1765.) Psalm 34

February 5, 2016

This stained glass window of King David praising the Lord and playing his harp is found in Fringford, United Kingdom.

Psalm 34 (New American Standard Bible)

A Psalm of David when he feigned madness before Abimelech, who drove him away and he departed.

1 Samuel 21:10-15 (NIV)

That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath.  But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances:

” ‘Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands’?”

David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath.  So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.

Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me?  Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”

So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam.  When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there.

This joyful and wise Psalm may have been written from Adullam cave, and sung in the presence of those men who joined David there.

 The structure of this Psalm is acrostic, or nearly so. Each verse begins with another letter of the Hebrew alphabet, except for the letter waw. The purpose in this Psalm mainly seems to be as a device used to encourage learning and memorization.

–David Guzik

1I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.

“He may have acted like a fool, but he was not so foolish as to neglect praise of him who was his only true wisdom. He may have been hiding in a dismal cave, but this psalm tells us that in his heart he was hiding in the Lord.”

–James Montgomery Boice

3O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

Mankind has succeeded quite well in reducing God to a pitiful nothing!  The God of the modern context is no God at all.  He is simply a glorified chairman of the board, a kind of big businessman dealing in souls.  The God portrayed in much of our church life today commands very little respect.

We must get back to the Bible and to the ministration of God’s Spirit to regain a high and holy concept of God.

To know the Creator and the God of all the universe is to revere Him.  It is to bow down before Him in wonder and awesome fear.  God calls us to magnify Him, to see Him big.

–A. W. Tozer

4I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.

5They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.

A missionary  was leaving Hungary after a number of years working there while the country was still within the Soviet orbit. As he was crossing the border checkpoint, a border guard said to him, “You are leaving? I’m always sad when the believers go.”

“How did you know I was a believer?” the missionary inquired.

“Oh, I know all the believers,” the guard replied.  “I know them by the light in their eyes.”

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame (Psalm 34: 5).

6This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.

7The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.

8O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

1 Peter 2:1-3 (ESV)

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.  Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

9O fear the LORD, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want.

10The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.

The triumph and joy of this Psalm is so clear, it is easy to forget the life context of the Psalm. “It is for people who find themselves at the absolute low point in life, which is where David was. Or find themselves between a rock, which in this case was King Saul, and a hard place, which was King Achish. It is for you when everything seems against you.”

–James Montgomery Boice

11Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

12Who is the man who desires life
And loves length of days that he may see good?

13Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit.

14Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

2 Corinthians 13:11 (NASB)

Rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

15The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.

16The face of the LORD is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.

17The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw:

The words of Psalm 34 do not mean that whoever comes to Christ and lives for Him will have no fear, no trouble, and no need. Instead, the psalmist says that the person who trusts in God will find that fear is never the last word. Trouble is never the final answer. Need is never the ultimate reality. When the story is over, the fear will be conquered; God will have delivered. The trouble will be mastered, and God will have freed the believer. The needs in life will have been met, and God will have provided for every need.

There would have been no impetus to write this song if the psalmist had never had any fear, any trouble, or any need. It is when you have been scared to death, and God has brought you out of the trouble, that you can sing God’s praise. When you are in a tight place and call out to Yahweh, who is your only hope, you are in a situation ripe for a miracle. When you have no way to pay your bills and God provides, then you walk away while singing His praises.

The trouble itself turns our minds to Christ and gives Him the opportunity to show himself good and powerful in our lives.

18The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.

20He keeps all his bones,
Not one of them is broken.

“Crucifixion” by Pablo Picasso, 1930.

John 19:31-37 (NIV)

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water . . .  These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

_________________________

21Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

22The LORD redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

_________________________

Music:

This is such fun to watch! On Resurrection Sunday, 2010, in Budapest, Hungary, over 1,300 young people, all of them members of Faith Church, celebrated/magnified – praised – blessed the Lord/ exalted his name!   (I wonder what our Soviet-era missionary would think if he could see this!)

Faith Church is Hungary’s largest evangelical church.  Over the past 30 years, it has planted more than 200 other churches, opened a theological academy, established a network of elementary and high schools, published newspapers and books which give reliable information, and led charity outreaches in Hungary and around the world.  Some 60,000 people regularly attend Sunday morning worship, with hundreds of thousands more watching the two-hour broadcast on television.  It is clear that the Lord is at work  HERE  at Faith Church!

_________________________

New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Images courtesy of:
King David playing the harp.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/34-kingdavid.jpg
magnifying glass and verse 3.    http://www.virtuousplanet.com/shops/userimages/00001/00000000012/section/00000000000000005704.png
map of Hungary.    http://www.topnews.in/files/hungary1.jpg
baby drinking milk from a bottle.    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2008/07/11/milk460x276.jpg
He cares for you.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/11-he-cares-for-you.jpg
Picasso.    http://www.abcgallery.com/P/picasso/picasso96.html

1764.) Psalm 56

February 4, 2016

Ps56 v3 flowers

Psalm 56 (Contemporary English Version)

(For the music leader.  To the tune “A Silent Dove in the Distance.”  A special psalm by David when the Philistines captured him in Gath.)

The story of David being captured by the Philistines is recorded in 1 Samuel 21:10-15.

A Prayer of Trust in God

1Have pity, God Most High!

I love that many psalms begin with an imperative, commanding God to do something:  Have mercy on me!

My enemies chase me all day.

2Many of them are pursuing

and attacking me,

3but even when I am afraid,

I keep on trusting you.

Ps56 bird

“He feared, but that fear did not fill the whole area of his mind, for he adds, ‘I will trust in thee.‘ It is possible, then, for fear and faith to occupy the mind at the same moment.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

4I praise your promises!

I trust you and am not afraid.

No one can harm me.

5Enemies spend the whole day

finding fault with me;

all they think about

is how to do me harm.

6They attack from ambush,

watching my every step

and hoping to kill me.

7They won’t get away with these crimes, God,

because when you get angry,

you destroy people.

8You have kept record

of my days of wandering.

You have stored my tears

in your bottle

and counted each of them.

Lake Pepin, a narrow 12-mile-long section of the Mississippi River, is bounded by forests and craggy bluffs. When Father Louis Hennepin discovered the lake in 1680, he called it “Lac de Pleurs” (Lake of Tears) after observing some Sioux weeping near the lake over the death of a chief’s son.

I have a friend who is sure she will live next to a lake in heaven, a lake made of the tears she has cried here on earth and the Lord has collected for her!

9When I pray, LORD God,

my enemies will retreat,

because I know for certain

that you are with me.

Romans 8:31 (NIV)

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

10I praise your promises!

11I trust you and am not afraid.

No one can harm me.

12I will keep my promises

to you, my God,

and bring you gifts.

13You protected me from death

and kept me from stumbling,

so that I would please you

and follow the light

that leads to life.

John 8:12 (ESV)

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

_________________________

Music:

The NIV has the last clause as “that I may walk before God in the light of life.” One definition of marching is “to walk steadily forward in step with others.” Put them together and that seems to be not a bad way to envision the Church!

“Siyahamba” is a South African hymn.  The title means we are walking or we are marching in the Zulu language. Sung  HERE  by the Rondo Histriea from Pula, Croatia.

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
verse 3 with flowers.    http://ourdailyblossom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/110405.jpg
bird and “When I am afraid . . . ”   http://www.billpech.com/917psalm563_800300.jpg
tears in a bottle.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/tears.jpg
Lake Pepin.    http://media.rd.com/rd/images/rdc/books/most-scenic-drives-in-america/central-states-great-river-road-04-ss.jpg
saguaro cactus.    http://wonders.wallpaperdave.com/ps56-13.jpg

1761.) Psalm 59

February 1, 2016

Ps59 I will sing

Psalm 59 (The Message)

A David Psalm,
When Saul Set a Watch on David’s House
in Order to Kill Him

This refers to the incident in 1 Samuel 19:11-12, when the murderous intent of King Saul against David was openly revealed and David began his long season of living as a fugitive.

1-2 My God! Rescue me from my enemies,
defend me from these mutineers.
Rescue me from their dirty tricks,
save me from their hit men.

David cried out, My God, meaning it in the most reverent way. Through this Psalm David declared his close and personal connection with God.

  • My God (Psalm 59:1)
  • My defense (Psalm 59:9, 17)
  • My God of mercy (Psalm 59:10, 17)
  • My Strength (Psalm 59:17, 9)

–David Guzik

3-4 Desperadoes have ganged up on me,
they’re hiding in ambush for me.
I did nothing to deserve this, God,
crossed no one, wronged no one.
All the same, they’re after me,
determined to get me.

4-5 Wake up and see for yourself! You’re God,
God-of-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God!
Get on the job and take care of these pagans,
don’t be soft on these hard cases.

6-7 They return when the sun goes down,
They howl like coyotes, ringing the city.
Then suddenly they’re all at the gate,
Snarling invective, drawn daggers in their teeth.
They think they’ll never get caught.

My enemies -- "they howl like coyotes."

My enemies — “they howl like coyotes.”

8-10 But you, God, break out laughing;

“Laughing Jesus” by Ralph Kozak, 1977.

you treat the godless nations like jokes.
Strong God, I’m watching you do it,
I can always count on you.
God in dependable love shows up on time,
shows me my enemies in ruin.

11-13 Don’t make quick work of them, God,
lest my people forget.
Bring them down in slow motion,
take them apart piece by piece.
Let all their mean-mouthed arrogance
catch up with them,
Catch them out and bring them down
—every muttered curse
—every barefaced lie.
Finish them off in fine style!
Finish them off for good!
Then all the world will see
that God rules well in Jacob,
everywhere that God’s in charge.

14-15 They return when the sun goes down,
They howl like coyotes, ringing the city.
They scavenge for bones,
And bite the hand that feeds them.

16-17 And me? I’m singing your prowess,
shouting at cockcrow your largesse,
For you’ve been a safe place for me,
a good place to hide.

Ps59 v16
Strong God, I’m watching you do it,
I can always count on you—
God, my dependable love.

“While the wicked are howling, growling, and snarling (vv. 14-15), the servant of God praises the Lord instead.” 

–Willem A. VanGemeren

.

Tough times have a way of separating the “wheat” from the “chaff.” That is, when two people face similar dilemmas, one grows closer to God, bears spiritual fruit, and becomes more peaceful. The other, meanwhile, becomes anxious, bitter in spirit, and full of secret doubts about the Lord’s faithfulness. The difference has to do with how each one responds to hardship.

We all know that hardship is part of life. Becoming a Christian does not change that fact (John 16:33). What shifts is our understanding of God’s sovereignty—nothing touches our lives unless He permits it. The Lord allowed a murderous king to pursue David for years (1 Sam. 23). But the fugitive responded to adversity with faith and called God his stronghold and refuge (Ps. 59:16, above).

We are confronted with challenges for many reasons. God intends for them to grow our faith, change our perspective, or deepen our compassion. Sometimes believers reach heaven before they understand why they’ve had to endure suffering. But whatever the trial or God’s intention for it, He is available to help us in our affliction (Ps. 46:1). We can turn toward Him for comfort, guidance, and support. Or we can get angry and resentful that we are not being rescued from our shadowy valley (See Ps. 23:4).

When affliction strips away every crutch, one has only the Lord to depend upon. Can you think of a better position to find yourself in than to be undergirded by our faithful and sovereign God? Though some people are destroyed by that kind of situation, others are built into stalwart believers.

–Charles Stanley

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is one of the wonderful old hymns, “Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense.” The author is unknown, but it was first published (in German) in 1653. As you read the verses, you will be encouraged!

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
guitar and flowers.   http://40.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m8gw7uI3up1r1o6z3o1_500.jpg
howling coyote.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/nature-coyotehowling.jpg
Kozak.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesuslaughing.jpg
relax.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/relaxposter1.jpg
verse 16.   http://dawnsnewday.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/image3.jpg
wheat.    http://www.diningchicago.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/wheatfromchaff1.gif

1757.) Psalm 23

January 26, 2016

Ps23 lamb

Psalm 23 (New King James Version)

A Psalm of David.

A psalm about Jesus.

1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Forever.

_________________________

Music:

David never forgot his shepherd roots. And this psalm is surely one of the most familiar and most loved passages in all of Scripture.  HERE  is a beautiful musical arrangement of Psalm 23: “The Lord’s My Shepherd” sung in a Celtic rendition by Sheila Walsh.

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E’en for His own name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk in darkness veiled,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.

My table Thou hast furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy, all my life,
Shall surely follow me;
And in God’s house forevermore
My dwelling place shall be.

_________________________

Ps23 Lord

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Psalm 23:1

–from Daily Readings from Luther’s Writings
by Martin Luther, ed. by Barbara Owen

In this passage you hear that you lost sheep cannot find your way to the Shepherd yourself but can only roam around in the wilderness.  If Christ, your Shepherd, did not seek you and bring you back, you would simply have to fall prey to the wolf.

But now he comes, seeks, and finds you.  He takes you into His flock, that is, into Christendom, through the Word and Sacrament.  He gives His life for you, keeps you always on the right path, so that you may not fall into error.  You hear nothing at all about your powers, good works, and merits—unless you would say that it is strength, good works, and merit when you run around in the wilderness and are defenseless and lost.

No, Christ alone is active here, merits things, manifests His power; He seeks, carries, and directs you.  He earns life for you through His death.  He alone is strong and keeps you from perishing, from being snatched out of His hand.

And for all of this you can do nothing at all but only lend your ears, hear, and with thanksgiving receive the inexpressible treasure.  Learn to know well the voice of your Shepherd, follow Him and avoid the voice of the stranger.

.

The Lord is my shepherd — that’s RELATIONSHIP!

.

I shall not be in want — that’s SUPPLY!

.

He makes me lie down in green pastures — that’s REST!

.

He leads me beside quiet waters --- that's REFRESHMENT!

He leads me beside quiet waters — that’s REFRESHMENT!

.

He restores my soul — that’s HEALING!

.

He leads me in paths of righteousness — that’s GUIDANCE!

.

for his name's sake --- that's PURPOSE!

for his name’s sake — that’s PURPOSE!

.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death — that’s TESTING!

.

I will fear no evil --- that's PROTECTION!

I will fear no evil — that’s PROTECTION!

.

for you are with me --- that's FAITHFULNESS!

for you are with me — that’s FAITHFULNESS!

.

your rod and your staff, they comfort me — that’s DISCIPLINE!

.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies — that’s HOPE!

.

You anoint my head with oil — that’s CONSECRATION!

.

My cup overflows — that’s ABUNDANCE!

.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life — that’s BLESSING!

.

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord — that’s SECURITY!

.

forever — that’s ETERNITY!

_________________________

New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Images courtesy of:
lamb on green grass.     http://betterphotojim.com/uploads/processed/0019/0412221635309crw_5335littlelamb_lordmy.jpg
Jesus holding a lamb.    http://bedlam1020.deviantart.com/art/The-Lord-is-my-shepherd-I-shall-not-want-470387879
father with daughter.     http://secondadventchristian.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/bigstockphoto_father_and_daughter_250481.jpg
fruit salad.    http://seasonedfork.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/fruit-salad.jpg
green grass.    http://www.seekerstrove.com/i/email-art/psalm23/a_004.jpg
quiet waters.    https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/85/232221150_8c2d184661_b.jpg
path of righteousness.    http://www.turnbacktogod.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/right-path.jpg
one way.    http://www.cksignsplus.com/components/com_virtuemart/shop_image/product/One_Way_Jesus_4e82b87d9c797.jpg
ambulance.    http://todaysseniorsnetwork.com/Hospital,%20Ambulance,%20Emergency%20Room.jpg
lighthouse.   http://www.soulseeds.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/lighthouse-fog.jpg
skydiving.     http://archives.deccanchronicle.com/sites/default/files/mediaimages/gallery/2013/Jan/Skydiving.jpg
right way-wrong way.    http://itorganization2017.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/student_discipline_head_photo.jpg
dinner table.    http://peggyparks.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/dinnerpartyetiquette1.jpg
Holy Spirit dove.     https://curthreecurthrea.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/ruach-the-holy-spirit-descends-like-a-dove-upon-yehshua.jpg?w=470&h=311
overflow.     https://www.flickr.com/photos/vshioshvili/388221237
footprints in the sand.    http://www.magic-city-news.com/artman2/uploads/1/14_Blessing.JPG
infinity sign.    http://karpus.files.wordpress.com/2006/06/infinity-sign.jpg

1729.) Psalm 98

December 17, 2015

Ps98 joy-to-the-world

Psalm 98   (NRSV)

Praise the Judge of the World

We leave behind the imperfect judges of the Old Testament and look at our perfect Judge, Jesus, who is also our Savior and our Friend.

1O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.

New mercies, new blessings, new marvelous things — new songs of praise, new singing of thanks!

_________________________

Music:

A young teenager once complained to his father that most of the hymns they sang in church were boring to him because they were too far behind the times. His father put an end to his son’s complaints by saying, “If you think you can write better hymns, then let’s see you try.” So the teenager went to his room after church and wrote his first hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” It was back in the year 1690, and that 16-year-old teenager was Isaac Watts. And once he started, he continued writing hymns.

Later in life Watts turned to another task, metrical translations of the Psalms with a distinctly Christian perspective. At the age of 45, he sat under a favorite tree on the estate where he lived and penned the now famous words of “Joy to the World.” His 1719 hymnal, Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament, included the words under his original title for the poetry: “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom.”

As part of his effort to bring New Testament meanings to the Old Testament psalms, Watts based “Joy to the World” on the last half of Psalm 98: “Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth, . . . Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth” (vs. 4, 8).

Psalm 98 celebrates God’s protection and restoration of his chosen people. Watts’ carol rejoices in the same, as it expresses praise for the salvation that began when God became man. Both the psalm and the hymn also look ahead, to Christ coming again to reign: “He will judge the world with righteousness” (v. 9).

“Joy to the World” includes references to other Bible verses as well, including Gen. 3:17, Rom. 5:20, and Luke 2:10. And despite its lack of reference to Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, wise men, or the manger, it has become one of the most loved Christmas carols!

By the time of his death, Watts had written over 750 hymns, some of which are still well known and loved now, some 300 years later.

HERE  is Third Day singing “Joy to the World.”  I imagine Isaac Watts would enjoy hearing this version!

_________________________

2The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

3He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

from Mary’s Magnificat:

Luke 1:54-55   (NLT)

“He has helped his servant Israel
    and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

4Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

5Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.

6With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

7Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it.

8Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy

9at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

Ps98 birds_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Joy to the world.    http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/christians-in-pakistan-joy-to-the-world.jpg
Let heaven and nature sing.   http://www.recoveringself.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/let-heaven-and-nature-sing.jpg

1714.) Psalm 136

November 26, 2015

P136 God is love

Psalm 136   (NIV)

For you on this Thanksgiving Day! God is good, today and every day, and we thank him with all our hearts!

What makes this psalm unique is that the second member of each of the twenty-six verses is the same antiphonal response, “for His mercy endures forever.” “If one everlasting is not enough,” wrote Thomas Goodwin, “there are twenty-six everlastings in this one psalm.”

It is known as the Great Hallel, the singing of which was a regular part of the observance of both Pesach and Rosh Hashanah—the Jewish Passover and New Year celebrations. It was also used in their daily worship.

The repetition of the theme is not tiresome; it says to us that the steadfast love of the Lord needs to be constantly before us and that the subject can never be exhausted. His kindness, loyalty and fidelity never fail.

–William MacDonald

This psalm is an antiphonal liturgy with the memorable refrain, “his steadfast love endures forever.” A priest or soloist would chant the first part of a verse, and the congregation would respond with the refrain. Performances of the liturgy would have been powerful and moving, as the priest added example to example of God’s praise. (The Reformation Bible)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

P136 Earth
God is good as Creator:

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

P136 crossing-red-sea
God is good as Redeemer:

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
11 and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.
14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

P136 Pillar Fire Cloud
God is good as Guide:

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness;
His love endures forever.

P136 King-of-Kings
God is good as Champion:

17 to him who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
18 and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
20 and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.
21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
22 an inheritance to his servant Israel.
His love endures forever.

P136 helpGod is good as Helper:

23 He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
24 and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

A friend said to me:  “I believe it would be a great exercise for our family to write our own Hallel — naming specifically the Lord’s faithfulness to us. It might help us to remember instead of worrying anew with each new crisis.”

Thank you, Sue! Let’s start today as we are around the feasting table!

_________________________

Music:

Join in  HERE  — “His Love Endures Forever.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
God is love.    http://cordof3strands.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/GodIsLove-1207912618.jpg
Earth hanging in space.    http://stuffpoint.com/space/image/277328-space-earth-from-space.jpg
crossing the Red Sea.    http://mudpreacher.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/moses-crossing-red-sea.jpg
pillar of fire and cloud.    http://dailyprayer.us/photos/Pillar_fire_cloud_david_ascalon.jpg
King of kings.    http://www.christianbanners.com/product_images/uploaded_images/King-of-Kings-Point-Burgund_md.jpg
God is my help.    http://www.mssscrafts.com/memoryverses/2001_4/psalm54_4.gif

1679.) Psalms 77

October 8, 2015

Psalm 77 (English Standard Version)

In the Day of Trouble I Seek the Lord

To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of Asaph.

A lament . . . about me. Note all the times the author says “I.”

1I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.
2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
3When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints.
Selah

4You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.
6I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
7“Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
8Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”
Selah

Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
   and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
   I will not forget you!”

10Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

A hymn . . . to praise the Lord. Note all the references to “You” and “Your.”

11I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

“I will remember” — Do God and God’s help seem far away? The psalmist composes a list, making present God’s great deeds of Israel’s past by reciting them. Could that method work for us?

12I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

13Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
14You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
15You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph.
Selah

The story of God parting the Red Sea and bringing his people out of Egypt never gets old!

16When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
indeed, the deep trembled.
17The clouds poured out water;
the skies gave forth thunder;
your arrows flashed on every side.
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lighted up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
19Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
20You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

_________________________

Music:

We worship the God who saves us, who is worthy of all our praises!  HERE  is “Hosanna”  by Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown.

Praise is rising, eyes are turning to You, we turn to You
Hope is stirring, hearts are yearning for You, we long for You
‘Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your Presence all our fears are washed away, washed away

Hosanna, hosanna
You are the God Who saves us, worthy of all our praises
Hosanna, hosanna
Come have Your way among us
We welcome You here, Lord Jesus

Hear the sound of hearts returning to You, we turn to You
In Your Kingdom broken lives are made new, You make us new
‘Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your Presence all our fears are washed away, washed away

Hosanna, hosanna
You are the God Who saves us, worthy of all our praises
Hosanna, hosanna
Come have Your way among us
We welcome You here, Lord Jesus

‘Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your Presence all our fears are washed away
‘Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your Presence all our fears are washed away, washed away

Hosanna, hosanna
You are the God Who saves us, worthy of all our praises
Hosanna, hosanna
Come have Your way among us
We welcome You here, Lord Jesus

Hosanna, hosanna
Hosanna, hosanna

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Ps. 77:14.    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3015/2963789034_1f30766c55.jpg
two hands.  http://fabliz.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesus_holding_hands_with_child_5ts3.jpg
I will meditate . . .  calligraphy by Mark Williams.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/ps-77-121.jpg
parting the Red Sea.  http://www.myuniquegiftidea.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/crossing-the-red-sea.png

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 610 other followers