3290.) Psalm 95

November 26, 2021

Psalm 95 (New International Version)

A call to exuberant praise to the Lord!

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving

Thanksgiving:  A “confession, praise” of God’s character and works. The verb is used to express one’s public proclamation or declaration (confession) of God’s attributes and his works.

–Ralph F. Wilson (and all following in green)

and extol him with music and song.

Ps95 created

The reason to praise — the Lord’s greatness as Creator and King!

3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Ps95 sheep

A call to bow down in humble worship before our God our Shepherd!

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

We worship, we bow down, because we recognize both God’s ownership of us and his responsibility to care for us. As Jesus put it, he is not a hireling, but the owner of the sheep. Therefore, he is willing to lay down his life for the sheep — and did! He is the Shepherd, we are the sheep, the flock. He cares for us.

Ps95 obey

A warning and exhortation to obey the Lord!

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

Why did the psalmist insert this warning right after high praise and prostrate submission in Psalm 95? The topic of the psalm is worship. His point is that worship not only consists of praise, thanksgiving, and outward submission, but also submissive hearts before the Lord. This is not an outward worship, but inward. Too often our worship is empty words, rather than a submissive spirit full of faith in God and a readiness to obey him. The Apostle Paul reminds us:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)

The way we live our lives comprises our worship of God, not just what we say with our mouths on “worship days.”

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Music:

Psalm 95 is a favorite for singers and composers!

HERE  is the oldest piece offered to you today, “Venite, exultemus Domino,” by William Byrd, an English composer of the Renaissance, 1607.

HERE  the psalm is put to music by the Sons of Korah, an Australian folk band.

HERE  is John Michael Talbot and “Come Worship the Lord.”

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New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 95:1.   http://oneyearbibleimages.com/psalm95_1.jpg
Psalm 95:3-4.   http://kellydavenport.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-3/p587217046-3.jpg
Psalm 95:6-7.     https://mysundayblog.com/2016/09/25/sheep-worrying/
obey.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d1/70/08/d17008d7307ad9dd79c2643b8943c582.jpg

3280.) Psalm 137

November 12, 2021

psalm137graphic

Psalm 137    (ESV)

How Shall We Sing the Lord‘s Song?

In 586 BCE, Judah was taken captive to Babylon. Losing their homeland and temple was a traumatic experience for the Israelites. The Babylonians added insult to injury by mockingly requesting that they sing songs of Zion as the Israelites struggled to learn to worship God in a foreign land without the benefit of the temple.

By the waters of Babylon,
    there we sat down and wept,
    when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
    we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors
    required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
    “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the Lord‘s song
    in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
    let my right hand forget its skill!
Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
    above my highest joy!

“In my Babylonian moods keep the vision of Jerusalem alive in my heart and teach me new songs of praise.”

–Eugene H. Peterson, Praying with the Psalms: A Year of Daily Prayers and Reflections on the Words of David

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
down to its foundations!”
O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
blessed shall he be who repays you
with what you have done to us!
Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!

This is a difficult passage, for it expresses hope that Edomite children will be dashed against rocks. Here we have an imprecation asking God to visit the same horrors upon the Edomites that the Edomites visited upon the Judahites when Babylon captured the Promised Land (Ezek. 25:12–14). It is a call for retributive justice based on God’s hatred of sin and a demand that sin be repaid in kind (Ex. 21:23–25). It is not inappropriate to long for justice, but in so doing, let us pray that our enemies would receive justice in the same manner we have—through the cross of Christ that paid for our sins and freed us from God’s wrath.

–Ligonier Ministries

“Let those find fault with it who have never seen their temple burned, their city ruined, their wives ravished, and their children slain; they might not, perhaps, be quite so velvet-mouthed if they had suffered after this fashion.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

An interesting application on v. 9 comes from the Rule of St. Benedict. He advises his monks to capture their evil thoughts, which are the conception of sin, and dash them against the rock of Christ before they can grow up.

_________________________

In 1937 Stephen Vincent Benet published a post-apocalyptic short story called “By the Waters of Babylon.”  It is one of my favorites!  I could tell you a bit about it, but it is better that you just jump in and figure it out as you read!  Click  HERE  or  HERE  to read it for yourself!

_________________________

“By the Waters of Babylon,” by Evelyn de Morgan (1882)

Music:

HERE  is a beautiful rendition of the opening of this psalm — Sweet Honey in the Rock sings “By the Waters of Babylon.”

And  HERE  is a  round, different but equally moving, by Don McLean (only a minute and a half).

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3266.) Psalm 82

October 25, 2021

artwork by Bob Smerecki, via Flickr

Psalm 82 (NIV)

A psalm of Asaph.

Earthly Judges Before the Great Judge

God questions them and exposes their weaknesses and then pronounces judgment on them:

1 God presides in the great assembly;
he renders judgment among the “gods”:

The gods — Earthly judges and magistrates are called gods, because they have their commission from God, and act as his deputies.

–John Wesley

2 “How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?

How long — The psalmist speaks to them in God’s name.

–John Wesley

3 Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

“These verses, indeed the whole psalm, every prince should have painted on the wall of his chamber, on his bed, over his table, and on his garments. For here they find what lofty, princely, noble virtues their estate can practice, so that temporal government, next to the preaching office, is the highest service to God and the most useful office on earth.”

–Martin Luther

5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

The foundations — This corruption of the supreme rulers, flows from them to their inferior officers and members.

–John Wesley

6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”;
you are all sons of the Most High.’
7 But you will die like mere mortals;
you will fall like every other ruler.”

A prayer to God to exercise his perfect judgment:

8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth,
for all the nations are your inheritance.

Arise — Take the sword of justice into thine own hand.

–John Wesley

_________________________

Music:

We generally shy away from singing songs about God’s judgments, but that judgment is a theme found in many Psalms and Scriptural songs. And there are certain things to remember. First, God is the Judge, not us. We’re concerned about His fame and vindication, not ours. That means we don’t sing about God’s judgments with self-righteousness or callousness. Second, God judging evil is part of the Bible’s story line to redeem a people for His glory. As one commenter said, “God’s judgment is simply the ‘negative’ side of our great heartcry, ‘Let your kingdom come!’” Finally, the predominant theme of our gatherings is not simply that God judges wickedness, but that He rejoices in righteousness. And that His righteousness has been most clearly demonstrated in the Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dying for our sins and rising from the dead. Because Christ was made to be sin for us, we are now clothed in the righteousness of God and are no longer under His wrath. Definitely cause for great rejoicing!

–Bob Kauflin, worshpmatters.com

HERE  is a hymn that speaks to the coming judgment — “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending,” a Charles Wesley hymn.

1 Lo! He comes, with clouds descending,
once for our salvation slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of His train.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
God appears on earth to reign.

2 Ev’ry eye shall now behold Him,
robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at naught and sold Him,
pierced, and nailed Him to the tree,
deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
shall the true Messiah see.

3 Every island, sea, and mountain,
heav’n and earth, shall flee away;
all who hate Him must, confounded,
hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
Come to judgment, come away!

4 All the tokens of His passion
Still His dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransomed worshippers;
With what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars.

5 Yea, amen! Let all adore Thee,
high on Thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the pow’r and glory,
claim the kingdom for Thine own:
O come quickly, O come quickly,
Alleluia! Come, Lord, come!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Smerecki.   https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapnpiks0304/28286990439
Defend the poor and fatherless.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/704-psalms-82-and-83/
verse 8, Arise.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/211739619963884523/

3252.) Psalm 48

October 5, 2021

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. The blue building with the gold dome is the Dome of the Rock, the third most sacred mosque in Islam. The pointed tower at the far left is the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City. The gray dome about in the middle is Holy Sepulchre, or as the eastern Christians call it, the Church of the Resurrection. Tall buildings in the background are in the new city of Jerusalem.

Psalm 48 (NIV)

The City of the Great King

1 Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain.

Great is the LORD: He is great indeed.

· He is greater: For God is greater than man (Job 33:12). 

· He is greatest of all: For the LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods (Psalm 95:3). 

· He is greatness itself: His greatness is unsearchable (Psalm 145:3). 

–David Guzik

2 It is beautiful in its loftiness,
the joy of the whole earth.
Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion,
the city of the Great King.

Ultimately, this is what makes Jerusalem wonderful. There are cities with better natural resources and more natural beauty. Yet there is only one city of the great King, the King of kings. 

3 God is in her citadels;
he has shown himself to be her fortress.

The Jerusalem Citadel, also known as the Tower of David, is located just south of Jaffa Gate on the western side of the Old City. Its location is  the highest point of the city, higher even than the Temple Mount. There have been fortifications here for over twenty centuries, protecting and defending the city.

4 When the kings joined forces,
when they advanced together,

5 they saw her and were astounded;
they fled in terror.

“In Hebrew the words are similar to the well-known report of Julius Caesar about his victories in Gaul: Veni, vidi, vici (‘I came, I saw, I conquered’). Only here the kings did not conquer; the fled from the city in terror. The verbs literally say: ‘They saw [Jerusalem is implied]; they were dumbfounded; they were overwhelmed; they fled in panic.’ The fast pace of the language captures the confusion and fearful flight.”

–James Montgomery Boice

6 Trembling seized them there,
pain like that of a woman in labor.

7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish
shattered by an east wind.

8 As we have heard,
so have we seen
in the city of the LORD Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure forever.
Selah

Do we speak enough of the faithfulness of our Lord? Do we share with our friends and family what God has done for us today? We are always ready to discuss the problems and problem people around us — do we eagerly also share the joy, the kindness, the grace of the Lord in our lives? 

9 Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love.

10 Like your name, O God,
your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is filled with righteousness.

11 Mount Zion rejoices,
the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments.

the walls of Jerusalem

12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,

13 consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them to the next generation.

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.

And so the city fades from view, and we see God alone. God! — the one who is enough.

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

“For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.”
–Psalm 48:14

In the Hebrew language, the future is behind a person and not out in front. Instead of striding confidently into the future, the Hebrews talked about stumbling backward into it. We can see the past, but we cannot see the future, and we can never tell exactly where our foot will land. Isn’t this an accurate description of life’s uncertainties? Christ asks us to put our hand in his because he can see the future as well as the past. He is the one who transcends time’s boundaries. He is the Lord of tomorrow as much as he is the Lord of today and yesterday. He can see exactly where each footstep will go. It is never irrational for us to put our hand in the hand of God. In fact, it is the only rational choice for us, considering our vantage point in life. If we choose to go alone, we will most certainly back into something destructive.

As a Christian you do not know what the future hold, but you do know who holds your hand. If you get ready to put your foot down in the wrong place, he will stop you and nudge you in another direction. He will shift your direction often, and as you look back on the way he has led, you will find that he has never guided you into a dead-end street or into a destructive situation. When your hand is in his and you come to the end of the way, you will be able to say, “I never lost a day.”

The essence of being a Christian is putting your hand in the hand of Christ and turning your back on any rights to the direction of your life. Your future becomes his, and he leads you.

_________________________

Music:

Using the opening phrases from verses 1 and 2, HERE is “Great is our Lord.” The song continues with praise and thanks to God!

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Jerusalem overview.    http://www.synergise.com/travel/Homepage/ecards/israel_jerusalem_dome.jpg
Jerusalem Citadel.     http://www.katapi.org.uk/images/Archaeology/JerusalemCitadel.jpg
God is faithful.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/48-god-is-faithful.jpg
walls of Jerusalem.     http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_RRV7ci01pYA/TCyn2f4uUkI/AAAAAAAACMo/dlpZdFxW-M0/s1600/jerusalem+walls.JPG
past-present-future signs.   http://donnalenz.blogspot.com/2014/06/change.html

3235.) Psalm 84

September 10, 2021

Psalm 84 (New International Version)

For the director of music. According to gittith. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

Spurgeon called Psalm 84 “The Pearl of the Psalms.”

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
   LORD Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
   for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
   for the living God.

“Crieth aloud, as a child when hungry crieth every whit of him, hands feet, face, all cry; and then the mother flings by all, then she flies and outruns herself; so here.”

–John Trapp

3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
   and the swallow a nest for herself,
   where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
   LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

Think of the sparrow as a picture of small significance and the swallow a picture of restlessness. The insignificant can find their place in the House of God, and the restless can find their rest (nest) there – near God’s altar.

4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
   they are ever praising you.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Brahms’ “How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place” (Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen) from Ein deutsches Requiem, op. 45, performed by the Holden Consort Orchestra and Choir.  Take your time to listen and watch — breathe deeply.

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5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

From all the corners of the earth, from all the nations of the world, we come as pilgrims to Jerusalem.

6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

Usually when travelling we go from strength to weakness. But not so for those whose strength comes from God! Their strength grows greater!

8 Hear my prayer, LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.

10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

“To bear burdens and open doors for the Lord is more honour than to reign among the wicked. Every man has his choice, and this is ours. God’s worst is better than the devil’s best.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

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

TO BE IN HIS PRESENCE

Meeting God profoundly affects our confidence and our expectations. When we find him, it is always a shock to realize how much he cares about us. Instead of confronting a vindictive judge who waits for a chance to deal with us about our shortcomings, we find a God of grace who looks for the chance to forgive our sins, establish us in his favor, and pour on us his blessings. To our surprise, we learn that he will withhold nothing good from those who walk in sincerity and uprightness before him. He is the source of all good, and his will toward us is loving concern. He is our sun who gives us light and our shield who surrounds us with protection.

The most important consequence of meeting God is what it does to our sense of priorities. We come to realize that we need him more than anything else. In fact, we need him even more than we need his gifts. It is for God himself that our soul cries out. The association with God will leave in us the hallowing impact of place and people and seasons, but our hearts will hunger for his presence. He is the source of all good, but he is better than all good. There is no justification needed for our searching for him. Although some do not know it, to be near God is the deepest desire of every human heart.

12 LORD Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Better is one day in your courts,” by Matt Redman. Hard not to sing along!

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New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Psalm 84:10.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/psalm8410.jpg
Welcome to Jerusalem, photograph by Marcel Hubers.   https://www.flickr.com/photos/beyondthegrave/41171829824
Golden Gate, Temple Mount, Jerusalem.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/hananisacharcorbis_goldengatetemplemount.jpg
God bless you.  http://ilovemydarling.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/may-god-bless-you-my-darling.jpg

3195.) Psalm 29

July 16, 2021

Psalm 29 (New International Version)

This wonderful song is simply titled A Psalm of David. In poetic beauty it describes the strength of a storm and understands it as the voice and power God. In so doing it repeats the name of the LORD eighteen times and uses the phrase “the voice of the LORD” seven times. 

“This psalm has no other elements. It is pure praise. It does not call upon us to do anything because the psalm itself is doing the only thing it is concerned about. It is praising God.”

–James Montgomery Boice

1 Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his  holiness.

3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.

Water is the most abundant compound on Earth's surface, constituting about 70% of the planet's surface.  These still waters are off the coast of Tahiti.

Water is the most abundant compound on Earth’s surface, constituting about 70% of the planet’s surface. These still waters are off the coast of Tahiti.

4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.

5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

Cedars from Lebanon were used by King Solomon in the construction of the Temple.

6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
Sirion (Mount Hermon) like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.

Lightning rapidly heats the air in its immediate vicinity to about 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about three times the temperature of the surface of the sun.

8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.

Desert

Blooming Sonoran Desert at sunset near Phoenix, AZ.

9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The LORD sits  enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.

11 The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Ps29 peace

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Music:

HERE  is Stephen Paulus’ “Pilgrim’s Hymn,” University of Utah Singers, Dr. Brady R. Allred conducting. So peaceful, so beautiful.

Even before we call on Thy name
To ask Thee, O God,
When we seek for the words to glorify Thee,
Thou hear our prayer;
Unceasing love, O unceasing love,
Surpassing all we know.

Glory to the father,
and to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit.

Even with darkness sealing us in,
We breathe Thy name,
And through all the days that follow so fast,
We trust in Thee;
Endless Thy grace, O endless Thy grace,
Beyond all mortal dream.

Both now and forever,
And unto ages and ages,
Amen

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 29:2.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/ascribetothelordthegloryduehisname.jpg
water of Tahiti.    https://m.blog.naver.com/PostView.naver?isHttpsRedirect=true&blogId=kyt8621&logNo=221606071306&view=img_4
cedar of Lebanon.    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/41/100083847_9de945d7d7.jpg
lightning.    http://perpatihkenyalang.blogspot.com/2011/07/terkujat-aku.html
desert.   https://www.emeralddesert.com/2017/03/palm-desert-full-bloom-spring-will-not-want-miss/
Peace.   https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Peace-And-Strength

3193.) Psalm 30

July 14, 2021

Ps30 weeping
Psalm 30 (New International Version)

A song. For the dedication of the temple.

Some scholars think that this psalm was actually written prophetically for the dedication of the temple –- which David prepared for, but Solomon built.

1 I will exalt you, O LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.

Mark 10:46-52 (NLT)

Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.

But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!”  Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“My rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave ;
you spared me from going down into the pit.

4 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.

“He felt that he could not praise God enough himself, and therefore he would enlist the hearts of others.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

1 Peter 1:8 (NLT)

You love him even though you have never seen him.
Though you do not see him now, you trust him;
and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.

“This is a most beautiful and affecting image of the sufferings and exaltation of Christ…of the night of death, and the morning of the resurrection.”

–George Horne

6 When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”

7 O LORD, when you favored me,
you made my mountain  stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

8 To you, O LORD, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:

Ephesians 2:4-7 (CEV)

But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind he is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done.

9 “What gain is there in my destruction,
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
O LORD, be my help.”

When a man is at his wits’ end
it is not a cowardly thing to pray;
it is the only way he can get in touch with Reality. 

–Oswald Chambers (author of the widely-read devotional book My Utmost for His Highest)

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

_________________________

Music:

Ps30 mourning into dancing

HERE  is Psalm 30, “Mourning into Dancing,” from GLAD. Only voices, but such voices!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Joy.  https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/1831-psalm-30/ps30-weeping/
Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus.    http://freetobefred.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/blind-man-healed.jpg
“Greet the morning.”    http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i242/formebb/Greet_the_Morning_by_phatpuppy.jpg
Mercy window from Central Christian Church, Orlando, FL.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/30-mercy.jpg
Lord’s Prayer.    http://www.drpaulose.com/wp-content/uploads/Lords-prayer.jpg
mourning into dancing.   http://36.media.tumblr.com/489f946571367182d07bfd2596b05771/tumblr_n5llachBOM1safybko1_1280.jpg

3185.) Psalm 4

July 2, 2021

Ps4 evening prayer

Psalm 4   (NRSV)

Confident Plea for Deliverance from Enemies

In this psalm David pours out his complaint against slanderous enemies and finds peace and refuge in God. It is not so much his safety that is endangered as it is his reputation being threatened.

1Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me now, and hear my prayer.

Prayer tip from David #1:  Use past mercy as a ground for future help.

2How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame? How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies? Selah

3But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.

Prayer tip from David #2:  Be confident that God will hear your prayers.

4When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Selah

Prayer tip from David #3:  Meditate by filling your heart and mind with God’s word.

5Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.

6There are many who say, “O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”

Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace.

7You have put gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound.

Reflection:

“The kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
–Romans 14:17

What feeds your heart?

8I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

Prayer tip from David #4:  Once you have prayed, rest in the Lord.

Jesus said, “If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest.”

— Matthew 11:28 (CEV)

4-baby-sleeping-bw_________________________

Music:

From the fairy tale opera Hansel and Gretel, by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921), the beautiful lullaby, “Evening Benediction,” from Act 2.  HERE  it is performed by Libera.

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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:
Psalm 4.   http://spreadjesus.org/26w/Psalm-4-An-Evening-Prayer-of-Confidence-from-The-book-of-Psalms-The-Holy-bible.jpg
Aaron’s benediction.     http://www.ratnermuseum.com/includes/images/photos/bible/bible-43.jpg
baby sleeping.  http://real-funny-pictures.blogspot.com/2012/02/collection-of-funny-sleeping-baby.html

3184.) Psalm 3

July 1, 2021

Psalm 3   (NRSV)

Trust in God under Adversity

This is the first Psalm with a title: “A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son.”  The events are recorded in 2 Samuel 15-18, but, as David Guzik says, “the heart is recorded in this Psalm.”

At the writing of this Psalm David was in a great deal of trouble. His own son led what seemed to be a successful rebellion against him. Many of his previous friends and associates forsook him and joined the ranks of those who troubled him.

1O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;

2many are saying to me, “There is no help for you in God.” Selah

Shimei was an example of someone who said that God was against David and he was just getting what he deserved (2 Samuel 16:8).

“If all the trials which come from heaven, all the temptations which ascend from hell, and all the crosses which arise from the earth, could be mixed and pressed together, they would not make a trial so terrible as that which is contained in this verse. It is the most bitter of all afflictions to be led to fear that there is no help for us in God.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

3But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.

4I cry aloud to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah

5I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.

Sleep is such a blessing. When we are dead to the world, snoring away — our lungs are breathing, our livers are cleansing, our digestive tract is working, our brain is messaging, our blood is flowing:  it is the Lord sustaining us!

6I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.

Romans 8:31 (ESV)

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

7Rise up, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.

This vivid metaphor is also used in Psalm 58:6. It speaks of the total domination and defeat of the enemy. David looked for protection in this Psalm, but more than protection — he looked for victory. It wasn’t enough for David to survive the threat to the kingdom. He had to be victorious over the threat, and he would with the blessing of God.

–David Guzik

8Deliverance belongs to the Lord; may your blessing be on your people! Selah

This showed David’s heart in a time of personal calamity. He wasn’t only concerned for God’s hand upon himself, but upon all God’s people. He didn’t pray for preservation and victory in the trial with Absalom just for his own sake, but because it was best for the nation. Such a big heart!

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Music:

What an encouraging truth!  HERE  is “Mighty to Save,” by Hillsong.

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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:
trust stone.  http://khushi.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/trust.jpg

3181.) Psalm 61

June 28, 2021

Ps61 v1

Psalm 61   (Good News Translation)

Some Bible scholars have suggested that this psalm of David might come from the time of Absalom’s rebellion.

1 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer!
2 In despair and far from home I call to you! Take me to a safe refuge,

Ps61 rock higher

Psalm 61:2 (KJV)

When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Most of us know what it is to be overwhelmed in heart, emptied like when a man wipes a dish and turns it upside down, submerged and thrown on our beam-ends like a boat mastered by the storm. Discoveries of inward corruption will do this, if the Lord permits the depth of our depravity to become troubled and cast up mire and dirt. Disappointments and heartbreaks will do this when billow after billow rolls over us, and we are like a broken shell thrown to and fro by the surf.

Blessed be God, at such seasons we are not left without a sufficient solace: Our God is the harbor of weather-beaten sails, the hostel for forlorn pilgrims. He is higher than we are, His mercy higher than our sins, His love higher than our thoughts. It is pitiful to see men putting their trust in something lower than themselves; but our confidence is fixed on an exceedingly high and glorious Lord. He is a Rock since He doesn’t change, and a high Rock because the tempests that overwhelm us roll far beneath His feet; He is not disturbed by them but rules them at His will. If we get under the shelter of this lofty Rock, we may defy the hurricane; all is calm under the lee of that towering cliff. Sadly, the confusion in which the troubled mind is often cast is such that we need piloting to this divine shelter.

Hence the prayer of the text. O Lord, our God, by Your Holy Spirit, teach us the way of faith; lead us into Your rest. The wind blows us out to sea—the helm does not answer to our puny hand; You alone can steer us over the bar between the sunken rocks and safe into the fair haven. We are totally dependent upon You—we need You to bring us to You. To be wisely directed and steered into safety and peace is Your gift, and Yours alone. Tonight be pleased to deal kindly with Your servants.

–Charles Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg

3 for you are my protector, my strong defense against my enemies.

4 Let me live in your sanctuary all my life;

 “He saith not, I shall abide in my palace, but in thy tabernacle, which he more highly esteemed.”

–John Trapp, Puritan Bible scholar (1601-1669)

let me find safety under your wings.

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Ps61 under his wings

Music:

HERE  The Altar of Praise Chorale performs a traditional gospel hymn which draws from the metaphor of verse 4 — “Under His Wings.”

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5 You have heard my promises, O God, and you have given me what belongs to those who honor you.

6 Add many years to the king’s life; let him live on and on!
7 May he rule forever in your presence, O God; protect him with your constant love and faithfulness.
8 So I will always sing praises to you, as I offer you daily what I have promised.

David began the Psalm desperately crying out to God with a heart that was fainting and overwhelmed. The song ends with praise, honoring God forever.

–David Guzik

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Scripture taken from the Good News Translation – Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society.

Images courtesy of:
verse 1.   http://41.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m56gsqFR3S1r1o6z3o1_500.jpg
When my heart is overwhelmed . . .    http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/images/34832.jpg
under wings.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/1a5f9-underhiswings.jpg