Third Verse not Like the First

Today’s reading is Psalm 43.

The common consensus is Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 were originally one psalm. There are decent reasons to believe this. For starters, a few ancient manuscripts apparently record them as one psalm (though the majority do not). The repeated refrain from Psalm 42:5, 11 is also the refrain in Psalm 43:5. The question about mourning and oppression of the enemy is found in Psalm 42:9 and Psalm 43:2. Clearly, Psalms 42-49 is a collection of psalms by the Sons of Korah. Psalm 43, however, does not have an attribution to anyone. That seems pretty convincing that the attribution for Psalm 42, in view of the other similarities, is supposed to stand for both psalms.

No doubt, the common consensus may be right. Of course, almost no one can venture a guess as to why the psalm would have been split in two. The only conjecture I’ve read is this last verse was separated for liturgical use. It is more of a prayer than the two verses in Psalm 42, so it was separated to be used in different worship settings. Perhaps.

But just like many of the psalms that we are told are surely two psalms that have been jammed together, I’m left with the same question. Why? It is clearly obvious that somehow these psalms are connected. So obvious almost everyone asserts they must have once been a single psalm. Why then would anyone separate them?

In my mind, its much more likely that either the author of Psalm 42 or another Son of Korah determined Psalm 42 was a song that needed another verse and added it later. Something was missing and needed to be completed. It seems God felt similarly, because He wanted both included in the Psalter. But whether I’m right or the common consensus is correct really doesn’t matter. These two psalms go together and clearly the ancient editors of the Psalms thought so, because they put them together in our psalter.

But there is a difference. Psalm 42 is very much a lament. It explains the two scenarios of dehydration and drowning. It laments the mocking of the enemies. It questions what God is doing. Psalm 43, however, is a prayer, a request. “Lord, do something about this!”

And that is exactly what we can do. When lament is the order of the day (and there are days when lament is in order), the prayer is not complete with just the complaint. Certainly, Psalm 88 proves you can end with just the lament, but why would you want to? Bring in that third verse that is not like the first or the second. Bring in that third verse that calls on God. He’ll let you ask. He wants you to ask. What gracious God we serve!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 43.

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? It doesn’t matter a great deal, but do you think these were probably a single psalm that were broken apart or is Psalm 43 a later psalm meant to “complete” the first?
  3. Why are we sometimes tempted to just lament? Is there ever a reason to do so?
  4. What comfort does it give you to know that in our lament God allows and even wants us to make our requests of Him?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

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?

Thank God for the New Covenant

Today’s reading is Psalm 42.

This son of Korah has apparently been carted off away from the temple of the Lord. He isn’t able to perform his Levitical duties. He can’t serve as a gatekeeper or serve in song in the worship of the Israelites. He feels cut off from God because he can’t get to the temple. I read how disheartened and despairing he is. It’s moments like this I’m thankful for the New Covenant in Jesus Christ.

In John 4:21, Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father…the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” I recognize, of course, Jews could turn toward the temple from any location and pray to God. I have no doubt they recognized a sense in which God was with them everywhere they went. However, when worship was so temple centered, it left the feeling that when one couldn’t get to the temple, one couldn’t get to God.

I’m thankful for our New Covenant. I’m thankful for Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice ripped the veil before the Most Holy Place. I’m thankful that I live in a covenant in which by Jesus I am able to stand in the Most Holy Place before God wherever I am. Its why Paul and Silas could be beaten and lying in a prison, but still sing praise and pray to God.

We are never separated from God. He is always with us. We can pray to Him from anywhere. We can worship Him in any location. We don’t have to despair because we can’t get to a temple. We are the temple. God is with us, in us.

Praise the Lord for the New Covenant in Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow’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 post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. No doubt, part of the psalmist’s feeling disconnected from God had to do with being disconnected from the people he used to worship with. See vs. 4. If you weren’t able to worship with the church this Sunday, would you feel like this psalmist? Why or why not?
  3. Why is worship so amazing and something to look forward to? Why is it something to miss when we don’t get to do it?
  4. What are some other reasons you are thankful for Jesus and His New Covenant?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

If You Don’t Like the Weather…

Today’s reading is Psalm 42.

I was born in Mountain Home, Idaho. I don’t remember anything about it. We move to England when I was two. I remember a little about that. We moved to Goldsboro, North Carolina when I was 6, I remember that a lot better. Since that time, I’ve lived in 11 different cities for at least six months. In every place I’ve lived (and most places I’ve visited), people have tried to clue me in to what their home is really like. And in every single place someone has said to me, “That’s one thing about this town. If you don’t like the weather, just wait around for five minutes, it’ll change.” They say it like it’s the only place in the world where that happens. But I assure you, where you live is not the only place in the world like that. The world is just like that.

In fact, Israel must have been like that. In the first half of Psalm 42, the psalmist is like a deer panting for streams of water in a drought. But by vs. 7, he’s in the middle of a flood. “Deep calls to deep” brings to mind the chaotic waters at the beginning of creation. There is so much water the psalmist is now overwhelmed by the waves and the breakers. They go over him. He went from dehydrating to drowning in a matter of seven verses.

And that is life. Sometimes we are so drained and exhausted, emotionally, physically, spiritually. At other times, we are simply beaten to death by the rough breakers of life. We are being tumbled over as life hits us with one wave after another.

In both cases, we feel forgotten and abandoned. We think God should be doing more. Or God should be doing something we can see and feel. However, like the psalmist said even in the midst of this flood, “By day God commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.” We may not feel it. We may not sense it. But it is happening.

Hang on to the Lord. He hasn’t left you. You will praise the Lord again.

Tomorrow’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 post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Is the weather crazy where you live?
  3. What is the difference between times of life that feel like a drought and times of life that feel like a flood?
  4. What advice would you give to others to rely on God during either kind of time?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

What Happened to the Streams?

Today’s reading is Psalm 42.

We have just started the second book of the Psalms. Some suggest there are five books of Psalms to mirror the five books of the Torah. Either way we have moved through a division of the Psalms into a new section. And the contrast couldn’t be greater than how Book I started.

Do you remember how Book I started? There was the blessed man who meditated on the Lord’s Law and he was like a tree planted by streams of water. However, as Book II starts, we have the psalmist separated from God and, like a deer in the middle of a drought, panting for streams of water.

What happened to the streams?

We have no idea when this psalm was written. However, the picture it paints along with the northern geographical markers would fit a situation like 2 Kings 14:11-14, when Jehoash of Israel defeated Amaziah of Judah in battle and took vessels from the temple and hostages up into the north.

The psalmist is no longer able to worship at the Lord’s House. He is no longer able to lead his brothers and sisters in a throng of worship to the temple. Up in the north he sees Hermon, but he doesn’t see Zion. The enemies around him taunt him, “Where’s your God?” In other words, “If you and God are so close, why isn’t He doing something for you right now?”

Yes, as Psalm 1 says, the one who meditates on the Lord and His Law will be like a tree planted by the waters, prospering and bearing fruit. However, that doesn’t mean all of life is going to be like a walk along a garden path. There will be moments when, like this son of Korah, we have to talk to ourselves. We have to remind ourselves we have no need to be cast down and in a turmoil. We have to remind ourselves God is our salvation. What we are facing now will pass. We will once again drink from the streams of God’s mercy and grace. These are tough moments, but not only must we stay in God’s Word, we must speak God’s Word to ourselves over and over again, reminding ourselves to be steadfast.

Hang on no matter what. Even when it seems like the stream has run dry, God is still God and He still cares. This too shall pass.

Tomorrow’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 post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. What are some times you have faced that felt like the streams had all run dry?
  3. What helps you hang on to God during those times?
  4. How can we help you during those times?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

It’s Not about Your Parents

Today’s reading is Psalm 42.

Did you catch the superscription of this psalm? “To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.” Do you remember who Korah is?

In Numbers 16, along with Dathan, Abiram, and On, Korah led a rebellion against Moses. They accused Moses of exalting himself above everyone. The entire assembly, they claimed, were just as holy as Moses. He had no right to lead them. This rebellion ended as the Lord opened the earth and swallowed up the rebels and their families.

However, Numbers 26:11 drops this little bomb. At least some of Korah’s sons didn’t die. But surely the stain of this rebellion hung on them. You would think this would be the kind of reputation that would follow a family line for generations. How could anyone in this family ever be of any use to God or His kingdom?

However, in 1 Chronicles 6:31-37, David appointed descendants of Korah to be in charge of the service of song. If you read that passage closely, you discover Samuel was one of the descendants of Korah. According to 1 Chronicles 12:6, some Korahites were among David’s mighty men. In 1 Chronicles 26:1-19, we see that Korahites were gatekeepers at the tabernacle and then the temple. And in this psalms and several others, we learn that the descendants of Korah wrote part of the Bible.

The long and short of it is simply this. It doesn’t matter who your parents or grandparents or great-great-great-great-…-great-grandparents were. God can use you. Praise the Lord!

The question is not whether God will use you. The question is will you serve where you can? What are you doing today to serve the Lord?

Tomorrow’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 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 learn all God used descendants of Korah to do? Why or why not?
  3. Are you surprised to see that Samuel is actually a descendant of Korah and that God used him so strongly? Why or why not?
  4. How does this give you comfort and encouragement in serving the Lord?
  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?

Who Is in Control?

Today’s reading is Psalm 41.

Underneath Psalm 41:8 is an interesting claim. The ESV says the friends claim a “deadly thing” has been poured out on David. The word for deadly is similar to the word “Belial.” It is the word that means “worthless” (1 Samuel 25:25) and can also mean “destruction” (Psalm 18:4). It contains an underlying idea that David’s sickness is actually caused by demonic or unclean spirits. This actually brings up an amazing point we find in the Psalms.

In the ancient Near East, we learn that when folks from other nations wrote psalms, poems, laments, they often attributed their sicknesses and troubles to evil spirits, jinn, demons just as David’s enemies here do. But take a look at to whom David attributes control over his illness. Once again, David believes his illness is theosomatic. That is, he believes it is God’s discipline for his own sins.

I know it gives us just a bit of trouble to place God as the ultimate power behind all the things we read about in the psalms. However, the great blessing of that realization is God is the one in control. He is sovereign. If God is the one who is ultimately behind all these, then God is the one we must turn to when we face them.

No, this doesn’t mean every sickness we face is God’s specific discipline for a specific sin. Further, it doesn’t mean God is simply striking people with sickness right and left. But it does remind us God is the one in control. God is the one who can provide the healing. God is the one who can provide the deliverance. David’s sickness was not under the control of Belial, therefore David wasn’t going to die.

Whatever we face, whether it is because of our sins or just because of time and chance, it isn’t under the control of the enemy. It is under the control of God. Turn to Him. He is the one who can deliver. He is the only one who can deliver. He will deliver.

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 conversation.

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 glad that God is in control?
  3. Why is it hard to hang on to God when we are really sick or when enemies attack?
  4. What advice would you give to encourage others to hang on to God even when life is difficult and painful?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

My Enemies

Today’s reading is Psalm 41.

It hurts when you find out friends are actually enemies. To your face they say nice things, behind your back they spread secrets and lies. When you are around, they feign care about your life. In their hearts, they wish you were dead. When you are providing the meal, they eat your bread. When you are in your sickbed, they abandon you.

Have you ever been betrayed by a friend? Hurts like crazy, doesn’t it? David knew what that was like.

Friends are great. We all need them. But always remember who your actual hope is. God is the best friend. When friends fail us, God never will. Even when our friends become enemies, though they hurt us, they will not shout in triumph over us.

God always wins. Therefore, when we are with God, we always win. Hang on to your truest friend no matter what.

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 conversation.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. What benefits and blessings do your friends provide you?
  3. Why does it hurt so bad when friends betray us?
  4. What advice would you give to help us make God our best friend?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

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?