Where Is Your God?

Today’s reading is Psalm 42.

Twice, the psalmist is asked, “Where is your God?” Once when he’s in the drought. Once when he’s in the flood. There is nothing worse than feeling abandoned by God except possibly when the people around you are reminding you that you are abandoned by God.

“If you and God are so close, why isn’t He doing something about your situation?” “If your God was real, why is He letting this happen to you?” “If you really are God’s child, wouldn’t He take better care of you?”

And in this, we find Jesus. Isn’t this the temptation the devil offered in the wilderness? “If You are the Son of God, turn this stone to bread.” That is, “If You really are God’s Son, surely He wouldn’t let You starve.” “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself off this pinnacle. God will save You.” That is, “If You are really God’s Son, surely He wouldn’t let you get beat to death.”

And isn’t this what the people at the foot of the cross were saying. “If you are the Son of God, come down.” “He trusts in God, let God deliver Him.” All of this is just another way of asking, “Where is your God?”

So, let’s not be surprised when people ask us the same thing today. God doesn’t always work exactly as we expect. He certainly isn’t going to kowtow to the enemies and act at their beck and call just to prove Himself to them. Therefore, they will accuse us of being abandoned. Worse, they will accuse our God of not even existing. “Where is your God?” they will say.

One day He will answer. And His reply, if they have not given their allegiance to Jesus before that day, will be more than they ever bargained for.

Let us confess Jesus as Lord and bow our knee to Him before that day.

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.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Why is it so easy to get discouraged when folks in the world around us deny God’s existence?
  3. What tempts us to doubt God’s existence or care at times?
  4. What advice would you give to help us grow our faith in God who cannot be seen?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Don’t Be a Heel!

Today’s reading is Psalm 41.

Many claim David was talking about either Absalom or Ahithophel when he declares his close friend had lifted up his heel against him. Jesus claims he was talking about Judas (see John 13:18).

Of course, David is not so much prophesying about Jesus and Judas. Jesus is saying, “That thing that happened to David. It is happening to Me and more so.”

But do you know what Jesus did with that heel that was lifted up against Him? He washed it. That is amazing. Not only that. He then turned around and went to the cross for it.

Sadly, Judas did more than lift a heel to Jesus. He was a heel. He wouldn’t accept the forgiveness offered. He wouldn’t seek the grace that was paid for. Instead, in his guilt and worldly sorrow, he killed himself.

Don’t be a heel. Don’t strike out at Jesus. But if you do, don’t be a stubborn heel. Turn back to the Lord. Let Him forgive you. Let His sacrifice atone for you. He was raised up to repay you. But His repayment is forgiveness for those who confess and repent.

Can we help you soften your heel? Can we help you put your foot back down and instead reach out your hand to the Lord? Let us know in the comments section.

Next week’s reading is Psalm 42.

PODCAST!!!

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

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Would it be hard for you to wash the heel that was being lifted up against you?
  3. Have you ever lifted your heel up against Jesus? Think hard.
  4. How do we turn to Jesus today?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

A Body for an Ear

Today’s reading is Psalm 40.

In case you wonder whether we are allowed to find Jesus in psalms where the psalmist proclaims his own sinfulness (as we’ve done in the past), the Hebrew writer finds Jesus in Psalm 40. In Hebrews 10:5-7, the author is talking about Jesus and applies this quote to Him:

Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’

However, you may have noticed a difference. Psalm 40 says, “You have given me an open ear.” Hebrews says, “A body you have prepared for me.” This is because the author of Hebrews is quoting from the Greek translation. Honestly, I’m not quite sure why the Greek translation turns receiving an “open ear” into a “body.” Frankly, trying to figure that out is above my pay grade.

Here’s what is fascinating. In Psalm 40, David’s point is God wants more than sacrifice from David. He wants submission. He wants obedience. He wants sincerity. That is, there is no room for “sin all you want as long as you offer the sacrifice.” Yes, David, sacrifice is available when you need it. But don’t let that be permission to sin. Put the Law in your heart and follow it. However, when the Hebrew author quotes it, he ends up at almost the opposite point. The whole point in Hebrews is that God does want a sacrifice. Jesus is that sacrifice. He is the offering once for all that God did want.

The point seems to be that God wanted a plan that would get rid of sacrifice and offering. Therefore, He prepared a body for the Son of David that would be the ultimate sacrifice. When the Son of David came to do the will of God that was recorded for Him in the scroll of the book, it was to be the ultimate sacrifice that made all other sacrifices unnecessary.

What an amazing King we have. How can we do anything but shout, “Great is the Lord!”

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.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Why are you thankful for Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice?
  3. How does this psalm make the point that we aren’t supposed to let sacrifice be a license to sin?
  4. How can you put God’s law in your heart and avoid sin?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Help Me, Yahweh! You’re My Only Hope!

Today’s reading is Psalm 39.

My life is fleeting. Money isn’t helpful. I’m actually just a sojourner. Then what is this life all about?

David asks the question this way, “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?” That is, “What hope do I have?” His answer? “My hope is in you.”

Honestly, this is were we find Jesus. What was David really waiting for? Jesus. Jesus removes transgressions. Jesus removes our scorn. God removed the stroke from us and placed it on Jesus.

Looking forward, David didn’t fully understand exactly what his hope was. Looking back through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, we do. What hope do we have in money, houses, cars, retirement accounts, gizmos, gadgets, etc.? What hope do we have in this life? What hope do we actually have in the future generations? What hope do we have? Yahweh is our only hope. Jesus is our only hope.

But what an amazing hope He is! Praise the Lord!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 40.

PODCAST!!!

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

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Do you see Jesus in this psalm in any other ways than mentioned in the devo above?
  3. What other things do people put their hope in besides Yahweh and Jesus? What does that look like?
  4. What does putting our hope completely in Jesus look like in our daily lives?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

You Better Believe We Can Find Jesus in Psalm 38

Today’s reading is Psalm 38.

What do you mean you don’t think we can find Jesus in Psalm 38? Have you even read it?

“There is no soundness in my flesh…there is no health in my bones…my wounds stink and fester…I am utterly bowed down and prostrate…I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.” Doesn’t that sound like Jesus on the cross?

“O Lord, all my longing is before you…My heart throbs; my strength fails, and the light of my eyes–it also has gone from me. My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest of kin stand far off.” That doesn’t remind you of Jesus at His trial and then His crucifixion?

This psalm is about someone who has enemies laying snares for him, meditating treachery against him. Yet, the whole time he is silent before them. He has vigorous foes and enemies who hate him wrongfully. They render him evil though he has done good for them.

Seriously?! You can’t see Jesus in this?

“Well, Edwin, I mean, yeah those things sound like Jesus, but what about all the sin in this psalm? Jesus didn’t sin. Maybe we can find Jesus in most of the psalms, but surely, we aren’t supposed to find Jesus in this one.”

This struggle is what makes this psalm so profound, especially when we read it through the lens of Jesus. After all, this psalm sounds exactly like Jesus…except for the sin. David went through all this bad stuff, but he did so because of sin. How did God respond to that? He responded by coming into this world and enduring all the bad stuff just like David did. Except Jesus did it without sinning. Jesus went through every bit of this psalm, just like David. Except without the folly. And because Jesus did it without folly and sin, He was able to offer the sacrifice that allowed David to get the forgiveness he was seeking in this psalm.

Jesus came into the world and His life looked just like ours except without sin. He went through what we go through. He faced the struggles. He dealt with the physical trauma, the emotional torment, the relational turmoil. He even went through death. What’s the one difference? He didn’t sin. And because He didn’t, we can turn to God and find forgiveness.

Praise God! We can, in fact, find Jesus in Psalm 38.

Next week’s reading is Psalm 39.

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.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Are you surprised to find Jesus in Psalm 38?
  3. What comfort do you get from recognizing Jesus throughout the psalm, but with the one major difference that all the sin stuff doesn’t apply to Him?
  4. How does finding Jesus in this psalm help us recognize that God really is, as the last verse says, “my salvation”?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

The Future of the Blameless, Upright Man of Peace

Today’s reading is Psalm 37.

Psalm 37 is not a foretelling of Jesus. We don’t read Psalm 37 and start looking for someone who fulfills certain verses so we can know that person is the ultimate Messiah.

However, when you have a man on trial as a criminal and you can’t actually get real testimony against Him…

When you bring a man before the magistrate, governor, or king and they have to say, “I find no wrong in Him”…

When the governor’s wife is sending him messages to leave this innocent man alone…

You might want to remember the psalm that says:

Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.
But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

Psalm 37:37-38

Certainly, it looks like there is no future for that innocent Man up there on that cross. But understand, things aren’t always what they seem. Just as the sprawling green tree isn’t actually as blessed as it appears, the Man hanging on the tree is not what He appears either.

He isn’t going to perish. He isn’t going to vanish away. Even if you kill Him, He has a future. But you will be cut off. You will be judged. You will be destroyed.

As we look back at Jesus, we should see how He lived this psalm. We should see His example in the face of enemies. He didn’t fret. Rather, He committed Himself and His way to the Father. He trusted God and waited on Him. He didn’t wait on Him until the very last second, see that He was going to die, and decide to take things into His own hands. He waited on the Father until time ran out. Then on the third day, we all discovered time doesn’t run out for God.

Do we ever look around at the wicked who appear blessed in this modern world and fret? Do we get all bent out of shape because if somebody doesn’t do something, they might start taking away our political rights and they might even start to imprison and kill us? How did Jesus handle it when that happened? Perhaps we should take a page out of His book. You know, a page out of the psalms. Maybe specifically we should take out page 37.

Really, it’s going to be okay. God’s got this. Even if you die, you win. That’s the way it worked for our King. That’s the way it will work for us.

Today’s reading is Psalm 38.

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.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Read through the psalm again. Now that you are thinking about the blameless and upright man of peace, Jesus, what else do you see in the psalm that makes you think of Him?
  3. How did Jesus live by this psalm for His whole life including His death?
  4. What will our lives look like when we follow His example and this psalm?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Life and Light

Today’s reading is Psalm 36.

David is explaining why we want to listen to God instead of Transgression. Transgression only leads to evil. Its way is simply not good.

God, however, is the fountain of life. Transgression doesn’t bring life. It only brings death. God is the light. Not only that, by His light we see all other light. It is like that principle from C.S. Lewis when he said something along the lines of, “I believe in God for the same reason I believe in the sun. Not because I can see it, but because by it I can see everything else.” Without God, we would be blind. And that is exactly what sin does. It blinds us.

How do we gain access to this life and light? The apostle John tells us in John 1:4. Talking about the Word of God whom he later reveals as Jesus, John writes, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). No one can get close to the Father except through Jesus. He is the life. He is the light. He is the refuge. His is the house of abundant feasting. His is the river of delights. He will increase God’s steadfast love to those who make knowing Him their life. He will deliver from the arrogant foot and the wicked hand that threaten to mislead and derail us.

Jesus is our Guide! We might even say, our Shepherd. Praise the Lord!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 37.

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!

Continue reading “Life and Light”

Whom Did They Hate without Cause?

Today’s reading is Psalm 35.

Without cause, they hid a net to trap the psalmist. Without cause, they dug a pit for the psalmist to fall in. Why? Because without cause, they hated the psalmist. But who is it they really hate without cause?

John 15:25 explains they really hate Jesus without cause. Once again, while this psalm is about David, it is ultimately about Jesus.

Did you notice the connection to Psalm 22, a psalm everyone agrees is about Jesus because He quotes it on the cross? In Psalm 22:21-22, the big shift in the psalm happens. The speaker is saved from the mouth of the lion. Then He will praise God in the midst of the congregation. In Psalm 35:17, He asks to be rescued from the lions. In vs. 18, He promises to thank God in the congregation.

Psalm 35 is not a foretelling of the Messiah, of Jesus. However, when Jesus is falsely accused and the enemies put Him on trial, threatening His life, we say, “Hmmmm…that sounds kind of like a guy who would pray, ‘Contend for those who contend with me.'” When we hear about Jesus facing traps, false accusers, malicious witnesses, folks who rejoice at His death, we say, “I think I’ve read about something like this before.” When we hear about people testifying to the things they saw from Jesus, but they are lies, we think about those who cry, “Aha, Aha! Our eyes have seen it!” And, of course, did you read what I shared with your kids yesterday? When we hear specifically about a Jesus whose bones were unbroken, we can’t help but come back to this psalm and the previous to read of one whose bones are unbroken (Psalm 34:20) and those same bones rejoice (Psalm 35:9-10). When we witness Jesus praying three times in Gethsemane, we are reminded of the triple prayer of request for deliverance in Psalm 35.

As with other psalms, the point is not so much reading a foretelling prophecy and seeing its fulfillment in Jesus as if it is proof that Jesus really is the Messiah. Rather, its about recognizing that Jesus did more than fulfill foretelling prophecies. Rather, He reiterated David. He reiterated Israel. He fulfilled the entire Old Testament story, walking in the footsteps of so many of God’s servants, but doing so perfectly and without mistake.

After all, as we say again and again, David can only claim that there was no cause to hate him in a modified sense. For instance, I think Ahithophel had all kind of cause to hate David (see 2 Samuel 11:3; 23:34). But there was absolutely no reason to hate Jesus. Even Pilate knew he was innocent.

The psalm divides the world into two groups: those who deny the righteousness of Jesus and those who delight in the righteousness of Jesus. Let us be those who delight in it. Let us be those who shout for joy and are glad that the Lord delighted in the welfare of Jesus, His Servant, and delivered His soul from the grave.

Next week’s reading is Psalm 36.

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!

Continue reading “Whom Did They Hate without Cause?”

Not a Bone was Broken

Today’s reading is Psalm 34.

Did you see Jesus at the end of this psalm?

He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

Psalm 34:20

In John 19:36, we learn Jesus died relatively quickly on the cross. This kept the soldiers from breaking His legs. John says that was to fulfill the Scripture that says, “Not one of his bones will be broken” (ESV).

Certainly, this is part of Jesus fulfilling the Passover sacrifice (see Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12). Yet, Jesus is fulfilling our psalm as well.

Now, I know that sounds odd based on where we started the week. We explained that this psalm is David’s meditation on a moment when he stumbled and fell, but God delivered him anyway. Jesus didn’t stumble and fall. Why would we ever say this psalm is about Him? Good question.

The answer is very simply this. Even though David stumbled and fell, he learned how he was actually supposed to act. He used the experience to turn around and teach the coming generations how they were supposed to live. What did Jesus do? He lived that way. Where David failed, Jesus succeeded.

Jesus lived in fear of God and in wisdom. Jesus lived without deceit and without evil. Jesus sought peace and pursued it. Jesus took refuge in the Father. He committed His spirit into the hands of God. He faced many afflictions, but the Lord delivered Him from them all. And very specifically, despite all His afflictions, not a bone was broken. And because He succeeded, even though He died under Rome’s condemnation, His life was redeemed from the grave because of God’s approval and power. He was condemned by Pilate to die on the cross; He was justified (declared innocent) by God through the resurrection.

From David who failed and from Jesus who succeeded, we learn the same lesson. Trust the Lord. Take refuge in Him. Do what He says. It will be worth it in the end.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 35.

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.

Continue reading “Not a Bone was Broken”

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.

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.

Continue reading “But Where’s Jesus?”