Lord, Be Gracious

Today’s reading is Psalm 41.

Based on David’s description of the Blessed Lord as the one who cares for and delivers the poor and needy, he describes the request he had made beginning in vs. 4: “O Lord, be gracious to me.” He comes back to the main request in vs. 10: “But you, O Lord, be gracious to me…”

In this first book of Psalms, David has requested the Lord be gracious to him eight times, not counting these two requests (see Psalm 4:1; 6:2; 9:13; 25:16; 26:11; 27:7; 30:8 [“merciful”]; 31:9).

It is so hard to accept this grace and mercy, isn’t it? When we can look back and see our sins, when we are convinced our troubles are the result of our sin, when others are reminding us of our sin, mercy and grace are hard to seek.

On top of that, mercy and grace are just difficult to seek. Most of us don’t want mercy and grace. Most of us just want God to be patient with us. “Hang on, Lord, I’ll prove I’m better than my sins.” “Just watch and see, Lord, I’ll show you I deserve Your favor.” It is hard to ask the Lord to just be gracious to us, to give us what we don’t deserve. We so desperately want to deserve it.

Of course, this recognition that we can’t earn God’s favor doesn’t mean there are no conditions. Even David says God will uphold him because of his integrity (vs. 12). In this psalm, as in 26:11, we have a sinner who has integrity. In other words, we are sinners who deserve judgment, but we can submit to the Lord’s righteousness. We are not totally depraved or utterly incapable. God does expect sinners to turn to Him in integrity. He does expect us to meet conditions without which He will not save us. The condition is not, of course, sinless perfection. It is not earning the favor. But neither can we expect to be saved by God if we decide to continue to walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the paths of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful. We must walk in integrity. We must walk the Lord’s path. Yes, we will fall. But the Lord is gracious.

Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 41.

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. What comfort do you get from the Lord’s grace and mercy?
  3. What struggles do you have with seeking the Lord’s grace and mercy?
  4. What do you think of the difference between earning grace and meeting conditions to receive grace?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Who is Blessed?

Today’s reading is Psalm 41.

A very common perspective on Psalm 41:1 is to simply see another beatitude adding to the ones we’ve highlighted before. This one teaches that the man who considers the weak and poor will be blessed by God. That is certainly possible. However, what if this beatitude is just a little bit different? Can I suggest a different perspective?

Did you catch how Psalm 40 ended? “As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” Now, to be transparent, the words translated “poor” in Psalm 40:17 and Psalm 41:1 are two different words. However, the concept of the “poor and needy” at the end of the last psalm and the “poor” at the beginning of this one are the same.

When you have just read about God taking thought for someone who is poor and needy at the end of one poem and the next one begins with a praise of the one who considers the poor, who is the one considering the poor? Doesn’t it just make sense that it is God? It does to me.

Then in Psalm 40:1b-3, we see a description of the One who considers the poor and needy. We see a picture of the one who is taking care of David when he is weak, poor, needy. God delivers the weak in the day of trouble. God protects the poor and keeps him alive. God sustains the needy on his sickbed.

This psalm is a praise of Yahweh for caring for David. It is not a praise of David for caring for the poor. And what a fitting end to the first book of the Psalms. David has been through so much in these poems. He has been attacked. He has been sick. He has been near death. He has been overcome by sin. But God has brought him through and delivered him from it all.

Blessed be the Lord!

And praise the Lord because He’s our Lord too!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 41.

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. What do you think? Is Edwin right that the statement is about God? Or do you think it is a beatitude about those who take care of the poor? Why?
  3. What other reasons do we have to praise and bless God? Consider especially things we’ve learned through this first book of the Psalms.
  4. How does this picture of God give you comfort?
  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?

You Talkin’ to Me?

Today’s reading is Psalm 40.

“Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O God; your law is within my heart.”

What’s that about? Who is this talking about?

It seems most likely this is actually a reference back to the scroll of the Law and its reference to the king, the passage we read in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. Here, in the scroll of the Law book, God tells the king how to rule. He is not to trust in horses and chariots. He is not to multiply wives who will turn his heart away. Further, he is to write his own copy of the scroll of the book. He is to read it all the days of his life. He does this so his heart will not be lifted up above the people who are his brothers and sisters. He does this so he will obey the Lord, doing His will, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

David understood, God was talking to him. What does he proclaim? I delight to do your will! Your law is in my heart!

No doubt, God was talking to the king. No doubt, God was talking to David. Let us understand He was talking to us as well. Oh, I don’t mean we have to write our own copies of the Bible. Though, that might not hurt. But we must get His word in our heart. We must delight in His will. He is talking to us. He is talking to you.

Tomorrow’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 post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Why was the king not to return to Egypt?
  3. Why would the king be tempted to let his heart be lifted up above his brothers and sisters?
  4. What benefit do we get from putting God’s word in our heart?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

No Restraint

Today’s reading is Psalm 40.

Why did David believe God would not restrain Himself from mercy? …from steadfast love? …from faithfulness? …from preserving him?

David had sinned. His iniquities had overtaken him. His iniquities were more than the hairs of his head. With this being the case, why would he ever think God would deliver him?

Because when the Lord had delivered David in the past, David had not restrained his praise. He had told the entire congregation, that is, the entire nation, about God’s power, mercy, deliverance. He had sung God’s praises. He had proclaimed God’s mercies. He didn’t just think about them. He didn’t just meditate on them. He told them.

Because David had no restraint in acknowledging God, he was certain God would have no restraint in saving him.

Certainly, there are plenty of areas in which we need to restrain ourselves. But in the area of God’s praises, let us practice no restraint.

Tomorrow’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 post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Why do you think anyone would ever restrain themselves from praising God?
  3. What kind of reasons do you have for praising and thanking God?
  4. What kind of reasons does our family have for praising and thanking God?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Blessed is the Man

Today’s reading is Psalm 40.

Here it is again. “Blessed is the man.” Sisters, please, don’t be upset. Women in this setting will be blessed also. These psalms are written from the king’s perspective. While they have application to all of God’s followers, male and female alike, they are primarily about the king.

But it is good to see a survey of this blessed person so far.

Psalm 1:1: “Blessed is the man [whose]…delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Psalm 2:12: “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Psalm 32:1: “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”

Psalm 32:2: “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity…”

Psalm 33:11: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!”

Psalm 34:8: “Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

Psalm 40:4: “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!”

What more is there to say? We may not be the king. But we can be this person. And we will be blessed.

Tomorrow’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 post!

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Which of the “blessed” statements in the psalms so far is your favorite? Why?
  3. What comfort do you get from these beatitudes in the psalms?
  4. What do all these beatitudes have in common?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Well, Lord, Here I Am Again

Today’s reading is Psalm 40.

Why does this psalm go from the heights of thanksgiving to the depths of lament? Because David has gotten himself in a mess…again.

This psalm is David’s plea for God to deliver him from the results of his own sin (the last half of the psalm). Part of his basis for the plea is how he handled God’s earlier deliverances (the first half of the psalm). In the past, he waited patiently. In the past, he trusted in the Lord. In the past, he gave God the praise and the glory. In the past, he told the whole congregation about God’s faithfulness, steadfast love, and salvation. Because of all that, he asks God to deliver him…again.

There is, of course, nothing in this psalm that justifies sinning our way into trouble. However, have you ever been in that moment when you had to say, “Well, Lord, here I am again?” That is where David is in Psalm 40.

What is he allowed to do? He is allowed to go to God…again. He is allowed to pray…again. He is allowed to confess…again. He is allowed to repent…again. He is allowed to cry out for mercy…again. He is allowed to seek deliverance…again. Praise the Lord!

Are you there…again?

Turn to the Lord.

Let us know if we can help.

Tomorrow’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 post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. How comforting is it to you to see one of the Bible saints turn to God after getting in sinful messes multiple times?
  3. Ultimately, what has God done to deliver us from our sin?
  4. What advice do you have to help the others in your family stay out of those sinful messes?
  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?

Sojourners

Today’s reading is Psalm 39.

“For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.”

Certainly, this calls to mind the principles we’ve covered the past couple of days about the fleeting nature of this life and the ultimate emptiness of wealth. We are sojourners, temporary residents. This isn’t where we plan on spending eternity with God. We are looking forward to something more, something better. Laying up treasures in our sojourn would be like investing a bunch of money in the house we are renting knowing full well we are going to be buying a different house in the next couple of years.

However, there may be a bit more to this idea of sojourner than just recalling the above principles.

This statement is practically a quote from when David prayed at the collection to prepare for the temple. In 1 Chronicles 29:15, David prayed, “For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth a like a shadow, and there is no abiding.” In context, this statement is a recognition that every bit of financial blessing they had was actually God’s anyway. They were giving to the building of the temple, but it wasn’t like they were actually giving. They were just conduits for God to provide for His own house. It was His stuff anyway.

But this statement is anchored in Leviticus 25:23. God said none of the Israelites actually owned the land. The land was His. The Israelites were strangers and sojourners on it. Therefore, they couldn’t sell the land in perpetuity as if they owned it. In other words, even the old homestead was a gift from God. They were living on what God had provided.

Finally, there is another aspect of this that fits very well into the context of the end of Psalm 39. In Deuteronomy 24:17-22, we see direction on how God expected Israel to treat sojourners. They were not allowed to pervert justice to the sojourner. Further, they were supposed to provide for the sojourner, even the poor sojourner. They were to care for the sojourner. In other words, David is, in a very real sense, asking God, “You remember how you told us to treat sojourners when they were in need and crying out? Treat me the same way.”

And we can be assured God did treat him with that kind of care. We can be assured He will treat us with the same kind of care. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’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. Which aspect of sojourners in the above devo is most comforting to you? Why?
  3. Why is it hard to remember that here on earth we are just sojourners?
  4. How do you think we can spend more time focused on our eternal home with God instead of focusing on our sojourning time here?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Storing Up Wealth in the Last Days

Today’s reading is Psalm 39.

We’ve already seen a connection between Psalm 39 and the letter written by James in reference to sins of the tongue. There is a second connection. While we struggle with sins of the tongue, we are usually eager to be reminded about that and get advice about how to improve holy speech. This other connection is not as easy for us to hear. At least, I don’t find it as easy to hear.

In James 4:13-5:6, James, like Psalm 39, ties teaching about wealth together with the principle that our lives are nothing more than a mist. James rebukes us for making plans without the Lord in mind. We must not boast about how much profit we are going to make ourselves. But James reminds us we don’t even know what tomorrow will bring. Our lives are a mist, a vapor; here today, gone tomorrow. Then he rebukes the wealthy. To be sure, he rebukes wealthy who became such by oppressing workers and taking advantage of the poor and socially weak. However, in the middle of that, he talks about those whose silver and gold have become corrupted. He claims the corruption of this silver and gold will be a witness against the wealthy. It will consume them like fire. Then he rebukes them for laying up treasures in the last days.

The above is all obviously in contrast with Jesus’s teaching about laying up treasures in heaven where thieves do not steal and moths do not destroy. That wealth cannot be corroded. But what is that business about the corrosion being a testimony against these wealthy people? It is the fact that these wealthy people were surrounded by folks in need, but instead of using their wealth to help them (which is what Jesus describes as laying up treasure in heaven, see Luke 12:33), they laid it up in the last days and just let it corrode. In other words, it is one thing to have financial blessing that you have to use to provide for your family. It is another thing to store up for tomorrow and never actually use it for anything while others around you need help. The fact that it has been there long enough to corrode will be a testimony against the wealthy.

This ties into that statement in James 4:17: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James’s point is with such fleeting, transitory lives, thinking we will do the right thing tomorrow is useless. We may not have tomorrow. Boasting in all we will do tomorrow is boasting in our arrogance; such boasting is sin. (I don’t even want to think about what this means for just plain old procrastination.)

All of James’s teaching on this really comes from Psalm 39 or, at least, is parallel to it. David says we need to realize how fleeting our lives are. We need to realize laying up wealth in this life is not necessarily the wisdom we are all led to believe it is. Even claiming it is an inheritance for our kids and trying to change our family tree doesn’t necessarily justify heaping up wealth in these days. Clearly, the Scripture does not teach it is wrong to own anything or even to have any kind of savings (see Acts 5:4; Proverbs 21:10). But certainly, toiling in order to heap up wealth here in this life, in these last days, is not God’s will for us.

Today, let’s lay up some of that treasure in the kingdom of heaven.

Tomorrow’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. Why is it so easy to put trust in money and material things?
  3. Why are we tempted to store up more and more and more money?
  4. What are some opportunities that our family has to lay up treasures in heaven? (Remember: see Luke 12:33 to know how to do that)
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?