Our Soul Waits for the Lord

Today’s reading is Psalm 33.

I love movies with a twist, don’t you? I know a lot of people who try to prove how smart they are because they knew before the big reveal that (spoilers ahead) The Village was actually set in modern day or that Dr. Malcolm Crowe was actually dead. As they work to impress me with their intellectual acumen, I just feel sorry for them. Because I’m not that smart, I enjoyed the twists. They didn’t. Must be tough being that smart.

I’ll give you a hint as you read Psalm 33. It’s a psalm with a twist. For almost the whole psalm, you think one thing is happening. In the last scene, however, you discover this is a completely different psalm from what it seemed.

It’s a standard praise and thanksgiving psalm, right? God is wonderful. He’s done amazing things. He is the power and the strength. We are not. Nobody can overcome the Lord; no king, no nation, no counsel. So, let’s all just sit around the campfire and praise the Lord because thanks to Him, life is good.

Then:

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Psalm 33:18-22

Wait! What?

We are in a famine? We might die? Why are we waiting on the Lord if we are thanking Him for victory that has already been accomplished?

Because this is not praise offered in the calm after the storm. This is not thanksgiving offered in the shining sun of victory as we enjoy the spoils of war. This is praise offered for calm and peace while the storm is still thundering. This is thanksgiving offered for victory while the battle is still raging.

Don’t wait for the victory to thank and praise God. Thank and praise God while you wait on Him to bring the victory. That is faith. That is trusting in the Lord. That is waiting on the Lord. The steadfast love of the Lord will be upon as we put our hope in Him. But it is not putting our hope in Him if we wait to see how it turns out before we praise and thank Him.

No matter what is going on in your life today, put your hope in the Lord, praising Him, thanking Him, waiting on Him. His steadfast love will abound; I promise!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 33.

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But Where’s Jesus?

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

I see your hand in the back there. You have a question? “But where’s Jesus?” you ask. That is a very good question. I’ve made it pretty clear we ought to be able to find Jesus in most, if not all, the psalms. Do we find Him in this one? Absolutely.

I think the key to finding Jesus is in vs. 6:

“Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found…”

Psalm 32:6

Who are these “godly” people? On the one hand that just doesn’t make sense. We are talking about sinners reaching out to find God and confess their ungodliness to Him. How can David call them godly?

The term here translates the Hebrew “chasid.” That is an adjective form of the much more well-known “chesed.” “Chesed” is that word translated steadfast love, loyal love, lovingkindness. It is the covenant love God has for His people (see Exodus 34:6-7). Once I grasp that, I see that “godly” does not actually refer to those who have always and only behaved in a godly fashion. Rather, the godly are the covenant people who are subjects of God’s covenant love. In other words, not just anyone gets to cry out in confession to God and get forgiveness. Only those who are part of God’s covenant, the godly, can do so.

Obviously, in this one little post, I don’t have time or room to trace out the progression from the covenant at Sinai to the covenant at Zion. But even those covenant people under the law of Moses actually only found forgiveness because of the blood of Jesus Christ. It is only because of the covenant God offers through Jesus Christ that anyone can have the forgiveness this psalm talks about. And, only the people who are in covenant with God through Jesus Christ experience this covenant love of forgiveness today.

Where is Jesus in this psalm? He is the foundation of it. He is the basis of it. Without Him, this psalm simply isn’t true. But because of Him, it is. Because of Him and His sacrifice, when we His people confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.

Praise the Lord!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 33.

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Seek the Lord! Before It’s Too Late!

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

David isn’t bragging about his own forgiveness in the Lord. He is using it as a basis to teach everyone about forgiveness. He basically says, “Hey you guys! Look at me. I sinned. I sinned big. I didn’t want to talk about it. I tried to cover it up. But the Lord saw. He disciplined. I finally confessed. You know what God did? He forgave me.”

Then, in vs. 6, he turns to his audience and says, “Be like me. I know you all have sinned. Let my forgiveness be an example to you. Our God forgives. Seek Him while He may be found.” Whoa! Wait a minute! “While He may be found”? Does that mean there will come a time when He won’t be found?

Yes! That is absolutely what that means.

Folks who are postponing their repentance have no idea the danger they are putting themselves in. While it is true that you will be forgiven any time you repent and for anything of which you repent, you need to understand that the longer you push off repentance, the harder it is for you to do it. It is never easier than today to repent and seek the Lord. The more you sin, the more you postpone repentance, the harder your heart becomes, the harder it is for that shell to be broken.

Further, you have no idea when the full judgment for your sins is actually going to take place. Trying to wait until just before that moment of judgment to repent is not actually repenting. The days are evil. Make the most of today by repenting and confessing right now. You may not have tomorrow.

But if you do seek the Lord while He can be found, then the great rush of waters will not reach you. Yes, that ought to call to mind the great rush of waters that came in the days of Noah. Once the rain starts to fall and the Ark is closed, its too late to seek the Lord.

Seek the Lord! Before it’s too late!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 32.

PODCAST!!!

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The Lord’s Hand Revisited

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

In Psalm 31, we were excited to place our spirit and our times in God’s hands. In Psalm 32, we’re back to the Lord’s hands. But this isn’t so exciting. “For day and night your hand was heavy upon me.” Oh man! That sounds tough. I don’t like that. “Ease up, Lord,” I want to cry out. “Your hand is too heavy.” But wait! Do I really trust the Lord’s hand with my spirit and my times, or don’t I? In fact, David is thankful for the Lord’s heavy hand here. He understands without that heavy hand, he wouldn’t feel the guilt quite as intensely. If he doesn’t feel his guilt quite as intensely, he will never come to confession. If he doesn’t come to confession, he will not receive forgiveness.

Entrusting our spirit and our times into the Lord’s hands means we believe God knows when to be heavy-handed. In fact, we are glad when He is because we know it is for our good.

It’s not that we enjoy the heavy hand of God, but we know where it leads. As Hebrews 12:5-11 explains, the Lord disciplines us for our good. Therefore, though it is painful in the moment, it trains us, and we yield peaceful fruit of righteousness. That is something we do enjoy. Praise the Lord!

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

PODCAST!!!

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Forgiveness: The Name of the Lord

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

Open up just about any commentary on Psalm 32 and you’ll find an explanation of the three terms used to describe lawlessness: transgression, iniquity, sin (in the ESV). After distinguishing the three, most commentators will go on to say the distinctions really don’t matter. This threefold description is simply supposed to prompt us to recognize sin in completeness and in all its forms can be forgiven. I have no doubt that is true. But I wonder if we are missing the real point in this triumvirate description of lawless behavior.

What really makes these three terms stand out is they are exactly the terms used when Yahweh revealed the full meaning of His name to Moses:

The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.

Exodus 34:6-7

Psalm 32, like so many other psalms, is a meditation on the name of the Lord. It is a meditation with application. Let’s think of it this way. Having read Psalm 1, you can imagine why someone might keep silent about their sins. They might hope if they are silent about them, they won’t get noticed. They definitely don’t want to attract attention to all those moments when they stood in the way of the sinners, do they?

Yet, when I know Yahweh’s name, I will be clamoring to confess to Him. His very name is Forgiveness. I don’t have to hide my lawlessness. He is the God of mercy and grace, of steadfast love and covenant faithfulness. I don’t have to fear that if I uncover my sins, He will hang on to them forever. It’s in His very name, His very nature to cast those sins away from me. Praise the Lord!

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

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Wait! Who is Blessed?

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

I love Psalm 32, don’t you? It’s so comforting. However, most of my life, I’ve read it in a vacuum. I love it’s message about forgiveness. I bask in it and then move on. But now that we are walking through the psalms slowly, one at a time, this psalm explodes with new meaning.

Do you recall the doorway into the psalms: Psalm 1? The entire psalter started with a beatitude. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…” It paints the picture of the person who doesn’t take counsel from the wicked, sinful, scoffers, but simply meditates in God’s Word. There are the blessed, and there are the wicked. And let’s face it, at the end of Psalm 1 there is a small part of us thinking, “Blessed is the man who has never violated God’s Law.”

While reading that first psalm, we might be able to convince ourselves we fit. We like God’s Word. We think about it a great deal. We try hard to follow it. However, having worked our way through all the psalms so far, we have been disabused of that notion. We aren’t perfect. We aren’t sinless. There have been plenty of times God’s law and will were not our meditation. There have been plenty of times we have listened to the counsel of the wicked. Where does that leave us?

Enter Psalm 32. “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a second beatitude. “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

Praise God! The blessed are not the perfect, they are the forgiven.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 32.

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Praying a Psalm

Today’s reading is Psalm 31.

If Psalm 31 proves anything, it proves we are allowed to and probably should make it a habit to pray the psalms. That doesn’t necessarily mean picking out a psalm and praying through it (though that would be great too). It can mean adopting the language and the statements of the psalms in our own prayers. There are several statements in this psalm used in other psalms. “Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily” from vs. 2 is found almost verbatim in Psalm 102:2. “My eye wastes away because of grief” from vs. 9 is found in Psalm 6:7. “Save me in your steadfast love” from vs. 16 is found in Psalm 6:4; 54:1; 106:8; 109:26. Whether these other psalms are quoting Psalm 31 or vice versa, the point is the same. These were standard and stock phrases that could be used in prayers of all kinds. “I am cut off from your sight” from vs. 22 is basically restated in Jonah’s prayer in Jonah 2:4. “Let me not be put to shame” from vs. 17 is Jeremiah’s prayer in Jeremiah 17:18. And “terror on every side” from vs. 13 becomes a mantra for Jeremiah. He repeats it in Jeremiah 6:25; 20:3, 10; 46:5; 49:29; and Lamentation 2:22. And if none of these make the point, “Into your hand I commit my spirit,” was one of Jesus’s seven statements on the cross (Luke 23:46). For some reason, some have developed the idea that we shouldn’t quote Scripture in prayer. God already knows the Scripture, they tell us. Prayer should come from our heart, they tell us. Clearly, they are wrong in what they tell us. God has given us prayers in Scripture to teach us how to pray. Those statements inform our mouths how to express what is in our hearts. Jesus prayed Psalm 31 on the cross because Psalm 31 represented (for the most part) where He was. David’s faith and trust mirrored the faith Jesus had and even taught those who might be listening to His prayer what was actually going on in the moment. Oh, and by the way, that’s another thing we learn from psalms. It is true that when we are praying, we don’t need to preach a sermon. It is true that we are talking to God, not to those who are listening. But sometimes, it is appropriate to pray certain things in order to instruct those who are listening in. If you don’t believe me based on the psalms, check out Jesus’s prayer in John 11:41-42. Keep reading these psalms. You may never end up on a cross, but I guarantee you, you will wind up in plenty of circumstances in which the words, phrases, statements, requests, confessions, praises, and blessings apply to your situation; you’ll want to be able to express them.

Monday’s reading is Psalm 32.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

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From “Me” to “Us”

Today’s reading is Psalm 31.

Track the pronouns in this psalm. Sometimes the main pronoun is the first person singular, sometimes it is the second or third person plural. That is, in some parts it is, “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge.” In other places, it is, “How abundant is your goodness, which you have…worked for those who take refuge in you.” Sometimes it is “I trust the Lord.” Other times it is “Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful…” In this, David moves from praying about “me” the Lord’s anointed to praying about “us” the Lord’s people. This isn’t just some weird poetic thing. This is David setting himself up as the example. This is how God deals with His anointed, the head of His people. Therefore, this is how God deals with all His people. Especially when we get to the ending thoughts. David’s point is, “Look at me, people! Do you see how God has demonstrated himself faithful and loving with me? Do you see how God did deliver? I get it, I had some troubles along the way. But do you see how it ended? The same will be true for you. Hang on through the trouble. Stay faithful. Through me, God has proved Himself faithful.” We should see the same principle in our King. After all, a disciple is not above the teacher but when fully trained will become like the teacher. Do you remember what happened with Jesus? He was persecuted. He was afflicted. It even seemed that the hands of the enemies prevailed against Him. However, on the third day, He burst forth from the grave victorious. That is how the Lord gave victory to our King. We too, though the hand of the enemy seems to prevail, perhaps even killing us, will be victorious. We will also burst forth from the grave. So, commit your spirit into the Lord’s hand and hang on to Him no matter what.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 31.

PODCAST!!!

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My Spirit and My Times

Today’s reading is Psalm 31.

“Into your hand I commit my spirit,” David says in Psalm 31:4. That sounds beautiful. I want to do that. But what does it mean? Practically, how do I commit my spirit to the Lord? Perhaps Psalm 31:15 gives us some insight. David also says, “My times are in your hand.” That is, my circumstance, my life events, my days, my nights, my seasons, my weeks, my years. If “my times” are in God’s hands, doesn’t that imply my behavior during those times is in God’s hands? Paul provides a great example of this in 2 Corinthians 12:10. Having become convinced of God’s grace in his life through a thorn in the flesh, he says, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” In other words, “My circumstances are in the Lord’s hands. If He decides to make me sick, if He decides to make me go through a shipwreck, if He decides to put me in prison, if He decides to make me abound in prosperity, I’ll trust Him that He is doing what is right; and I’ll just obey Him no matter what.” Of course, Jesus demonstrates this on the cross. He even quotes it (Luke 23:46). Even if God puts me on a cross. Even if I’m thrown in a fiery furnace or a lion’s den. Even if the fig tree doesn’t blossom, there is no fruit on the vine, the produce of the olive fail, the fields yield no food, the flocks and herds get destroyed, I will rejoice in the Lord (Habakkuk 3:17-18). He’ll get me through. I trust Him. My job will just be to do whatever He says and rejoice in Him no matter what. I know in the end, He’ll work it out for His glory and my good. My spirit and my times are in the Lord’s hands. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 31.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes and listen to the Text Talk podcast conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

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Are You Sure You Trust the Lord?

Today’s reading is Psalm 31.

“I trusted the Lord and look where it got me,” says the person who went to church for a while, started obeying the Lord, but then faced a hardship and decided to jump ship. Let me ask you this. Which of the following most demonstrates trust in the Lord? Doing what the Lord says when everything is going your way and turning out exactly as you expected or doing what the Lord says when everything is still going against you and it is not turning out how you expected? David is in some hardship. Enemies have laid a trap for him. He is afflicted and distressed. He has become a reproach to his neighbors, his acquaintances, and even perfect strangers because of his enemies. He is facing terror on every side and the schemes of those who plot to take his life. And all of this has caused his eyes, his body, and his soul to waste away because of how long it has been going on. Yet, he says, “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.'” It is one thing to say, “I trust You, Lord,” when the Lord behaves exactly like we expect, giving us everything we want and ask for. It is another thing to trust Him by continuing to do what He says and pray to Him when He is not responding the way we want and when it seems like it is doing no good at all. May I suggest we can’t be sure we trust God until that trust has been put to the test in the crucible of shocking circumstances, circumstances in which God isn’t behaving exactly like we expected, in which He isn’t delivering as quickly as we had hoped. In fact, I also suggest we can’t be sure we truly trust God until we continue doing what He says even in the moments when it looks like it is not working at all. You know, moments like when you are hanging on a cross, dying, feeling forsaken, and then say, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit.” I’m not trying to make us fear we don’t have enough faith. I am simply trying to encourage us to hang on to our faith in those moments when we are ready to give up. Because if we don’t, I’m not so sure what we have is actually faith and trust.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 31.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

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