Today’s reading is Psalm 32.
I love Psalm 32, don’t you? It’s so comforting. However, most of my life, I’ve read it in a vacuum. I love it’s message about forgiveness. I bask in it and then move on. But now that we are walking through the psalms slowly, one at a time, this psalm explodes with new meaning.
Do you recall the doorway into the psalms: Psalm 1? The entire psalter started with a beatitude. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…” It paints the picture of the person who doesn’t take counsel from the wicked, sinful, scoffers, but simply meditates in God’s Word. There are the blessed, and there are the wicked. And let’s face it, at the end of Psalm 1 there is a small part of us thinking, “Blessed is the man who has never violated God’s Law.”
While reading that first psalm, we might be able to convince ourselves we fit. We like God’s Word. We think about it a great deal. We try hard to follow it. However, having worked our way through all the psalms so far, we have been disabused of that notion. We aren’t perfect. We aren’t sinless. There have been plenty of times God’s law and will were not our meditation. There have been plenty of times we have listened to the counsel of the wicked. Where does that leave us?
Enter Psalm 32. “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a second beatitude. “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
Praise God! The blessed are not the perfect, they are the forgiven.
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 32.
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 “Wait! Who is Blessed?”
Today’s reading is Psalm 2.
In Acts 4, Peter and John were arrested after healing a lame man and preaching the resurrection through Jesus Christ. When they were released, they immediately went to their friends. What kind of friends did they have? They had friends who prayed. Not only that, they had friends that prayed the psalms. That is, the psalms informed their praying. When they considered what happened to Jesus and what was continuing to happen to them, they saw Psalm 2 in action. The nations and the kings of the earth were raging. They were plotting against God and trying to overthrow God’s plans. They didn’t sit there in fear, wringing their hands, wondering how they would manage; they remembered Psalm 2. They knew who they were. They were those who had kissed the Son. That is, they were the ones who had given their allegiance to the one, true King, the anointed of God. And they asked God to give them the boldness and confidence to believe Psalm 2 and behave as though Psalm 2 were 100% true. Yes, the kings of the earth were against them. Yes, the rulers were gathered together to plot against them and against God. But, ultimately, the nations are the heritage of Jesus. He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will bring judgment upon any who fight against His kingdom. The King is set on His holy hill. No matter what it seems like today, let us remember this psalm. Let us pray this psalm. Let us live this psalm. It is, after all, true.
Next week’s reading is Psalm 3.
Continue reading “The Apostles and Psalm 2”
Today’s reading is Psalm 2.
Be wise! But how? By serving the Lord with fear. Every one of us who have ever read the Proverbs should nod in recognition. After all, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. But did you notice how this psalm and its wisdom parallels the first psalm? In Psalm 1, the way of the wicked will perish. In Psalm 2, those who don’t kiss the Son will perish. In Psalm 2, those who take refuge in the Anointed Son/King of God will be blessed. In Psalm 1, those who meditate on God’s Law are blessed. In Psalm 1, the blessed man refuses the counsel of the wicked, the way of the sinner, and the seat of the scoffer. In Psalm 2, the kings do the exact opposite. They rage against the Lord and revel in the counsel of one another. I will say as I have said before, I have no idea why the psalms in general are in the order they are in. However, I believe I know why these first two psalms are the first two. They are the doorway to the entire wisdom of the psalmody. There is the Lord’s Law and the Lord’s Leader. They go hand in hand. Wisdom and blessing are found in the Lord’s King and the Lord’s Covenant. Any other way is death and judgment. Without this understanding, no psalm, in fact no text in the Bible, can make true sense. It is no wonder that under the New Covenant, both the Scripture and the Savior are called the Word of God.
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 2.
Continue reading “O Kings, Be Wise”
Today’s reading is Psalm 1.
Blessed! While many define “blessed” as if it is the same as “happy,” blessed is so much greater. Happy is an emotion based on the fickle nature of what is happening to us and the happenstances of life. Blessed is a favored status, having received a gift or favor from one who has the power to bestow such grace no matter the circumstances. The psalmist tells us about one who is blessed, not merely happy. This one is blessed by God, the one with all power to bestow the greatest blessings. Who is the one so blessed? The one who avoids the counsel of the wicked, steers clear of the way of the sinners, and eschews the seat of the scoffer. This is so important because, let’s face it, the wicked, the sinner, and the scoffer are all promising happiness. We pursue their ways because we think we will gain blessing at the end of them. But that is not so. Blessing comes only at the end of God’s path. Be blessed today, follow God’s way. It always works.
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 1.
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Today’s reading is Luke 11.
As Jesus was talking about replacing the spirits (which we discussed yesterday), a woman was moved to exclaim, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” Certainly, this is a wonderful and true claim for Mary (see Luke 1:45). However, this woman is actually expressing her own longing. It’s as if she is saying, “I wish you were my son. Wouldn’t that be the greatest blessing?” Jesus’s response is essentially, “You can be just as blessed as My mother and more so if you listen to My Word and follow it.” Do not miss that Luke reveals this blessing just after Jesus’s instruction to replace the evil spirits. Luke is not indicating that the Holy Spirit equals the Word of God or that the only way the Holy Spirit works is through the Word of God. However, he is pointing out that one thing we have control over that grants us access to the Holy Spirit and His guidance is how we react to the Word of God. If we want to replace the evil spirits, the bad habits, the sins in our lives with God’s Holy Spirit, we don’t just sit around hoping the Holy Spirit will take us over. No, we pursue that blessing by opening up the Word of God and drinking it in. That is one of the reasons having a Bible reading plan like this one is so important. I’m glad you are here. Keep reading with us. It is doing us more good than we can possibly know, but only if we are listening to it.
Today’s reading is Luke 11.
Continue reading “Blessed are the Readers”
Today’s reading is Luke 6.
Everyone of my kids at one time or another has come up to me and said, “Dad, I hate you.” Then when I started to get upset has replied, “Opposite day!” and they laugh like they just pulled off a great joke. In Luke 6:20-26, I half expect Jesus to shout, “Opposite day!” Honestly, I don’t completely know what to do with Jesus’s lists here. I simply know I tend to see it in the exact opposite light. I tend to see Jesus’s blessings as woes and vice versa. I’m not completely sure what to say. I’ve rewritten this post about 4 times now. So, I will leave it there. What I see today is that, as always, I’ve got a long way to grow. And I need to wrestle with this passage where Jesus seems to say the opposite of how I feel. What about you?
Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 6.
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Today’s reading is Matthew 5.
A friend of mine used to call them “chimney corner verses.” I have no idea why. “Bible verses” that aren’t actually in the Bible. That is, sayings, mantras, and cliches people are simply certain are Scripture, but they aren’t. For instance, “God helps those who help themselves.” Many are certain this is a Bible verse, but it isn’t. On the other hand, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” is most definitely a Bible verse. And consider what it says. It says, “God blesses those with mercy, who bless others with mercy.” That is, “God helps those who help others.” Keep that in mind today and remember, there is no greater help than gospel-sharing, disciple-making help. Be a blessing today.
Monday’s reading is Matthew 6.
Continue reading “God Helps Those Who Help Others”
Today’s reading is Luke 11.
Did you know you don’t have to wait around wondering if you will get blessed? Did you know you can actually pursue God’s blessing and walk with confidence that you will receive it? Blessing from God is not a chance endeavor. Jesus actually tells us how to get blessed. “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Of course, that doesn’t mean we never experience hard times. As we have learned over the past few weeks, the blessed of God lose their electricity and sometimes their homes in storms. But even in those hard times, the ones who hear God’s Word and keep it get God’s blessing. We won’t receive God’s blessing by chance, so don’t leave it up to chance. Rather, pursue it with all your heart, soul, and mind no matter what else is happening around you.
Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 12.
Continue reading “Be Blessed”