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.

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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!!!

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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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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Saved by Dismay

Today’s reading is Psalm 30.

David begins the psalm explaining why he will extol the Lord. “For you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” Now, we must be careful at this point lest we make a mistake later in the psalm. In Psalm 30:7, David declares he was dismayed. The next verse repeats his earlier claim of crying out to the Lord. We may be tempted to believe David was saved from his dismay. But that isn’t what is happening at all. God did not save David from dismay; God saved David by dismay. I know, shocking, right? Look at what has happened. Because of the prosperity he had received by God’s grace, David had become overconfident in himself. He was believing his own press. He was forgetting God. So, God hid His face from David. He made his mountain quake. He caused David to dismay. It was this dismay that reminded David from where his strength actually came. It was the dismay that caused him to turn back to Yahweh. Like Peter sinking in the water (Matthew 14:30) or Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), the Lord allows us to face dismay because it can save us. Of course, we have to respond to it properly. Sadly, some people decide if they face dismay God must not be out there or God doesn’t care and abandon God further. Don’t respond to your dismay in that way. Rather, when you experience dismay, turn even closer to God. Grab hold of him even more. He will hear your cries. He will respond. He will lift you up out of the waters. And after all this is done, David decides to extol God. Not because God saved him from his dismay, but because God saved him by his dismay.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 30.

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The Lord’s Anger

Today’s reading is Psalm 30.

Why should the saints praise the Lord and give thanks to His holy name? Because His anger is for a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Well, this doesn’t sound like the Lord’s anger at all, does it? God’s wrath and judgment are eternal. If we face the judgment outside of Jesus, it is going to be a forever issue. How can David say it only lasts for a moment? Is he saying God is one of those flash in the pan folks who can’t control His anger, it bursts forth like an eruption, but then He backs off? Is Yahweh fickle like Baal, Zeus, and other pagan gods? You never know what will cause Him to explode or how long it will last? No. David isn’t saying any of these things. David is remembering his own covenant with Yahweh that is also Israel’s covenant. In 2 Samuel 7:14-15, the Lord covenanted with David saying, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.” Look again at Psalm 30:4. This is the reason the Lord’s saints can praise and give thanks. Not just anyone can praise and thank God for this. Sometimes we, the Lord’s saints, do things worthy of the Lord’s anger. In these times, like a loving Father, He disciplines us (see Hebrews 12:4-11). However, He knows our frame. He remembers we are but dust (see Psalm 103:14). He does not carry on in His anger forever. He doesn’t bear a grudge against us. Rather, in love, He restores us and brings His favor to us. And the moments of discipline develop within us peaceful fruits of righteousness for which we can rejoice. In other words, we can give thanks and praise God because with us, His saints, He doesn’t use His anger to merely vent His spleen. He uses it as a tool for our discipline, our growth, our good which will lead us to rejoice in the long run. What an amazing Abba, Father God we have. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 30.

PODCAST!!!

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The Calm after the Storm

Today’s reading is Psalm 29.

Are you as shocked as I am by the final verse of Psalm 29? The entire psalm has been a storm. We’ve heard the voice of God thunder seven times. We’ve witnessed the tumultuous waters, the earthquake in a mountain, cedars of Lebanon breaking, flames of fire falling from the heavens, wildernesses shaking, deer being frightened into premature labor, the peals of thunder peeling trees, and we come to the final verse and it says, “May the Lord bless his people with peace!” Wait! What? Peace? Are you sure, David, that is what you meant to say? Not “Victory,” not “conquest,” but “peace”? “Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I did mean Peace,” David would reply. Because David is pointing to something more profound. Yes, the psalm looks back to Creation, to the flood, to the Red Sea, to Sinai, but it also looks ahead. Can we today read this psalm without thinking about the thunderstorms on the sea of Galilee and the disciples crying out, “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” Aren’t they crying out like David did, “Don’t let us get swept away! Don’t let us be like those who go down to the pit!” And how did Jesus respond? He calmed the storms. After all, isn’t that what Jesus was sent to do? Luke 1:79 says Jesus was coming “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (ESV). At Jesus’s birth, the heavenly host sang out, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14, ESV). In John 14:27, Jesus told the apostles, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (ESV). Yes, the God of the Storm still sits enthroned and so He has sent the Prince of Peace. Praise the Lord!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 30.

PODCAST!!!

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

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David’s Song

Today’s reading is Psalm 28.

I love the idea that I read somewhere about Psalm 28:7-9. In vs. 7, David says, “my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him” (ESV). Then in vss. 8-9, we actually see him exulting and praising God. In a very real sense, David says he will sing about the Lord, then he does. What if we read vss. 8-9 as David’s song of exultation and thanksgiving? What is the song? The song is not that the Lord’s people are strong. The song is not that the Lord’s people save themselves. The song says the Lord is the strength and salvation. And then it calls on the Lord to save His people, his heritage. And then it says, “Be their shepherd and carry them forever” (ESV). Hmmm. That kind of sounds like Psalm 23, doesn’t it? Ultimately, isn’t this exactly how God saved His people? Didn’t He send His one Shepherd? Aren’t the saved, those who jump into the arms of Jesus? Aren’t the saved those who understand that the only possible strength they can have is in Jesus? David started this whole series of psalms by proclaiming how amazing his Shepherd is. Now we get to this wonderful place where David’s song is that God will shepherd not only him, but all of his people. It teaches us an amazing lesson. They only way to salvation is to follow the Good Shepherd. Are you following Him?

Next week’s reading is Psalm 29.

PODCAST!!!

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

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Saved from God

Today’s reading is Psalm 28.

David is begging for mercy. He is afraid he will be like those who go down to the pit. But what does he want to be saved from? What is he actually afraid is going to happen? He mentions the wicked, workers of evil, and those who have falsehood in their heart. It is no wonder so many people believe David is asking God to deliver him from wicked people. There are many psalms in which David is doing exactly that. However, read the psalm again. In which verse does David speak of what these wicked people are doing to him? In which verse does David speak of needing rescue from his enemies? Shockingly, when we slow down and don’t just read into this psalm what we’ve read in other psalms, we see those things are actually missing here. Of whom is David really afraid in this psalm? Be honest. David is afraid of God. David is afraid that God, when He brings judgment on the wicked, the evil, the false, will drag him off as well. David is afraid of being swallowed up in God’s judgment. David wants to be saved from God and His wrath. This really fits with the series of psalms we’ve been reading. In Psalm 23, David expresses that he wants to dwell in the Lord’s house. In Psalm 24, he describes the qualifications for dwelling in the house. But then in Psalm 25, he hits a snag. He knows he doesn’t qualify. However, he serves a merciful God who is full of loyal love and is faithful to His covenants. Praise the Lord! That is the only reason David can be assured he will dwell in the holy hill. So, he begs God to remember him according to God’s mercy, not according to David’s sin. But David knows the wicked will be remembered according to their sins. They will be remembered for the works of their hands. What hope does David have? There is nothing he can offer God. He can’t earn His way into the sanctuary of the Lord. He can only turn toward it and beg for mercy. He is the tax collector whose only recourse is to cry out, “Be merciful to me the sinner.” More than that, he is a stalk of wheat in the midst of tares. Can he be sure that he won’t get cut down and cast into the fire with the wicked? That is exactly where we all are. We don’t really need to be saved from the wicked people. What we really need is to be saved from God’s wrath. Isn’t that what Paul says Jesus does for us in Romans 5:6-11? Absolutely. David begged that God would not sweep him away with the wicked. God’s response was to let Jesus die for David. That is His response for us as well. And if God was willing to sacrifice Jesus to save us from His wrath, don’t you think He is paying attention to which folks are actually in Jesus? Of course, He is. In fact, isn’t that the message of Revelation 7:1-12? The Lord knows who are His. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 28.

PODCAST!!!

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

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“I Will Now Arise!”

Today’s reading is Psalm 12.

If you have been paying close attention to the posts from the past few days, you may have noticed a particular progression. After David’s initial cry of “Save, O Lord” (a statement we’ll discuss in tomorrow’s post), you see that the psalm begins (vss. 1-2) and ends (vs. 8) with a claim that there is no faithfulness, loyalty, or godliness among the children of men. It’s like a parenthesis wrapping around the entire poem. But then you may have noticed the second layer. There was David’s prayer for God to judge the wicked toward the beginning of the psalm (vs. 3) and then David’s declaration that God would guard the righteous toward the end (vs. 7). And then as we peeled one layer closer to the center of this onion, we saw the contrast between the words of the wicked (vs. 4) and the Word of the Lord (vs. 6). And right in the center of this is God’s own declaration and response, a thing, I’ve been told, that doesn’t happen often in the psalms. “‘I will now arise!’ says the Lord” (vs. 5). Granted, the call to the Lord to arise is pretty common in the psalms. However, as we have walked through these first 12 psalms, David asked the Lord to arise again and again. In Psalm 3:7: “Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!” Then again in Psalm 7:6: “Arise O Lord, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies.” Then we find the double plea in Psalm 9 and Psalm 10, those two psalms that seem to be connected with their increasing cries and ever louder pleas to “Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you!” (Psalm 9:19). And then, “Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted” (Psalm 10:12). In Psalm 11, David refused to abandon God no matter what the liars said. And now in Psalm 12, God Himself, right in the center of this psalm, proclaims, “I will now arise!” Hey, I get it. There are more psalms to come. There are more laments to be read, sung, and prayed. I know each psalm is to be read as its own literary unit and maybe I’m making too much of this, but I can’t help noticing this progression. David has begged and begged and begged for the Lord to arise. In times when he knew he was innocent, he cried out to God. In times when he knew he deserved God’s judgment, he cried out to God. Things have gone from bad to worse. The Lord hadn’t responded, but David kept crying out. All around him counseled him to flee, but he stayed true to the Lord. And now the Lord arises! Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 12.

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The Lord Loves the Upright

Today’s reading is Psalm 11.

Obviously, in an absolute sense, the Lord loves everybody. So it bothers us to hear He loves the righteous. Further, it really bothers us to hear that God hates the wicked. To us, that just doesn’t sound like God at all. However, in this psalm the use of hate is not to be take an as absolute, but as a relative. It’s like Luke 14:26, in which Luke records Jesus as saying we are supposed to hate our family. However, in Matthew 10:37, the same scenario is recorded as Jesus saying we must not love our family more than Jesus. Luke’s record of that event is not saying we are to absolutely hate our family. Rather, our love for Jesus is to be so great compared to our feelings for our family that what we feel for our parents, siblings, and even spouse looks like hate. In Psalm 11, the “hate” of God is not that He simply and absolutely hates wicked people. He actually loves them. He loves them so much He sent Jesus to die for them. He loves them so much He offered up a propitiation for them. But those who reject the sacrifice of Jesus, pursuing and persisting in guilt will be judged. That is what is meant by God’s hate in this psalm. He is righteous. He loves uprightness. That is, He blesses and rewards it. He loves the upright. That is, He blesses and rewards those who find uprightness in Him through Jesus. But He hates wickedness. That is, He judges, condemns, and punishes it. He hates the wicked. That is, He judges, condemns, and punishes the wicked. This is one of the foundations that has not been destroyed. As we learned earlier in the week, it would be silly for David, or anyone, to pursue and persist in wicked behavior because it is a foundation that God hates the wicked and loves the upright. That is, it is a foundation that God judges, condemns, and punishes the wicked and blesses and rewards the upright. Therefore, David will not abandon this foundation. We had better not either.

Next week’s reading is Psalm 12.

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