From “Me” to “Us”

Today’s reading is Psalm 31.

Track the pronouns in this psalm. Sometimes the main pronoun is the first person singular, sometimes it is the second or third person plural. That is, in some parts it is, “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge.” In other places, it is, “How abundant is your goodness, which you have…worked for those who take refuge in you.” Sometimes it is “I trust the Lord.” Other times it is “Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful…” In this, David moves from praying about “me” the Lord’s anointed to praying about “us” the Lord’s people. This isn’t just some weird poetic thing. This is David setting himself up as the example. This is how God deals with His anointed, the head of His people. Therefore, this is how God deals with all His people. Especially when we get to the ending thoughts. David’s point is, “Look at me, people! Do you see how God has demonstrated himself faithful and loving with me? Do you see how God did deliver? I get it, I had some troubles along the way. But do you see how it ended? The same will be true for you. Hang on through the trouble. Stay faithful. Through me, God has proved Himself faithful.” We should see the same principle in our King. After all, a disciple is not above the teacher but when fully trained will become like the teacher. Do you remember what happened with Jesus? He was persecuted. He was afflicted. It even seemed that the hands of the enemies prevailed against Him. However, on the third day, He burst forth from the grave victorious. That is how the Lord gave victory to our King. We too, though the hand of the enemy seems to prevail, perhaps even killing us, will be victorious. We will also burst forth from the grave. So, commit your spirit into the Lord’s hand and hang on to Him no matter what.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 31.

PODCAST!!!

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

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The Lord’s Voice at Creation

Today’s reading is Psalm 29.

While Psalm 29:3-9 tracks a storm that starts on the Mediterranean, crushes Mt. Hermon in the north, moves across Israel, and then devastates Kadesh in the south, the various vignettes within bring Bible history to mind. In fact, vss. 3-4 take us all the way back to creation. Where did the Spirit of God hover? On the waters. And what happened over those waters? For seven days, God’s voice was heard bringing all things into existence. In that creative process, He divided waters from waters, making sea and sky. He gathered waters, allowing dry land to appear. He populated the waters, both above and below. How did He do it? He did it by speaking it into existence. He used His voice. As we track with creation, we notice something about the voice of God. Everything to which He spoke listened and obeyed His voice. That is, until Adam instead listened to the voice of Eve (see Genesis 3:17; it’s the same word for “voice”). We know how badly that went. And then Abraham listened to the voice of Sarai (see Genesis 16:2). That caused all kinds of problems. Finally, according to Genesis 22:18 and 26:5 (passages which remember Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac at God’s command), Abraham listened to the Lord’s voice. Because he did, God created a nation from Abraham’s descendants. Through that nation, God created a plan for blessing us all. That is the voice of the Lord. The voice of the Lord is truly powerful. It is truly majestic. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 29.

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.

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Channeling Jesus

Today’s reading is Psalm 27.

A really profound occurrence takes place in John 2:18-22. When asked what sign Jesus would work to demonstrate His authority to cleanse the temple, He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” That really confused everyone, but John goes on to explain that after Jesus was raised from the dead, the apostles understood what He meant. He wasn’t actually talking about the temple in Jerusalem, but the temple of His own body. What makes this scenario so profound is the realization that the resurrection changed everything. It changed how the apostles heard what Jesus said. It even changed how they read Scripture, including the Psalms. In fact, it should change how we read Scripture. It is true that there are some psalms that we all recognize as Messianic; that is, psalms foretelling what the Messiah would be like. There are psalms that are not as clearly foretelling, but something doesn’t seem to quite fit until the Messiah comes on the scene and fulfills the psalm literally. But there are other psalms that aren’t really foretelling anything, but once we know Jesus’s resurrection and listen to them through that filter, we hear Jesus all over them. That is Psalm 27. That is especially true when we get to “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” When David wrote this about himself, no doubt, he was referring to the fact that God was going to grant his request. He wasn’t going to die in battle. He was going to get to Jerusalem and see the tent of the Lord again. Jesus, who was forsaken by everyone, who went to the cross at the hands of soldiers and false accusers, feared nothing. He entrusted His soul to His Father. He went to the cross and died. But on Sunday morning, He saw the goodness of Yahweh in the land of the living. He waited through the cross. He waited through the grave. He waited until the third day. And then He arose the conquering hero over sin, Satan, death, and the grave. And if this is how Yahweh delivers His one and only Son, how much more should we expect the same? David had confidence God would deliver him because of how God had worked with Moses and Joshua. We can have confidence because of how God delivered our King Jesus. No matter how dark it gets in your life, no matter how the enemy tries to blot out the sun, God is our light, He is our salvation, He is our stronghold. Hang on to Him. He will always come through. Praise the Lord!

Next week’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.

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Do Not Be Deceived, Judgment Comes

Today’s reading is Psalm 21.

In the first half of Psalm 21, the psalmist is looking back. The king having come home victorious, the psalmist is acknowledging God’s part in the victory. However, beginning in vs. 8, the psalmist looks ahead. The past victory is a sign, a down payment if you will, of what is to come. It is unclear whether the speaker is addressing Yahweh, simply asserting faith regarding what He will do, or if he is addressing the king, encouraging him with what Yahweh will do through him. Either way, the message is the same. “Enemies Beware!” It is as if to say to everyone of the enemies, “Did you see what just happened to my last enemy? That is what is coming for you.” Having been raised up on the love of Jesus, it is hard for us to stomach this kind of psalm. And yet, we need to understand that being an enemy of Jesus is a serious affront. It is a crime against not only humanity, but against heaven. It is a sin of truly extravagant proportions. Jesus’s love was offered to find escape from this judgment. Those, however, who ignore His love and choose rather to stiff arm Him and spit in His face will be judged. Don’t be deceived. It is coming and it won’t be pleasant. It will be awful. Don’t joke about it. Don’t dismiss it. Don’t ignore it. Don’t procrastinate preparing for it. In the end, the battle does belong to the Lord. You can’t defeat Him. I encourage you if you haven’t already done so, surrender. Lay down your weapons. Put down your defenses. Surrender your allegiance. The only way to victory is to grant that God wins and defect to His side. Don’t delay. Judgment comes.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 21.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier expanding on this post!

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The Fear of Defeat

Today’s reading is Psalm 13.

David feared death in Psalm 13. He also feared defeat. Honestly, it makes me wonder if he provided this list in ascending or descending order. Did he start with his biggest fear or the smallest one. Either way, the #2 fear on the list is the fear that he will lose: “Consider and answer me, O Lord my God…lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him.'” And isn’t that exactly what Satan wants us to fear? He wants us to fear we’ve chosen the losing side. He wants us to fear that God, in the end, can’t actually win the battle. And what greater time to perpetuate that fear than in the interim? What greater time to perpetuate that fear than before God has struck the decisive blow against the enemy? In these moments, we will be tempted to switch sides, but in these moments we must remember another of David’s prayers: “Yours O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours” (1 Chronicles 29:11). And as Proverbs 21:31 says, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” Of course, I was half-joking when I asked if David was starting with his biggest fear or working up to it. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 demonstrates these two fears are not so different. When our living is anything but Jesus Christ, death seems like the greatest loss. But when we are in Christ and our lives are focused on gaining Christ, death is no defeat. Rather, even in death we have the victory in Jesus Christ. Of course, the only way we will have this victory is through faith (1 John 5:4). No matter what it looks like today or tomorrow, we are going to win. Feel free to ask God how long it is going to be until we win, but always remember we will win. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 13.

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Who on Earth is Cush?

Today’s reading is Psalm 7.

This week’s psalm comes complete with a heading to explain the situational context of the psalm. But there is a problem. We have absolutely no idea who Cush was. This is the only place in the Bible this guy is mentioned. (He is most definitely not the other Cush mentioned in Scripture who is the son of Ham and the grandson of Noah.) Students of the psalms make some guesses. One is that Cush may be another name for Shimei the Benjamite who cursed David as he was fleeing Absalom (2 Samuel 16:5-8). However, the psalm itself, with David’s declarations of innocence, doesn’t really fit that situation. Some suggest it is King Saul and is a play on the fact that Saul is the son of Kish. Others point out there is no justifiable evidence for such wordplay. Further, it doesn’t seem that David, who in all other ways gave respect to Saul as the Lord’s anointed, would write this psalm about him. A third option is to simply claim it is someone from a time in David’s life that isn’t recorded for us in Scripture. The fourth, and the one I like the best, narrows that last option down to one of Saul’s family members during the time Saul was chasing David (see 1 Samuel 22:6-10). All of this speculation is neat and gives us something to think about, but perhaps the greatest point to recognize in this is understanding God doesn’t answer every possible question we might ever have. Imagine how big the Bible would have to be if that had been God’s goal. God has given us all we need to know. We can speculate on other things, but in the end, we can trust God that we have what we need to know about this psalm, about serving God, about David, about Jesus, about all things. Let’s trust the Lord and the grace He has given us through His Word. His grace is sufficient. His Word is sufficient. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 7.

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One God is Greater than Many Enemies

Today’s reading is Psalm 3.

In the ESV translation of Psalm 3, the word “many” is used four times. “How many are my foes?” “Many are rising against me.” “Many are saying…there is no salvation for him…” “…many of thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” Wow! That’s many manys. But what does David do in the face of all those many enemies? He prays. Don’t get me wrong. I know within the recounting of Absalom’s rebellion and David’s response, David planned, took counsel, and reacted (see 2 Samuel 15-18). But underlying every bit of that war strategizing and war waging, David prayed. He knew one true and living God is worth thousands upon thousands upon many manys of enemies. As Joshua 23:10 says, one will put to flight a thousand, especially when that one fighting for you and with you is the Lord. How many enemies do you face? They are nothing compared to your one God. Hang on to Him! Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 3.

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Pray for Laborers

Today’s reading is Luke 10.

I needed the reminder. I can look around at our culture and begin to believe no one wants to hear or respond to the gospel. I hear the laments of folks about diminishing congregations and increasing disinterest. I start to think the problem is a blighted harvest. That is not Jesus’s diagnosis. The harvest is plentiful. The problem is not with the yield in the field. The problem is the number of laborers. We need laborers in the harvest. We need those who will make personal connections and start spiritual conversations. Today, let’s pray for laborers. And then, let’s plan for God to begin His answer with us.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 10.

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Love Your Enemies

Today’s reading is Luke 6.

I’m going to go off the beaten path for this blog and daily devo. You have probably already seen this, but today I just want us to think about loving our enemies, doing good to those who hate us, praying for those who abuse us. Today I want us to think about being merciful as our Father in heaven is. I don’t think I can add anything to the great example set recently in the public news. Even if you’ve already seen it, watch the video below to see a stellar example by a brother in Christ.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 6.

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Twisted Scripture

Today’s reading is Luke 4.

“But it’s in the Bible,” Satan says as he offers the third temptation. What a subtle and cunning enemy the devil is. He will use anything to get us to turn from God and turn on God. He will even use the Bible. He will pull verses out of context, strip them of their meaning, and then say, “But the Bible says.” There is only one way to combat this kind of temptation. Know God’s Word. If we pluck a sentence here or a verse there, we can make the Bible support just about anything. Jesus explained He would trust in the Father’s care and protection. He didn’t have to test it. He wouldn’t test it. He knew it would be there when it was truly needed; the Father’s Word said so. Yes, that very Word by which Jesus claimed He received life had promised God’s protection. How could He rely on it for life, if He wouldn’t trust it’s promises. The same is true for us. God is our Father. He will take care of us when that is needed, we don’t need to purposefully test it. We just need to purposefully rely on it no matter what Satan says to us.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 4.

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