Make His Praise Glorious! (Psalm 66)

PSALM 66

To the Chief Musician. A Song. A Psalm. Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! 2 Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious. 3 Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. 4 All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises [to] Your name.” Selah

PSALM 66:1-4

MAKE HIS PRAISE GLORIOUS

What is your standard of worship? Are you phoning it in? I’m not just talking about Sundays either. I mean what kind of worship do you offer God throughout the week? Is it all out? Is it full of life, joy, and celebration or is it barely there, if there at all?

Sometimes in life we are tempted to put off things. We’ll say something like, “I’ll get to that tomorrow.” or we’ll satisfy ourselves with less than our best effort. We may say something like, “That will have to do.” We do just enough to skate by. We do just enough to check the box that says present, but we didn’t really learn anything from class that day because while our body was there, our mind was somewhere else.

Sometimes we do have to put something off or put in less than our best. Hopefully in each of those scenarios whatever fell short on was worth the sacrifice. Maybe we put off a chore for the sake of sleep because we came in tired from a long day.

But the one place we don’t need to cut any corners on is the praise of God. Because He is so worth it. Indeed one of the things we miss the most when we fail to praise God is we lose sense of His weightiness (and our relationship to Him). When we worship casually, distracted, or as an afterthought we tend to miss the big picture on who God is (and who we are). Our day, our week, our month, our year becomes all about us instead of His Kingdom come, and will be done.

The Psalmist reminds us today at the beginning of this psalm that we are to make His praise glorious! He is worthy of our best effort. He is worthy of a little more time. He is worthy of digging in past our skeptical attitude and finding the joy that He brings to our lives. If we really want to be honest with ourselves, we need it too! We were created to worship God and when our private and corporate worship flounder it’s a good indication that we are broken.

So I challenge you to make His praise Glorious. There are practical ways to do this. We can plan for corporate worship to help us be fully present. We can make sure our schedules allow us enough time to sleep so we will be refreshed on Sundays. We can lay out clothes the night before so we aren’t rushed to get there. We can meditate on the songs we sing and scripture that is read. We can discuss the sermon. We can come prepared to give and give sacrificially. We can offer our humble voices in the singing of the congregation or choir. We can amen the points of sound doctrine that the pastor offers from the pulpit. We can share with others what the Lord has done in our life that week. We can be prepared to fellowship with others and have them to our house (hospitality) or meet them somewhere.

Privately we can read his word. We can pray. We can work as unto the Lord. We can sing songs. We can seek to share about God’s goodness with others. We can use the gifts he has given us. We can simply recount the things we saw God do each day in our lives.

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for your word today. You are truly worthy of great praise and worship from me for all you have done. Though my body is often tired and my mind is prone to wonder, I pray that I save the best of me for worshipping you! You have done mighty things in my life. Your hand has been on mye from even an early age. You have been my sure foundation. You have guided my steps. Everytime the enemy thought to destroy me, you preserved me. I have been sick, but you have made me well. I have been sad, but you have restored my joy, I have been tired, but you have given me strength! You indeed are worthy or worship! 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.

Chosen By Grace (Psalm 65)

PSALM 65

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. A Song. Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; And to You the vow shall be performed. 2 O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come. 3 Iniquities prevail against me; [As for] our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them. 4 Blessed [is the man] You choose, And cause to approach [You], [That] he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple.

PSALM 65:1-4

CHOSEN BY GRACE

“Chosen.” Here is a word we don’t like to hear sometimes. We often kick against it or try and get it to mean something other than what it means. But it’s all through the scriptures and so it must mean something and we do well to seek to understand this word and the truth it reveals about God.

We often think that God gives us “grace” and we choose if we receive it. We like to think that we are independent and able in our own strength and ability to choose God. But if you think about it, you really can’t choose to receive grace. It’s not up to the receiver on if they get grace or not, its up to the giver. It’s kind of like a getting hit in paintball. The one doing the shooting does the choosing. If you get hit by the paintball, for all your choosing or lack of choosing, you are struck. Grace is given independent of how it is received otherwise it’s not grace… you have merited it by your response (see how hard we play this game to take even grace out of the hands of God?)

Grace is more radical than you might imagine because grace does all the work. Indeed we can’t “choose” grace because grace by it’s nature has chosen us! The fact that you even WANT to “choose” grace is a GIFT of God’s grace (see verse 4). Read Ephesians 2:8-10 with me:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; [it is] the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

What is the gift? Grace? maybe… but maybe it’s also “faith,” that ability to trust in the Lord. What does it mean? Our lives (including faith) are a work of God’s hands! We are His workmanship! He is working faith in us! Read with me what Paul says in Philippians 2:12-13:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for [His] good pleasure.

We are to work out our salvation, but why? Because it is God doing all the work! Grace isn’t a purely external work, it is internal. Grace causes me to WANT to worship God. Grace fixes me from the inside out. Grace changes everything!

It’s early in the morning when I publish these posts and so it may be difficult to grasp, but God’s choice of you or me is a far greater gift of grace than many can even imagine. It is more real and more weighty than what we often give God credit for. It’s blessing after blessing poured out over and over. It’s a cup running over. It’s a heart seeking missel that can’t be shaken. David saw it and was provoked to praise the LORD. We should be too!

One of the best ways to understand grace is to give grace. Grace doesn’t mean that you just don’t hold a grudge. It means that you seek to bless a person no matter what.

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for the grace upon grace that you have poured out in my own life. Thank you for your word that is truth. I am amazed this morning as we examine your utter and complete sovereignty. There is no better place for my future than in your hands. I am confident that you work all things for your glory and my good! today I marvel at your goodness poured out to even cause my heart to believe. I rest in the arms of your grace. 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 Bless Us… Let The Nations Be Glad (Psalm 67)

PSALM 67

To the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song. God be merciful to us and bless us, [And] cause His face to shine upon us, Selah 2 That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. 3 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. 4 Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, And govern the nations on earth. Selah 5 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. 6 [Then] the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. 7 God shall bless us, And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

PSALM 67:1-7

GOD BLESS US… LET THE NATIONS BE GLAD

I took my daughter to a splash pad the other day. She had the time of her life getting soaked in cool, fresh water on a hot day. She kept begging me to come and play. There was more than enough water and she wanted me to join in the fun. Her joy would be multiplied by my participation in the artificial precipitation!

While we were there I couldn’t help but notice one particular feature of the splash pad. There were two cone shaped buckets suspended in the air being filled with water. The axis by which they were attached was just off center so when the bucket filled it spilled out on to everyone bellow. I couldn’t help but think of how God blesses us and our blessings flow to bless others as well.

God blesses us to be a blessing! The Old Testament nation of Israel had a peculiar promise and mission from God. It was through them (via the covenant God made with Abraham) that all the nations of the world would be blessed (Genesis 12). They were blessed, but the blessing wouldn’t be just for them, it was for all the nations. There would be excess blessing (this is how God blesses!) And in watching the overflow of blessing in others, they would be even more blessed!

When God blesses us, it isn’t just for our enjoyment, it’s also for the joy and blessing of others. The overflow of our cup not only blesses others but it increases our joy and celebration as we see God’s blessing continue to cascade to others! This should provoke us to prayer and praise as the Psalmist does here… “God bless us… let the nations be glad!”

There are some who have taken a pause at saying things like, “God Bless America.” I don’t know where the pause comes? Truly you should pray that God would bless your country (regardless of your nationality) and others would be blessed by it. Indeed its from the overflow of God’s blessing on Israel, that we are blessed! In that, we all have something to sing about!

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for grace upon grace poured out in blessing upon your people! Thank you for the blessings that have been poured out in my life. I rejoice to see how you have blessed my by the overflow of blessing on others and that you have used me as a vessel of your blessing to others! I rejoice in your goodness and celebrate your sovereignty 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.

Taking My Complaints To God (Psalm 64)

PSALM 64

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation; Preserve my life from fear of the enemy. 2 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity, 3 Who sharpen their tongue like a sword, And bend [their bows to shoot] their arrows–bitter words, 4 That they may shoot in secret at the blameless; Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear. 5 They encourage themselves [in] an evil matter; They talk of laying snares secretly; They say, “Who will see them?” 6 They devise iniquities: “We have perfected a shrewd scheme.” Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep. 7 But God shall shoot at them [with] an arrow; Suddenly they shall be wounded. 8 So He will make them stumble over their own tongue; All who see them shall flee away. 9 All men shall fear, And shall declare the work of God; For they shall wisely consider His doing. 10 The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and trust in Him. And all the upright in heart shall glory..

PSALM 64:1-10

TAKING MY COMPLAINTS TO GOD

Sometimes the things that other people do upset us. Then when we are upset, we are tempted to complain. Complaining may not always be wrong, but it depends on how and who we complain too. When we complain, we may just be fishing for someone to agree with us that injustice has been done and certainly the world is filled with injustice. Sometimes we need to hear that what has happened to us was wrong and then hopefully our counselors point us to the Lord.

Sometimes though, we want to harm people by our complaints. We campaign and spew venom against them. The people we complain to may have nothing to do with the situation, but they appear to be a sympathetic ear. We envision that they’ll look at the people we’ve complained about differently now that we’ve bent their ear. This is gossip and it’s not godly.

There is one place we can go with out complaints though… We can go to the Lord who hears every idle word we speak anyway (Matthew 12:36). He is able to hear our complaints and He is the only one who is fit to truly judge the hearts and actions of men. He sees and knows the injustices we have suffered and he sees and knows our hearts.

When he does render judgement, it will be right, true, and holy. But we should note that the justice that He renders will come in one of two ways. Either we will pay with our souls forever in a place called hell or He will have paid for our sins by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.

David knew where to go with his complaints. He took them to God. He knew that God would hear, see, and know the acts of the wicked in his life and give them a just penalty. Indeed, David noted that often those who do pursue wickedness in laying a snare for others often spring a trap on themselves. God is big enough to carry our prayers of complaint about the wickedness of the world.

PRAYER

Father, You are holy, pure, and just. You can hear our complaints against the wicked and judge rightly. We know that you alone are able judge the actions of men. We don’t always see things rightly. Forgive me of where I try to take things in my own hands. Guard my lips and posts on social media. Guard my heart from pride or folly. 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.

In A Land Where There Is No Water (Psalm 63)

PSALM 63

A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You [are] my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. 2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. 3 Because Your lovingkindness [is] better than life, My lips shall praise You. 4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise [You] with joyful lips. 6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the [night] watches. 7 Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. 8 My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me. 9 But those [who] seek my life, to destroy [it], Shall go into the lower parts of the earth. 10 They shall fall by the sword; They shall be a portion for jackals. 11 But the king shall rejoice in God; Everyone who swears by Him shall glory; But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

PSALM 63:1-11

IN A LAND WHERE THERE IS NO WATER

The first time I remember buying bottled water was years ago and I was in rural south Asia. It was unsafe for our digestive system to drink the water that everyone else (who was accustomed to the water and whatever it had in it) was drinking and so our water had to be boiled or bottled. It was in the middle of summer and so there were many moments where we looked for the opportunity to buy water. I never knew how much water I truly drank until that trip and I had to purchase it daily. I wasn’t in the country for long, but I was there long enough to learn how to negotiate the price of water in the local language. My need was a great motivator to learn at least that much of the language!

David speaks of his soul as being thirsty (for God) in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. In his travels and fleeing from Saul, certainly there were moments that he had lived this experience in the wilderness. He knew what it was like to be physically thirsty because there was no water, but here He is spiritually thirsty, longing for the presence of God in his life. But it seems like God isn’t to be found in the land! He is desperate for the Lord and so he is willing to rise up early and to meditate late into the night. He goes to the sanctuary. He looks in the places where he can get his thirst quenched. He longs for His God!

I often wonder, do we thirst for God like that? When you are thirsty you are willing to go out of your way and be inconvenienced to quench your thirst. Are we willing to rise early to study God’s word, or study into the night? Do we show up in the sanctuary looking for God or have we started looking for something else.

As I was contemplating this Psalm this morning it struck me that this is a song of David’s heart. Over and over again you find him panting for the grace, mercy, love, refuge, or presence of GOD! This is the one note that he plays over and over, “Only God will satisfy!I wonder what David would think of all of our love songs that play on the radio these days? Songs that don’t even smack of romance anymore but are filled with inuendo and panting for physical desire?

I think our culture is so far removed from God, yet still so thirsty for his presence in our lives that we pant after physical affection (in our songs), but miss the relationship completely… like the kid who is so spoiled on Kool aide that he can’t drink the regular water anymore. Jeremiah hit the nail on the head when he penned: “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, [And] hewn themselves cisterns–broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

PRAYER

Father, Thank you that you are the ultimate thirst quencher! You and you alone satisfy what my heart truly needs. I feel some days that I’m in an dry and thirsty land. This land has many idols. There are many broken cisterns that we have created songs for. We imagine toys, relationships, status, success, and money will satisfy our deepest need, but these are just dry wells. We were made to live for more! We were made for you! Quench my thirst in Jesus Christ today! You told us that anyone who was thirsty could come to you and would never thirst again! You indeed are living water! You said that blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled! 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 Alone (Psalm 62)

PSALM 62

1 To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. Truly my soul silently [waits] for God; From Him [comes] my salvation. 2 He only [is] my rock and my salvation; [He is] my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. 3 How long will you attack a man? You shall be slain, all of you, Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence. 4 They only consult to cast [him] down from his high position; They delight in lies; They bless with their mouth, But they curse inwardly. Selah 5 My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation [is] from Him. 6 He only [is] my rock and my salvation; [He is] my defense; I shall not be moved. 7 In God [is] my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, [And] my refuge, [is] in God.

PSALM 62:1-7

GOD ALONE

David lived among nations that had a plurality of gods. If the people didn’t get what they wanted, they would ask a different god. They might try and play the god’s off of one another or they would try and increase their opportunities by bringing offerings to multiple gods. When “magic” was involved they would try and get the names of higher powered ‘gods’ to manipulate the lower powered gods or vise versa to come as an intermediary for a request. (We’ve seen that enter parts of Catholicism where folks pray to Mary or a saint who will talk to Jesus on their behalf. As one of my friends put it, “Mary is Jesus’ mother, he has to listen to her!”)

The God of the bible is different than all of those other gods. He is real. He isn’t dependent upon the offerings we bring, we are dependent upon him. He cannot be manipulated or cajoled into doing something for us. He is God alone and the only way to come to him is as God alone. We don’t pray to God and all the angels or apostles or saints. We don’t make offerings to creation (the tings he has made). We go to God alone. We deal with him alone.

God alone is the only one who can save us from our enemies. Not God and Pharaoh’s army or God and the Philistine chieftains. God alone is the one who saves. Sometimes he divides the water where we can walk through on dry land and drown Egyptian armies, or thunderstorms to bog down chariots, or trumpets, clay jars, torches and confusion, or even just rumors from back in Assyria. Whenever God saves, is is God alone who saves and so David waits for God alone.

David learned early on that God was the only safe place to go when the battle got strong and the enemy appeared even stronger. When David faced Goliath he didn’t go with his confidence in God and Saul’s armor. He went with God alone and trusted that God could use a small sling to put down a big giant.

PRAYER

Father, Thank you that you alone are our refuge and our strength. We don’t need horses and chariots or the flashy things of this world, all we need is you. Thank you for being the fortress that we find shelter. You are a firm foundation, a rock, a solid and unmovable place. We put all our hope in you. Not in our strength or our pawer, but in you alone. Thank you for your grace. 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.

Lead Me To The Rock That Is Higher Than I (Psalm 61)

PSALM 61

1 To the Chief Musician. On a stringed instrument. [A Psalm] of David. Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. 4 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah 5 For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given [me] the heritage of those who fear Your name. 6 You will prolong the king’s life, His years as many generations. 7 He shall abide before God forever. Oh, prepare mercy and truth, [which] may preserve him! 8 So I will sing praise to Your name forever, That I may daily perform my vows.

PSALM 61:1-8

LEAD ME TO THE ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN I

Where do you go when your heart is overwhelmed? Where do you go when your life is filled with stress? When there is too much on your plate? When you’re not sure which direction to go? When anxiety floods your soul? When you are on the run from your life and you’re not sure about what’s around the corner? Is it more danger?

David knew where to go. For all the blessings and success the Lord had given him, he was a man who was often on the run. He was on the run from Saul when he was younger and He was on the run from a coup by his son Absalom when he was older. There were moments that he was so close to death that it seemed impossible to avoid. Like when he walked into Goliath’s home town while on the run from Saul.

Where did David go when his heart was overwhelmed? Where did he go when he was on the run? Where did he go when the anxiety piled up? Where did he go when his life was in dissaray and he didn’t know which way was up or down? He went to the LORD.

Here he says, “Lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I.” God is a rock. A sure foundation. A place where David can stand without fear that his feet will slip. He is solid. He is immovable. He is strong. He is everlasting. He is above the pressures of the world and from that lofty vantage point He see’s everything. He is able to keep David from the floods that flow his way. He is safe and out of reach of the enemy that would nip and yap at him. David is preserved because God is a rock.

Where should we go when we face fear and anxiety? When the income is less that the outflow of expenses? When we get bad news about our health? When the our relationships are strained and the people we love the most are seeing things differently than we are? Where can we go? We can go to the Rock that is higher than I.

Indeed there is no other place to go! Go to Jesus! On Christ the Solid Rock I stand! All other ground is sinking sand!

PRAYER

Father, I thank you that I am truly and wonderfully only ever safe in you. You are the Rock that is higher than I. I am grateful that in the midst of my troubles, worries, anxieties, that I can go not to a place, but to a person… You! I am grateful that you know me and know what I need. I am grateful that in you my foot never slips. I am grateful that you are sovereign and work things out for my good and your glory! I am grateful that you are higher than my problems. You are bigger than my defeats. You are larger than anything that could ever come against me. You are my Rock and my Salvation. In you I will put my trust! 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.

We Are Defeated When We Take Our Eyes Off The LORD (Psalm 60)

PSALM 60

O God, You have cast us off; You have broken us down; You have been displeased; Oh, restore us again! 2 You have made the earth tremble; You have broken it; Heal its breaches, for it is shaking. 3 You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of confusion. 4 You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah … 10 [Is it] not You, O God, [who] cast us off? And You, O God, [who] did not go out with our armies? 11 Give us help from trouble, For the help of man [is] useless. 12 Through God we will do valiantly, For [it is] He [who] shall tread down our enemies.

PSALM 60:1-4….10-12

WE ARE DEFEATED WHEN WE TAKE OUR EYES OFF THE LORD

My son got to play baseball in the all-star state championship tournament this past weekend. We didn’t win. We didn’t make it beyond our sub group. We came into to the event undefeated and with high hopes. However we ended up loosing some big game pretty badly early on in the tournament. We were good, but we played some really good teams. All sorts of thoughts go through your head when you lose a big baseball game. Did we underestimate our opponents? Did we neglect some of our training by taking our basic skills for granted? Is the other team just that good? Did they have a better pool of athletes? It’s in our nature to question and figure things out. Sometimes the head game after the game is the hardest game to win.

Israel suffered a much more serious defeat in battle with their enemies. As David plays through the defeat in his mind he is awakened to the reason for their devastating loss. They were not beaten by a superior enemy military, but by forsaking the LORD. Indeed, he fears the reason that the enemy won in the fist place was because God’s people had gotten their eye off the Lord and were too confident in themselves.

The people had become too self-confident and neglected the Lord. The prayers had become a habit. God had become an afterthought. They entered into the battle with an air of “We’ve got this.” But they came home dejected and defeated because they didn’t have it, the victory belongs to the LORD and they forgot to see if He was in the fight with them!

A little self-confidence isn’t a bad thing but too much self-confidence can cause you to be prideful and arrogant. It causes you to over estimate your abilities and underestimate your enemies. It can cause you to take the Lord for granted.

I think David was a man after God’s own heart, not because he never messed up (we know he made a ton of mistakes), but because he owned his failures and came running back to God. David was a God-confident king. He fought Goliath, not because he was self-confident, but because he was God-confident. When He lost the battles here, he quickly goes running back to the LORD he knows the greatest defeat he could ever face isn’t losing to the enemy, but losing sight of God and so he doubles down and recommits to the Lord.

PRAYER

Father, I pray that I never take you for granted. I ask that you would guard my heart from pride and that I would be deeply rooted in you. Too often I have taken you for granted. I have assumed your presence or blessing on my plans and designs instead of waiting for you and doing things your way. I am grateful that you are patient with me. I know in my life I’ll have setbacks, I am grateful that even in the setbacks there are opportunities to see your grace and kindness to me. I pray that today I would live out my God-confidence. 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.

Are You Snarling Or Singing? (Psalm 59)

PSALM 59

And at evening they return, They growl like a dog, And go all around the city. 15 They wander up and down for food, And howl if they are not satisfied. 16 But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble. 17 To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God [is] my defense, My God of mercy.

PSALM 59:14-17

ARE YOU SNARLING OR SINGING?

There were two groups of people who thought they were doing the right thing. There was David’s bunch who were running for their lives, but somehow able to praise God at every turn for their deliverance. Then there was Saul’s bunch, somehow finding a way to curse David and his plight. One group was on the run, the other group was chasing them down. One group was singing, the other group was snarling. What is coming out of the folks you hang out with?

I’ve told my children that we may not have chosen our afflictions, but we can choose our attitudes. David reminds us that even when he was running from the enemy that God was still strong and God was still in control and it allowed him to offer God praise in the midst of his affliction. Some of the best songs we can sing are the songs of deliverance or songs of salvation.

Where we celebrate God’s ability to save, we are singing. Where we talk of all our defeats and complain about how bad life is or better it would be without someone in it, we are snarling. The question for us today is are we singing or snarling?

I’ve known folks who go through the same situation and one comes out singing God’s praise, the other comes out snarling and snapping at everyone around them. One is looking for the glory of God in their salvation, the other is looking at how unfair the world is. One looks to God and clings to His promises despite desperate circumstances, the other looks around and finds only bitterness.

To be honest there have been times in my life when I’ve been snarling. Like these men chasing David and like the pharisees of Jesus’ day, I thought I was in the right. I found myself snarling after the people I thought were wrong rather than praising God for all that was right. I wondered if God could ever take a snarler and make him into a singer. I had no further to look than the Apostle Paul (also known as Saul) who used to chase down Christians, like these men chased David… but then this “Saul” met Jesus and we later find him singing praise songs at midnight in a Philippian Jail. This snarler had become a singer! If there was hope for him, there was hope for me.

PRAYER

Father, I confess that far too often I have been a snarler. I have been like a hot blooded hound in search of prey rather than an obedient servant trusting His Lord. I am grateful for your patience in my life. I want to be a singer all my days. I am grateful for the transformation that took place in Paul’s life and pray that my testimony would be much the same. I was a snarler who has been transformed into a singer by the grace and mercy of God! 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

Break Their Teeth (Psalm 58)

PSALM 58

Do you indeed speak righteousness, you silent ones? Do you judge uprightly, you sons of men? 2 No, in heart you work wickedness; You weigh out the violence of your hands in the earth.

PSALM 58:1-2

BREAK THEIR TEETH

There is a part of the human soul that cries out for justice. When we see injustice we want justice to be served. One of the clear ways this comes out in our society is when we see crimes against children. We understand that the adults who have mistreated, mishandled, or hurt children are sinister and deserve to be punished.

David saw some folks in his own day were were supposed to be people who saw that victims got justice but instead of overseeing justice, they were unjust themselves. They furthered the corruption. They oppressed the already oppressed. They favored the oppressor.

And so David was indignant. He was mad. He had a righteous anger. He knew God would do something one day about these people of an unsavory character who filled an office that was supposed to guarantee justice. But he also wanted God to move in his own day. Waiting for Justice isn’t easy.

David prays some pretty harsh things, or at least he uses harsh metaphors. He calls out to God to provide justice by breaking the teeth (see verse 6) of these unjust judges. He wants God to silence them. To hit them where the abuse comes from (their mouths). He wants their rule or oversight to be short lived like a snail in the sun or a stillborn child. These imprecations are harsh, but they reveal a real zeal for God’s justice to happen even now.

Who do you need to pray for today that has been a victim of injustice? What injustices are happening around the world or in our community that we need to pray against?

PRAYER

Father, Break my heart for what breaks yours. We see lots of injustice in our world today. From the baby in the womb who never gets to see the light or day, to animosities between groups of people, to the mistreatment of people perhaps in our own communities. I ask for righteous leaders in our community, state, and nation. We ask for people in positions of power to make fair and right decisions. We pray that our politicians and leaders aren’t swayed by polls, but rather hold firm to truth and righteousness. May they act with integrity. Limit the sins of those who do unjust violence against others. 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.