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?

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?

Paul, On Sin

Today’s reading is Psalm 36.

David speaks of Transgression’s first deceitful counsel. “You don’t need to fear God.” Notice, Transgression doesn’t advise, “You don’t need to believe in God.” Rather, he counsels, “You don’t need to believe God matters.” David says that for the person who listens, “There is no fear of god before his eyes.”

Did that statement sound familiar to you? It might. Paul quotes it in his dissertation on sin in Romans 3:18. For David, this lack of fear is the foundation for a life that sinks deeper and deeper into sin. For Paul, it is the culmination of sinful attitudes and behaviors. Either way we recognize the entire package of sin and its deceitful schemes.

Sin doesn’t have to convince us God doesn’t exist. Sin only has to convince us God doesn’t matter to our lives today. He isn’t watching. He doesn’t care. We can hide our sin from Him. We can always repent tomorrow. Everybody does it.

Ooh! Let’s stop and think about that last justification. Because that is actually part of Paul’s declaration on sin. His whole point in Romans 3 is that both Jews and Gentiles sin. The passages he quotes, including Psalm 36:1, stop every mouth and make the whole world accountable to God (Romans 3:19-20). Hold on, Sin told me my iniquity cannot be found out. Sin told me I’d never be held accountable. Sin lied.

In fact, consider one of Sin’s most insidious lies. “Don’t worry about me being in your life,” Sin says. “That’s why Jesus died.” Can you tell why that one is so insidious? Because it contains more than a kernel of truth. Your sin is the reason Jesus died. But Sin, Transgression, Satan want you to believe Jesus died so you would never be held accountable for your sins. They want you to believe Jesus died so you can keep living in sin. To Sin, Jesus’s death means sin doesn’t matter. But that isn’t what Paul teaches, and that isn’t what David was teaching.

Jesus did die because you sin. However, He didn’t die to let you continue in sin. He died to let you repent of your sin. He died to strengthen you to abandon your sin. He died to empower you to overcome your sin. Paul explains in Romans 6:1-4, that when we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into His death. When we are raised, we have died to sin. We must not continue to live in it. Rather, we live a new life by the power of Jesus’s resurrection.

But understand this. After you are baptized, Sin and Satan are going to pull out all the stops trying to convince you to come back into their arms. Don’t listen. Jesus died to set you free from sin. Don’t let His death be in vain for you. Hang on to Jesus. He will set you free.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 36.

PODCAST!!!

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

Continue reading “Paul, On Sin”

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”

The Lord’s Plan

Today’s reading is Psalm 33.

“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.”

Did you catch that the psalmist purposefully contrasts the Lord’s counsels and plans with the counsels and plans of the nations and the people? Can the author of Psalm 33 have made any clearer connection back to Psalms 1 and 2 than this? Psalm 1 contrasts the counsel of the wicked with the law of God. Psalm 2 connects the counsel of the wicked to the vain plottings of the kings and nations. Now, we find it all rolled up into one statement. The Lord is bringing to nothing the plans and counsels of the nations and people, but His own plan and counsel is certain to happen. Nothing can stop it.

In fact, as much as the people and nations try to hinder the Lord’s plans, the more they actually bring His plans to fruition. Nothing and no one demonstrates that more than Jesus. In fact, that is the very point of the apostles’ prayer in Acts 4:23-31. There, they quoted Psalm 2, but now we know Psalm 2 and Psalm 33 are connected. The Jews with their San Hedrin council, their scribes, and their Pharisees conspired to bring about the demise and death of Jesus. The Romans with their governors, kings, and soldiers were the tools used by the Jews to accomplish their nefarious counsels. Yet, in the end, though they were trying to defeat Jesus, all they did was lead Him to His throne.

The apostles recognized God’s ability to bring the counsel of the nations to nothing and to frustrate the plans of the people was not just about Jesus on the cross but also about their work in the face of persecution. And that was definitely true, wasn’t it. The Jews and the Romans both tried to bring Christianity to an end through their persecutions. But instead, their persecutions just fed the flames of spiritual fervor that spread throughout the Roman Empire.

Can we recognize the same is true today? If God can take the crucifixion and turn it into a resurrection, if He can take a persecution and turn it into a dissemination, then He can take anything we deal with in our countries and turn it into victory. So many Christians are wringing their hands today as we enter a period called post-Christian by the pundits. There is no need. The same Lord who conquered chaos at the creation, who defeated Pharaoh at the Red Sea, who conquered Jericho and the Promised Land, who raised Jesus from the dead, who gave the apostles victory even as they were martyred is still God today. His plans and His counsels stand firm. May we stand in them always.

Next week’s reading is Psalm 34.

PODCAST!!!

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

Continue reading “The Lord’s Plan”

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?”

Up From the Grave

Today’s reading is Psalm 30.

Did Yahweh literally bring David’s soul up from Sheol? Had Yahweh literally restored to David life from among those who go down to the pit? Of course not. Just as Peter and Paul could refer to Psalm 16:10 and say, “Well, we can take you to David’s tomb, so he is actually a prophet pointing to someone else,” we can do the same thing here. We could go to David’s tomb today and discover his soul is actually still in Sheol and his life is actually among those who go down to the pit. But there is One whose tomb we haven’t simply lost. Rather, it was emptied. There is One whose life was among those who went down to the pit, but on the third day was restored. There is One for whom the disciples wept through the night, but in the morning came joy. And because of that, our mourning may be turned into dancing, our sackcloth may be replaced with gladness. And we will be able to give thanks forever. Not just for the rest of our earthly lives, but forever. Jesus rose up from the grave, and because He did, we look forward to resurrection ourselves. We look forward to dwelling in the Lord’s house forever, giving thanks to Him forever. Praise the Lord!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 31.

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!

Continue reading “Up From the Grave”

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.

Continue reading “Saved from God”

I Love Your Son!

Today’s reading is Psalm 26.

I certainly recognize Psalm 26 is not foretelling Jesus in the sense we most commonly think of. However, Jesus is all over Psalm 26. First, we once again find ourselves saying that this psalm can’t really, truly be about David. I mean, for all the senses in which we want to take David’s claim about walking in integrity, we know this doesn’t truly describe David (I Kings 9:4 notwithstanding). While David didn’t go into apostasy, he did fall from his integrity on multiple occasions. But there is One that in every sense of the word walked in integrity: the Son of David, Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Christ. When I recognize this, suddenly this psalm opens up whole new vistas. First, that whole bit about not being swept away with sinners and bloodthirsty men becomes really appropriate when Jesus is on the cross between sinners and bloodthirsty men. Of course, what is amazing is not only does Jesus not get swept away with them, He is even able to bring one of those men to repentance and carry Him to paradise. The whole psalm starts with a request for vindication/judgment. But the psalmist isn’t interested in the vindication or judgement of the people around him. He just want’s the Lord’s vindication and judgment. Didn’t Jesus receive that on Sunday morning? He was judged by men as a criminal and hung on a cross. He was vindicated by God as King and Savior, being raised from the dead. Then there is the fact that Jesus doesn’t sit with men of falsehood or the wicked, He doesn’t consort with hypocrites, and He hates the assembly of the evildoers. If I want to hang out with Jesus, I must not be one of these. Finally, when I think about this psalm applying to me, I understand God’s steadfast love and faithfulness were most demonstrated by the Jesus who most fulfills this psalm. The only way this psalm can apply to me is because Jesus lived it completely and fully. The only reason I can dwell in God’s holy house is because Jesus opened the way with His perfect sacrifice. Praise the Lord. I love God’s Son! Don’t you?!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 27.

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 “I Love Your Son!”