and a new way of praise. It think it’s very fitting seeing as how we have been going through these early 100 psalms and noting that God’s faithfulness in the past is fuel for our faith in the present and the future. How great it is that we can use parts of old songs and prayers in the face of our present circumstances.

David blends two thoughts together to meet his present circumstances. He blends the concept of steadfastness/ courage with the principle that it is God who fights for us. When David met Goliath on the hillside his courage came not necessarily from his own ability, but that God wouldn’t let the giant go unanswered. David’s courage came from God.

We can have the same courage facing our present circumstances, especially as we pray and seek after God’s will. We know that it is God who fights our battles and we can take courage and remain steadfast knowing that God is in control.

I can’t help but be reminded today of Martin Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” written at a crucial time in Luther’s life when he was facing persecution. I’ve included the second verse because it’s what sticks out most in my mind in light of our present reading. It has served as an encouragement and has become an anthem in my own life when facing moments that call for courage in our Christian walk.

1. A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

2. Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.


Father, Thank you for your faithfulness in our past that gives us confidence to face the future. Thank you for grace to be steadfast and courageous because you are not a God who is moved or unseated by our trivial challenges, but you are in control of all your creation. We look to you for your wisdom, your grace, your discernment in the midst of whatever challenges we face. We seek after you and your will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.