The Horn Of His People (Psalm 148 Devotion)

PSALM 148

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! 2 Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! 3 Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! 4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created. 6 He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away. 7 Praise the LORD from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths; 8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; 9 Mountains and all hills; Fruitful trees and all cedars; 10 Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and flying fowl; 11 Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth; 12 Both young men and maidens; Old men and children. 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For His name alone is exalted; His glory [is] above the earth and heaven. 14 And He has exalted the horn of His people, The praise of all His saints–Of the children of Israel, A people near to Him. Praise the LORD!

PSALM 148:1-14

THE HORN OF HIS PEOPLE

God is worthy of praise from all of His creation. Indeed the Psalmist calls for different aspects of creation to worship the LORD. And we know that all of creation does in some sense worship the creator, but there is a part of creation that does not worship the LORD as it should. There is a part of creation that has been in rebellion!

Indeed, the main singers of creation have been absent, off key and off beat. They haven’t noticed the rhythm of the creation and instead have chosen to march to the beat of their own drum. Their insistence of having things their way has ruined the symphonic masterpiece of praise. Man’s sin has ruined all of creation and the symphony of praise due the LORD has been canceled because of sin… or has it?

What could or would be done to bring back the broken worshippers who worship creation instead of the creator? Is there forgiveness and redemption to be found? Will there be a NEW SONG (like mentioned in Psalm 149?) not just filled with praise for God’s creation, but for his redemption. A Song not just of creation and worthiness, but also of redemption.

All sorts of people will come back to the King of kings and Lord of lords to worship and offer Him Praise. Kings and princes as well as peasants. Women and children. Many will come through the blood of the Lamb and be saved.

The “horn” of his people. You can think antler or like a rams horn that is used to settle conflict. The stronger the antler the more success in settling conflict. The strongest horn of God’s people was the messiah who we recognize as Jesus.

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for your grace and mercy that has been multiplied into my life. I see all of creation praising you. You are worthy of all praise from everything you have made, especially mankind who was made in your image. I rejoice to know that we can praise you in an even fuller way of the rest of creation. I pray that you are glorified in my life today. 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.

Praise Is Beautiful (Psalm 147 Devotion)

PSALM 147

Praise the LORD! For [it is] good to sing praises to our God; For [it is] pleasant, [and] praise is beautiful. 2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. 3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. 4 He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. 5 Great [is] our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding [is] infinite. 6 The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground. 7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God, 8 Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains. 9 He gives to the beast its food, [And] to the young ravens that cry. 10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. 11 The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy. 12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! 13 For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you. 14 He makes peace [in] your borders, [And] fills you with the finest wheat. 15 He sends out His command [to the] earth; His word runs very swiftly. 16 He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes; 17 He casts out His hail like morsels; Who can stand before His cold? 18 He sends out His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, [and] the waters flow. 19 He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. 20 He has not dealt thus with any nation; And [as for His] judgments, they have not known them. Praise the LORD!

PSALM 147:1-20

PRAISE IS BEAUTIFUL

I don’t like coconut… at all. However my cruel wife sometimes will grab a dessert with coconut in it and bring it to the table and tell me, “I got a dessert just for you!” My mouth waters, my pulse quickens. I am reminded of how good she is and then when it is revealed that coconut is a prime ingredient and I know she is mocking me (in a playful way). She loves coconut and doesn’t mind enjoying it in front of me, but to say she got the dessert for me is just rubbing salt in the wound.

In this Psalm today we are reminded to praise for the LORD is beautiful because it is good, natural, and right. We were made to praise the LORD and it is a beautiful thing when we do. He is worthy! He counts and numbers the stars and calls them by name (4). Our minds cannot fathom the infinite splendor, wonder and grace that is the LORD’s!

However, if we really want to praise God, we don’t get to offer it “freestyle.” We don’t get to randomly do things we like and call it praise. We can’t go to the hunting woods and claim its worship any more than our wives can go to the mall and call it worship. If we really want to worship the LORD we will seek what He wants. What does God seek in worship?… a humble heart (11) and a responsiveness/ obedience to his word (19-20).

That also means that if I sing notes of wonderous melody and feel close to the Lord, but don’t seek to honor the LORD and His word, then I really didn’t offer Him praise. I used him, his house, and his worship to make me feel better, but I didn’t really worship. I’ll never really be fulfilled in worship if my worship is about my feelings more than it is about seeking to honor the Lord.

I am reminded today that God gives us many gifts, but that the greatest gift He gives is Himself. We miss out on the biggest blessings when we come to worship with an attitude of self fulfilment rather than seeking to honor the Lord…. Here is what is incredible, when we seek to honor the Lord in all we do, we are fulfilled because God made us that way.

PRAYER

Father, you are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory! I am grateful that you have revealed yourself to us and even though we can’t fathom all of who you are, we get to know a little bit about you. I want to live a life set apart to your praise. Let me walk in humbleness and obedience to you today. I want to seek your will in my life, not try and ask you to bless my will. conform me more and more into the image of Christ. 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.

Hallelujah! (Psalm 146 Devotion)

PSALM 146

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! 2 While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 3 Do not put your trust in princes, [Nor] in a son of man, in whom [there is] no help. 4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish. 5 Happy [is he] who [has] the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope [is] in the LORD his God, 6 Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that [is] in them; Who keeps truth forever, 7 Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners. 8 The LORD opens [the eyes of] the blind; The LORD raises those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous. 9 The LORD watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down. 10 The LORD shall reign forever–Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

PSALM 146:1-10

HALLELUJAH!

I’m a big guy. I weigh more than the average man. I remember when “camp chairs” first came out. My friend had several set out and I was invited to sit in one. I wasn’t sure it would hold me, but then he insisted, and so I sat down. The chair did it’s best to hold my weight, but it lasted all of about 15 seconds. That’s how long it was between when I sat down and I laughed at something my friend said or did. Between the stress of my weight and the extra pressure/ movement of a hearty laugh the chair just gave up and broke into a few pieces. I felt foolish and embarrassed and it would be years before I trusted in a camp chair again.

But I remember the day that my brother shared about some more robust camp chairs. I was elated to find out they made some for people my size. After we bought one, I was careful the first several times I sat in it, because I wasn’t sure I could trust it, but it held every time. So now I hardly ever think about it when I sit in my chair. I even got to where I allowed my daughter to jump in my lap because I know the chair can hold the weight.

This whole ordeal with chairs taught me something about trust. When you trust something that can’t hold your weight your going to be let down (in a hard way), but when you trust something that can hold your weight you go a lot further with it.

This psalm begins with Hallelujah! Which is Hebrew for “Praise the LORD” (Notice that LORD is in all capitals representing the divine name of God). This is not only the psalmists insistence that he will praise the LORD, but a call to all who are singing and listening to also praise the LORD! The reason? Simply because you can trust Him. He can hold your weight. He is your creator and sustainer, if anyone knows your needs it’s Him!

To be honest we’ve been let down by things before. Maybe you bought a self-help book that sounded promising, but the more you got into it, the less it had to deliver. Maybe you voted for a particular candidate hoping they would turn this country around, but we still find ourselves in the same old mess.

The psalmist here says, “Praise the Lord! He is good! You can trust Him!” And he goes on to describe the greatness of God. He tells of His character, what He does, and what he looks for in us! You can praise the Lord because He is worthy of all praise! you can trust him and know that you won’t ever be let down or put to shame, but that He delivers on what He promises.

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for your incredible grace and mercy! Thank you that your are a God we can trust. You are not the figment of our imaginations. You are not a god created by human hands that will let us down, but that you are the LORD God almighty and you are worthy of worship, trust, and praise. We give you glory and honor today by trusting in 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.

Praise the LORD! (Psalm 145 Devotion)

PSALM 145

1 A Praise of David. I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. 3 Great [is] the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness [is] unsearchable. 4 One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. 5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works. 6 [Men] shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness. 7 They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness. 8 The LORD [is] gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. 9 The LORD [is] good to all, And His tender mercies [are] over all His works. 10 All Your works shall praise You, O LORD, And Your saints shall bless You. 11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power, 12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom. 13 Your kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion [endures] throughout all generations. 14 The LORD upholds all who fall, And raises up all [who are] bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season. 16 You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The LORD [is] righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works. 18 The LORD [is] near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. 19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. 20 The LORD preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy. 21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD, And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.

PSALM 145:1-21

PRAISE THE LORD!

When is the last time you took time to just be in awe of the Lord! When Is the last time you just poured out praise? If there was anyone that you couldn’t praise enough, wouldn’t it be the LORD? Don’t we say that He is worthy of all praise and honor? Then why are we so slow to give him praise?

When it comes to prayer requests/ praises, do we have way more requests than praises? Often what comes out of our mouths are our needs, but if we count our blessings I am convinced that we would have more praises to offer than problems to present.

The most awkward moment in a prayer service is when we ask for praises. We all look at one another and think surely we have a lot to praise God for, but then our pride creeps in. We don’t want to be cliche and say our salvation, of course we should praise God for that! But we scratch our heads and try and think of something more recent as if the newer the praise, the more legitimate it is.

but think about it… The LORD saved ME from my sins! He thought of me! He cared for me! I was headed to Hell! He stepped in! I don’t care how long ago I initially placed my faith in Christ, I hope like David that I never get over it! He is still worthy of praise today!

As far as something more recent, I’m afraid that like a fish in water, I’m swimming in the blessings of God! God is worthy of praise for everything and yet how slow we are to give him praise in anything. I think part of it is a fear that we will miss something or perhaps that there is so much to praise Him for that we just don’t know where to start.

So let’s just praise Him like David did! Let’s cultivate hearts of gratitude and worship. Let’s offer the Lord for things big and small. Let’s take time to recognize His hand in everything from the my next breath to eternal life!

I was delighted the other day to come across one of my old journals. Once a week I simply wrote a “praise page,” a page dedicated to praising God. I started by writing the simple things to praise God for and moved to the more specific things I saw that week. It never failed, the “praise page” might start out as mundane or Tommy through the motions but would always end up in sincere praise for who God is and how He had moved in my life.

PRAYER

Father, I praise you for all your works! You are righteous to every generation! You have loved me beyond what I deserve! You hold this universe together! You spoke it into existence! You are my salvation!! I am grateful for the opportunity to tell others about you! You guide my steps and show me the way! I want to walk with integrity and worship in all my life! 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.

Man is Like a Breath (Psalm 144 Devotion)

PSALM 144

1 [A Psalm] of David. Blessed [be] the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, [And] my fingers for battle– 2 My lovingkindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, My shield and [the One] in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me. 3 LORD, what [is] man, that You take knowledge of him? [Or] the son of man, that You are mindful of him? 4 Man is like a breath; His days [are] like a passing shadow. 5 Bow down Your heavens, O LORD, and come down; Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. 6 Flash forth lightning and scatter them; Shoot out Your arrows and destroy them. 7 Stretch out Your hand from above; Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, From the hand of foreigners, 8 Whose mouth speaks lying words, And whose right hand [is] a right hand of falsehood. 9 I will sing a new song to You, O God; On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You, 10 [The One] who gives salvation to kings, Who delivers David His servant From the deadly sword. 11 Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, Whose mouth speaks lying words, And whose right hand [is] a right hand of falsehood– 12 That our sons [may be] as plants grown up in their youth; [That] our daughters [may be] as pillars, Sculptured in palace style; 13 [That] our barns [may be] full, Supplying all kinds of produce; [That] our sheep may bring forth thousands And ten thousands in our fields; 14 [That] our oxen [may be] well laden; [That there be] no breaking in or going out; [That there be] no outcry in our streets. 15 Happy [are] the people who are in such a state; Happy [are] the people whose God [is] the LORD!

PSALM 144:1-15

MAN IS LIKE A BREATH

David was just a young shepherd boy tending his father’s flocks when Samuel came to his house. The LORD had told Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel and after passing over all of David’s brothers the prophet broke out the horn of oil for David. Here was Israel’s next king. I imagine David never got over that moment where God called a shepherd boy to lead His people.

David faced a lot of challenges on his way to the throne. He had faced Goliath, had been on the run from Saul, acted insane in the hometown of his enemy, and more. Every step of the way God had watched over him, prepared him, and brought him to the point of being king over Israel.

David now prays for God’s help and provision for Himself and the nation during times of war (Israel still had a lot of enemies) and of peace. In the midst of it all, he can’t help but marvel how God, who is so infinite could/ would/ does even consider men.

David approaches the throne with humility and his eye on the LORD. Should we approach our life any different? Who are we that God should care for us?…but He does.! He knows the details of our lives and has been working in our yesterdays to prepare us for our todays. He knows what we need before we know we need it and so often we never even realize He has been preparing us our whole lives for the role we play in His world.

PRAYER

Father, Who am i that you would be mindful of me? Much less plan the details of my life? I see how you have been working in my yesterdays to prepare me for my todays. I am humbled and i marvel at your personal hand of providence in my life. Let my eyes be on you today and everyday. 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.

No One Is Righteous (Psalm 143 Devotion)

PSALM 143

A Psalm of David. Hear my prayer, O LORD, Give ear to my supplications! In Your faithfulness answer me, [And] in Your righteousness. 2 Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no one living is righteous. 3 For the enemy has persecuted my soul; He has crushed my life to the ground; He has made me dwell in darkness, Like those who have long been dead. 4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; My heart within me is distressed. 5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands. 6 I spread out my hands to You; My soul [longs] for You like a thirsty land. Selah 7 Answer me speedily, O LORD; My spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, Lest I be like those who go down into the pit. 8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You. 9 Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; In You I take shelter. 10 Teach me to do Your will, For You [are] my God; Your Spirit [is] good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. 11 Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousnesssake bring my soul out of trouble. 12 In Your mercy cut off my enemies, And destroy all those who afflict my soul; For I [am] Your servant.

PSALM 143:1-12

NO ONE IS RIGHTEOUS

Throughout the Psalms David often calls God to examine his life compared to his enemy and professes to be, “blameless.” If we aren’t careful we will think that David really does think he is better than everyone else. At these points it is worth noting that David is usually professing to be blameless of what his enemy is saying about him or ‘righteous’ according to a human standard. Here David notes another righteousness that he (or any other fallen human being) doesn’t have. He note’s God’s righteousness.

God’s righteousness doesn’t even compare to human righteousness. David confesses that if he were to stand before God on his own merit (righteousness), he doesn’t have enough, no one does… But David pleads God’s righteousness here. He sees no problem with God covering him with God’s righteousness… indeed, it’s the only way that we will be made righteous before God!

But can God do that? Should David presume upon God for this righteousness?

I’ve heard of a judge in a courtroom assigning a fine to a couple because it was the law, they were guilty of breaking the law (regardless of the reason) , and the fine was a fitting punishment. But noting that their lack of funds had gotten them in the situation to receive the fine anyway, left the courtroom, went to his chambers, got his wallet, came back to the courtroom and paid the fine.

The judge was just. He upheld the law. He charged the fine, but then he stepped in and personally paid for the fine providing mercy for those whom he had charged the fine… but Jesus goes further with his righteousness! When we come to him by faith, not only does he pay our debt, but he also gives us His righteousness! So that when God the father sees us he welcomes us as though we were righteous as Jesus!

Paul wrote about this in Romans chapter three and took David’s Holy Spirit inspired thoughts to their natural conclusion: “to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for your righteousness, for without it no one would be able to see God. You made a way when there was no way. I stand clothed in your righteousness today trusting in your goodness and grace. Guide our steps! 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.

Alone!?! (Psalm 142 Devotion)

PSALM 142

1 A Contemplation of David. A Prayer when he was in the cave. I cry out to the LORD with my voice; With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication. 2 I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble. 3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk They have secretly set a snare for me. 4 Look on [my] right hand and see, For [there is] no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul. 5 I cried out to You, O LORD: I said, “You [are] my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. 6 Attend to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I. 7 Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, For You shall deal bountifully with me.”

PSALM 142:1-7

ALONE!?!

Have you ever been depressed? Faced the day, looking for light, but only finding darkness? Tried to stir out of bed, but couldn’t get the energy to keep on going? Couldn’t eat or couldn’t stop eating. Found yourself throwing a pity party. Dwelling incessantly on all that is wrong. For those of us who have been here (for whatever reason) it can feel like a prison. No one wants to be that way. The words of David that were so pointed today is where David cries out in verse seven, “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name.”

David was going through some of the most challenging times of his life. He was on the run for his life. Those who were former friends and allies have become his enemies. He doesn’t know who to trust. Those he thought would have his back, have stabbed him in the back. He feels alone and abandoned. He’s practically homeless, living in a cave.

So what do you do when you feel depressed? When the world is not all as it should be. You have been anointed to be a king, but you find yourself homeless, just trying to figure out your next move? You go to the Lord in prayer and you share your burdens. You note that even though your friends have become our foes, you haven’t been abandoned by the one who cares for your soul. You trust in the promises of God and call out to Him alone who can deliver you.

One of the most helpful and soothing things you can do when a mood of melancholy/ depression settles in on you is to pray and sing praise to the Lord. You might say, “I don’t feel like it.” But our feelings don’t always indicated the truth. God’s word is truth and so there is no better place and no better time to meditate on it that when we don’t “feel” it. We can share our feelings with the Lord, but it is important that we practice the truth right behind our feelings. “Refuge has failed me… You are my refuge.”

We can worship God when we don’t feel it, because He is worthy when we feel it and He is worthy when we don’t. Allowing our minds to move beyond our circumstances to the LORD, help us to see things in a greater perspective. Sometimes we need to cry and grieve and express the hurt and while good friends can be comfort at those moments, there is no better ear to hear our pain than the LORD’s. No better place to go to refuge than in the LORD.

I am grateful for this Psalm today. I’m not depressed, but I have been there and I imagine if I should live long on this earth I will be there again. I was just recently made aware of a project where an artist is writing music to the Psalms. They just releases a work based on Psalm 142 and I thought I’d share it here.

PRAYER

Father, I am grateful for your word today as it acknowledges that good and godly people also wrestle with depression and go through hard times in life. I am grateful for the way you care for us. Thank you that you are worthy of worship when I feel like it and when I don’t. Someone I confess in those moments that I don’t especially feel it, I look back and see you were doing in my soul more in the moment than I could fathom. I am grateful for your grace and patience with me today. I pray for those who struggle with depression. I know they hurt Lord, I ask for your great grace and relief. Be the refuge for those who have no refuge. 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.

An Evening Prayer (Psalm 141 Devotion)

PSALM 141

A Psalm of David. LORD, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. 2 Let my prayer be set before You [as] incense, The lifting up of my hands [as] the evening sacrifice. 3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice wicked works With men who work iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies. 5 Let the righteous strike me; [It shall be] a kindness. And let him rebuke me; [It shall be] as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer [is] against the deeds of the wicked. 6 Their judges are overthrown by the sides of the cliff, And they hear my words, for they are sweet. 7 Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave, As when one plows and breaks up the earth. 8 But my eyes [are] upon You, O GOD the Lord; In You I take refuge; Do not leave my soul destitute. 9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, And from the traps of the workers of iniquity. 10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, While I escape safely.

PSALM 141:1-10

AN EVENING PRAYER

The Psalms are songs to be sung, but in a sense they are also well crafted prayers that teach us how to pour our hearts out to God. We have seen a range of emotion expressed out of a variety of circumstances with one common thread that runs through it all… Looking to God to hear and answer our prayers. Every Psalm looks to heaven and awaits a reply.

This Psalm of David is no different. He mentions the time of day that this would be sung and so many have associated it with an evening prayer. He prays, as perhaps we all should, that God would guard his mouth. He doesn’t want to be an idle talker filled with gossip, or crude joking, but rather he wants to honor God with his lips. It is here that I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:36 “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36, NKJV).

Next David prays that God would keep his heart from being inclined to any wicked thing. David knows that he is not above the suggestion, peer pressure, or heavy influence of those with corrupt hearts. He doesn’t want to grow callous to God because of the company he has to keep.

This is a worthy prayer, especially for young men/ women who are going off to face the world for the first time. This is fitting for those staffing a ship in the Navy, or attending college at a state school miles from home, or clocking in at the mill/plant/rig where there is already a culture that may not be favorable… as David prays to keep his eyes on the Lord, it should be our prayer too to remain focused on the Lord as we go through these life circumstances. We all need to keep our eyes on the Lord, regardless of our age and stage of life.

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for your grace that has been poured out on my life. I am so grateful for the privilege to pray to you in the morning or evening and I hope my prayer are well received. I have a boldness in praying because I know that what I am asking is your will. I pray that I would guard my mouth today and there wouldn’t be any idle words on my lips. I pray that you keep me from the influence of the wicked and that I honor you in all things. 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.

Preserve Me From Violent Men (Psalm 140 Devotion)

PSALM 140

1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; Preserve me from violent men, 2 Who plan evil things in [their] hearts; They continually gather together [for] war. 3 They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; The poison of asps [is] under their lips. Selah 4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; Preserve me from violent men, Who have purposed to make my steps stumble. 5 The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords; They have spread a net by the wayside; They have set traps for me. Selah 6 I said to the LORD: “You [are] my God; Hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD. 7 O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. 8 Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; Do not further his [wicked] scheme, [Lest] they be exalted. Selah 9 “[As for] the head of those who surround me, Let the evil of their lips cover them; 10 Let burning coals fall upon them; Let them be cast into the fire, Into deep pits, that they rise not up again. 11 Let not a slanderer be established in the earth; Let evil hunt the violent man to overthrow [him].” 12 I know that the LORD will maintain The cause of the afflicted, [And] justice for the poor. 13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name; The upright shall dwell in Your presence.

PSALM 140:1-13

PRESERVE ME FROM VIOLENT MEN

David had enemies. There were men who wanted Him dead. He was on the run for his life for a large part of his life. There were men who wouldn’t think twice to kill him. There were others who worked overtime on assassinating his character (v. 3, 11). David knew that he couldn’t fight these battles alone and so he called upon the LORD.

David often acted practically. He took measures to protect himself, but perhaps the biggest measure he took was prayer. He asked God for protection and deliverance. He asked God for justice for his enemies.

There are moments when we might pray like David prayed. I remember waking up early one Sunday and praying for a mission team in another country. I asked God to watch over them and protect them from an evil presence. About an hour after I woke up to pray I got a text to pray for this team because some strange men had been following them. I found myself praying for protection and justice for this team and what they were going through. Thankfully, later we got the response that God had intervened and our team got to where they needed to be safely.

PRAYER

Father, I am so grateful to pray for your protection from those who would seek to do us harm. I am grateful for your provision and grace displayed in my life. Thank you for watching over us beyond what we an see. 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.

God is Just (Psalm 139:19-24 Devotion)

PSALM 139:19-24

Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men. 20 For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take [Your name] in vain. 21 Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if [there is any] wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

PSALM 139:19-24

GOD IS JUST

God is just. He will render to everyone exactly what they deserve. One of the key themes of Christianity is that no one ultimately escapes justice. Those who have suffered injustice will be avenged and all sin is ultimately addressed. (You can see here where I have criticized karma which holds up every act of injustice as justice.) David calls on God to slay the wicked (v.19). These are all people who hate God (v. 21). Because they don’t love God, they do not seek to honor God, and they live in rebellion to God. David says he hates them, or doesn’t love them because they don’t love God and they hate God by their words and actions.

When David looks to God for justice, he does so in two different ways. In one way he asks for justice for his enemies who hate God. He wants them to answer for their sins. He knows that God knows all their sins. Even the sins of their heart. If God knows David so intimately, surely He knows every action of David’s enemies.

But David also wants God to examine his own heart. David professes to love God and walk in a human righteousness. He invites God to search him and examine his life.

It’s important to note that David wasn’t professing some sort of sinlessness. He knew he was a sinner. He has written whole Psalms that deal with the confession of sin. But David has professed his faith in God to provide an acceptable sacrifice for his sin. See the following pieces of Psalm 51.

[Psa 51:1-3, 7, 10, 16-17 NKJV] Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin [is] always before me. … 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. … 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. … 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give [it]; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart–These, O God, You will not despise.

The difference was that David had humbled himself to acknowledge he could never undo what he had done. He could never make it right. He could never make himself clean. He needed God to do that and He asked God to forgive his sin and make him righteous.

(Some folks say the “Sinner’s Prayer” is never in the bible. I would press them to read Psalm 51, or even the sermon on the mount where Jesus tells us to ask God to forgive us of our sins. In both instances we see a model of confession of sin and trusting in the Lordship of God.)

This causes me to recollect Romans 3:26 where the Apostle Paul shares that God is Just and he is the one who justifies us in God’s sight through his work on he cross and resurrection.

[Rom 3:26 NKJV] 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

PRAYER

Father, I thank you that you are Just. You always do right and will always do right. Your justice is pure and right. I know that there are things I have done, sins that I have committed, that demand your justice. I am grateful to have heard your gospel and responded in faith to know that you will judge my sins, but that I have been justified through my faith in Christ and He has already paid my penalty. I don’t want to walk in sin, so along with David I ask you to search my heart. I want to live a holy life that brings glory and honor 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.